It’s been a long slog, but at last, I have finished ‘Daredevil’ Season 1 on Netflix, and let me assure you, this was well worth the 13 hours of binge watching. More of my thoughts after the recap…
Episode 11 opens with Fisk and company bursting into a Hell’s Kitchen ER, Fisk holding Vanessa draped in his arms, demanding aid for his lover. Leland, only interested in his own well-being, repeatedly asks if he could have been poisoned by holding one of the champagne glasses, while doctors get to work on the real patient, Vanessa. Wesley sits with his boss through it all, both aware that it was all too likely an attempt on Fisk’s life, with Fisk sending Leland to speak to Madame Gao, to see if she knew anything about the attack. While Fisk waits, Wesley receives a phone call from Fisk’s mother, where she mentions being visited by a blonde with blue eyes, who Wesley instantly knows is Karen Page. He borrows a gun and a car from a henchmen named Francis, and heads out to take care of business, knowing Fisk was too distracted at the moment to be bothered.
Karen is dealing with the fall-out from the Matt and Foggy argument, wondering whether the Law Firm is dead, as well as speaking with Ben about their trip to visit Fisk’s mother, with Ben unhappy about being manipulated thusly. With everyone not on speaking terms, she returns home and is kidnapped by Wesley, who takes her to another warehouse, where they sit across from each other to discuss what happened, Wesley’s so confident in her helplessness that he doesn’t even bother to tie her up. He reveals what he knows, and threatens everyone Karen knows if she does not begin to work with Fisk’s organization, convincing everyone working with her that she was wrong, and Fisk is a good guy. And to the credit of the show, they do not go to the damsel in distress trope. Instead, to make sure she understand how dangerous Wesley is, he takes out a gun and places it between them, warning her that he means business. However, at that moment Wesley’s phone rings (it is Fisk wondering where his #1/ best friend has gone), and that moment of distraction is enough for Karen to grab the gun, and turn the tables on Wesley. While he gloats that he would never be stupid enough to put a loaded gun on the table (right) Karen informs him that this isn’t the first time she’s used a gun. And then, to my surprise, and delight, she shoots him. REPEATEDLY. Wesley is dead, which is sad as he was a great character that I really enjoyed. Karen heads home to hide and clean the blood off her hands, knowing that she is still in a lot of trouble.
Matt meanwhile is recuperating, having Claire over to clean his wounds, and assuring her he will meditate to speed up the healing. She leaves, telling him she will always be there to fix him up, but making it clear they will never be more than friends. He visits Fr. Lanton and brings him up to speed, claiming that the devil inside him keeps pushing him to do more, to which Fr. Lanton reminds him that those might be angels inside him pushing him to be a better man. After everyone (including Claire) tells him he needs to get some kind of body armor, Matt reflects on his fight with Fisk, remembering the light armor the man had built into his suit, which stopped the blade Matt tried to kill him with. He visits Fisk’s tailor, Potter, a slow-witted man, who after losing a brawl with Daredevil, admits he is only working for Fisk to protect the woman he loves. Daredevil tasks him with creating a new suit (finally!), and leaves the man to his work.
Foggy meanwhile is back with his ex for a casual quickie before she leaves him and heads back to work. A relationship that pays off (was Foggy playing her?) when he tells her about Fisk and his dubious dealings, and how the man is going to pay, and everyone at her agency that knew would go down with him. He reminds her that she was once a good person, and she begrudgingly agrees to help, and we later learn she starts copying Fisk related files and giving them to Foggy, much to the team’s benefit (when they eventually get back together, coming up soon.)
Ben, urged on by Karen, he presents his story about Fisk killing his father as a child to his editor, who turns down the story, and accuses Ben of losing his touch. Ben turns it on the man however, and accuses him of being in Fisk’s pocket, claiming all of his crime stories since Union Allied have not been published. Incensed, the man fires Ben, sending him packing.
Matt, back out on the streets, tracks down one of Madame Gao’s couriers, following him to her heroin lair. Now dressed as Daredevil, he infiltrates the drug den, taking out Gao’s goons along the way. However, the workers there, (apparently all of them self-blinded in loyalty to Gao’s cause) turn on Daredevil, and he has to fight his way out. A fire ensures in the chaos, and Daredevil is put down by one jab from Gao, who disappears before the police arrive. Afterwards, she arrives late to a meeting with Leland, who is now wearing an armored coat of his own. They discuss how their plot to kill Vanessa failed, and Gao says she is done with Hell’s Kitchen, disappearing back into the shadows (most likely to reappear in future Netflix Marvel series).
