You Should Watch Daredevil Season 3
With my thoughts on the Marvel Netflix shows as a whole out of my system, I can dig into what I think of as the best season of the best series. Daredevil season 3 came out when advertising and interest in Marvel Netflix series had bottomed out. However, if you enjoyed the first two seasons, or even just the first season, do yourself a favour and watch the third season.
Here’s why, with minimal spoilers.
The Devil You Say
The Defenders ends with a building falling on Daredevil. Season 3 starts with Daredevil recovering from that in the church that raised him.
Early Daredevil characterization struggled to set him apart from Spiderman. His age and job helped, but otherwise Daredevil cracked jokes while swinging through New York City, punching bag guys and avoiding blows thanks to his radar sense.
The Daredevil name and Man Without Fear tagline originally emphasized the Dare, even if his costume played up the devil (especially once it went red). Frank Miller established a new, darker tome for the character. He had no fear not because he was brave. He’d endured so much pain, what was left to fear?
Kevin Smith highlighted the Christian implications of a man raised in a church choosing to call himself the devil in his Guardian Devil arc. Kevin Smith’s contributions to comics are rightfully criticized, and this run isn’t perfect, but it deserves to be remembered as an influential chapter in Daredevil’s history.
Season 3 expands on the duality of Matt Murdock as the Christian Devil. Unlike the Luke Cage recovery episodes in season 1 of his series, Daredevil’s recovery adds to the story. Matt is an active participant in those scenes, debating his caregiver, struggling to overcome his injuries, and recalling his past.
The Devil In The Details
Seasons 1 and 2 and The Defenders both focused on the Stick side of Daredevil’s origin. I’m more of a fan his origins before meeting Stick. Season 3 explores the ramifications of Battlin’ Jack Murdock’s death on orphaned Matt.
Angry, lost, and betrayed. Matt Murdoch shares Bruce Wayne’s drive and energy, but lacks his focus. Plus his money, father-figure butler, connections due to his family name, mansion. Even sight (although I’ve always enjoyed Moss’ rant about how Daredevil is a blind guy with the super power of sight). Matt Murdock is worse case scenario Bruce Wayne. And season 3 explores that.
The highlight comes when young Matt wants to learn to box and his sparing partner refuses to participate. “I’m not punching a blind guy.”
Vincent D’Onofrio joined the series as Wilson Fisk in the fourth episode of season 1. Most viewers enjoyed the series from the first episode, but D’Onofrio’s arrival immediately changed the tone of the series and raised the stakes. His first evil act came in the closing moments of the show. The rest of the time, he projected power and threat, but also innocence. Let your guard down and you might even question why you thought he was the bad guy. Then bang. Bang. Bang bang bang with a car door on that dude’s face.
Season 3 pulls off a similar trick. We get Kingpin from the first episode, but he does nothing evil. In fact, he seems to have turned over a new leaf. Like, odds are he hasn’t. He’s Wilson Fisk. But all on screen evidence says he’s a new, morally upright man.
Foggy and Karen
Like a strong villain, supporting cast separates A-list comic book characters from B-list comic book characters. More kids know Lois Lane and Alfred than Doctor Strange or Silver Surfer. This series proved that Daredevil’s supporting cast ranks among the best. Some of season 3’s most exciting and important moments come from Foggy’s speeches and Karen’s investigations.
Furthermore, season 3 reunites the Matt/Foggy/Karen trio. It takes a while, but we get the chemistry of these three characters back.
Agents Nadeem and Poindexter
Characters original to adaptations walk a thin line. Too much focus, like James Marsden’s Richard White in Superman Returns, and they feel like vanity characters. Not enough focus, like Neal McDonough’s Lt. Hawk, and they feel like red shirts.
Both Nadeem and Poindexter, agents working on Wilson Fisk’s case, receive as much screen time as Matt, Foggy, Karen, and Fisk. Their characters develop over the series, and they play major roles in the series plot. However, they succeed in earning that spot by being compelling characters whose stories the series explores exceptionally well. Take all Marvel characters out of this series and run it as a straight procedural cop show, I’d still watch it for the Nadeem arc.
Best of all, this feels like the end of the series. Major storylines are concluded. Few plot threads dangle. There’s a post credit tease, and there’s enough to the world and the characters that there could be a season 4. There just doesn’t need to be. Which is good, since there never will be. Considering the circumstances that ended the series, it’s comforting to know that it didn’t trail off, it ended. Well.