We’ve finally come to the penultimate episode of the first season of Daredevil and it has definitely been a wild (and fairly brutal) ride! Let’s jump right into it.
Karen dumps the gun she used to kill Wesley in the river and seems to be struggling with the reality of what just happened to her. When she gets home she locks herself in and immediately reaches for the booze. After a drink and a quick sob, she jumps into the shower to wash it away, but looking at herself in the foggy bathroom mirror, she realizes it won’t and takes her trusty whiskey to bed with her. After some sleep she wakes with a start and notices she’s out of liquor and reaches for beer. When she turns away from the fridge, Wilson Fisk’s outline emerges from the shadows and he talks to her about the weight that comes along with killing someone. He tells her it gets easier the more you do it and makes a grab for her head – at which point she actually wakes with a start.
Later, Karen goes into the office and is having a difficult time focusing. Then Foggy creeps in and scares the bejeesus out of her. They question each other about why they’re at the office so late: Foggy denies avoiding Matt and Karen dodges questions about what she did after she left Foggy at Josie’s. Foggy apologizes for his beef with Matt spilling over to her and they try to bury their own strife. She asks if he’s coming back to the office and he wants to avoid the topic and pack up some stuff. But he does assure her that he’s not giving up on their investigation and asks for the box of info Ben brought over, and adds that he no longer believes the “man in the mask” is the enemy. As he leaves, he finds Matt standing at the door, who moves aside to let Foggy pass (and who presumably heard every single thing they just said).
Matt asks Karen why she’s at the office so late and they determine that an inability to sleep seems to be the only thing the three employees of Nelson & Murdock still have in common with each other. She tells him Foggy thinks he’s responsible for Mrs. Cardenas’ death but Matt’s like, “Foggy’s the one not talking to me, not the other way around.” Karen says she’s beginning to think she made a mistake coming to work with them, saying her world fell apart.
Fisk, still by Vanessa’s bedside, checks his phone in vain for a missed call from Wesley. Then Vanessa wakes up and wants to know what happened to her. Fisk explains and blames himself for her almost dying, telling her of the arrangements he made to get her out of the country. When he says he doesn’t plan on going with her she refuses to leave. Exerting her agency, Vanessa tells Fisk that she knew the risks of getting romantically involved with him and she took them because she wanted to, and now she wants him to find the person responsible and “make them understand” that she and Fisk won’t be parted. Cheerily, he tells her he’ll make them suffer for what they’ve done as there is a knock on the door from his security. They’ve located Wesley.
At the deserted building, Fisk and Leland arrive to find Wesley slumped in the chair just the way Karen left him. Francis clues them in to Wesley’s last known movements and Fisk is disappointed that he didn’t get more information out of Wesley before handing over his gun and keys. So he head butts Francis and punches the crap out of him while shouting that Wesley was his friend and Leland intervenes, noting (correctly) that Francis only did what he was told which is also known as loyalty. Leland thinks Wesley’s murder is revenge from the Japanese for Nobu and urges Fisk not to lose sight of their end game by pursuing a war. Fisk says only that he wants to find who did this to the people closest to him before giving Wesley a kiss on the forehead…and rifling through his pockets. Scrolling through his phone, Fisk sees that the last person Wesley called last night was his mother.
Ben walks to his car one night and Matt pulls his peek-a-boo act again. He shows the drug symbol to Ben, who recognizes it from around town as a marker for heroin dubbed “Steel Serpent.” Matt walks Ben through his theory of Fisk eliminating his partners and wonders if hitting Fisk in his pockets will finally cause him to make a mistake. Then he asks Ben about the Chinese drug operation, mentioning the poor blind delivery guy who was killed in the Russian shoot out. Ben says he’s seen the blind men near 51st and 10th during morning rush hour and Matt has a new lead.
Foggy meets Marcie at Josie’s and he has a favor to ask. He brings up the tenement case and since she feels bad about what happened to Mrs. Cardenas, she agrees to listen. When Foggy says he thinks Wilson Fisk was behind the attack, she gets up to leave since her firm, Landman and Zack, represent Fisk and she can’t talk to him about her client. Foggy says that’s fine, that she can sit and read (lots of incriminating evidence) instead.
When Ben gets home, Karen creeps out of a shadow to ask him why his story about Fisk and his mother hasn’t been printed yet and he’s like, “Girl, go home and take a nap.” She tells him that she thinks they know that she and Ben found Fisk’s mother, and this gets her invited inside for a drink. Ben tells her about the connection he’s working on that will give Mrs. Vistain’s story some clout in spite of her dementia, but Karen wants the story out rightnow, fearing that they’ll lose their shot. Ben asks Karen why she thinks they’re on to their secret trip upstate and she says it’s a strong feeling and she needs to trust him. He promises to write the article up and submit it to his editor the following day, and Karen is grateful.
Back at Josie’s, Marcie stayed longer than the five minutes she promised and when Foggy reveals that some of the information was obtained from “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” she appalled that he’d work with the guy who’s been terrorizing the city (according to the news). He asks her to really reflect on Fisk and ask herself if there’s nothing fishy going on at Landman and Zack where Fisk is concerned. Though she’s worried about losing her job and her ability to practice law by speaking to him about this, Foggy gets through to her by appealing to her sense of morality.
Matt stands at 51st and 10th listening intently to the city’s sounds. Finally he hears the sound of a walking stick tapping the sidewalk and has spotted a blind courier. Following the courier, Matt watches a sedan (playing classical music) pick him up and drive away. Quickly, Matt runs into an alley and does some awesome parkour across several rooftops as he follows the sedan. (Even in a suit, this guy is good!) The car finally stops in an alley and the courier is escorted to a door where a secret knock is performed before they are ushered inside.
