Daredevil’s third season was a rich red stew chuck full of giant meta-arguments, incredible actions sequences, meditations on Catholicism, Karen Page’s backstory, loving shots of Wilson Fisk’s Giant White Suits, and so much more.
Here are a few of the moments and themes that stood out to us—join us in yelling in the comments!
[SPOILERS for Daredevil season 3.]
Those Murdock Boys Got the Devil in Them
So much great stuff goes down with Matty this season:
- He relies on his boxing skills!
- Votive candles get chucked at his head!
- He hears a terrifying Fisk voice in his head that constantly taunts him!
- He gets to lawyer again!
- The red glasses are back!
And it’s SO GOOD to see Matt back in his black outfit from season one. We missed it more than we realized. (We also love that in another Netflix show, The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Crain’s son dons the basic black outfit for Halloween after his mom refuses to buy the expensive red Daredevil suit.)
Matt Murdock is doused in great heaps of metaphor this season, but this is our favorite: After the Midland Circle collapse (post-Defenders), Matt is blown into a water main and washed out into a parking lot from the bowels of New York. Hell’s Kitchen literally gives birth to Matt Murdock.
The Action Sequences Finally Top Everything the Show Has Done So Far
They are so good. There are two completely different action scenes that rival the famous hallway fight from season one, and one panic-inducing eleven-minute set piece that might be the greatest action we’ve ever seen on TV. Also, the action feels a little more considered this time in terms of how damage is played. Punches seems to land, and Matt’s decision not to kill is backed up by how carefully he takes out opponents this time around.
The way Bullseye is rendered as a combatant is astounding, and creates an excellent dichotomy between Ben Poindexter and both Matt and Fisk—namely that he can do everything at a distance while the other two have to get up close in order to be effective.
Friendship is Magic! (so is family?)
Matt spent season 2 of Daredevil and the entirety of Defenders trying to push his friends away. He keeps this up at the start of season three, only to finally realize that he’s been an idiot, and should let Foggy and Karen back into his life. Foggy gets to be the true heart of the group, as he was always meant to be, and his insistence keeps them going well after it seems that Fisk has won. Plus Foggy’s still with Marcie, and she’s wonderful, and our biggest complaint is that we don’t get more of her. (She’s evolved so far beyond being “a meat-grinder in a pencil skirt” while still retaining her core of meat-grinder-ness.)
And we get Karen’s backstory! And it’s actually compelling. We were genuinely worried they’d botch this; giving a character a “secret” background so rarely pays off.
There’s an emphasis on the theme of family, and more specifically how to be family to the people you care about. We’ve got the trio of Matt, Karen, and Foggy, but then we’ve also got Karen’s estrangement from her own family (and found family in her boss, Mr. Ellison) and Foggy’s work to protect his family at all costs. And of course there’s Sister Maggie, revealed to be Matt’s mother, who slowly insinuates herself into his life during this season in such an understated way. She tells Matt that Stick just needed to get laid, helps Matt get his boxing mojo back, and takes zero shit—but underneath her snark she’s totally warm and loving, somehow? She opens her arms to everyone in need, and her arc with Matt is fantastic from start to finish.
Extra delightful: Foggy’s family’s response to everything appears to be the Irish cheer of Sláinte. You see your son for the first time in weeks? Sláinte. He gives you excellent whisky you don’t like cause it’s too expensive? Sláinte. You want to memorialize his dead best friend Matt Murdock? Sláinte.
Catholicism is Magic, Too!
Catholicism! We’ve got more feelings on this, but holy crap did they lean into Matt’s spiritual arc, and it was, as mentioned, GREAT.
Father Lantom gets to have a fantastic hero moment! We actually spend a sizable portion of time in church this season, whether to hide out or just for dramatic-setting purposes. And of course, the definition of church is stretched in this show; after Matt’s church proves no longer safe from Fisk, he heads back to his dad’s old boxing haunt, Fogwell’s, and he and his friends find protection in a different sort of “church.” The point is, Matt Murdock is steeped in faith of one kind or another, regardless of setting.
Fisk Becomes Kingpin
Watching Wilson Fisk make his methodical return to the criminal underworld was mesmerizing. We get the trademark white suit, but it seems different than anything the comics were trying to say with it; it’s cool and all, but it’s endlessly interesting that he is himself such a cypher. He has no taste of his own, no idea what’s “nice” and what’s not. The city’s reaction to his reemergence is a powerhouse of collective action, and the protests felt particularly familiar (including the anti-Fisk protest signs include “Tsk! Tsk! Fisk!” and “Stop and Fisk” and so on).
Also, Wilson Fisk said “Jiggy.” They cannot take it back. It happened.
This Time, We’ve Got Ralph Ellison Quotes
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” Yeah. Yeah, that one sticks with you.
Okay, There Were Some Less Great Bits
Melvin and Betsy! Awwwww. Well, kind of awwwww. It’s great to finally see her, but also upsetting, given what happens to Melvin. Hopefully she got away safe?
Bullseye needed either more or less development? Did we need him to have a tragic backstory that played fast-and-loose with real mental illnesses? (We didn’t, it was upsetting.) But at the same time somehow he seems like a shallow dive of a character? His bullseyeing is quite effective however. We will keep those combat skills for more good action sequences.
So, what do you want to yell about? Let us know your Daredevil feels in the comments!