Well, we made it. The first chapter of Marvel’s crazy ambitious Netflix plan is coming to a close, and it’s safe to say the results were largely better than expected. The final hour of Daredevil really focused in on what’s worked over the previous 12, ending the season on an optimistic note for what’s to come.
Let’s just hope Matt works out his wardrobe issue before The Defenders.
But before things can get all punchy-kicky, we’ve got to go through some bad times. Ben Urich’s funeral takes up the cold open and the first scene of the episode proper. Everyone is sad that Fisk killed the one good reporter in all of New York, and everyone has found a way to personally blame themselves for the murder. Karen—who actually makes a pretty good case for being the cause—apologizes to Ben’s wife, who tells her that he wouldn’t have done anything he didn’t want to. (You know, unless he was tricked.) She’ll be all right, though. Ben took out a life insurance policy on himself back in the day, so his wife will have good care for the rest of her life—and presumably never be seen again.
Karen doesn’t just blame herself. She blames a lot of people, including Ben’s editor, who she believes is Fisk’s mole at the paper. She’s also pissed at Foggy for not coming to the funeral, but he says he had a good reason. Plus, there’s the looming threat that Fisk will find out that she too went to go see his mother in the nursing home. To summarize: Things aren’t great for Karen. Thankfully, Matt is there to ominously promise her that everyone responsible for all of the suffering in Hell’s Kitchen is about to get what’s coming to them.
One of those people is Leland Owlsley. With Gao gone, there’s nothing protecting him from Fisk—the man he betrayed with a poisoned glass of champagne—except for a big pile of money. You see, using his super accounting abilities, Owlsley was able to take half of Fisk’s cash before the big man realized a thing. Plus, there’s a kicker. Owlsley has Detective Hoffman stashed away, and Detective Hoffman has everything it would take to bring down Fisk, if something unfortunate were to happen to the accountant. To that Fisk says, “I don’t care” and throws Leland down an elevator shift. The murder starts a ticking clock. Fisk will have to locate Hoffman before Owlsley’s men notice that he’s missing and deliver the dirty cop to the authorities.
I think we all can agree that a Matt-Foggy makeup session has been long overdue, and that’s why it was such a relief to see the two meet up at gym during a late-night punching session. Foggy, as it turns out, couldn’t come to Ben’s funeral because Marcy had called him. The soulless lawyer from Landman & Zack, who’s working on righting herself in the eyes of Foggy, has been stealing files from the law firm with the hopes of finding something that will bring down Fisk. But this is exactly what Matt doesn’t want happening. He’s afraid that everyone who gets involved with his crusade is just another potential target for the Kingpin and his many allies. Foggy objects, however, saying that this is exactly the kind of legal maneuvering that Matt advocated in the first place, which is favorable to the inevitable alternative: somebody dying.
So now the legal team of Nelson and Murdock is back together, and the first stop is Officer Brett, who, fresh off of his own run-in with Daredevil outside of Madame Gao’s warehouse, is rethinking some things. While speaking with the officer, Matt overhears another cop talking about finding and killing Hoffman, so he knows that the clock is ticking. Back at the office, Matt, Foggy, and Karen pore over the documents that Marcy leaked, and the assistant finds a building that mysteriously disappears from a list of holdings. When Matt arrives at the building, dirty cops have already killed everyone but Hoffman, but thankfully, Daredevil has a superhero sense of timing as well. He saves the dirty detective’s life on the condition that Hoffman march straight into Brett’s precinct and offer a statement.
NEXT: The red suit appears[pagebreak]
And who are those handsome lawyers representing him? Why, that’s Nelson and Murdock, avocados at law! They present their client’s testimony as good civic duty, and a whole lot of people get arrested in an arrest montage, including Senator Cherry, Ben’s editor’s assistant, and lawyers from Landman and Zack. The most surprising bit of all of this: how nice it was to see Marcy’s subtle smile as she watched. Who would have guessed that this character would have had a mini, meaningful redemption arc? Good stuff.
With the authorities clearly on their way to arrest him, Fisk makes the necessary preparations, which include proposing to Vanessa and giving her some instructions that we’re not privy to until later. The cops haul the big man away in a police van, which is cause for celebration among Foggy, Matt, and Karen, but the popping of bottles is a little premature. Anyone would know that the second Fisk starts retelling literally one of the Bible’s most widely known stories, as if it’s new to the guards next to him. As tired as the Good Samaritan is as a metaphor, Fisk’s new conclusion about himself as the evil that besets upon the travel is fascinating. It isn’t until this moment—and more visually, when he steps out of the truck during his escape—that Fisk becomes Kingpin. It’s a great payoff and an excellent culmination for the arc D’Onofrio has guided the character through in this first season.
The breakout forces Matt into action. But first, a stop to see Melvin. The tailor informs him that the suit is mostly done, and I’ll have to find comfort in that statement and the fact that we don’t really see the costume in full light, because it’s pretty dopey. I’m sure that they’ll tinker with it before The Defenders, but the squinty eyebrow thing strikes me as all wrong. The get-up doesn’t look terrible, however, as Matt attacks Fisk’s truck. When he’s moving and flipping and going full Daredevil, Matt actually looks like a badass, and the wardrobe change feels like a major payoff for the character.
The question still remains, though: Should Fisk be able to beat up Matt at this point? Though the hero eventually gets the upper hand (or the upper-upper hand with that super punch), I don’t think the Kingpin—who’s really just a strong dude—would be able to last more than a few seconds against the hyper-sensing, ninja-trained warrior.
But, hey, it’s a comic book show!
Anyway, Brett arrives on the scene—because he’s the only cop in New York?—shortly after Matt delivers his super punch, and word of Daredevil’s heroism spreads. It’s a relatively happy ending for Matt, Karen, and Foggy, who have reestablished their law firm and secured a second season.
Daredevil’s final note was a high one for me. Even though it’s big moments (the red suit, Matt vs. Fisk) were inevitabilities, the entire cast and the writers were able to inject enough meaning into each beat where it felt like these characters were accomplishing something and that it meant a lot to them. I’m excited to see where the Marvel-Netflix universe goes from here, and I wouldn’t mind if Matt happens to pop up again before The Defenders.
How about Doctor Strange?