One of the best and most unexpected aspects of Daredevil is how compelling some of the series’ relationships are. The eleventh episode of the first season hit great notes with the show’s two best pairings. Though Matt and Claire’s reunion is brief, their conversation has a profound impact and our hero. Then there’s Fisk and Wesley, the surprisingly likeable duo of bad guys that somehow managed to force their way into our hearts. It’s obviously a credit to D’Onofrio’s great turn, but Toby Leonard Moore certainly deserves praise for making the right-hand man more human than the archetype would usually allow.
The tender moments they share (or their version of a tender moments) are a direct result of what happened to Vanessa at the end of the previous episode. Someone poison her champagne—along with the glasses of a few others at a Fisk fundraiser—and she’s unconscious as her bald beau carries her into the emergency room. He won’t be able to go any further with her, however, since the nurse really doesn’t care who he is. It’s also worth mentioning that the entire episode is underscored by Owlsley being a total wuss about whether it’s okay that he touched a poisoned glass, which is kind of awesome. Yes, Leland, you’re fine. For all we know, you’re the one who did the deed.
It doesn’t help the accountant’s case that he immediately starts questioning Wesley about when Fisk will be back to work. Owlsley, as crass as the suggestion is, argues that Vanessa doesn’t make sense as the target of an attack. The only reasonable explanation is that somebody took a shot at Fisk, and that means that the crime boss needs to get back to work in order to keep his place at the top. For the time being, however, Wesley wants Owlsley to look into who might be responsible for the poisoning. Nobu’s men seem like a strong possibility, but Fisk’s assistant wants the accountant to meet with Gao to test the waters there.
While Fisk and Wesley deal with Vanessa’s bad turn in health, Karen discovers that Matt has taken one of his own. Last she heard, Matt had been hit by a card, but it doesn’t take too long after arriving at his apartment to figure out that Foggy made the whole thing up. Since, you know, there’s a big hole in Matt’s bedroom door. Good one, Foggy. Even though Matt does the polite thing and offers Karen a beer in the early morning, she seems upset for some reason about all of the lying that’s been going on. Like how she said that she didn’t have the Union Allied file that she definitely had, Matt asks. The two have lied for the same reason—to protect people around them—but there is no understanding between the two of them, especially as Karen reveals the secret of Fisk’s past. Matt doesn’t see the point in pulling on the thread any further, as it’s information that’s decades old and from a woman with dementia. Plus, Fisk was a minor at the time of the murder. Karen argues that it’s enough to get other people looking into Fisk, but instead of continuing to argue with Matt, she just gives him a balloon with a monkey on it.
Oh, and Foggy totally slept with that terrible lawyer from Landman & Zack.
The next person to turn down Matt’s offer for a beer was Claire. He wasn’t awake the last time she was there, but the two appear to be on better terms than when we previously saw them together. She’s been good enough to come by and take care of Matt during this recovery from the ninja fight, which he claims is aided by his meditation. Apparently, sitting still with his eyes closed allows him to heal faster. The meditation appears to be working for the most part, since he’s able to walk around and argue with Claire about the reason they kind of broke up. His understanding of it is that they can never be together while he’s Daredevil-ing, but there’s more to it than that. She tells him that he’s not just the man the city needs, he’s the one it created. This show loves dipping its toe into the Christopher Nolan-verse, huh?
No one likes it when friends fight. There are a lot of emotions involved, and it’s difficult to really parse who’s guilty of what. But when it comes to Karen and Ben, she really screwed him over by lying about the real reason for their visit to the nursing home. It was a total dick move, and Ben’s completely justified in not wanting to hanging out with her. Plus, he also disagrees with her about the value of Marlene’s story. Fisk has too much media pull. There’s no way the story of his father’s murder will hurt him, but if Ben and Karen bide their time, someone might take care of the Kingpin for them. Ben agrees with Owlsley’s assessment of the poisoning: someone is definitely trying to kill Fisk. But who?
Even though the assassin missed their probable target, Fisk isn’t doing so well with Vanessa in a coma. The big man even opens up to Wesley about what her death would potentially mean for him. It’s a very humanizing moment for Fisk, one that a major antagonist in a superhero story wouldn’t typically get. I think that’s why we leave the scene really feeling that the relationship between him and Wesley is something substantial. In that moment, it doesn’t matter that D’Onofrio is playing a comic book villain and that Moore is his right-hand man. All we see is a man in pain and the person ready to do whatever it takes to help him, up to and including kidnapping Karen…
…which he totally does.
But before we get to all of that and who shoots who, Matt is having another crisis of faith. Once again, he heads to the church, and finally Father Latte has something constructive to offer. Hearing Matt wonder why God “put the devil in him, the priest suggests that maybe, since God created the Satan, that the red dude is there to keep up scared and in line. Maybe that’s what Daredevil can be for the city. (Sounds kind of oppressive, if you ask me.) But armed with new purpose, Matt decides to finally follow through on Claire’s advice and get himself a suit, ideally one like Fisk was wearing when they fought. He’s able to track down the tailor that outfitted the Kingpin, and the guy ends up being at least partially mentally handicapped. But also really good at fighting, like he’s able to keep up with Matt for some of their bout. It turns out that Melvin, the tailor, has someone that he cares for, and that Fisk is threatening her in order to get suits. Matt promises to get Fisk out of his life for good if he can make “a symbol” for the good guy.
Back to Karen and Wesley. He drugged her and brought her to one of Hell’s Kitchen innumerable sketchy basements to tell her that all of this is happening because she refused to stop. They let her live after the Union Allied thing, but she just had to keep digging. The obvious conclusion to make here—and the one Karen comes it—is that Wesley plans on killing her, but he says it’s the opposite actually. He wants to offer her a job as a mouthpiece for Fisk’s social movement. She’s going to champion the city’s new savior, instead of fighting to bring him down. Naturally, that doesn’t fly with her, so Wesley offers an alternative: killing everyone she loves and then killing her. That’s not as good either, so she proposes a third option: stealing Wesley’s gun when he’s distracted by his phone and shooting him a bunch of times in the chest.
The fallout from Wesley’s death is, I’d wager to guess, going to be pretty big, and I have a feeling the fury is coming straight toward Karen.