Okay! Time for another episode review. We’re really nearing the home stretch now, so let’s get to it.
This episode has an unusual opening with the focus initially being on an old cartoon playing on a television screen. We zoom out, and find a child watching it in a hospital waiting room. Next, Fisk and his entire entourage rush in, with Fisk carrying an unconscious Vanessa. It’s all very beautiful and dramatic. While the people on staff tend to Vanessa, Owlsley seems more worried about whether he needs to be checked out. Fisk is left behind in the waiting room when Vanessa is taken to the next room.
Karen knocks on the door to Matt’s apartment and he gets up slowly, still in bad shape after last episode’s brutal battle. When he finally opens, Karen is shocked to see him. When they get to talking, Karen is almost immediately suspicious of Matt’s version of the events, especially given the state of his apartment. Matt grabs a beer and Karen questions him about whether this had anything to do with Fisk.
Karen then tells Matt about what she found out about Fisk’s mother, and that Fisk killed his father. Matt chastises her for going to see her with Ben, without talking to him or Foggy first. Karen says that she tried, but that they weren’t picking up. Good point, Karen! Matt asks Karen to go to the office and tell Foggy what she’s found. He is also on the verge of asking her to tell him something else, but decides not to. Before leaving, Karen gives Matt a balloon, telling him that it’s got a monkey on it.
Foggy wakes up in Marci’s apartment when we see Karen calling him on the phone. Marci walks in the room and Foggy doesn’t answer the call. Marci is getting ready for work and the two exchange jabs. Foggy says he may never go back to work, at least not with Matt. Marci then jokingly expresses her lack of interest in their drama and leaves, asking him to lock the door on his way out.
Fisk is waiting helplessly at the hospital. Owlsley questions Wesley about how Fisk is going to run things in his current state, and Wesley looks genuinely offended by the topic of conversation. Owlsley keeps speculating about who was behind the attack, and complains (again) about his own near demise. Francis approaches and tells them that three of the others who were poisined have died. Next, Wesley asks Owlsley to speak with Gao and test the waters to see whether she was involved.
Claire is back tending to Matt’s wounds at his apartment. She tells him he shouldnt be moving and that he needs to rest. Matt offers Claire a drink before she leaves, but she declines. They talk about what could have been and how what Matt does is getting in the way of that. They both know he’s not going to stop. On her way out, she tells hims that she’s taking some time off and leaving town. She also gives him a warning about what always ends up happening to the saints and the martyrs. They end up bloody and alone.
Karen meets with Ben. He’s still angry with her for the way she decieved him. Karen says she needed him, but Ben feels betrayed and says that the one who really needs him is his wife. Karen is excited by what they found out and urges him to print it. Ben is doubtful that it will do any good, however. Ben then says they might not have to do anything, telling her that the suspected food poisoning at Fisk’s benefit was actually an attack, and that someone is trying to kill Fisk.
Fisk is waiting outside Vanessa’s room when Wesley joins him, comforting him. Fisk tells him what Gao had said about fate, and how he needed to choose paths. Fisk asks Wesley to make arrangements to send Vanessa away to safety if she pulls through. The doctor comes out to see them, and we realize it’s good news. Wesley smiles.
Matt is back in church. Father Lantom comes by and tells him he’s too late for morning services. Matt declines both confessions and coffee, and Father Lantom prods him about what happened after their last conversation. Matt asks him flat out if he knows what he does. Father Lantom replies he’s not an idiot, and that he’s got a pretty good idea. As to the how of it all, Matt simply says that it was an accident as a kid, one that he used to belive was God’s will. Matt asks why, if everyone was made for a purpose, did God put the devil in him. Father Lantom offers him some much-needed food for thought.
Matt is meditating in his apartment, but has a hard time calming his mind, flashing back to his fights with Nobu and Fisk. He gets up and goes to the chest that holds his suit, opening it. Next, he’s hunting down Turk, following him up to a roof top. Matt kicks away his gun and threatens him to not try anything with the other weapons he’s got tucked away. Matt wants information and keeps beating Turk a little more than he needs to. Matt wants to know where Fisk gets the body armor he wears. After a little more pressure is applied, Turk confesses that he might know a guy.
