Marvel’s Daredevil: The Ones We Leave Behind (Season 1 Episode 12)

Daredevil Season 1 Episode 12
Matt realizes the picture is bigger than he initially thought. Foggy and Karen try to fill in the gaps of the city’s corruption in their own ways. Ben loses a gamble against Fisk.

On Marvel’s Daredevil Season 1 Episode 12, “The Ones We Leave Behind,” the title indicates that the one left behind had the best story left to tell. As Karen grapples with her decision, as well as the fracturing of her law firm, she has yet to realize that the slow disintegration of her world mirrors the city itself. In the same vein as the lawyers, Fisk attempts to keep his loose ends from spiraling out of his control. Foggy, Karen, and Matt use their different avenues to try to facilitate change. 

Karen as Jessica

Rather than intensely displaying Matt’s grief or remorse, the episode begins with Karen’s. She pulls a Jessica Jones and immediately downs booze straight from the bottle, immortalizing grief in a way that seems iconic and yet new simultaneously, the image in the bathroom mirror seeming more uncertain than she ever thought it would be. Karen’s grief is morphed into the vision of Fisk, who claims that murdering someone gets easier, personifying the very evil she is trying to suppress in the city and seemingly within herself. As Karen grapples with her own self-image, Foggy grapples with his issue with Matt. Trying to bring Matt and Foggy back together is just as beneficial to the two men as it is to her, the only thing truly keeping her together is by keeping them together.

Fisk Needs Balance

Simultaneously, Fisk has to keep Vanessa alive in order to keep himself together, in order to keep himself afloat. They need their loved ones to be safe, to be untainted by the horrific events they have to cause themselves. The difference between Karen and Fisk, and the perhaps more tireless plot point, is that Fisk returns the instatement of the relationship, and of keeping Vanessa alive, to being about him. As Karen hopes to keep Foggy and Matt together so she can remain together herself, Fisk believes that it’s still about him, disregarding Vanessa’s choice in the matter, which she has to illuminate for him. Just as he realizes he will have Vanessa, he is forced to realize he’s lost Wesley. As Fisk teeters off the edge of his usual psychopathy, Leland is the one to pull him back, making him indispensable in more ways than one, as the role of Wesley has to be filled. The debilitation of Karen is unceremoniously linked to the debilitation of Fisk, as her choice causes him to lose a friend, perhaps in the same disconnected way that she lost hers, despite Fisk not knowing Karen was responsible.

Change in Many Forms

As the Ben and Matt team proves to more fruitful than ever before, Foggy joins up with Marci to get information on the zoned buildings, hoping to crack a case in his own way. In order to facilitate change, he has to prove that there are people who still care about the world, disproving Fisk’s theory that the city is rotten. Meanwhile, Karen has to confront the ugly reality that her head might still be on the chopping block, despite her taking out Wesley, and that the next step in her story to facilitate change is to make a move with the newspaper. Matt’s way to facilitate becomes finding another blind person, bringing “the blind leading the blind” into an entirely different light. In order for change to be facilitated, people have to push for room to be made for it, and the three avocados-at-law are still all doing that, even if in their own ways and without the others to cheer them on.

As Ben severs ties with the paper, Matt takes an opportunity and makes it an opening, introducing him to the drug industry Fisk has been helping to finance and, simultaneously, Gao. She illuminates Matt that there is something more sinister at work, seemingly a promised something. Matt attempts to convince the cop they know that he isn’t the bad guy, but there seems to be no response when asked what he is, as Matt isn’t one to always be sure himself. Wesley’s silent crusade against Karen, seemingly wanting to snuff out an easy end and make life more digestible for Fisk, was his ultimate downfall, his silence now working against him as no one truly knows who is the culprit for his murder.

A Parallel and then a Meeting

For the first time, Ben and Fisk have the same moment: talking to the woman they love as she’s sick in a bed, with her telling the truth of his life to him. They both come to realizations in order to cut through the noise of the world, Fisk of his enemies and Ben of the incessant chatter that prevents him from telling his story. Matt’s breakdown, seemingly imminent a few episodes prior, is appropriately timed and fitting for Karen, who also lingers at the edge, both independent in their reasons for suffering but together in their sorrow. As Matt and Karen come together, so do two others who were shown as parallels. Fisk and Ben’s private conversation seems doomed from the start, Fisk looming in the threshold of darkness, acting as the bringer of it; that darkness is shown as heavy contrast to the light surrounding Ben, the light from the city and his computer screen haloing him. As Ben makes the tough choice in omitting Karen’s name, even though he knows it’s cursing his own, Fisk makes the choice he’s made a million times before and does what he does best. As a self-declared man of civility, it seems all too easy for Fisk to slip away from that facade and become who he has always been, the bloodied boy armed with anger. And darkness closes in on Ben.


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What did you think of Marvel’s Daredevil Season 1 Episode 12? Will the death of Ben be the last nail in Fisk’s coffin? Will Karen, Foggy, and Matt be able to finish what Ben started? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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