Season one of Daredevil ends with an episode named for the main character. “Daredevil” wraps up a lot of loose ends, and gives the cast of characters some measure of hope. From the beginning, Daredevil was supposed to return in “The Defenders,” and has also been confirmed for a second season with more Marvel characters appearing in it.
It doesn’t start off on a high note for the cast. Ben Urich was murdered last episode, and this one starts with his funeral. Matt’s confidant, Father Lantom, conducts the funeral. I somehow don’t see Urich as Catholic, or religious at all, but maybe Matt pulled some strings. Matt and Karen are devastated by Ben’s death. Doris, Ben’s widow, tells them Ben died doing what he loved, and left her well provided for with his insurance. So at least they don’t need to worry about her.
Matt, fully Catholic, blames himself for Ben’s death. Karen is feeling much the same way, but probably with more reason. She pushed Ben into going forward with the investigation more than anyone, and she’s the one who brought him to Fisk’s mother. Fisk has used his hold on the media to make sure there’s virtually no mention of Ben’s death anywhere.
Fisk isn’t really having an easy time of things either. He’s still grieving over Wesley’s death, and rattled by Vanessa’s poisoning and Gao’s departure. This is when Owlsley drops a few more surprises on the crime lord. Owlsley is holding some leverage over Fisk and intends to leave with half of Fisk’s money. Credit where it’s due, that’s really brave of Owlsley to do. Stupid, but brave. Owlsley has seriously underestimated Fisk’s capacity for rage, and it goes really badly for him. As a point of interest, there’s a Daredevil foe who has Owlsley’s name, and Owlsley mentions his son a few times. I wonder if he’ll be popping up in future seasons.
Matt and Foggy have a talk at Matt’s workout spot. Foggy had known about the place, but thought the old gym was something to do with Matt’s father. They talk about Ben’s death, Karen being mad at Foggy, and the real reason Foggy didn’t go to the funeral. Turns out he had a decent excuse.
Sergeant Mahoney, sort of this show’s version of Batman’s Jim Gordon, talks to Matt and Foggy. His visit from the “masked man” got him thinking about things he’d noticed in his precinct. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense about the investigation, or lack thereof, into Ben Urich’s death.
At the law office, Karen, Matt, and Foggy are working together again, making them all happier. They compare some thoughts on the masked man. Matt and Foggy bobble a few questions from her, since they are now both trying to keep Matt’s secret. They do eventually manage to find a lead.
Fisk sends his assassins out to deal with Hoffman, the crooked cop Owlsley was using to keep Fisk from killing him. We saw how well that worked. The assassins manage to find Hoffman, but Daredevil finds them. It’s another of their subtle fights that’s more heard than seen. Daredevil sends Hoffman to Mahoney to start giving evidence about Fisk. There are several scenes of Fisk’s crooked contacts being arrested, which makes Foggy’s friend Marcie smile and Vanessa look irritated.
Just before he’s arrested, Fisk tasks Vanessa with something, but we don’t get to hear what it is. Fisk’s arrest is very public, and celebrated by Matt, Karen, and Foggy. They drink to Marcie for helping, and to everyone Fisk hurt. Now, this seems like an anticlimactic wrap up for a show about a hero and a villain, so you know there’s more coming.
Fisk, to no great surprise, escapes in a hail of gunfire as soldiers for hire show up and take out the convoy transporting him. Foggy is supportive of Matt going out as a hero for the first time, and we also (FINALLY) get to see the actual Daredevil costume, not mail-order urban ninja. What follows sort of sums up a lot of the season.
Fisk has some elaborate plans laid out for his escape. Daredevil finds him. What follows is a long and really brutal fight between the two of them. Fisk’s rage versus Matt’s skill and weaponry makes for a really ugly scene. This one is really not for the squeamish, but it’s really well done. At the end, Daredevil is victorious and even manages to turn Fisk over to Mahoney, in another somewhat Batman-like moment.
There’s finally media coverage that’s not favorable to Fisk after his arrest, escape, and re-arrest. The paper covers all this and debuts the actual Daredevil name. Karen and Foggy critique the name and costume, which must be especially amusing for Foggy. Karen isn’t stupid, though, and I wonder if she knows more about Daredevil than she is letting on. All three of them go back into the office to face the more mundane issues of being a law firm with no clients.
The last two scenes are nicely done opposites. Fisk is in his cell, staring at the wall, as we’ve seen him do several times before. He has the marks from his fight with Daredevil all over his face. Daredevil himself is up on a roof. He hears a cry for help, pulls out his club, and the season ends as he leaps into action.
What I liked: I’ve said this several times throughout this season, and I’ll say it again: This might be the best interpretation of a comic book character I’ve seen. From me, that’s even more impressive than it might sound, since I’m both a serious superhero fan and, in the past, Daredevil has been one of my least favorite characters. They changed that here. The fight scenes are really well done, from the choreography to the cinematography. The writing was great and everyone on the show did a great job, main characters to minor support, like Sgt. Mahoney and Father Lantom.
What I didn’t: For someone as smart as he was, Owlsley was possibly a bit overconfident. Then again, I have some real life experience with criminals and some of them are like that, and with less reason than Owlsley.
I’m giving this episode, and the season, a rare 5 out of 5 from me. It was just amazing. Season two is confirmed, as is Defenders. Season two will have both Elektra and Punisher. That might be a bit too much, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt after this season. On to Jessica Jones!!!