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Recap / Daredevil S1 E12 "The Ones We Leave Behind"

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"The Ones We Leave Behind" is the twelfth episode of Marvel's Daredevil and the penultimate episode of the first season.

Karen is haunted by the death of Wesley, while Fisk seeks revenge against his friend's killer. Matt sets out to dismantle Madame Gao's heroin operation. Ben is forced to take his investigation in a new direction.


  • All for Nothing: Vanessa not only survives, she recovers from her coma and refuses to allow Fisk to send her away, defeating the entire purpose of trying to poison her.
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  • Ambiguously Human: Madame Gao not only floors Daredevil in one flat-palmed strike, but also states that she is returning "home," and to somewhere "a considerable distance further" than China — which is about as far from New York as anything can get and still be on this planet.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Even more than in "Nelson vs. Murdock", now that Karen too has a dark secret she won't reveal to her friends. She asks if their partnership is now just three people who won't speak to each other.
  • Call-Back: Ben mentions that he knew a guy who knew Don Rigoletto back in the day. He's referring to Silvio Manfredi, the mobster he met back in "Rabbit In A Snowstorm".
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment: After getting fired from the Bulletin, Ben Urich is shown bringing home a Banker's box with all his office memorabilia including his framed front page articles, just in time for Wilson Fisk to choke him to death.
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  • Catapult Nightmare: Karen has one of these when she dreams of Fisk coming to kill her.
  • Condescending Compassion: Ben's editor, when he fires him, states he's "done helping you." This, despite that most of what he had been doing was handing Ben fluff pieces and killing his attempts at doing anything more serious. note 
  • Darkest Hour: The episode is our heroes at their very lowest: Karen is still traumatized from killing Wesley and paranoid that Fisk will find her; Foggy still refuses to talk to Matt and is clearing out his office at Nelson and Murdock; Ben gets fired from the Bulletin, ruining their chance of getting the truth about Fisk exposed; Matt sees the very darkest aspect of Fisk's empire in Madame Gao's willing heroin workers. Then just when the audience thinks it can't get any worse for our heroes, Fisk murders Ben for going to see his mother.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: After returning to her apartment after killing Wesley, Karen grabs a bottle and swigs directly from it. Waking up the next day, the bottle is empty and Foggy notes she smells like a distillery.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Fisk tells Ben that the reason he's killing him is because he dragged his mother into the issue, which is one of his Berserk Buttons.
  • Eye Scream: Matt accuses Madame Gao of blinding her workers, but she claims that they did it to themselves as an act of "faith".
  • Fatal Family Photo: After killing Urich, we see Fisk step on a photo of Urich and his wife that got knocked off the table during the struggle as he leaves.
  • Foot Focus: The camera focuses on Urich's feet as Fisk chokes him to death, with the visual cue that he's dead being when his feet stop kicking.
  • Good vs. Good: When Matt escapes Madame Gao's warehouse, he manages to avoid the arriving cops and firefighters by taking a different route, only to be cornered by Brett. Matt disarms Brett, holds him in a headlock long enough to tell him that his precinct is crooked, then flees as two more officers arrive to aid Brett.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Justified as Ben doesn't want Fisk going after Karen, so he pretends he was alone when he interviewed Fisk's mother. As per usual for this trope, he gets murdered forthwith.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ben Urich claims to have gone to Fisk's mother alone ... meaning Fisk has no one else to blame. And leaves Karen off the hook.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Ben says that the reason blind people are being used as drug mules is that no-one suspects a blind person. Matt can only give a wry smile.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Foggy tells Karen that his infighting with Matt shouldn't take away from their efforts to stop Fisk, and says, "You can't just run around killing people, and call yourself a human being." Though she doesn't say anything, it's pretty clear that Karen doesn't take that line well, having just killed Wesley.
  • It Gets Easier: In Karen's nightmare, she imagines Fisk telling her this, which is the manifestation of Karen's fear that after having killed Wesley, killing will get easier and she'll turn into someone like Fisk.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: When Marci refuses to read his file on Fisk because there's a clear conflict of interest, Foggy tries to guilt-trip Marci via her previous idealism. She agrees to read it...but only because Foggy was good in bed last night.
  • I Work Alone: Averted. Despite what Stick told him about cutting yourself off, Matt is not happy at how his friends have been driven away from him. He breaks down crying in Karen's presence, admitting that he can't do this alone.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Madame Gao decides to pack up and leave New York before Matt causes any more trouble.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Early on, Karen has a nightmare about Fisk tracking her down to kill her in her own apartment. The same thing happens at the end of the episode, when Fisk actually does do Ben Urich.
