Review: Daredevil S3E1-E6 “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”

The third season of Netflix’s Daredevil dropped on October 19th, 2018. Do You Even Comic Book’s usual suspects Vincent and Kade assembled to converse about the season and were joined by a new conversationalist, Shaun.

For this review, we included the links to the social media accounts of both the reviewers and those under review in case you would like to pass on praise directly.

Knock Knock, Let The Devil In

Devil of Hell's Kitchen, Man Without Fear Suit

Vincent: So, let’s start this conversation off with the star of the show, Matthew Murdock. Or should I only say Daredevil now? What do you both think about his new status and mentality towards his loved ones?

Shaun: Do we consider black suit Matt to be Daredevil? I associate it with a less morally driven variation, The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

Kade: I consider black suit Matt as Daredevil. It’s from The Man Without Fear mini-series by Frank Miller. A retcon for his original suit.

Vincent: I consider him the deep end of Daredevil as Shaun said, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen side of him.

Kade: Daredevil does a great job of bringing up the Devil in both Matt and his father.

Shaun: Matt Murdock is a character that rarely resonates with me. I find him to be a rather dour character. What really surprised me this season is how much I liked Matt. He came off as a man truly lost, struggling to reinvent himself. Unfortunately, you can’t move forward by going back and The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is the demon he has carried with him since childhood.

Vincent: Personally, my feelings toward Charlie Cox’s Daredevil have always been on the negative side. I’ve never really dug the direction of Matt in the shows. This season saw Matt go off the deep end and fully embrace Daredevil, but the execution was still lacking for me. I wanted to see him embody the Devil fully, but so far he seemed to hold on to both his demons and his faith in others.

Having Wilson Fisk represent Matt’s dark side was probably this show’s best decision because it portrayed the dichotomy between both characters and showed how much weight Matt carries on his shoulders. I wish he would have anchored himself deeper in that, cutting off his relationships fully instead of going back to them the moment he needed something from them.

Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Mitchell Ellison

Kade: Matt just lost Elektra Natchios, the love of his life, in Netflix’s The Defenders. The season gave him a crisis of faith and identity. With the release of The Kingpin added in, Matt’s past deeds seem useless. Self-doubt is the cornerstone of the Daredevil character. This makes him dour yes, but I can’t imagine him any other way.  I think that Matt’s continual seeking for help shows how foolish he is. I wish Foggy didn’t forgive him so easily.

Shaun: You mentioned that self-doubt is one of Matt’s cornerstones, Kade. I think his faith makes up other cornerstones: his faith in others, his faith in the legal system, and his religious faith. And this season sees all of them stripped from him. Fisk broke his faith in the law, his past took away his belief, and he pushed his friends away.

Also I agree about Foggy Nelson, he’s been the highlight of Daredevil since the first season. I love Elden Henson’s performance.

Kade: Foggy is, arguably, the best supporting character in the superhero genre.

Vincent: Matt truly doesn’t deserve Foggy. Let’s use this to segue into the supporting cast.

The Tyrant and His Tools

Fisk's FBI, Agent Poindexter and Agent Nadeem

Vincent: I loved Foggy because he was the sliver of hope needed in Daredevil. Foggy’s conversation with Karen in the fifth episode was beautiful and displayed the extent of his heart. It showed how much her and Matt don’t deserve him. He is the positive light that allows the show to breathe a little more and not be too heavy.

Who has been stealing the show for you?

Shaun: I low-key loved Marci Stahl. She has always been just a supporting role to Foggy’s plot, but Amy Rutberg brings a lot to the role.

Vincent: True, Rutberg always played the hell out of her role and it’s nice to see Foggy with a win.

Kade: Marci was great.

My answer is Agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter. He’s not the most comics accurate Bullseye, but he’s true to the character in other ways.  I also think Agent Ray Nadeem’s story, though distracting at times, really worked.

Shaun: I felt bad for Jay Ali, who plays Agent Nadeem. His story has to carry the burden of exposition and moving the plot forward, while also developing a character who was surrounded by  far more interesting characters like Dex and Fisk. But by the halfway point, Nadeem had won me over and I am interested where his story goes in the aftermath of the Bulletin attack. He reminds me of Agent Madani from The Punisher.

Vincent: I was initially intrigued by Nadeem’s storyline because of his money problem and his attachment to Fisk. I’m still looking forward to seeing where it goes, but Dex grabbed me as well, Kade. Wilson Bethel‘s portrayal of the character is unnervingly excellent. He crawled under my skin with a performance of a damaged man who carried a flimsy semblance of a normal life. When I watched Fisk exploit that, I felt twisted. The fifth and the sixth episodes were my favorites because of Dex’s backstory and his spectacular fall down this dark path. His portrayal of Bullseye might be different from the comics one, which is one of my favorite villains, but it’s equally iconic in its own unique way.

Shaun: I also really liked Dex, especially as a foil to Matt. Both are orphans who turned to abusing others as a way to cope. Both try to adhere to a code that they struggle with. And while Matt can’t see, Dex seems unable to hear over the voices in his head.

Matt Murdock, Wilson Fisk, Evil Persona

Kade: True. The saddest part about Dex is he could’ve been a good person. He had a chance before Fisk.

Shaun: Before we move on, we should talk about Fisk. Vincent D’Onofrio kills it in the role. I liked how we didn’t spend a whole lot of time with him for the first half of the season. It made him more sinister, allowed him to be steps ahead of the audience as well as the characters.

