It’s been almost three years since Daredevil season two, so you can imagine my sky-high expectations going into Matt Murdock’s return. Suffice to say, this is a strong albeit unspectacular season.
Daredevil‘s debut season was a phenomenal one. However, despite Elektra’s epic introduction in the show’s sophomore year, season two wasn’t nearly as strong (and it suffered thanks to the loss of Wilson Fisk as an antagonist). Thankfully, the big bad is back this year, and he is undoubtedly the strongest thing about this season.
Something about Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance just elevates the show. He’s not your typical villain – he shows remorse and you can frequently see the guilt bubbling beneath the terrifying facade. Moreover, his love for Vanessa humanizes him, and it’s the element that drives his arc this season to compelling effect. I actually would have liked to see more of Ayelete Zurer’s Vanessa (she only appears in the final two episodes), so here’s hoping she sticks around for season four.
Also a major success is the introduction of Wilson Bethel as the iconic Daredevil baddie: Bullseye. Bethel rivals D’Onofrio with his badass performance; he’s completely unhinged and so unpredictable in each of his scenes. Moreover, every single one of his fight scenes facing off with our hero is impeccably executed. The show does a very clever job of bringing his marksmanship to life – the character literally throws everything but the kitchen sink at his opponents. Spinoff please? (God knows he deserves it more than The Punisher).
Unfortunately, Karen and Foggy continue to be the show’s weak links. Every time these two appear on screen, Daredevil‘s momentum comes to a terrifying halt. It’s a needless distraction from Matt’s story, and I fail to see why the writers think these two characters are so important. Karen actually gets a whole episode dedicated to her backstory towards the end of the season, and although it’s heartbreaking and effective, it’s too little too late. Just imagine how much more impactful the season would have been if all their screen-time was diverted towards Matt, Fisk and Poindexter?
– Season one had that unforgettable hallway one take, season two had the stairway battle, and season three features an 11-minute prison sequence that’s a real joy to behold. This show just consistently surpasses what’s possible on a television budget.
– I wonder if everybody else had the Sister Maggie twist spoiled. I remember reading about it at the end of season two, so the reveal of her being Matt’s mother halfway through the season fell completely flat to me. Still, Joanna Whalley is wonderful in the role and I’d love to have her remain as a permanent part of the show.
– The fight between Daredevil and Bullseye at the Bulletin is one of the finest things ever made. I could rewatch it forever.
– Does anybody else feel like moving into Fisk’s penthouse? Dayum!
– No Elektra this season. Why? Major letdown after she was such a highlight in season two (and singlehandedly saved The Defenders).
– The dialogue is far less witty this year isn’t it? What a shame.
– Jay Ali was a welcome addition to the cast as FBI agent Ray Nadeem (and hey, Nadim is my first name so kudos for exposure). Did they have to kill him off?
– Loved the 3-way battle between Daredevil, Bullseye and Kingpin in the season finale. The best part? It’s so brightly lit that you can see everything!
While it doesn’t rise to the heights of the show’s debut year, Daredevil‘s third year is a definite improvement over season two thanks to the introduction of Bullseye and Fisk’s thrilling return.