As the show that started MARVEL’s Netflix universe, it is no wonder that “Daredevil” still remains as its strongest entry to date, that just keeps on getting better and better every season. And while the show’s second season, while still good, felt a little bit too busy and cluttered with the debut of characters such as Frank Castle or the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra (Elodie Young), this season’s entry felt like a return to form as it was a more self-contained Daredevil story. Because of this, the entire season was able to focus more on our main trio with some backstories fleshed out better, our villains, and those mainly affected by everything that happened during the season. This season was also highly anticipated especially after it became known that this season would be drawing from Frank Miller’s iconic “Born Again” story line.
“Daredevil” Season 3 dropped all of its thirteen episodes on October 19, 2018.
Picking up directly after the ending of “The Defenders”, the third season follows Matt Murdock or Daredevil (Charlie Cox) as he recovers from the aftermath of what happened at Midland Circle, and continues to undergo a crisis of faith as to which identity he should cling to. However, Matt is forced to come out of hiding after Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) suddenly begins to cooperate with the FBI in exchange for house arrest at a posh hotel. With Fisk out, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), and Matt, work both together and individually in order to figure out what Fisk is up to in order to put him behind bars again. However, Fisk’s machinations run deep, as he gains new allies, while trying to destroy Foggy, Karen, Matt, and Daredevil. In the process, Matt rediscovers himself and the truth about his past, while Karen’s dark past comes back to haunt her.
To be honest, as a fan of the “Born Again” story arc, I was looking forward to see how they would adapt this for the Netflix show. After watching all thirteen episodes, I can confidently say that I really loved how they adapted it, as it was more realistic, and was changed in a way that fleshed out its characters more in a better way. I also liked how they went about introducing the iconic Daredevil villain Bullseye, and they did it in a way that serviced the character, narrative, and finally washed the bad taste of the movie version from my mouth.
As a whole, this season felt more cohesive than the second season, and felt like a true Daredevil story. However, the series did not shy away from world building, as it managed to do so in one quick sentence in the final episode, which acknowledged the existence of the other Defenders. In fact, the second season of “Jessica Jones” also acknowledged what happened in “The Defenders” with just one quick line, and it was enough.
While Matt’s crisis of faith and him learning about his past was done well and was interesting, it was interesting as to how they were able to change and flesh out Foggy’s and Karen’s backstories which allowed it to service the main narrative and without it being to jarring to the audience. Once again, Cox, Woll, and Hensen all knocked it out of the park as their particular character; and the personal journeys that each of them went through were interesting as well.
Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie, Jay Ali as FBI Agent Rahul “Ray” Nadeem, and Wilson Bethel as FBI Agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter were also phenomenal in their respective roles as well.
Ever since he stepped onto our screens as Wilson Fisk, D’Onofrio has kept us mesmerized with his performance as the iconic MARVEL villain, and continued to prove so in his performance this season. Until today, Fisk remains to be one of the best villains yet in the entire MARVEL universe both on tv and film.
The fight sequences and the direction, were once again, top notch; and the religious imagery scattered around the series both in homage to Matt’s faith and the “Born Again” comics, only served to elevate and make the season stronger and better.
Fans of the tv series and of the Daredevil character will definitely enjoy this season, as it is a return to form from a cluttered second season. Fans of the “Born Again” story arc will also love how they adapted the iconic story line into a more realistic narrative that naturally serviced the narrative and our character’s individual journeys as a whole.
Now, you know the drill, there will be spoilers after this!
As mentioned earlier, the fight sequences, direction, and acting were all top notch. I did feel that the ending didn’t feel quite as emotionally earned as I wanted it to be, but I did like how they ended things, and what they teased as to what can possibly be in store for us if a season four is ever green lighted.
When you think of the “Born Again” story arc, one automatically starts thinking about how Karen Page revealed Matt’s identity as Daredevil, and how Fisk managed to systematically ruin Matt’s life only for Matt and Daredevil to rise from the ashes stronger and as a man with no fear as he had nothing left to lose. Thankfully, this adaptation changed things enough to make everything seem more realistic and serve the character’s themselves. In the process, they were also able to naturally incorporate and introduce Dex as Bullseye.
First off, let’s take a look at the villains of this season.
