REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 12-The Ones We Leave Behind
I simply expected more from the penultimate episode of what has, overall been an amazing series of superhero fun. When the show is almost at the finish line it seems to be spending far too much time dragging itself through each character’s own emotional traumas, rather than building up all that tension that can pay off in the finale.
A key flaw that seems to be appearing is the show’s supposed need to tie up every character and storyline that it’s begun. Last episode we saw the departure of Claire (Rosario Dawson), the death of Wesley (Toby Moore) and this episode has us say goodbye to Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) mother who is sent away for her own safety. Meanwhile, Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) flees the city after her heroin network is destroyed and we say goodbye to Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) in what is clearly the best scene of the episode. It feels like all the scenes that were needed to be included to have these characters leave the city, take some of the pressure away. Perhaps if done differently, it would have made the fight seem that much more one on one, Daredevil vs Fisk, neither of them with any real backup. Instead it feels as if we’re losing interesting characters without any real payoff or tension building.
My favourite scene from this episode was actually performed by Daredevil (Charlie Cox) stunt doubles, who do an amazing job. Matt must follow a limacine to the source of the heroin trade in the city, and does so in impressive style. Following the car by listening for the song playing inside, he leaps, flips and jumps across the Hell’s Kitchen rooftops in perfect style for Daredevil. A number of the shots feel as if they’ve been lifted directly off the comic book page and they’re a treat to see.
Sadly this only leads to an averagely interesting at best scene between Madame Gao and Daredevil, which is a let-down as the scene had so much potential. A full warehouse of super obedient slaves who’ve removed their own eyes is a cool setting, so I was expecting something a little more than a few explosions and a single punch fight between Gao and Daredevil. The crane technique that Gao uses to send Daredevil flying across the room is a nice tease to what I expect will be covered in the Iron Fist series. However, it was just another moment in this episode that felt like it fell short of its potential.
The final scene in which Fisk waits for a recently fired Ben Urich is interesting and yet again seems a little confused. Fisk gives a full speech on society’s current obsession with internet memes and celebrity gossip. It’s a speech that he delivers perfectly, as he has every speech he’s been given in the series, yet the dialogue feels misplaced. Fisk has never had a problem with the people of the world before, he has a problem with what his particular part of New York has become, his desire is to fix the neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen and it seemed strange to see him speaking about topics he’d never shown any interest in prior. However, a high point of the series as a whole will most certainly be an angered D’Onofrio screaming “you went after my mother”. It was a final few minutes of an episode that viewers will genuinely hope features some twist that allows Urich to escape, but we know from seeing an enraged Fisk in the past, he doesn’t tend to let people escape.