Back in the hospital, Fisk receives a phone call from his mother. He doesn’t answer and instead walks over to Vanessa’s bed, kissing her lightly on the forehead. He goes back into the hallway and asks Wesley to call his mother back and see what she needs. Owlsley comes by to ask about Vanessa’s condition. He tells Wesley that Gao didn’t give him much of anything, and then says that Fisk needs to get back to his business. Wesley sends him away and then calls Marlene who tells him she’s had a visitor. Oops!
Matt enters Melvin Potter’s workshop and takes his glove off to inspect the fabrics Potter has lying aorund. Potter enters, and notices someone has touched his things. When he discovers Matt, he tells him he shouldn’t be there and then attacks him. The two fight.
Wesley, still talking to Marlene, is now on his way out, and asks Francis for his gun and the keys to the car. Wesley wants everyone else to stay behind. Back in Potter’s workshop, the fighting continues until Matt finally subdues Melvin who starts crying, saying that Fisk is going to hurt Betsy, the woman who helps him when he gets confused. He says that Fisk forces him to work for him, or else he’ll hurt Betsy. Matt talks about how he wants to defeat Fisk and that he wants a suit; not like Mr. Fisk’s, but something very special: A symbol.
Karen finds Foggy drinking alone at Josie’s bar. She grabs a glass for herself and tells him he’s a dick for not answering her calls. He says he’s heard her messages but that what Karen has on Fisk won’t be enough. Karen asks about him and Matt, and Foggy says they’re going through a rouch patch. When asked, Foggy admits that he wants to talk, but that he can’t, and that it’s personal. Karen leaves and calls Matt on the phone, leaving a message asking them to get their shit together.
Next, she calls Ben. She tells him about Matt and Foggy and how everything is falling apart. She thanks him for being there for her and they agree to talk the next day. We see Ben looking at old photos and spotting one of Bill Fisk’s campaign signs in the background.
Just when she’s about to open her front door, Karen is attacked from behind. Meanwhile, Fisk talks to Vanessa who is still unconscious, about his childhood and his relationship with relgion, saying that he can’t pray for her. But, he can make a promise, to make the people who hurt her suffer.
Karen wakes up and gasps for air. She finds herself seated at a table in an empty room. Wesley approaches and sits down across from her. Wesley talks about how they initially dismissed her as a threat and made her the offer to buy her silence. She was supposed to go away. He takes out a gun and puts it on the table between them. Wesley tells her that he knows that she and Ben went to visit Fisk’s mother, also letting Karen know that he hasn’t told Fisk yet. Now he has a new offer to make: A job.
Francis offers Fisk something to eat, and the latter asks for Wesley. This is when he learns that Wesley has taken off to attend to something. What Wesley wants from Karen is to convince Ben Urich that everything is fine, and that Fisk is what the city needs. Next, she will have to spread the gospel. When Karen refuses, he tells her about everyone he is going to kill until he finally gets to her. When Wesley’s phone rings – it’s Fisk – he is momentarily distracted and Karen grabs the gun. When Wesley makes a move to get up, Karen shoots him multiple times. She grabs the gun, wipes off the table where she’s been sitting and escapes.
The Path of the Righteous has, in some ways, a certain middle of the arc feel to it. Matt is mostly out of commission, we check back in with Claire, and we spend maybe a little too much time on people waiting around in hospital corridors. Having said that, some very interesting things happen this episode. Right from the start, Karen shows that she’s the one to watch this episode. Matt’s casual lies are wearing thin, and she is sick of dealing with Matt and Foggy’s drama.
Matt also gets a visit from the other woman in his life, when Claire shows back up to check on his recovery. I’m glad they got this scene together, since it brings some much needed closure to the relationship. It also adds something to Claire’s character in that she is seen making some very level-headed decisions about what she wants in her life and who she’s ready to get involved with. And, she leaves Matt with a very ominous warning that sends him back to church.
Father Lantom makes another strong appearance this episode, in particular in how he allows Matt to reframe his way of thinking about the “devil inside”. The way these ideas tie into the making of the yet to be revealed costume is also interesting. Making the devil a symbol for something greater, a means to do good, becomes a powerful psychological tool for Matt.