    • During their argument, Ben tells his editor the Fisk story is "sexy," something his editor had insisted a story needed to be back in Rabbit in a Snowstorm. His editor just brushes this off, saying it makes Ben sound "like a whore."
  • The Mole: Ben accuses his editor of being in Fisk's pocket. Fisk confirms that he indeed has someone at the New York Bulletin since Ben broke the Union Allied story. He doesn't say it's the editor, but given that his mother was unable to tell him anything, yet he knows Ben was talking to her but not Karen (Ben would not have named her in an article) implies that the editor tipped Fisk off about the story Ben tried to get him to print.
  • Mythology Gag: When Foggy notes Karen's more-than-usual leaning on alcohol, she dryly jokes she's thinking of upgrading to hard drugs. This may be a sly reference to Born Again, the 1986 arc where Karen infamously fell into heroin abuse, eventually selling Matt's secret identity for a score when she was destitute.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Madame Gao lays out Daredevil with a single hit, after giving no indication for the entire season that she poses a physical threat.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Fisk tries to find out from his mother what the phone call to Wesley was about, but she's too senile to remember. However Karen—convinced it's only a matter of time before Fisk comes after her—pressures Ben into trying to get the story printed. Unfortunately someone at the Bulletin is on Fisk's payroll. Fisk personally goes to Ben's apartment to have a meaningful conversation, and then kill him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ben when he finds Fisk hiding in his apartment.
    • While escaping the warehouse, Matt gets cornered by Brett Mahoney at gunpoint. Brett immediately seems to go pale seeing the man who (he thinks) killed Detective Blake in front of him and shot the cops at the standoff with Vladimir.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Leland stops Fisk from beating Francis to death because he wasn't there to back Wesley up, pointing out he was loyally following orders.
  • Reality Ensues: Fisk asks Francis who Wesley was in touch with before he left the hospital. Francis doesn't remember. Fortunately, Wesley's smartphone is a Galaxy S4, which also records the call history, and it takes just a few seconds for Fisk to pull it up and find that the last call made from Wesley's phone was to Marlene.
  • The Reveal: The episode reveals that Madame Gao and Owlsley were responsible for the benefit poisonings in "Nelson vs. Murdock", not to kill Fisk, but to kill Vanessa, in an attempt to get his focus back on his criminal empire.
  • Roof Hopping: Matt does some Parkour when following the car that picked up the blind mule.
  • Shower of Angst: Karen has one at the beginning of the episode right after she killed Wesley in the previous episode.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Urich gets subject to it three times: Matt first jumps off a dumpster while he's getting in his car, prompting Urich to say "You like making an entrance, don't you?". Then Karen, waiting in a doorway, surprises him as he's returning to his apartment, to which he says, "Everybody's got to be sneaking out, tonight?" Lastly, Fisk breaks into Urich's apartment, then sits in a chair in a dimly lit corner and waits for Ben to come home. He's unnoticed until the camera pans and Fisk begins talking.
    • Karen gets a start from Foggy as well, even though he points out he was just in the next office and not creeping around.
  • Take That!:
    • In his conversation with Ben Urich, Fisk makes bitter comments on current society and what its people prioritize in world events and on the internet.
      Fisk: This world around us is preoccupied with celebrity weddings and videos of cats. But ... complicated issues, issues that matter ... they take too much focus. They take too much time away from texting and the thousands of channels on the satellite dish.
    • Foggy remarks (in response to Karen jokingly saying she's thinking of graduating to hard drugs) about how he once smoked pot in college. Karen counters by pointing that Colorado and Washington State don't consider marijuana a "hard" drug anymore.
  • Tranquil Fury: Wilson has a fairly long conversation with Ben at the end of the episode. He rather carefully digs for information about Ben's investigation, before finally doing what he came there to do: killing Ben with his bare hands, and finally letting his true level of rage show itself.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Ben decides to spend the night writing up everything he knows on an internet blog. As he sits down at his computer, the camera pans over to show Fisk quietly sitting in the dark behind him.
  • The Unreveal: Madame Gao's true intentions in Hell's Kitchen are never revealed. She only says that the heroin smuggling is irrelevant to her true purpose.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Foggy, still not speaking to Matt, leaves the office, only to find Matt at the door. After a long, uncomfortable stare, Matt steps aside to let Foggy go.
  • Villain Respect: Before murdering Ben, Fisk engages him in polite conversation during which he sincerely apologizes for underestimating him.
  • You Are in Command Now: Despite nearly killing Francis earlier, Fisk gives him Wesley's job as The Dragon. When Leland questions this, he says the fact that Wesley trusted him is enough.
  • You Are Not Alone: Karen tells Matt this when he breaks down in tears after seeing Madame Gao's heroin operation and realising the scale of what he's up against.
  • Your Door Was Open: Averted; Karen has taken to locking the door at the office, to Matt's irritation when he turns up to work.


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