Vincent: I really loved Fisk this season; D’Onofrio can do no wrong. The way he handles the character showed that Fisk knows no limits. He was vicious and willing to stoop to any lows to achieve his goal, even ruining a man’s potential to serve his own agenda.

Shaun: I know you mentioned liking Fisk as a persona for Matt’s darkness, Vincent, but I could do without Fisk in Matt’s head. The villain in the hero’s head is becoming a tired trope in superhero stories. Joker to Batman’s in Arkham Knight. Slade Wilson to Oliver Queen’s in Arrow. I dunno why this trope irks me so much but it does. And we saw it just this year, in a Netflix show, with the second season of Jessica Jones.

Kade: Yeah the head thing could’ve been done better.

Vincent: I do see your point about the villain in the hero’s head becoming a trope. On the spot, I didn’t notice, but now that you mention it, it does seem overused. I think I liked it because of the execution and how Fisk being the embodiment of Matt’s dark side seems as fitting as Kilgrave being Jessica’s.

Kade: I agree, Kingpin is Daredevil’s numero uno big bad. They might fight others, but they are ying and yang.

Vincent: Tropes are tropes because they work, but they lose their effectiveness when overplayed. I can definitely see why they would irk you.

Kade: Tropes are a backbone to storytelling. It’s how they’re done that make them effective or not. The motel scene one I didn’t care for, but the boxing one where it skipped between Fisk and Matt’s dad was awesome.

Framing The Fight Against Fisk

Daredevil vs. Bullseye

Vincent: Speaking of Battling Jack Murdock, what have you thought of the action so far?

Kade: I find it ironic that Daredevil has better fight scenes than Iron Fist, given the martial arts angle of the latter. Despite this, I think this season’s fight scenes were nowhere near as awesome as the first or second season. It got bonus points because Dex’s fight style was so awesome and true to his comic book roots.

Shaun: For me, this might be the best season yet for fights. The second season got bogged down with numerous ninja fights that blurred together but each fight this season had its own flavor. An early favorite was the parking lot scene in the third episode where Matt has to escape the FBI. It felt video game-esqe, to the point I was pressing square on my remote to take down unsuspecting FBI agents.

Vincent: I’ve been hot and cold with the fights. Some early action sequences were plagued with the same problem as other seasons, because the scenes were simply way too dark to see anything. I understand Matt needs to use darkness as a tool, but I still need to get a sense of what’s going on. Bullseye’s introduction in the second episode was a quick scene that paid off in terms of developing Bullseye and it tied him to Fisk. The parking lot scene was fun to watch because it had clarity despite heavy shadows. Seeing Daredevil move through shadows and use them to his advantage had this straight from the comic page feel and the choreography was fantastic.

The scene which takes the cake was the Daily Bulletin confrontation between Dex and Matt. From start to the finish, every camera angle and moment of combat were dynamic and exciting. Having Bullseye throw office supplies felt very true to character and it was such a creative detail in the sequence.

Shaun: Matt and Dex both know their strengths and it was great watching Matt trying to close the gap between them while Dex kept evading and driving Matt back, where he had a ranged advantage. I hope we see more of this in their next fight.

Vincent: If the same energy is felt through their next fight it could last half an hour and I would still watch it without tiring!

Daredevil Season 3 Prison One Take

Kade: Whenever Dex was in a room I thought, man, what will he use as a weapon in here.

I also felt like the prison fight happened because they wanted to see how Matt would handle what the Punisher did without killing people.

Shaun: The prison fight was an amazing one take that spanned over ten minutes and had a dramatic moment in the middle. What director Alex Garcia Lopez and his team pulled off was incredible. I loved how the camera followed Matt through doors, or to the ground, or across a wall as he was dragged.

Vincent: I had problems with the prison sequence. I see what they were going for, giving a real claustrophobic feel to the fight, but I think they dragged it out just a little too much. I did like the creative camera following, which gave a unique tone to the scene.

The Best Beats

Parking Lot Fight, Daredevil Season 3
Vincent: Let’s wind things down with our favorite moments of this first half of the third season.

Kade: Definitely the fight scene at the Daily Bulletin. Seeing Dex fight with everything in the office was scary and awesome. I was on edge, unsure who would survive.

Shaun: I think my favorite part of the season so far has been the direction. Nothing has really caught me off guard story wise, but I remained captivated the whole time. Showrunner Erik Oleson has done a great job of maintaining a visual style between six different directors. I particularly love how they frame Matt, blurring the world around him.

I was also impressed with Sister Maggie’s relationship with Matt. How they were going to handle her role was one of my big questions going in, but Joanne Whalley is fantastic as Sister Maggie.

Vincent: For me, it has to be the talk between Dex and Fisk in the sixth episode. Fisk showed just enough of his hand to manipulate Dex into the position he wanted him in. The way the audio cut all background music to force us to concentrate on Fisk’s words helped to create the unnerving presence of The Kingpin. The power of the music swelling back up when Fisk says, “people like us” rose the hair on the back of my neck.

Vincent: Overall verdict?

Shaun: 4/5. The first episode had a slow start picking up the pieces after Defenders, but this is on track to be one of the best Netflix series. Phase 2 of the Netflix Cinematic Universe has been great.

Kade: Same grade. This show gives me hope for Marvel Netflix, despite recent announcements.

Vincent: I would also go for a 4/5, simply because of episodes 5 and 6, which made this season start to feel like something special.

Shaun Martineau is a young Canadian father and undergraduate with a BA in Cultural Theory and Creative Writing. He has reviewed Marvel titles for nine years but broke away in 2017 to focus more on smaller publishers like Aftershock, Black Mask, and Action Lab.

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