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REVIEW: Daredevil 1×12 “The Ones We Leave Behind”

Written by Alex Reale

Ugh.

That’s all I had to say about this episode of Daredevil.

Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong; it was a fantastic episode, but it was incredibly tragic and heartbreaking. I figured something of this magnitude would happen once we got closer to the end of the season, but it still hit me like a punch to the heart. “The Ones We Leave Behind” was an episode that left us shocked and looking at the show in a new perspective. (spoilers ahead!)

Karen knows she made a big mistake killing Wesley last episode. She just murdered the right-hand man of one of the most ruthless and cunning crime-lords in New York City. After passing out from an intense binge-drinking session, she has a nightmare that Fisk breaks into her apartment and attempts to murder her. I knew this segment was a dream right away, but it still gave me chills. Fisk is a terrifying character, and we saw what he did to a man who interrupted his date with Vanessa. Imagine what the guy would do to someone who murdered his closest friend and confidant? I don’t blame Karen at all for being terrified of every little noise and every tiny creak in her apartment.

Fortunately, Karen doesn’t have to face her challenges alone. She meets up with Foggy at the office and they come to an agreement that they should work together to take down Fisk. Foggy seems to still be coping with the recent discovery of Matt’s alter-ego, but he puts his frustration aside in order to help Karen and to avenge the recently-murdered Elena Cardenas.

Foggy and Karen have both grown on me throughout the series. Overall, I don’t see them standing out as very interesting people (mainly because the characters themselves aren’t that special to begin with), but as the episodes progressed, I appreciated the chemistry between them and Matt. They really are good people with hearts of gold, and like Matt’s night-time vigilantism, they are doing all they can to make the world a better place.

The same can be said about Ben Urich. One of the strongest moral compasses in the series has to belong to this character. He’s the one who pushes the hardest for Fisk’s exposure. He digs deeper and deeper into Fisk’s backstory, even if he knows that he’s playing with fire. When he’s facing imminent death, he refuses to hide behind an excuse or a scapegoat. He stands tall and confronts his killer with no fear.

I liked Ben Urich throughout the entire series, and Vondie Curtis-Hall nailed the part really well. I can’t stress enough how much it sucks that he had to die, but the actual concept was executed perfectly. I loved the scene where Urich cracks open the laptop and then discovers Fisk sitting behind him in his darkened apartment. This goes back to the notion that the Kingpin is this omnipresent being who can be anywhere he wants. He’s like a real boogieman. There’s no escaping him. A small part of me just wishes that Urich put up a bit more of a fight against Fisk in their final confrontation. Though he was never exactly the physical type, he still had this rock-solid confidence in him that could not be shaken. I wanted to see him get one decent strike in before biting the dust. At least his death was meaningful, if a little predictable.

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I can’t forget to talk about the titular character himself. I see this episode as being more about Murdock rather than Daredevil. Of course, we still don’t get to see the red suit yet, which further disappointed me, but that doesn’t take away from the overall quality of the show. The costume hardly mattered at this point anyway. In one of the most epic scenes of the entire show, we watch Murdock, in plain clothes, scale and traverse rooftops across the city as he tracks Madame Gao’s blind courier. I’ve looked online and I can’t find any solid evidence, but I think Charlie Cox actually did all those stunts himself! I thought his fighting skills were impressive; now he knows how to do parkour as well? This guy really was the perfect choice for Daredevil.

Another small disappointing aspect of this episode involved a confrontation between Daredevil and Madame Gao. She knocks him flat on his ass with a single blow. I get that she’s this powerful crime-lord with years of experience under her belt, but come on. I think there could’ve been a better way for her to demonstrate that she’s a match for Murdock.

Only one episode left in the series! The pacing of the show has been consistent, and we’ve had a chance to develop characters and storylines properly. But no matter how great a show is throughout its entire running, most of its quality hinges on a perfect finale. Let’s hope Daredevil doesn’t let us down!

Final Grade: A –

+ Karen and Foggy had amazing chemistry this episode.

+ Matt’s parkour scene was awesome!

+ Ben Urich’s death, while tragic, was done really well and hit me hard.

– Madame Gao knocking Daredevil down that easily? Come on, now…

– It sucks that such a pure character as Urich had to die.

Extra Thoughts:

– What if Urich isn’t really dead? Think about it: does anybody ever really die in the Marvel universe?

What were your thoughts on “The Ones We Leave Behind”? Tells us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!