Ben goes in to work and discovers that his editor, Ellison, isn’t currently in the office but will be in later.
And in another sedan in Hell’s Kitchen, Fisk tries to appease his mother as she complains about him removing her from St. Benizet’s (she’s gonna miss that zuppa!). He tells her she can get real zuppa in Italy and she frets at having to start a new life before losing her train of thought. Then Fisk asks her what she remembers about her conversation with Wesley, but she remains distracted.
Ben calls Karen to tell her that Ellison isn’t in the office yet but he’ll call her when he’s put the story in Ellison’s hands. He admonishes her to keep her eyes open and she takes a call from Matt. He tells her he’s had “a rough morning” as he mops up his burst stitches and says he won’t make it in today. He adds that he’s working on something that he wants her and Foggy to stay out of and promises that things will work out.
When Ellison finally arrives, Ben approaches him with the story and he’s not trying to hear it. He says the story has no corroboration and will open the paper up to a lawsuit. As Ben tries different angles to convince Ellison to run the story, they each hit the other with verbal barbs and have attracted the attention of the whole office. Ben tells Ellison he feels like he whoring out his talents because of him, and Ellison tells Ben to take the rest of the week off, prompting Ben to accuse Ellison of being paid off by Fisk. After all, he hasn’t been able to get a meaningful story printed in ages. So Ellison tells Ben that he hasn’t been printed because his stories are crap and unceremoniously fires him.
At the Chinese warehouse, Madame Gao surveys her blind workers before ascending a staircase. The blind courier taps into the warehouse and a guard hears a noise that he investigates outside. Someone delivers the secret knock and the guard opens the door and gets a beatdown that we don’t see, then Matt enters the warehouse. As guards keep watch over the workers, we notice that many of them have scars around their eyes, indicating that they were blinded horrifically. Hearing a noise and going to investigate, a second guard is beat up and disarmed as Matt approaches and observes the workers. As he listens closely to them, Madame Gao spies him from her vantage point and instructs her workers to attack.
Fisk and Leland meet and Leland reports that he couldn’t find anything to link the Japanese to the recent attacks, saying it might be the man in the mask after all. Fisk orders Francis (who is still around because Wesley trusted him) to double the cash offer in the streets for information and receives a call on Wesley’s phone. After a short conversation he tells Leland that he has to go, but Leland has to be getting used to Fisk brushing him off by now.
Gao and two armed guards search the warehouse for the man in the mask and he takes the two men out with ease (though not without gunfire which begins to set the warehouse on fire) and approaches Gao. Matt accuses her of blinding her workers and she insists they did it to themselves out of faith. He asks her about Fisk and she throws him to the ground and disappears. Hearing more explosions, Matt takes a guard’s gun and shoots to initiate the sprinkler system then tells the guard to clear everyone out. The workers slowly file out as the fire department approaches and Matt runs off into the night…and is stopped by Brett Mahoney. After Matt relieves Mahoney of his gun, he tells him that he didn’t kill any cops and assures him that his department was infiltrated by bad cops. Then backup arrives and Matt runs off again.
Madame Gao approaches Leland for a meeting and drops her “I don’t speak English” act with him, too. They discuss the fact that Fisk is on the hunt for whoever struck at him but that he doesn’t suspect them. They both agree that the attempt on Vanessa’s life was a good plan, but she denies having anything to do with Wesley’s death. When Leland asks what their next move should be, Gao’s like, “I don’t know about you, but I’m heading back to my homeland to lay low.” Before saying they won’t speak again, she leaves and Leland yells empty assertions of self-sustainability at her back.
Ben visits Doris in the hospital and they banter about running away together. Doris asks him if he wants to run away together, or if he just wants to run away, noting that she knows that he has something important he’s working on. He tells her he was fired and Doris is all, “Good! Now you can pursue great stories and post them on the Internet and reach a huge base. It’s a good thing.”
Then, as he leaves the hospital, Ben calls Karen to let her know that he was fired and his story won’t be published. He tells her that he’ll start a blog now that he’s got the right story to tell, and he’s going to write it tonight and get it out there. After promising to send Karen the link once he’s posted the story and to call her in the morning, the two hang up. Still deep in thought, Karen is startled by the doorknob rattling and it’s Matt struggling to get into the office. He’s curious about her locking the office now and tells her she should head home. She wonders aloud if she, Matt, and Foggy will continue to work around each other without really talking and he explains how Stick taught him that he must distance himself from loved ones to be effective at what he does. He never thought he did before, but Matt sees that he does that now. He describes his bad night as seeing the bottom of humanity and Karen clearly relates, but Matt knows that he can’t fight his crusade alone. Karen hugs him and assures him that he isn’t alone.
Ben returns home and settles down with a drink and his computer to begin his Fisk expose. As he begins to type, we see Fisk sitting in the shadows behind him. Fisk says he wants to have a conversation but Ben tells him to get out. After he promises to be truthful, Ben allows Fisk to say his piece. Fisk tells Ben that he’s sorry for assuming that his relevancy had passed and begins to explain all that he knows about Ben’s work at the Bulletin…and the precautions he’s taken since the Union Allied story to protect his interests. Then he reveals that he knows Ben went to see his mother, confirmed by his mole at the Bulletin, and Ben lies that he went alone. Ben also denies having anything to do with Wesley, but Fisk is PISSED that Ben would involve his mom in this, saying that he’s not there to threaten Ben, but to kill him. Fisk attacks Ben, grabbing him around the throat with both hands and chokes him until Ben stops moving. Then Fisk leaves, stepping on a now broken photo of Ben and Doris on his way out.
The Questions: Holy crap, did you see that coming?! With Ben out of the picture, how will Karen and Foggy go after Fisk? And will this be enough to bring the crime-fighting trio at Nelson and Murdock back together?