Wesley’s death may have come as a shock, especially given who pulled the trigger. But the death of Ben Urich? Well that’s just something else entirely. For the sake of the narrative of this show, I get why Ben had to die, but I still feel as though the writers have made a pretty big mistake when considering the wider MCU. Ben Urich is and always has been one of the biggest non-super powered characters of Marvel comics, especially in terms of his association with Daredevil. I feel like it is pretty much a given now that Marvel’s Daredevil will end up with a second season too, and am coming up blank with who will replace him in this role. Though Ben’s death at the hands of Wilson Fisk is the final push needed to rally the disbanded trio at Nelson and Murdock back together, I can’t help but feel this is still wasted potential for the future of Marvel onscreen.
Nitpicking aside, “The Ones We Leave Behind” was still a solid episode. With both the Russians and Japanese out of the way, it was time for Matt to go after Madame Gao’s organisation, and at least this storyline seemingly had big repercussions for the future of Marvel’s plans on Netflix (but more on that later). Gao’s heroin operation is officially over now, as Matt both frees the blind men and women working on the production line and inadvertently burns her warehouse down. After a brief encounter between the two where Gao shows off some seriously impressive super strength for a woman of her stature, she disappears into the night only to reappear shortly after in a scene with Leland Owsley. As it turns out the two of them were co-conspirators in the poisoning plot at Fisk’s benefit, though it is revealed in this conversation that Vanessa was the intended target. With two of Fisk’s major business partners secretly plotting against him, and his most trusted confidante now dead, the guy sure does have a heck of a lot to worry about.
Fisk is left reeling over the death of Wesley, though his true rage doesn’t emerge until he discovers it was over Wesley’s uncovering of Ben’s meeting with Marlene. Fortunately for Karen, Fisk has no idea about her involvement, and Ben is a good enough bloke to protect her in his final moments. Things aren’t all dark and gloomy for The Kingpin though, as Vanessa wakes up from her coma and professes her undying commitment to her new squeeze. Fisk may have lost a best friend, but his girlfriend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Foggy is also making moves with Marci, but not the type you think. As the legal team for Fisk, Foggy suspects that somewhere in the offices of Landman and Zack is the treasure trove of information he needs to take the guy down for good. Obviously it helps to know people in high places, and he successfully convinces Marci to risk her career in the legal profession and steal the files he needs to implicate Fisk and those he has been working with.
As a penultimate episode, Ben’s death at the end of “The Ones We Leave Behind” is the narrative push needed to lead into a no holds barred season finale. Though I really wish that Ben didn’t have to die, it was a well-crafted scene and one that was necessary given the events that had come before it. I was just really hoping he might turn the tables like Karen did with Wesley. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
— The symbol on the heroin packets distributed by Madame Gao should be more than familiar to diehard Marvel fans. It is the same symbol emblazoned on the costume of Steel Serpent, the archenemy of Iron Fist (who is getting a Netflix show of his own sometime next year). If that wasn’t enough to clue you in, the heroin had the nickname ‘Still Serpent’, making it an almost 100% guarantee the villain will be turning up in the MCU in the near future
— Gao returns to her homeland in this episode, which she tells Leland is “much further away than China”. Given the Steel Serpent connection, the fan boys are theorising she is from the mystical land K’un-L’un, and may even be the MCU version of Steel Serpent’s mentor Mother Crane. Only time and a few more Netflix series will tell
— Vanessa completes her villainous transformation this episode, and given the relatively short time it took for this to happen I honestly find her more frightening than Fisk at this stage. In the comics she was completely oblivious to her husband’s criminal antics, and I must admit I’m digging this version of the character a whole heap more
REVIEW SCORE: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Read the rest of Simon’s Marvel’s Daredevil reviews here.
Marvel’s Daredevil is available to stream all 13 episodes of Season One via Netflix Australia.