After far too long a wait, the third season of Daredevil hit Netflix on Friday. The series that showed that Marvel could be a force in episodic television, Daredevil has stood as a glowing example of how to translate superheroes for mature audiences. Outside of any general excitement, the series’s return comes after a hefty The Defenders finale that left Matt Murdock’s world and psyche visibly broken. Not only did his old flame Elektra return from the dead, but he was caught in an explosion powerful enough to take down a large building. The question now is where does Murdock, as well as the Devil, go from here.
Karen’s visit to Murdock’s abandoned apartment unlocks a flashback to the moment when she learned Murdock and Daredevil are one in the same. The brevity of that moment expands to show Karen’s struggle with the truth. While her close friend and former lover deceived her for so long, she still holds an appreciation for his actions when he fought for her on multiple occasions.
Murdock says he is done being Daredevil, a statement that Karen immediately calls him on. Matt appears serious about giving up the cowl, saying he doesn’t need the Devil to be a part of him anymore. Karen points out that the Devil might not be Matt’s problem. Back in the present, Foggy arrives at the apartment. After a stilted attempt at trying to convince Karen that Matt is dead, Matt’s former legal partner agrees to help Karen cover Matt’s overdue rent payments for one more month.
The Risks and Fisks of Compromise
The first new character to be introduced this season is FBI agent Ray Nadeem, an Indian-American who values two things heavily: his family and keeping up appearances. At an annual family party, he toasts the remission of his sister’s cancer after a three year-long battle while expressing his frustration that she couldn’t secure health insurance due to her illness.
At the same party, Ray’s wife reveals that all of their credit cards have been declined. Ray is under a large amount of debt, partially due to his financing of his sister’s cancer treatment. It’s also partially due to the pie-in-the-sky promises he makes to his son. This fact is reinforced in a meeting with his director at the FBI, where he is told that he has been denied the chance at a promotion or pay raise due to his debt making him a target.
Ray is assigned to the monthly errand of meeting with a prisoner that has constantly refused to work with the FBI. That prisoner turns out to be one Wilson Fisk. While Fisk doesn’t have a ton of screen time, every second is meaningful. When Ray cuts the pleasantries, Fisk, for the first time since his incarceration, expresses his selfless desire to make a deal to protect his lover, Vanessa, from being prosecuted as an accessory to his crimes.
“I Bleed Only For Myself”
Murdock emerges severely wounded from the explosion before being taken in by Father Lantom at the Clinton Church. While his body riddled with copious injuries, the most notable damage is to his senses. He complains about being deaf in his right ear and only being able to taste and smell fire and blood.
As his recovery moves from the church’s orphanage to its laundry room, Murdock continually dismisses Sister Maggie’s attempts to speak to him about faith, both spiritual and internal. Murdock compares his life to Job’s suffering, but says he is different because his pain is no longer for others. He desires to have people, even those closest to him, believe he is gone, choosing to “rather die as the Devil than live as Murdock.”
Like Father, Like Son
Regardless of Murdock’s desires, Sister Maggie continues combating Murdock’s crisis of faith. She drops her authoritative exterior in a later conversation, revealing her belief that Murdock is a hero while chastising him for giving up. She brings up Murdock’s father, pointing out that he got knocked down countless times, both in boxing and life, but he never stayed down.
This conversation, and a chance experience with a Neti Pot, are enough to get Murdock back on his feet. He begins training again despite his injuries and his senses begin to regain their strength. Father Lantom arranges a sparring session for Murdock that results in him keeping up until a punch to his deaf ear disrupts his equilibrium. He might not be all the way back, but his condition isn’t enough to keep the Devil off the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
Donning his original low-rent black hood, Murdock disrupts a crime, fighting off the criminals initially before his injuries catch up to him. As the criminals taunt him, Murdock slowly stands and tosses a pipe toward one of them as an invitation to continue the assault and kill him. The stunned criminals run away as police sirens grow louder, leaving Murdock slumping in the middle of the street as a police cruiser turns the corner. But by the time the cops arrive, Murdock is gone.
What do you think about Daredevil season 3 episode 1?