“The Ones We Leave Behind”
Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Euros Lyn
Vanessa is okay, but Fisk soon discovers that Wesley is dead. He wants to know who did this, and his only lead is that Wesley was on the phone with his mom before he left the hospital. Leland, it turns out, is the one responsible for poisoning Vanessa, with the help of Madame Gao. She’s the one next on Matt’s list of criminals to topple on his way to Fisk. He manages to bring down her operation (which consists of several dozen blind people packaging heroin for distribution around the city), but it turns out she really is the scariest villain in this season, because she kicks him aside and vanishes like it’s nothing. Also she might be an alien or a demon. She leaves for her homeland, wherever that is. Ben’s editor fires him when he tries to insist on publishing the story about Fisk killing his father, a conversation Fisk’s mole at the Bulletin overhears. Ben talks to Karen on the phone, then visits his wife. Particularly after talking to his wife, he decides that if any story is worth trying to publish on the internet, it’s this one. So he goes home and starts typing, but Fisk is waiting for him. They have a terrifying, calm conversation about whether or not an online article will actually get through to the public, and then Fisk violently strangles Ben to death.
I’m trying to work out the significance of Madame Gao’s willfully blind workers. Stick was born blind and Matt was blinded in the process of saving someone’s life. These people all blind themselves. They don’t just let someone poke their eyes out, they do it themselves. Eye horror is my number one nope, so I can barely even fathom self-eye harm. But this is definitely connected to all these themes about light/darkness and blindness/sight. Matt is groping in spiritual darkness, unsure of his decisions. These people deliberately plunged themselves into permanent darkness because they believe in that darkness. So…demon cult? Freaky.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Getting swarmed by other blind people must’ve been really unsettling for Matt. Madame Gao and her operation are so much different than anything else he’s faced this season. I like that Matt at least tells Karen, if obliquely, about Stick, and his “you have to go it alone” philosophy. He admits he needs people. He needs Karen. And he needs Foggy. It’s fascinating how he inadvertently pushed them away, even though he thought Stick’s philosophy was crap. He wasn’t doing it for the reasons Stick wanted him to. Stick considers loved ones a distraction, but Matt considered himself a liability to them. He pushed them away to protect them, not to make himself a better fighter. In the end, the effect was the same. I think him crying and admitting what a mistake that was to Karen was the moment he really hit bottom. It’s time to climb back up.
Karen should have told Ben what happened with Wesley. He had no way of knowing the true urgency and danger of getting that story out without that knowledge. I wonder if that’s meant to be a parallel to Matt’s own situation of pushing people away to protect them, only to lose them. Karen tried to protect Ben (or maybe herself) from what happened with Wesley, and that left him entirely unprepared for Fisk’s response. I like the way Karen reacts to Matt and Foggy’s split. She has no idea what’s going on and she doesn’t like it and she desperately wants them to figure it out so they can get their makeshift little family back together.
Foggy is definitely the glue that holds Nelson & Murdock together. I expected that to be Karen, but Foggy is the one who can go on a bender for a couple of days and come out the other side more determined than ever to use the law to beat the bad guys. I think Matt taught him that conviction initially, but he’s made it his own, and he’s even passing it on to Marci. Not many people have the level of earnestness it takes to tell someone they’re soulless and still persuade them to take action. Go Foggy. But please be a team with Matt again.
Ben’s wife is one sharp cookie, when she’s lucid. Maybe if she had remained mentally healthy, she could’ve helped Ben get out of the Bulletin and onto online journalism years earlier. He thinks he failed her by focusing so much on his work, but she understands him and loves his dedication to his stories. They kinda remind me of Carl and Ellie. Fisk killing Ben is probably my least favorite thing he does.
Fisk is easily one of the best villains of the entire MCU. He’s complex (but not in a schizophrenic sort of way, like Loki, who had different writers pulling him in different directions and obviously not discussing their plans with each other), has a compelling backstory, has strong connections to the people around him, and has a distinct character arc of his own. This season is the rise and fall of Kingpin, while it’s the fall and ascent of the Daredevil. Fisk is now down to his last two allies, who we’ve just found out conspired to kill Vanessa. His operation has reached critical mass, but no longer has sufficient containment, and it’s about to explode.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.