Just as we’re getting to the end of the line for Wesley, his and Fisk’s relationship becomes even more interesting. In Wilson Fisk’s hour of need, Wesley really comes through for him. If it wasn’t already evident, this episode is where the two show how much they care about each other. And it’s the little things that show us they’re genuine, such as in the way Wesley smiles when he learns that Vanessa is about to pull through. Or, in the way Wesley is well acquainted with Fisk’s mother Marlene. What exactly is their history? Is it too much to hope for a flashback sequence in season two, just so we can figure these two out?
The last scene of this episode was probably one of the most shocking of the entire first season. Deborah Ann Woll and Toby Leonard Moore are fantastic in this incredibly tense scene. Karen’s split-second decision to grab the gun and gain the upper hand could have been undone by hesitation when Wesley tries to defend himself with a bluff – and he almost fools us – but Karen shows a level of cool and decisiveness that makes us see her in a new and different light. While I was sad to see Wesley go, as he’s been one of the most interesting characters of the show, this was an amazingly good way to end his story.
Who would have thought, going into this, that out of the Nelson & Murdock trio, Foggy would be the one having casual sex and Karen the one with her finger on the trigger? Defying all expectations is what this show does best.
I have nothing but good things to say about this episode. Nothing in the way Matt explores Melvin’s workshop sets off any bells for me, and the way Matt knows about the other weapons Turk is hiding on his body also check out, since the gun and knife would likely distinctive sounds rubbing against shoes, clothes and skin.
(Accessible) gadget watch
Matt does nothing but rest in his apartment, get his wounds tended to and then go beat up first Turk and then Melvin Potter. So, none.
Easter egg watch
We see Matt meditating. This isn’t exactly an Easter egg, but a very definite nod to his doing the same thing during the Bendis/Maleev run. Melvin Potter mentions Betsy, who is also a character in the comics. She starts out as Melvin’s therapist and the two later fall in love.
During their fight, Melvin throws saw blades at Matt, and if you freeze the frame (see below!) you can see that they are apparently made by Kaxton industries. In the comics, Kaxton Laboratories is the employer of Wilbur Day, better known as (the first) Stilt-Man. In Daredevil #8, by Stan Lee and Wally Wood, Mr. Day approaches Matt about suing Kaxton for stealing his invention.
Karen: “What kind of car was is? Please tell me it was expensive and German.”
See what he did there? 😉
Foggy: “Could you do it with your inside voice? Without speaking?”
Marci: “That’s a very asshole thing to say. I’m impressed.”
Marci: “And now you ruined it.”
Claire: “You told me you were the man this city needs. I think that was only half-true. I think you’re also the man this city created. For better or worse.”
Matt: “I’m sorry you got pulled back into this.”
Claire: “At least I got to see you with your shirt off again. So hey, it’s not all bad.”
Father Lantom: “Maybe you’re being called to summon the better angels of your nature. Maybe that’s the struggle you’re feeling, deep within you.”
Matt: “And how do you know that the angels and the devil inside me aren’t the same thing?”
Father Lantom: “I don’t. But nothing drives people to church faster than the thought of the devil snapping at their heels. Maybe that was God’s plan all along? Why he created him, allowed him to fall from grace. To become a symbol to be feared, a warning to us all to tread the path of the righteous.”
Foggy: “We’re going through a rough patch.”
Karen: “I found the Nelson and Murdock sign in the trash.”
Foggy: “A very rough patch.”
Wesley: “Do you really think I would put a loaded gun on the table where you could reach it?”
Karen: “I don’t know. Do you really think this is the first time I’ve shot someone?”
Karen Page, hands down. She quickly sees through Matt’s story about a car accident (even though she obviously can’t guess what’s actually going on), makes peace with Ben Urich, gets on Foggy’s ass about skipping work and not answering her calls, and ends her evening by shooting Wesley in self-defense. After uttering an eerie line about her past. And, she is also the kind of person who is nice enough to buy a monkey balloon for a hurting friend. Sweet and badass at the same time, Karen just became much more interesting.