Leland Owsley points out that the wind blows stronger the nearer you get to the mountain top, but the more usual version of that expression – it’s darkest before the dawn – is probably more apposite for this most downbeat of all the episodes. As Fisk desperately tries to work out what is going on, Ben and Karen pursue their quest, with Ben pushing his boss as hard as he can, with the inevitable consequences.
Matt’s also on the trail, with a very comic book pursuit of the car carrying Madame Gao’s drug courier – I’m sure all those fancy rolls and flips weren’t quite necessary, but it really did look like some of the best of the Daredevil comics brought to life. The moment between him and Gao was… intriguing, to say the least, and I hope that Gao returns from her sojourn abroad for the other Netflix series (which, given that her heroin sign matches the sigil on Iron Fist’s costume, would seem rather likely). Matt himself is near breaking point, as he admits to Karen, and given the continuing rift with Foggy, it was good to see him and Karen reconnecting – although they are now both hiding large secrets from each other!
Vincent D’Onofrio is at his absolute best as Fisk here, both in his reaction to Wesley’s death – the thoughtless attack on his bodyguard followed by the kiss to Wesley’s forehead – and in the final scene with Ben Urich. I guessed that either Ben or Karen would go, and I’m not at all certain that this was the right decision in the long term for potential future series: yes, Daredevil survived for a long time pre-Urich’s introduction, but the reporter is a great character who got an appropriate ending, but perhaps one that came too soon.
Verdict: A thrilling penultimate episode setting up the final clash between Fisk and Matt. 9/10