Daredevil – Season III- A Review

Posted: 11/01/2018 in Uncategorized

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I have rarely been this satisfied with anything entertainment wise, be it cinematic or small screen but DD Season III just sets the bar so damn high. Brutal, beautiful, redemptive, unhinged and just amazing. My thrilled review follows below.

Season 1 seemed to right any wrongs perceived or otherwise from Marvel’s first cinematic attempt. Charlie Cox is Matt Murdock. Bringing heart, sorrow, anger, pain and arguably the most repetitive bouts of kick-assery, Cox has made the role his own. This is equally the case with Vicent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. Holy hell. After the last two seasons, I didn’t think this character could get more calculatingly vile….I was pleasantly amazed. Playing the role as if he was campaigning for the role of Satan himself, D’Onofrio is Wilson Fisk. Each actor goes out of their way to cast each performance in stone. No one should endeavor to touch either character after this series, anymore than anyone should attempt to surpass Christian Bale’s Batman or Heath Ledger’s Joker. They both get it so thoroughly right. Even the most critical of fans cannot fault either actor’s performance…well, they can… but they shouldn’t….

Netflix has been cancelling their Marvel based fare of late and the fear that the Man Without Fear might be joining those ranks should be a non issue, but who can say? If this is to be the series last volley, they have exited with such a powerful punctuation of affirmation I can surely live with.

The trifecta of DD, namely Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Foggy Nelson (Eldon Hensen) and of course Matt Murdock all get powerful arcs and the feeling of matters coming full circle is assuredly not presented as inevitable. Matt’s initial return is hard won and his faith seems as broken as his body. This is one very, very dark season- emotionally, spiritually and physically. The introduction of Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley) brings up the show to an even greater level as her role as Matt’s former guardian and hard assed teacher seems to fill the slot made absent with the absence of Stick (Scott Glenn). Her role however grows into so much more. Whalley is profoundly good in this role. Her backstory is formidable and while hard edged and prickly, like Matt, she is possessed of a deep sense or grace and desire for repentance. She is also a bit of a bag…which plays terrifically well as  huggy chum is not how this show rolls.

Karen actually gets an episode all her own titled “Karen” and we finally get her back story with the emotional punch and delivery we have been promised since season 1. Woll is terrific and her desperation rolls out of her in a complex and variegated performance. At her core there is anger, beneath it shame and like Matt and Sister Maggie, the desire and need for redemption. Her fearlessness is astounding particularly in her scene with Fisk where the air all but crackles with his menace and her wrath.

Elden Henson takes Foggy to a new level of bravado, strength and bravery. His attempting a campaign for the DA position was pretty damn outstanding. The transformation of kindly yet likable “Foggy Bear” to a genuine force really began in Season 2 and season 3 allowed as his girlfriend Marcy (Amy Rutberg) intimated that it is his time to stand out. His meeting with the police force at the town hall was superior. His engaging DA Tower (Stephen Rider) before being derailed by Karen was equally outstanding. The relationship dynamic between Foggy and Marcy has evolved as well into something more healthy. His family’s presence was also good to see, fleshing out an already richly written character. Of the trio of friends that form this series, he is by far the healthiest and forthright.

Wilson Bethel as Agent Ben Poindexter or “Dex” however, like Alice Eve’s “Typhoid Mary” in Iron Fist Season II, was one to watch. Bringing a long time nemesis to life on the small screen, Bethel makes the role his own. Presenting the most damaged, vicious version of the man who will become Bullseye, Bethel kills with his performance. He is manic, unsettled, wild and unpredictable. Fisk’s manipulating him into becoming the man without fear occurs organically and again exhibits how Fisk is truly the ultimate nemesis for Daredevil. His depiction of a man striving to not be lost is riveting. (An interesting fact is that Bethel very nearly had the role of Captain America eventually taken by Chris Evans. After his run as Dex/Bullseye, however, it is impossible to see him in such a heroic role)

Fisk’s own arc is intensely riveting. His amassing power from within the prison informed last season but sees amazing expansion via season 3. His brokering his ascension to his true role as Kingpin, including comics accurate attire, was perfect. His interactions with the FBI were downright unsettling. Agent Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) is at the heart of Fisk’s masterstroke and Ali’s performance as a man trapped,and realizing how deeply screwed he truly is, was terrifically watchable tv.  D’Onofrio is one of our generation’s greatest actors, His restrained performance is downright taut so that when he explodes, it is all the more breathtaking. His penchant for violence only sees two real outbursts in this 13 episode run but wow…they are effective.

Two episodes allowed for this series being tagged at the highest of echelons of viewing. The entirety of the church onslaught was stomach churning-ly powerful. The fight sequences this season were different. We meet a wounded DD from inception after the aftermath of Midland circle and even with a hard won recovery, he will never be the same. Seeing him adapt and demonstrate the even as is…he is arguably the most capable natural fighter going…never gets old, Whether fighting multiple opponents in close quarters, namely the prison, or one on ones with Dex or Fisk, Cox’s fight choreography sets the bar impossibly high. No show comes remotely close. The second ep and finale,  which is again…unhinged, .”New Napkin” was as unfettered as any show could be.

If this is to be the show’s last run, it is incontestably a victory lap. An earlier discussion between Fisk and Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) presents her response to Fisk’s admission about being ‘broken’ with her own ‘being broken together with pieces fitting’. With the exceptional writing restoring the series’ initial alliance, I would offer Hemingway’s own thought on the matter: ‘we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in”. Daredevil Season III is incandescently good, either completing a journey with a balance of tribulations and grace or setting the stage for battles to come.

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Comments
  1. I’m about halfway through DD season three and am surprised at how good it is. I’m usually disappointed with Netflix’s Marvel shows, but so far, this is the best one.

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