Season 3 of Daredevil quickly establishes why it is the flagship series in the Netflix Marvel Universe. Season 1 was the origin of a hero, Season 2 was the moral compass of a hero, and Season 3 is the deconstruction of a hero. When a hero has lost everything, it is in these moments the story has a potential for greatness.
In this review, we talk about the different directors and what they bring to the first six episodes. This discussion on directors might lead to very loose spoilers. If you want to watch Season 3 spoiler-free do not read any further.
In the first six episodes, you are given a broken hero, the return of the Kingpin, and the origin of Daredevil’s greatest foe. With Charlie Cox leading the way, alongside a diverse group of writers and directors, season 3 has a scope and feel ripped directly from the source material. The cinematographer Christopher LaVasseur and stunt coordinator Gary Stearns need a special mention as the fight scenes this season are over the top, and there is more of a reference to Matt Murdock’s boxing background.
Episode 0301 – 4.5 stars
Directed by Marc Jobst, the first episode of season 3 has to connect the dots between the last episode of The Defenders and now. Matt is broken with no sense of purpose. Jobst opens the season with everything blurry, which disorients the viewer, and you recover alongside Matt. The injuries to Matt impair his powers, and Jobst does an excellent job conveying this aspect on screen.
The episode is emotional, and Joanne Whalley, who plays Sister Maggie, takes over through skill and a well-written script. There is no speedy recover for Matt and Sister Maggie is there to kick him in the teeth to get back up. You felt Matt’s pain. The comic book roots of Daredevil are in this episode.
Episode 0302 – 4 stars
Directed by Lukas Ettlin, this is a Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) episode. “Love is a perfect prison,” will go down as one of the great lines of season 3. Played by Wilson Bethel, we get our first look at Benjamin Poindexter and the potential of that will become Bullseye. Ettlin handles the sharpshooting abilities of Poindexter with an epic firefight in the streets of New York.
D’Onofrio embodies the Kingpin, the raw emotion he brings to the table is unmatched. His quiet calm as an evil mastermind is unnerving and chills you to the core.
Each episode builds from the previous as more and more characters are added. Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) enters the story at this point, and you are introduced to his family and the family meat shop, which is so Foggy. It also serves to elevate Foggy to a new level of likeability. Matt may be broken, but Foggy is a rock of niceness.
The way the episode ends, you are forced to keep watching immediately.
Episode 0303 – 4 stars
Directed by Jennifer Getzinger, episode 3 takes a step back and goes for more of a psychological feel. The questions start to pop up of what it means to be a hero and how that translates to the male ego. The Kingpin, Daredevil, the church, and the FBI battle between right and wrong.
Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) enters in at this point, and the first Donald Trump reference is made with, “Fake News.” Fisk looks to be the loose metaphor for Trump in series. This is also where Matt takes his first step towards a fall from grace. Getzinger’s episode gives a chance to look for a more significant meaning to the series.
Episode 0304 – 5 stars
Directed by Alex Garcia Lopez, this is the episode everyone will talk about. The fight sequence is insane and relentless. Stearns’ choreography is on a different level because you need to remember Matt is blind, he sees and fights differently. This aspect is made apparent and is so well thought out. Episode 4 is what separates Daredevil from every other Marvel Netflix series.
The emotional intensity of the episode is explosive and sets the bar for future episodes. By the end of episode 4, Lopez earned all five stars through blood, sweat, and tears.
Episode 0305 – 4.5 stars
Directed by Julian Holmes, episode 5 has to follow the best episode of the series so far by changing the pace by giving us a black and white stage play of Bullseye’s origin. This is something I didn’t think was necessary but by the end of the episode, it becomes essential to Kingpin’s master plan.
This is the beginning of the “turn” on multiple levels. The Kingpin becomes Emperor Palpatine to FBI Agent Poindexter as the mental hooks start to grab hold. Holmes films the de-evolution of Poindexter in such a way you can’t help but feel sorry for him.
Episode 0306 – 5 stars
Directed by Stephen Surjik, episode 6 has the first battle between Daredevil and Bullseye. With free rein, Surjik gives you the full spectrum of Bullseye’s abilities. As a comic book fan, this fight is one for the ages. As mentioned above, there is more of a boxing influence this season, and episode 6 is just round one. The style of the fighters and is entirely different, and you see Daredevil mentally adjusting to find the boxing edge.
Season 3 does an excellent job establishing a new villain by laying the groundwork of explosives on an emotional bridge, and the Kingpin slowly detonates the bombs until it crumbles. It is a six-episode slow built to an epic confrontation of good and evil.
So far, Daredevil Season 3 has raised the bar on what you should expect from a superhero television show.