Release Date: Oct. 19, 2018
Network: Netflix/ 13 episodes/ 50 minutes
Starring: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’onoforio, Deborah Ann Wool, Wilson Bethel, et al.
Without a doubt, Daredevil is the best Marvel show in the Netflix corner. Its first season was wonderful, easily undoing all the wrongs of the 2004 movie starring Ben Affleck as the titular character; its second season gave us the gift that keeps on giving in the person of The Punisher, and with that singular gesture has cemented itself into a special corner of our hearts.
At the end of the events of The Defenders, the miniseries that saw characters from all four Marvel-Netflix shows team up, we were left guessing what would become of Daredevil post Midland circle collapse; the kind of line the character would toe now that there wasn’t any Elektra or shady Hand organization to worry over.
The Matt Murdock we meet this season is unlike any we’ve known since we first met the character five years ago. He’s troubled, heavily tormented by the tolls of his double life as the devil of Hell’s Kitchen. More than ever, the agenda on the top of his plate is stopping Fisk, albeit this time he hopes to do so more permanently.
Every villain needs a hero, and Wilson Fisk is one helluva villain! Goddamit. The guy’s a real master planner. For every step you take he’s already taken three and is far ahead of you.
I was skeptical when I first heard Vincent D’onoforio was returning in a series regular capacity as Wilson Fisk for this season; this was because my brain, limited at that time, couldn’t fathom the reason for his return, something about him not being the only villain in Marvel’s roaster worthy of Daredevil’s attention. My joy was increased, nonetheless, when I found out Bullseye would be featuring – a part of me wanted to see everything wrong with Collin Farrel’s 2004 iteration corrected. And I got my wish.
Back to Fisk. The guy does know how to put on a show, a fact echoed by a trivial character in the gang round table gathering of episode 9. Slowly, whilst pretending to be a changed man, Fisk took his time and regained the empire he once had unchallenged dominion over. He took the game further and, through systematic planning, boxed up every key player of the FBI with a boner against him (oh, poor Special agent Nadeem. RIP!) and trapped them into doing his biddings. If for any reason you’ve had the urge to be a villain, Wilson Fisk is the man you want to be like, trust me.
One of the things Fisk is good at, as pointed out by Matt Murdock in episode 5, is exploiting people’s weaknesses. This is one talent he exploits early in the season, when he identifies Dex as a man of many talents and one with special needs. Proving once again he’s the man who has what you need when you need it, he slowly but eventually creeps his way into a special place in Dex’s heart and gets the bull at a place where he’s very comfortable to do all his biddings.
When we first meet Special Agent Dex in episode 2, he starts out as the convential American TV hero – good looking FBI agent with very sharp shooting skills and a tongue fully laced with snarky remarks. In him, we got to meet the man behind the facade, the man who needs to stick to a regimented lifestyle in order not to lose his shit; something Fisk successfully capitalizes on in episode 5 when he got him to attack the Bulletin Newspaper dressed as the devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
Dex is so broken that he needs a purpose to function at all times; albeit broken, it still passes as functioning. This disability is the real reason Fisk is able to easily penetrate his psych because, in all fairness, Dex is really just a puppy in search of a master and in desperate need of approval.
Dex is extremely talented, no doubt. I liked how even the smallest, seemingly harmless thing becomes a weapon in his hand. I liked the backstory the show gave to him; I like the fact that entries into the MCU continue to stand apart from. Their comic book source materials. So, even though he never gets to be called Bullseye for once (look how long it took then to call Fisk Kingpin) or that he spends the bulk of his time impersonating Daredevil, I don’t mind. I’m happy with the character, his arc, development and resolution.
Talking about characters arc with strong boners, let’s open the playbook of Karen Page.
Ms. Page is one annoying character beautifully brought to life by the talented Deborah Ann Wool. One thing I don’t like about Karen is her compulsive need to always dive head-first, without thinking, into danger. It’s a constant thing about her character since we first met her in the first season, and it’s as though she’s learnt nothing, not even after her very, very dangerous encounters with Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher.
Karen knows how dangerous Wilson Fisk is but refuses to tread cautiously. Probably is the aftereffect of spending too much time with Matt, who himself never thinks things through. That scene where she goes to visit Fisk at his five-star prison and confesses to killing Wesley still irks me out. It was thoughtless, senseless, and, even though it’s true to character, it does more disservice to her as it paints her as a person who never learns, hence is marked for a certain gruesome someday.
Karen’s arc hurts me even more whenever I think about Foggy’s. Now, Mr. Nelson has been involved in Matt’s shit longer than Karen’s, if we’re considering their backstory, so, technically, has had more time to learn to adjust to all things Matt. That’s points for Karen. But I’d like to point out that Foggy wasn’t in any known danger then. The real drama, conflict and pains started when the series began. This season, we meet a Foggy that has learnt his lessons; a Foggy who is more cautious about throwing himself in danger; a Foggy that’s made his peace with death and life (as can be seen in his reaction after the Bulletin killings by December dressed as Daredevil). In other words, this season we met a better and improved Foggy, and I hope something like that happens to Karen, she deserves it.
I did like episode 10 that gave us a bit of her backstory. It gave us a look into the kind of relationship she has with her father and a better understanding of the principles guiding her relationship with others.
The fight scenes on Daredevil are impeccably choreographed, we know that already. It’s one of the things that made us fall in love with the show in the first place. The passage fight scenes have been a staple of the show from the very beginning and this season is no different (checkout the prison scene of episode 4). The thing I’m more excited for has more to do with the inclusion of a character more than that of a technicality in production. The inclusion of Matt Murdock’s mom, Sister Maggie. For non-comic-book lovers, she added some much needed air of mystery in the earlier episodes; easily raising the question of why a would nun show so much interest in a self-proferred devil?
The season does a shaky good job of tying up Daredevil’s vendetta against the Kingpin. We get to see Matt bask in all the rage and hatred he’s accumulated over the years against his nemesis and in one moment of decision and fleeting emotions decides to send him back to jail as oppose his initial decision to kill him. With this, we might still see Fisk again in the future in a prominent role; history has shown that some people, like him, are bigger than the law, the only way to silence them is death.
Daredevil killing Fisk will become a defining moment for the character and take the show in a whole new creative direction.
1. We never get a backstory of how Dex got his Bullseye talent.
2. It’s interesting to see Vanessa is actually an evil person.
3. We don’t get to see Matt on his red uniform, not even once.
4. Wilson Fisk’s monologous responses when asked a question is dope.
5. Dex and Matt’s fight scenes are a delight to watch.
6. It’s funny how Matt’s seen through Vanessa’s deceitfully calm facade; just like her, husband, Fisk, he knows she too is evil.
7. The final shot of the season tells us Bullseye’s still lives. Wicked. 😋
Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5