D’Onofrio is just amazing as Fisk, as he’s able to show us not just the businessman with a set of ideologies he lives by, but you can see the anger and rage ready to come at you at a moments notice. It was also amazing how Fisk’s plans ran deep, and that he was able to figure out who to target and who to manipulate so that the entire FBI would work for him. Sure, Dex was a wild card he never though he would encounter, but it was amazing how he was able to manipulate things fast to hasten his descent into becoming the iconic villain he was meant to be. If Fisk had one weakness, it would be his now wife, Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer), but even if he is currently behind bars, I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns again someday to try and ruin Matt’s life once again.
Speaking of the FBI, Jay Ali’s Agent Nadeem was a welcome addition, as his significance became more and more apparent as the season went on. I’m glad that we ended up sympathizing with his plight, and I also like how they emphasized that he was willing to do the time, as he does admit that he did wrong by letting these things happen.
Dex was a such a fascinating character to watch, and his origin story of how he became Bullseye was enough to wash out the taste of the movie version from my mouth. Throughout the season, we see that Dex just needed the right “North Star” to help guide him through life, and Fisk made sure that that North Star was him. However, after Dex turned on him after realizing that he was just being manipulated by him, Dex came out of the ordeal with his own beliefs and ideals as his own North Star, which will make him even more dangerous in the upcoming seasons as he feels more free to act upon what he feels and as he is fueled by rage. The post-credits scene shows him being operated on, and being given a reinforced spine, while the iconic cocentric circles are seen on of his eyes. With this surgery, his transformation into Bullseye, minus the iconic costume is almost complete, which means that when he returns, he’ll be more unhinged and more dangerous than ever, and will probably go after Daredevil and everything dear to him, just as he does in the comics.
Matt went through an interesting journey this season. He started this season with absolutely nothing, and went through a crisis of faith while he was still recovering from everything that happened at Midland Circle, and had to figure out as well how to deal with the revelation that Sister Maggie is his mother. (Also, I thought that that revelation was handled well, and I’m glad that they did talk bout post-partum depression here as well.) He still tried to push his friends away and do things on his own in a costume that looks like it was ripped right out from the comics, and with a personality change more consistent with Daredevil’s and not Matt’s; and in the end, discovered that he is definitely stronger with his friends around who keep on coming back even if he doesn’t want them around, and that he still lives by a strong code of ethics that makes him the hero that he is. In the end, I’m glad that the trio is back in business together, but seeing Matt happy also makes me a bit worried, because everyone knows that a happy Matt means that things just might get worse some time soon, as it usually does.
They outdid themselves with the fight sequences yet again this season. Some of them included that long take prison fight sequence; Matt’s first encounter with Dex at the New York Bulletin; the church fight sequence; and the final fight between him, Fisk and Dex.
Foggy’s backstory and family were changed as compared to the comics, but it was a welcome change that served the narrative a lot. Foggy, in my mind, is the most loyal friend in comics history, but it was really nice to see him getting in front of the situation, figuring things out, and going back to the more public defender lawyer that he was meant to be with Matt.
The change in Karen’s back story and in the way she outed Matt as Daredevil to Fisk was very much welcome and more realistic. It also made us let annoyed at the character as compared to the comics version. It explained where she came from, why she left home, and her experience with guns; and I also liked the fact that it doesn’t really take a genius to realize that Matt is Daredevil. I think that Fisk already knew and he just needed confirmation from her. I’m glad that Karen is now truly back within the fold and will be working with our favorite “avocados” as their investigator, which means that season four will see them working with clients again, and hopefully, more courtroom scenes.
They also did the whole “Guardian Devil” scene with the fight in the church, but it also made more sense that poor Fr. Lantom was the one who died instead of Karen. It wouldn’t make sense for Karen to die yet, and also, this leaves more room for Sister Maggie to be more of a part of Matt’s life in the future.
As for season four, if Netflix does green light it, I do hope that we will see more of Matt as a lawyer in court, and Bullseye will probably be one of the major antagonists of the season.
As a whole, the third season of Daredevil was a satisfying watch from beginning to end, was a great adaptation of the iconic “Born Again” story arc, and was definitely a return to form as a more self-contained Daredevil story. This season was one for the books, and I cannot wait to see what season four will have in store for us.
Have you seen the third season of Daredevil? Did you like it or not? What did you like or not like about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Image Source: Marvel’s Daredevil Facebook Page, Netflix