“Marvel’s Daredevil” makes its long-awaited return to Netflix for season three Friday. We last saw Matt Murdoch/Daredevil on “The Defenders” in 2017, but this is the newest season of “Daredevil” since season two dropped in March 2016.
The show has learned quite a lot from its messy, quite boring second season whose plot I do not remember save for the introduction of the Punisher. And I cannot forget the cheesy, predictable Elektra storyline that ended the season on a low note.
But instead of playing it safe, season three returns to the excellent storytelling that made the first season such a hit with critics and audiences. It brings back Wilson Fisk, the disturbing but charismatic villain played by Vincent D’onofrio, and delves into the lives of its supporting characters like Foggy Nelson and Karen Page outside of their connections to Matt Murdock.
Why you should watch: It takes risks.
Season three takes risks with its characters, storytelling, and experiments with style.
Rather than confining the characters to interactions with each other in the New York City neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen (which is just over 20 city blocks and is within walking distance of many other Manhattan neighbourhoods), season three separates its supporting cast, lets them leave the neighbourhood, and tells their individual stories before bringing them back together.
This means that Daredevil/Matt Murdock doesn’t get as much screen time as usual, but that’s a good thing. Because it means that the cast is a true ensemble. Over the show’s hiatus, the writers must have realised that while Matt Murdock’s Catholic guilt and ninja training were exciting for a bit, we don’t need to see much more of it anymore.
What’s hot: Wilson Fisk’s return.
“Daredevil” took a huge risk by bringing back former villain Wilson Fisk, or Kingpin. It could have gone a boring, repetitive route, too reflective of the first season. But instead, Fisk’s return makes the stakes higher than ever for Murdock, who is running from the law because of a Daredevil copycat that Fisk orchestrated.
Because of this, Daredevil is literally pitted against himself. But this also works in the figurative sense. Murdock changed a lot off-screen, and that combined with Fisk’s plans playing out successfully, you really feel like Murdock and friends are at risk. That’s an incredible accomplishment for a superhero story, because you usually always know everyone will come out on top.
What’s not: The glacial pace, and Karen Page’s journalism skills.
For a chunk of the season, the main characters barely interact with each other. It’s one of the reasons why the season works. But because it takes so much time to focus on them and their separate lives, the season moves at a slow pace that might make you stop watching. But you shouldn’t stop, because the slow burn is worth it. In the end, the pace has meaning.
Karen Page isn’t a terrible journalist. She knows how to get a story. The problem is that she will do almost anything to get what she wants. Including, without spoiling anything, violating journalistic and moral integrity. Karen gets way more to do on season three, and gets to lead her own story instead of support the male characters. But she considers changing her career. She’d make a great detective!
The bottom line: The show’s new direction is good.
“Daredevil” isn’t the greatest show on television, and isn’t breaking any new ground. But if you’re already invested in the characters and enjoy the show, the show’s new direction and the return of Wilson Fisk will impress you.
It’s well worth bingeing over the weekend. And the best part is that it’s one of those shows that you can have on while you’re occupied with other things, so you won’t miss much if you look away for a bit while folding laundry or shopping online.
Watch the trailer :
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