Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.11: "The Path of the Righteous"

“You know, the only thing I remember from Sunday school? Is the martyrs. The saints. The saviors. They all end up the same way. Bloody. And alone.”

This episode of “Daredevil” dealt mostly with the fallout from the past few episodes as opposed to really ramping up the action further. We see the consequences of Foggy and Matt’s fallout. We see Matt struggling to recover from his deadly encounter with Nobu. We see Fisk anxiously waiting for news of Vanessa’s condition after her poisoning. And we see Wesley trying to keep things running while Fisk is preoccupied. It’s a very intricate dance that will hopefully pay off in the final two episodes. I trust the creative team behind the show (many of whom have worked for Joss Whedon in the past), so I’m sure this will all be leading someplace fascinating. And probably a bit painful.

We open the episode at the hospital, where everything is (relatively) quiet until Fisk and his entourage burst in, carrying Vanessa. The hospital staff whisk Vanessa away, and they don’t allow Fisk to follow. The powerlessness of the situation seems to really affect him. Meanwhile, Owlsley is mostly concerned with making sure he wasn’t exposed to the poison, since he was holding a glass of champagne when guests started dropping. Some friend, right? Anyway, Owlsley and Wesley have a terse conversation about how the business is going to run while Fisk is distracted, and Owlsley continues to fret about his health. The conversation and fretting are interrupted by a lackey informing Wesley that three of the folks who were poisoned have already died. Wesley asks Owlsley to check in with Madame Gao to try and figure out if she was behind the attack.

Matt has very interesting and contrasting conversations with the two main women in his life in this episode. Early on, Karen stops by to check in on Matt, since she hasn’t heard from either him or Foggy in a while. Karen is immediately skeptical of the story Matt tells to explain the appearance of both himself and the apartment, and she presses him about whether his meeting with Vanessa led to his mishap. Karen also tells Matt about her and Ben’s trip upstate and what she learned about Fisk’s past from his mother. Matt’s not thrilled that she didn’t tell either him or Foggy about this expedition sooner. He tells Karen to go to the office and tell Foggy what she found, and Karen leaves, awkwardly pointing out the monkey on the get well balloon for Matt.

Claire also pays Matt a visit to patch up some stitches that he ripped in his hurry to start moving around the apartment. She tells him to rest and take better care of himself, but I doubt Matt will take that advice. Matt offers Claire a drink before she leaves, but she declines. She tells Matt she will always be there to patch him up after a fight, but that’s it. She also says she’s heading out of town for a while, and she warns him that martyrs usually end up bloody and dead (see the Quote of the Episode). While I don’t think Claire’s been especially well developed (other than being Best.Nurse.Ever!), I did appreciate the maturity she brought to this conversation. I hope she shows up now and then to emotionally kick Matt’s ass when he needs it.

Foggy, still reeling from the revelation that Matt is the vigilante, has really gone off the deep end. Not only has he quit working at the law firm, he’s also started sleeping with Marci again. Needless to say, Foggy’s not at the office, so Karen goes to talk with Ben instead. Ben is (understandably) extremely angry with Karen for manipulating his wife’s health crisis to further the Fisk investigation. He forgives her, though, but too quickly for my taste. Karen tells Ben to write an article about what they discovered, but Ben is skeptical that it will do any good. He’s got another idea that conveniently comports with his desire to get out of the organized crime reporting game and spend more time with his wife. He tells Karen about the poisoning incident and insinuates that he thinks Fisk will self-destruct. When you’re at the top, everyone wants a piece of you, after all.

Presumably spurred on by his conversation with Claire, Matt does some soul-searching in this episode. First, he goes to church and has a heart-to-heart with Father Lantom. Father Lanthom insinuates that he has some idea of what Matt has been up to (he’s not stupid, folks), and Matt asks why God put the devil in him. It turns out that Father Lanthom thinks that God might have created Satan to scare the rest of us into righteousness. Back at his apartment, Matt tries some meditation, but he is constantly distracted by flashbacks of his fight with Nobu and subsequent beating by Fisk. He decides to go back into action, and he ends up tracking down a Fisk goon to get a lead on where Fisk may have gotten his super-sophisticated body armor. The goon, after a beat-down from Matt, leads Matt to Melvin Potter, Fisk’s “tailor.” There’s a rather epic fight between the two, but it turns out that Potter is more afraid of Fisk than supportive of him. Matt tells Potter that he wants him (Potter) to make him some special body armor clothing that also works as a symbol.

Still waiting at the hospital, Fisk receives a phone call from his mother, but he doesn’t answer. Instead, Wesley ends up calling her back, and he seems very surprised by what he hears. It’s pretty obvious she is telling him about her recent visitors. Wesley asks one of the bodyguards for a gun and tells him he needs to go take care of something. Meanwhile, Karen finally finds Foggy drinking at Josie’s. He admits that he and Matt have had a falling out, but he can’t talk about it. Karen tells both Foggy and Matt (via voice mail) to get their shit together. It’s a Hermione moment, really. Having had a moment like that myself with two guy friends, I feel for her. Karen’s next call is to Ben, and after he hangs up, he notices a Fisk political sign in an old photo.

On her way home, Karen is attacked, and he finds herself tied up in a room with Wesley. Wesley basically wants her to convince Ben and all her friends that Fisk is a great man and should be supported. Karen is disgusted at the thought, but she’s not really seeing a way out. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Fisk is having a conversation with a still-unconscious Vanessa. After that conversation, he asks a lackey where Wesley is, and upon finding out he left to take care of something, he gives Wesley a call. The ringing of the phone is all the distraction Karen needs to grab the gun and kill Wesley. Shaken up, she tries to clean the gun before running off.

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