Fisk however, after learning Vanessa is going to be ok, is furious when his men find Wesley dead, beating on Francis who allowed Wesley to head out alone. He reviews Wesley’s phone, finds the call with his mother, and begins to piece things together. He scuttles his mother out of the country, and prepares for his next move…
Ben visits his wife, who reminds him of the good he does in the world, and how he is a reporter at heart, unable to leave a good story. After their conversation, he decides to start a blog and report all he’s found to the world, to get the truth out there, telling Karen as such. When he arrives home to start writing, Fisk is waiting for him. After a tense conversation about how the internet won’t care about Ben’s words, Fisk tells him he knows about visiting his mother. Ben claims he was alone (trying to save Karen), and Fisk informs him that he is not there to threaten him. Ben brought Fisk’s mother into play, and for that, Fisk is going to kill him. In a shocking moment, Fisk strangles the storied reporter to death, ending the episode on a decidedly dramatic and sad note.
Episode 13, the season finale, opens with Ben’s funeral, where all gather to pay their respects, minus Foggy, who we assume is still on the outs with Matt and Karen. Fr. Lanton presides over the service (apparently almost everyone in Hell’s Kitchen is Catholic), and he takes a moment to ask how Matt is doing. Matt tells him he is still struggling with everything, wondering if he could have prevented Ben’s death by killing Fisk. Later, Foggy, Matt and Karen reconcile, Ben’s death being the motivation they all needed to put aside their differences and get back down to the business of stopping Fisk. Foggy and Matt seem to come to an understanding, that Daredevil needs to work with the law to get things done, which Foggy is on board with.
Fisk meanwhile, has been reviewing his finances, and notices anomalies, enough that he calls a meeting with Leland. The jig is up for the money man, and he admits to Fisk what he did, and that he plans on leaving town and taking half of Fisk’s money with him, saying that he has Detective Hoffman (the partner of the crooked cop who Fisk ordered to kill his partner), and his death will cause Hoffman to be released to the FBI, ruining Fisk. Fisk will have none of it though, enraged that Leland took a shot at Vanessa, and he attacks the man, leaving him dead (?) in a storage facility. The search then begins for Hoffman, with Fisk ordering all of his crooked cops to look for the man.
Luckily, Foggy and Matt are speaking to their police-officer contact and Matt’s super-hearing picks up on the Hoffman search, and he, Foggy and Karen track down the likely hiding place after examining papers provided to them by Foggy’s ex. Daredevil (still in the black pajamas) gets to the hide-out just in time, saving Hoffman from Fisk’s men. He orders Hoffman to turn himself in, and follows the man to ensure he does. Hoffman spills the beans to the FBI, with Foggy and Matt as his attorney’s, and we get a cathartic montage of cops, congressman, and other Fisk men being arrested by the Feds, and a scene of the Feds arresting the mole in the New York Bulletin who ratted out Ben. Fisk knows the game is over, and proposes to Vanessa as he is being arrested, after having given her specific instructions to follow right before the Feds arrive.
Team Nelson and Murdock celebrate a job well done, while Fisk is being driven in an armored car to prison. However, he still has an ace up his sleeve, and the remnants of his men engage the caravan, taking down all the law enforcement officers surrounding Fisk. He heads off in another truck to meet Vanessa, who is waiting by a chopper for him to arrive, with instructions to take off if he doesn’t make it in the allotted time. Matt and company hear the news of Fisk’s escape, and Matt heads off to stop him, with Foggy’s blessing. Before going to take on Fisk, Matt stops by Potter’s, and finally takes up his new red suit.
Daredevil tracks down Fisk’s transport, causing the truck to crash. Fisk escapes and runs down a dark alley, where he is confronted by the newly armored Daredevil. We get our first look at the red costume, and in my opinion, it’s pretty spectacular. Not too gaudy, definitely designed for combat, with a real-world feel to it (and lacking the “DD” usually depicted on the costume, a touch that makes a lot of sense in a real-world based story). They fight, an epic clash depicting Daredevil’s resilience, Fisk’s brute strength and brawny attack methods, but in the end, Daredevil wins, knocking out Fisk at last. A police car arrives, and it is Matt’s friend. Daredevil gives him Fisk and takes off, finally the hero we always knew he was.
In the aftermath, Karen, Foggy and Matt admire the new “Nelson and Murdock” sign as they affix it to the building, and discuss the new hero, Daredevil, named as such by the paper they’re holding. All seems to be well in the world, as Foggy and Matt have used the law firm to help people, as they always hoped they would, and they all know the threat of Fisk has passed. Fisk himself (finally dressed in white like the comics), is escorted to his prison cell, where he sits and stares at the blank white wall, reminding us of the white wall in his parent’s apartment he was forced to stare at while his father beat his mother, and the white painting he bought when he first met Vanessa.
In the end, the first season of the show met all of my expectations and then some, having unexpected twists and turns, a phenomenal cast (the actors playing Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk really making the series), and the best fights ever seen on television. I’m looking forward to see how the seeds planted will play out during the next Marvel Netflix shows, and hoping that ‘Daredevil’ will come back soon with another amazing season.
What are your thoughts on the show? Did it live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments below!