As a newspaper editor during the day hours, I probably have a greater interest in Ben Urich’s storyline as his fight against the slow death of newspapers in an increasingly digital moderation is even more in vain than Matt Murdock’s quest to clean up Hell’s Kitchen.
It’s what made the death of journalism subplot hit harder for me as its resolution saved an somewhat surprisingly low-key penultimate episode before the season finale.
After killing Wesley, Karen is in shock and not even downing a bottle, crying and a long shower can make the combination of fear, terror and remorse go away. In a show where death has felt so commonplace it was appropriate to have a character so affected by taking another person’s life.
Karen awakens and finds Wilson Fisk in her apartment. He’s tracked her down and now Karen has to answer for
Sonny Wesley. Fisk grabs for her head and Karen wakes up. The writers have used flashbacks, fake scares and teases judiciously enough that when they do occur they carry the proper impact.
Karen might not be spared for long as Fisk is at Vanessa’s bedside as she awakens and vows to get payback for whoever poisoned her. Vanessa rejects Fisk’s plan to send her away for her protection and just wants the score to be settled. Before Fisk can make more kissy face, he gets the call — Wesley has been found.
Fisk seems to work in a reference to ‘The Godfather’ himself saying ‘Look what they’ve done to him.’ Fisk’s chief bodyguard Francis explains Wesley wanted to go by himself earning a severe beat down as Fisk yells ‘He was my friend!’
Fisk sits next to Wesley’s body and pulls out his phone to see Fisk’s mother was the last person Wesley called. It’s doubtful Francis will be the only one to suffer by the end of the episode especially after Fisk spends some time with Momma Fisk to learn who visited her recently.
Still recovering after his fight with Nobu, Matt drops in on Urich, who continues the running joke of suggesting Matt needs a better costume. Matt presses Urich to run the story detailing Fisk’s past while Urich gives Matt info on Madam Gao’s blind heroin couriers.
In our mini-Daredevil cameo this episode, Matt tracks down Gao’s drug ring and the fight sparks a fire that destroys the factory. Bringing down Gao proves much harder though as the old girl takes Matt down with a palm thrust before escaping. Gao meets up with Leland and we learn they were in allegiance to kill Vanessa in order to keep Fisk focused on the plan. Gao realizes the gig is up and tells Leland she’s returning home and they won’t speak again.
Everyone is circling in on Fisk as Foggy convinces Marci to look at the files implicating Fisk with the tenement buy-out. Marci may be a frosty witch, but she isn’t heartless. Karen warns Urich that she thinks Fisk’s men know about their investigation, but somewhat frustratingly doesn’t tell him the full extent of what happened with Wesley’s threat to kill her loved ones. That’s the kind of information a reporter would like to know.
The only part of the episode that did little for me was the Matt and Foggy friction with Karen caught in the middle. Foggy and Matt pass by in the office without saying a word and Karen questioned Matt if this is where they are now. That would resonate much more in Season 2 than here as Karen doesn’t have that close a bond with the lawyers that helped her get out of prison and hired her. Matt confesses he can’t do this on his own and needs them. You have to appreciate the show for being unafraid of having its two main characters — Murdock and Fisk — appear vulnerable at times as it only serves to make them more relatable and human despite their flaws.
Urich is having an equally rough day. He pushes his editor on publishing his Fisk expose, but the discussion gets so heated that Urich accuses him of being on Fisk’s payroll, which leads to Urich being yet another out of work former newspaper reporter.
Following a pep talk from his wife, Urich realizes he doesn’t need a paper to get the word out about Fisk — he’ll do what all the cool kids do and blog about it. As he settles down at his laptop to begin typing away, he learns he’s got an uninvited guest and this time it’s no nightmare.
Fisk sits in a chair in a darkened corner (another excellent use of lighting in a pivotal confrontation scene) and tells Urich he respects his work and will honestly answer his questions. Satisfied that Urich had nothing to do with Wesley’s murder, Fisk asks if anyone else went to visit his mother and Urich lies and says it was just him.
Like Wesley, Urich doesn’t fully appreciate the position he’s in and assumes not backing down and telling Fisk to leave is the right way to handle a psycho in a tailor-made suit. It’s not as Fisk says he’s not here to threaten Urich, but to kill him and chokes him to death. Fisk never seems happier than when that slight maniacal grin comes over his face as he’s killing someone. We know what Fisk is capable of, but somehow he’s always terrifying to watch in action.
As cool as he was, Wesley didn’t have great importance in the overall Daredevil mythos, but Urich has been Daredevil’s equivalent to Commissioner Gordon or Lois Lane so killing him off was a real shocker in that sense. You had to figure someone was gonna pay for digging so deep into Fisk’s past and Karen was the only other option making Urich the ideal fall guy although I hate that Karen’s interogation of Fisk’s mother directly led to Urich getting killed.
One more episode to go and hopefully before the last scene we’ll see this new outfit Matt is working on.