The Devil is back in town

Remaining in the shadows is the protector of Hell’s Kitchen, solidifying his status as a strong figure in Marvels television universe, even more so after the abrupt cancellation of two of its Netflix titles. It makes you wonder what sets Daredevil apart—how it stays inventive and impressive—and the third season has all the answers.

It’s not easy to mount yet another vigilante-driven story. And after the second season had degraded itself to setting the pieces for “The Punisher” and “The Defenders,” the next one had to embody the very core of what makes Daredevil the hero that he is: Redemption.

Hell’s Kitchen has always been so keen in making monsters of men. The transformations that Marvel fans are subjected to witness are ones that call for frustration, for sympathy, for sorrow. And when we meet Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) once again, he has gained an irrevocable change of perspective.

The thing about the third season is it doesn’t waste any time in making sense of what came before it; at least what was already shown on screen. It only knows of the consequential now and focuses on what lies ahead. Sure, the story allows Matt to mourn over his loss (by that I mean Elektra), but only to direct that frustration to snowball into existential doubt.

He begins to question his supposed calling and promised salvation. This is where the great irony pans out: Daredevil, whose guiding principle was that every one was capable of redemption saw himself unworthy of it.

And this is exactly where the picture becomes clearer: Before us is a story about fighting for Daredevil’s soul.

The third season takes us in with such visceral methods. We get to see the world with Matt’s very own senses, with his inner demons even taking shape on the screen. We are let into the turmoils in his head, the exasperation that takes toll on his body. Never before has Daredevil been so transparent and all too human.

Matthew says he has outgrown what his suit once stood for. He insists the city no longer has a need for him to be Daredevil, and there never was. But things take a turn when what remains of his ego and flailing purpose get assaulted once he hears of Wilson Fisk’s (played dutifully by Vincent Donofrio) release from prison.

Fisk has this undeniable charm as a villain that’s truly deceptive. This season reattempts to position the Kingpin as a good man, much to the rhythm of his introduction during the show’s debut. It even manages for viewers to fear for Fisk’s life, only to leave them surprised by his schemes.

Daredevil 3 comes with a much welcome briskness, and the only time it slows things down is when it reveals FBI Special Agent Ben Poindexter’s (Wilson Bethel) backstory. It carefully builds this antagonistic arc, showing the quiet wrath of Bullseye and emphasizing why he should be feared. Bullseye’s illustrious descent as a villain shows his constant battle with becoming good, and it is one that demands solicitous disappointment.

More importantly, this villain’s origin doubles as a mighty revelation of the Kingpin’s diabolical genius. However, it almost seems too convenient that Fisk is on top of everyone’s game throughout the whole season. The absolute control given to the character makes for a deliberate clairvoyant, where there is a duality of sensitivity and savageness.

The antithesis of what Poindexter had become is also embodied by another FBI agent, Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali). The character is forced into crime. He is a family man painted as a pawn left with no choices to make, until in the right moment he realizes he is capable of one.

The story doesn’t require the audience to interpret the motivations of its characters. It purposely reveals every bit of it, leaving little to the imagination. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing—and, for the show’s sake, it actually works.

Daredevil 3 is made up of all these individually tragic narratives that are eventually linked together and manipulated by a man unworthy of the monopoly of power. These are stories told for the very purpose of questioning one’s essence more than it is concerned with the long-running conflicts of morality.

The thing with Daredevil is it stains each and every character, and has so ever since. It brings together people that are never just good nor bad. The story allows itself to uncover the flaws, the dark secrets, and the complicated pasts.

This season has particularly brought itself to dedicate episodes for each character in its narrative. Each of the plots are capable of bringing its audience to tears, keeping them on the edge of their seats as they expect death. It doesn't contain the series under just one genre, and wraps up the story in such a well-calculated manner. 

Though the show has the excitement of brute and brawl, it very much knows how to make people vulnerable. 

Daredevil 3 is another moral stand-down, a polarizing crisis of identity. But the reluctant hero couldn’t have said it better himself: There’s no way you can destroy who he is.


Photos courtesy of Netflix.

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