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Marvel’s Daredevil (Season 3) 3.1-3.6 Review

October 20, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Daredevil Season 3
8.5
The 411 Rating
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Marvel’s Daredevil (Season 3) 3.1-3.6 Review  

Author’s Note: This is a spoiler-free review based on screeners for the first six episodes of Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3 that were provided by Netflix.

Marvel’s Daredevil finally returns for its third season. The show took a year off to accommodate The Defenders miniseries, which ended with Matt Murdock’s closest friends and allies believing him to be dead, but an epilogue showed that he somehow managed to miraculously survive the events at Midland Circle. Unfortunately, the pain and losses of The Defenders have left Matt both physically and emotionally in shambles. Season 3 of Daredevil showcases Matt (Charlie Cox) in the midst of an identity crisis, while Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) seeks to escape the confines of Ryker’s Island and restore his criminal empire.

Season 3 of Daredevil resets the focus back to Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk. It was rather obvious from the events of Season 2 that it was only a matter of time before Fisk would find a way to get out and wreak his revenge on those who put him there. Fisk finds an easy mark in Rahul “Ray” Nadeem (Jay Ali), a down-on-his-luck FBI agent who is struggling financially and is trying to stay above water to provide for his family. He’s easy prey to a master manipulator such as Fisk.

His near-death experience at Midland Circle has made Matt a psychological wreck, and he’s seemingly lost all use for his civilian life. He does resume his vigilante activities, but he’s growing far more reckless. Charlie Cox once again puts in a dynamite performance as the character, taking Matt to some darker corners than he’s ever been before.

Vincent D’Onofrio returns for a much more sizable role as Wilson Fisk this season. It seems prison was only a minor setback for him and an opportunity to refresh himself and clear his head. D’Onofrio is arguably just as much, if not more so, the star of this series than Charlie Cox. This season even shows him wearing a comics appropriate white suit, and D’Onofrio fully embodies one of the greatest rogues of the Marvel Universe.

One of Season 3’s more mixed aspects so far is the emergence of a new adversary for Daredevil in the form of Agent Benjmain “Dex” Poindexter (Wilson Bethel). Fans will recognize that name as one associated with Daredevil arch nemesis Bullseye.

This is a very different rendition of the character. Here, he’s pretty much at ground zero. He starts out as a deeply troubled individual, who is working for the FBI, and he’s ultimately manipulated to take up the Daredevil mantle. Basically, this character doesn’t seem very Bullseye like.

To be fair, a lot of Marvel Universe characters have undergone significant changes and makeovers in being adapted for film and television. However, Poindexter’s depiction so far is a tougher pill to swallow. The work Wilson Bethel here is interesting. The character has Bullseye’s skills, but his characterization and personality are far removed from the arch enemy of the comics. It’s not as faithful of a take on the character as say Matt Murdock or Wilson Fisk were.

The character might finish better than where it started. On the outset of the season’s first half, it seems as if a few too many liberties were taken to reframe the character for the Netflix series. His relationship dynamic with another character came off as incredibly derivative from a crucial, flawed relationship from the Star Wars prequels. It doesn’t really work for Bullseye. Hopefully, by the end of the season, there’s a greater sense of who this character is and his identity as a Daredevil rogue.

The best addition to the cast this season is easily Sister Maggie, played by Joanne Whalley, who works at the same church as Matt’s friend and confidante, Rev. Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie). She offers a very strong presence and an interesting new relationship dynamic for Matt to play off of this season, as she tries to help Matt repair his shattered psyche.

Daredevil

Fans who were expecting this to be the “Born Again” season would be wrong. For starters, Matt’s life is already in tatters at the start of the season. Certainly, there are some ideas and tonal themes that are clearly inspired by the “Born Again” story, but it’s not the TV adaptation of that story.

One of this season’s greatest strengths is easily in Matt’s internal battle and coming to grips with his failures. That’s juxtaposed against Fisk getting out of prison and attempting to restore his empire, and these two forces are battling for the soul of Hell’s Kitchen. For Matt Murdock, this is outwardly shown through his giving up the Daredevil costume and going back to his black rags. It’s representative of his darker emotional state as he pushes people who care about him away and fails to find a balance between his identity as Matt Murdock and being a masked vigilante with abilities.

D’Onofrio returning as a regular this season is fantastic, since he truly owns this role and character unlike any other. Every move Fisk makes has a purpose. Every action he takes has an intent. This is a character and performance that should be getting way more awards acclaim but sadly won’t due to obvious biases.

Like the previous seasons, there is an elaborately staged fight sequence that’s presented all in a single take. It’s a good prolonged fight sequence that gets quite dark and aggressively violent. This scene is not quite as strong as the previous single-take fight sequences that have become a trademark of this show, but it’s a good one to say the least.

Daredevil

It’s hard to judge Season 3 based solely off the first six episodes. This only feels like a small chunk of a greater story without the whole picture, which is one of the good things about the Marvel Netflix shows. They are more about telling a greater story in multiple parts rather than a really long season with a lot of boring filler. There’s certainly no filler here. However, there are some kinks and rough edges to Season 3 in terms of pacing and plot holes. What appears to be a plot hole now could get explained away by the end of the season. It’s a good start so far, and it sets the stage for a potential climactic return to form for the character. How new showrunner Erik Oleson lands the dismount remains to be seen.

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Daredevil Season 3 is so far off to a strong start. Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk are once again waging war for the soul of Hell's Kitchen, but there are new adversaries and parties on the scene. Matt's psyche is in tatters, and he's struggling to find some measure of balance in his life. Meanwhile, Fisk appears to only be growing stronger and more coming. The interpretation of Bullseye is so far one of the lesser aspects this season, but will hopefully have a stronger payoff after a rough start.
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