The tables are slowly turning against Wilson Fisk. Though Fisk is now a public and respected figure, he’s more powerless than ever before. His criminal infrastructure has lost a key component. His personal life is falling apart. The curtain covering his mysterious past is almost unveiled. And perhaps most dangerous of all, Daredevil is now playing smart, using one of Fisk’s key advantages against him. The Path of the Righteous is light on action, but full of emotional brooding. Matt, Karen, Wilson and Foggy are all brought to their lowest points in the series, but their reactions couldn’t be more different. As four people are brought to their lowest maneuvering all its pieces into position for what feels like an epic finale.
Though Fisk ends the episode in a bad place, Matt isn’t much better. His body is covered in open wounds, and he hates how he can’t get on the street. Foggy has left him, and Claire is leaving town. He’s drinking in the middle of the day, brooding and angry that when he finally confronted Wilson Fisk, Fisk beat him physically. Matt’s violent Irish blood is at odds with the meditative path that Stick taught him. Like Stick said, anger is helpful, but rage hurts you, and right now Matt is full of rage.
But Matt finally brings himself to a point of understanding. Matt finally compromises; instead of dismantling a valuable piece of Fisk’s machinery, he repurposes it as something to be used against Fisk. This compromise is part of a whole new Matt: instead of fearing the devil inside him, Matt embraces it.
Fisk, on the other hand, responds to tragedy by retreating into himself. He stares vacantly at hospital walls, and insulates himself from anything not directly related to Vanessa. “Don’t you know who I am?” Wilson bellows impotently to a nurse. But all of his acquired power does nothing to help Vanessa. Fisk can only stand by idly, unable to even process the idea of revenge except as an action of grief. Fisk should be a man on a warpath, tearing hell across the city, but instead he’s paralyzed by Vanessa’s side. That’s absolutely not what Vanessa would want.
Foggy has a similar reaction to Fisk. When faced with tragedy and betrayal, Foggy abandons Karen and seeks the solitude of his own grief. Everything that Foggy has worked for this season is imploding, yet he’d rather get drunk and sleep around than reinvest in what he loves. Foggy shows himself to be a moral coward in this episode; there’s work to be done, but a self-pitying Foggy just turns to the arms of Marci and Josie.
Karen’s life is falling apart in different ways. As Matt, Foggy and Ben self-destruct around her, Karen finds herself with more evidence and less allies than ever before. But Karen has already been lower than this. She was strangled by a guard in her prison cell. And her tragic backstory, hinted at more tonight, is more violent than we previous thought.
But Karen’s not a turtle, retreating into her shell. Karen looks so cynical and angry when she realizes that Wesley only kidnapped her to get to Urich. As shown here, it was a critical miscalculation on Wesley’s end. When drugged and left paralyzed, confronted with the death of herself and the people she loves, Karen doesn’t even flinch. Karen is not a bright-eyed naif or a scream queen; she is a fighter, and nothing will get her to stop. Karen proves herself to be the true hero of Daredevil.
To be honest, this episode really drags. I don’t think this is the worst Daredevil episode, but it might be the most boring. Scenes just run too long. Every scene with Wesley just meanders in this episode. I think maybe five minutes could’ve just been lost in tightening up the edits; they’ll finish a line, cut to a reaction, and then the actor delivers the line. Layering those would save a lot of time. I also don’t understand why Matt’s failed meditation is placed after his meeting with Father Lantom. That feels precisely backwards.
Having said that, this is also a transitional episode. It’s appropriate that showrunner Steven DeKnight wrote this episode, since it mostly serves to set up the ultimate confrontation. This is perhaps the least standalone episode of Daredevil in the series. The Path of the Righteous is like the morning sun, and hopefully it leads to a pretty bitchin’ confrontation between Daredevil and Fisk.
3 Flying Sawblades out of 5. A not-so-subtle reference to Melvin Potter’s comic history as a costumed Gladiator.
I love that the writers show how far Foggy has fallen by shacking him up with Marci. Sure, the alcohol abuse is bad, but we know Foggy’s a Marciholic, and he’s fallen way off the wagon.
Matt is willing to throw Turk off the roof because there’s a dumpster nearby. Presumably Matt knows that the dumpster doesn’t have a fridge in there.
I don’t like the idea of Melvin Potter being a strong simpleton. I’m not sure if that’s how he is in the comics, but it feels like a very old-world stereotype.
Wesley: get to the fucking point. You’re a henchman. Leave the pontificating to your boss. I loved Wesley until his final scene, where he finally just became unbearable.
Wesley has two piercings in his left ear. Wesley is a wild child, or at least Toby Leonard Moore is.
Well, I guess this means Claire is gone until The Defenders. Maybe she’ll show up in Luke Cage first. After all, in the comics, she is one of his earliest girlfriends.