So here we are, the fourth part of my episode reviews. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you about the show so far, and look forward to hearing your thoughts before I tackle the exciting season finale!
Episode 10 – Nelson v. Murdock
The episode was character centric, and focused on Matt and Foggy. It was an emotional roller coaster ride as Foggy struggled to come to terms with Matt’s secret. Both actors played the scene really well. Foggy was understandably upset about being lied to; a deep sense of betrayal that really came across.
It was tough to see the cracks appear in their friendship. The fact is, they need each other. Which is why Foggy tried to understand things from his friend’s point of view. The sticking point perhaps, was Matt’s endeavours outside the law – or as Foggy put it ‘running around like a moron and beating people up’.
It was interesting to hear about Matt’s earlier experiences and, as Foggy demanded, he told him everything. In one of my favourite scenes, Matt described his training sessions with Stick. Foggy’s response was classic –
“A blind, old man taught you the ancient ways of martial arts – isn’t that the plot of Kong Fu!” (I can totally see Carradine in the role of Stick!)
He lost his humour pretty quickly though, and I think the last straw, at least for Foggy, was hearing Matt say he didn’t want to stop. Despite Matt’s emotional plea for understanding, Foggy had heard enough.
I particularly enjoyed the flashbacks, which were, again, focused on the two friends. We saw them as university on the day they met, and the scene did a great job of reflecting Foggy’s easy-going personality. It also showed his humour; from deciding to be Matt’s wing man (the next Maverick and Goose), to calling Matt a hero for saving someone and getting his ‘peepers knocked out.’
In an earlier episode we learned of Foggy’s knowledge of Punjabi, and the writers linked back to it here. Instead of studying Spanish, he took a class in Punjabi to impress a girl. They made another reference to language in a later scene. According to Foggy they were going to be the best ‘avocados’ – he was aiming for ‘abogado’ – the Spanish word for lawyer.
Elsewhere in the story
We learnt more about Ben’s wife, and her neurological disorder. The scene was particularly poignant because we saw a glimpse of their earlier relationship. Ben also received bad news from the hospital administrator, which led to his decision to take some time off and take his wife home.
Later, Karen persuaded Ben to take a trip. She deceived him about the purpose of the visit (to a nursing home). Karen was actually chasing down a lead to Fisk’s mother – who was in a talkative mood!
The episode ended with Fisk at a fundraising benefit. It would have been an ordinary meet and greet, if people hadn’t started passing out. To Fisk’s horror, Vanessa collapsed in his arms (foaming at the mouth). Uh oh!
Episode 11 – The Path of the Righteous
The show began right where we left off, with Fisk rushing Vanessa into the emergency room. There was quite a lot of waiting around, which only fed Fisk’s anxiety. We’ve seen evidence of his connection to Vanessa. So I was surprised when he asked Wesley to make arrangements to send her away (without involving Leland), if she recovered.
Vanessa was eventually transferred to her own room, though she was still unconscious. Before Fisk went to sit with her, he asked Wesley to check on his mother (he had a missed call). He then left instructions not to be disturbed. I enjoyed his impassioned speech to Vanessa about making the culprits pay.
I was holding my breath when Wesley rang Fisk’s mother, because I knew exactly what she was going to say! Wesley secured a gun and a vehicle and left to deal with the problem.
He grabbed Karen outside her apartment, knocking her out with a drug. When she came to, she was in a warehouse – propped on a chair. Wesley sat opposite her, and calmly informed her they were going to have a little chat. He then toyed with her for a while, placing a gun between them on the table, and doing his best to intimidate.
It was a good effort, but Wesley underestimated Karen. She grabbed the gun before he could make a move, and shot him (several times).
The final shot , of Fisk calling Wesley’s cell phone, was haunting. The sound rang out into the empty room.
Nelson and Murdock
Karen visited Matt at home, clearly unconvinced by his cover story. She didn’t push it (too far), and instead brought him up to date on the case. She later met with Ben, and apologised for her duplicity.
Foggy avoided Karen’s calls and was hiding out with Marci (‘Foggy-bear!), his old flame from Landman and Zack. She found him eventually, drinking in a bar. Foggy refused to tell her what happened with Matt, passing it off as a rough patch. Karen basically told him they need to get their heads out of their asses! She also rang Matt, to tell him to get his shit together.
The scenes between Matt and Claire were bittersweet. As she tended to his wounds, joking about body armour, it reminded Matt of the protective material in Fisk’s suits. I always enjoy their screen time together, because of the natural chemistry between them. I was almost as disappointed as Matt (well, probably not), when she informed him she was leaving town for a while.
