Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 11 (The path of the righteous) / Episode 12 (The ones we leave behind).
What a ride this series has been. Netflix allowed us to see the first glimpse of what The Defenders will hold for us in the MCU, and if other Defenders such as Jessica Jones lives up to the successful foundation Daredevil has built, we can be guaranteed that the MCU is in good hands.
Continuing from the final heartbreak in the penultimate episode, Ben Urich is laid to rest. His death is what inspires Matt, Foggy and Karen to push forward in capturing Wilson Fisk. Karen fears for her safety, not just because Fisk had found out that Ben had visited Marlene; but also because if Fisk could easily discover the visit, he could also discover certain murders which took place. Because in the end of the day, nothing gets past Fisk.
As Fisk corners Leland in knowledge that Leland and Madame Gao was targeting Vanessa, we know things can’t end well. Once Fisk knows someone is up against him he will fight for it – and that only ends in death. A similar scene in The ones we leave behind had us knowing, from the beginning of the encounter, that Ben was going to die. This relentless murderer is our antagonist. His desires are simple, to redefine Hell’s Kitchen, and then to live in happiness with Vanessa. But in the end both of these plans fail, which made Fisk’s demise inevitable – for the time being.
In the end, Matt didn’t kill Fisk. He could’ve, he had the opportunity too, yet as he clarified to Royce Johnson – “I’m not the bad guy”. It was inevitable that Matt would’ve “played by the law” just as he’d promised since Matt’s alliance with Karen and Foggy. Matt isn’t a killer. However with all the recent plot-twists which Daredevil has thrown left-right and centre, there was little uncertainty if he’d end up killing or not. That’s not to say that one of our three lead characters hasn’t killed before, because Karen still holds her secret close to her chest, even when confronted by Matt. Maybe some part of what Matt had picked up on from Karen was truly how she felt about losing Elena and Ben; but of course Matt could still see through the bullshit and knows there’s something else. It’s that little flinch which Charlie Cox does so subtly that gives off Matt’s understanding. When around Karen, he’d flinch as he’d detect “something” in Karen’s voice, just like he’d done so in the ending. It’s interesting that this murder has been decided to be held off as a season two arch instead of wrapping it up this season.
What really is pivoting in this finale is how Fisk’s exposure which the characters were building up to was at first seemingly useless. After Detective Hoffman reveals the truth about Fisk’s operations, we’re lead to a wonderful slow-motion segment with ‘Nessun Dorma’ to showcase the supposed downfall of Fisk’s links. ‘Nissan Dorma’ is quite a symbolic choice to use considering that the context is about a man falling in love with a mysterious woman (AKA Wilson and Vanessa). The aria repeats “none will know my name” which obviously reflects Fisk at the beginning of the season. By referring to the relationship and Fisk’s original mystique, this segment reflects the journey throughout the season and how all of it is coming to an end.
Yet note that I did say that this journey was “seemingly useless”. With there still being roughly half the episode remaining, something such as Fisk’s escape was bound to happen. To close off this season without us seeing Matt and Fisk battle it out once more would be an insult to fans. In fact, not only does Matt battle the escaping Fisk, yet he also comes dressed in his new iconic costume. Daredevil is officially here. Also at the end, his title is finally acknowledged too. Now we have our hero in place who’s ready to battle other criminal figures and become a Defender. Marvel Entertainment blessed us with a wonderful series and has outdone themselves with a comic-book ‘television’ series – which is surprising considering how outstanding Agent Carter was and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season two is. It’s upsetting that the season had to come to an end, but I suppose the beauty of the Netflix format is you can re-watch it again and again!
+ Wilson is stuck looking at a white wall again. As a child, as the Kingpin and even as a prisoner, Wilson looks towards the white surface. It’s quite obvious we’re not done with Wilson Fisk yet.
+ We finally see Matt in full costume. It does look wonderful and what’s probably even better is that the characters made the needed jokes of how ridiculous the name ‘Daredevil’ and the horns were. Of course this is coming from a man named Foggy.
+ I’m absolutely in love with how they handled Vanessa. She’s been such a wonderful addition to the series. It’s only a shame that Claire wasn’t part of the bigger picture too. There’s always season 2?