Perhaps the hardest part, was hearing Claire tell him he was destined to end up bloody and alone. Matt raised the subject when he spoke to Father Lantom about his fears. It was a powerful moment – Matt’s belief he has the devil in him. But there’s goodness in him too, as Father Lantom pointed out.
Still, these thoughts were praying on his mind. It prevented him from meditating, so instead he put his energy to good use and went in search of the man who makes Fisks’ suits – Melvin Potter. Melvin interrupted Matt in his workshop, furious at finding him there. Their fight was messy, and hard won. But it turned out Melvin is working for Fisk against his will, to protect a woman named Betsy. They talked it out, and more importantly – Matt is getting a suit!
Episode 12 – The Ones We Leave Behind
Nelson and Murdock
In this episode, we saw Karen fighting her demons as she tried to deal with the horror of taking a life. She spent most of the first few days hiding in a bottle, drinking herself into oblivion. When the bottle ran dry, she went to the fridge for a beer, and discovered Fisk is in her apartment.
Fisk taunted her, playing on her fears and the guilt of killing Wesley. It turned out to be a dream, but I was so engrossed in the scene I flinched when he made a grab for her!
I really felt for her, especially as Foggy and Matt were still fighting and didn’t give her the support she needed. For Karen, they are the only family she has, and the strain is getting to them all. We saw that when Matt and Foggy almost collided in the office doorway, and neither said a word. Awkward!
The fear and tension eventually get the better of Karen, so she turned to Ben – pleading with him to get the story out about Fisk’s past. Ben, of course, agreed to help, but things didn’t go well. He ran the story by his editor, Ellison, but he refused to run it. Ben should probably have left it there, instead he pushed back, accusing Ellison of taking a bribe and getting himself fired.
Matt was busy chasing down his own leads in this episode. As the mask, he approached Ben for advice on a drug in circulation. The packet contained pure heroin and was part of the Chinese operation. Madame Gao was using blind people to make the deliveries (because nobody looks twice at a blind person). Ben gave him all the details he had, making a parting crack about the mask needing a better outfit. Thankfully, he’s working on it!
Armed with the information, Matt did his thing and found one of Madame Gao’s men on the street. He followed the tapping of the man’s stick, zeroing in on the sound until he got into a car. A moment later Matt darted into an alley, vaulted up onto the rooftop, and ran across buildings in a way that would make Spiderman proud! He followed until the car came to a stop, discovering Madame Gao’s location and the entry code to the door (a series of knocks).
Later we saw him break into the factory, to discover a roomful of blind Chinese workers. The moment Madame Gao spotted him she barked an order and they attacked. In the confusion Matt escaped. He then disabled Madame Gao’s guards (dodging machine-gun fire), and confronted her about her association with Fisk. I wasn’t in the least surprised when she hit him in the chest (Bruce Lee style) and sent him flying. By the time his head cleared, she was gone! Matt only stayed long enough to ensure the workers made it out, and left the police to deal with the mess.
At the office, clearly appalled by what he’d seen, Matt had a heart to heart with Karen. He told her about Stick (‘this guy I know’), and his views on the distractions in Matt’s life. After a really shitty night, when he’d witnessed the bottom of humanity, he realised he couldn’t do it alone. His emotion just blew me away, the raw complexity of it. I loved this scene.
Fisk tried to persuade Vanessa to leave the city, haunted by the fact she almost died because of him. Vanessa refused to go, and instead told Fisk to find those responsible and make them understand they can never take her away from him. I want to say that’s really sweet, but there was also something truly disturbing about it.
Shortly afterwards, Fisk learned of Wesley’s fate. It was a powerful moment when he kissed Wesley on the forehead – it spoke volumes about his affection for his friend. The rage, which could be seen bubbling beneath the surface, was concentrated into a sharp focus when he checked the call history on Wesley’s phone. The last call was to his mother. He immediately arranged for her transfer to Italy, and tried to learn what she spoke to Wesley about. But she didn’t remember.
The scene between Ben and his wife, when he admitted to being fired, was really sweet. I liked her conviction, the faith in her husband. Bolstered by her encouragement, he headed home to tell the story his way. We saw him unpacking a box from the office, which included a photograph depicting the Battle of New York. When he sat at his computer to begin, the camera panned out to reveal Fisk in the shadows. This time it wasn’t a dream.
I could sense the calm before the storm, as Fisk questioned him about the visit to his mother (he found out through the paper). I was still shocked when Fisk let go of the leash; strangling Ben to death in a fit of rage.
Quite an ending to the penultimate episode. I was really sorry to see Ben go. What about you? Do you have any highlights to share from the episodes I discussed today. I’d love to hear from you.
NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of Marvel Entertainment/Netflix. All rights reserved.