Daredevil follows Luke Cage and Iron Fist in coming back for a final season. The first episode is titled “Resurrection,” and since everyone thinks he’s dead, it’s a good pick. Matt’s apparent death was the dramatic cap to the Defenders mini-series, and shaped a lot of what happened at the beginning of Iron Fist’s second season. Now, he’s back, or at least alive, and we get to see him figure out who and what he wants to be now.
Flashing back to the destruction of the Midland Circle building, we see Matt and Elektra with debris raining down around them, a bit like the last we see of Jamie and Cersei in Game of Thrones. They get swept apart and Matt is sucked into some kind of drainage system before being spat out. Since Hell’s Kitchen isn’t near anything, really, water-wise, I’m not sure what this was supposed to be, but it was a decent, “Hey, I survived” trick if you don’t look at it too closely, I guess. I suppose this was the Hudson?
Falling in line with various tropes, he gets found, refuses to go to a hospital, and ends up with some off the grid medical care, in this case a place run by the church where he has a history. He gets cared for as best they can, and the two see most often are Father Lantom, his usual confessor, and Sister Maggie, a new character that might tie to some important stories in the comics.
Time passes, how much we’re not sure, and he finally starts to recover enough to stay conscious for a while and try and work out his situation. He’s badly wounded pretty much everywhere, and has some damage to something that’s particularly important for the world’s second blind superhero (Dr. Mid-Nite beat him by decades). Father Lantom explains a bit about how this situation is working, and Matt asks some questions that confuse everyone. Matt declines some of the Father’s offers, and wants some time alone.
Two kids creep in, wondering if the new patient is dead, and Matt spooks them. They get chased out by Sister Maggie, who isn’t your typical nun. She and Matt talk about old times, and her surprise that he’s turned out like he has. Even here, they’ve heard of “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.” Maggie is direct and sarcastic as she lays out Matt’s injuries and that he will need to relocate. Her charity extends but so far. She offers to contact someone for him, but Matt says there’s no one, which I’m sure would come as a surprise to several people.
Speaking of those people, Karen checks in at Matt’s old place, which they’ve done a good job of giving a stale, unlived-in feel. There are piles of mail, and she has some flashbacks to a few key points in her and Matt’s relationship. Her reminiscences get interrupted by Foggy showing up, a bit confused about why he’s there. They talk about losing Matt, and what Karen’s been up to in his absence. Foggy agrees to help, but only once. They share grief, loss, and some self-blame about what happened to their friend and hero.
Matt, clearly far from recovered, gets moved to a new room. There are some drawbacks to the place, but his injuries prevent them being a major concern for now. He again declines Lantom’s offer to talk, and gets some simple directions from Maggie. They talk over a few issues, and Matt spills out a litany of frustration, self-pity, grief, and anger. I can’t really blame him at the moment. Next up is a visit to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, in his prison cell. He’s not doing well, and some bad news from everyone’s favorite slimeball lawyer Ben Donovan doesn’t help.
Trying to get a feel for his new space and condition, Matt gets ahead of himself and shows he has a long way to go. Maggie comes in time to ask an obvious question and get a smartass answer. Matt is discouraged by his lack of progress in recovery (Dude, a building fell on you. Chill!), and gets some encouragement from Maggie, as well as some meds. Maggie launches a counterattack to his earlier tirade, and she doesn’t pull any punches. They debate self-pity, his history, and his father’s record. There’s a painful example of habit with his reaction when he hears some sirens after she leaves.
Restless, he paces his room, and finds a few things. Trying something new, he has a sharp reaction and starts making a lot more progress in his healing. I wonder if he’s been anywhere near tranquil enough to try the meditation healing he mentioned back in season one? He starts pushing himself, and once again gets reminded he’s not back to peak condition. Maggie returns and Matt rattles off a lot of things that indicate his abilities are returning. Maggie arranges a very unconventional treatment/therapy session, that Lantom doesn’t like, and shows Matt is getting there, but nowhere near who he used to be. Later, he talks needlework and Mass with Maggie.
Never one to pass up a chance to punish himself further (a trait of many adult Catholics), Matt fashions a version of his season one costume and goes to hang out on the roof, as all good brooding superheroes do, and recreating some classic Daredevil art. He hears a disturbance and decides to test himself more. It goes better than it has a right to, but nowhere near what he once was.
The rest of the episode detours to a new character. We see a party, hints at family problems recently beaten, and other ones in their place. The new guy, Ray Nadeem, seems like a good guy in a really tough spot, with his share of pride and desperation to not let his family down. He and his wife, Seema, talk over some difficulties, and he swears things will get better. There’s a scene to make you wonder how he’s going to do that, before they reveal what looked bad for him, and would be for most people, is just part of his job. He goes to his boss, pours out some frustrations, and gets told why some things are happening. He really is coming across as a good guy who did the right thing and is having a lot of problems because of it. His boss sends him on an errand no one expects anything of, but he gets there at the just the right time. To his surprise, he gets made a big offer, which I am sure will make his life all kinds of complicated, play on his current difficulties, and eventually draw in Matt at the very least.
What I liked: Someone who is essentially a normal human (enhanced senses don’t count for this) really shouldn’t just walk away from what Matt’s been through. I hope they don’t draw out the recovery too long, but having it be a process makes perfect sense. I liked the different ways Karen and Foggy are dealing with their loss. I really don’t like Fisk, but Vincent D’Onofrio plays him very well. Donovan popping up was a nice touch, especially since he needs a new client with his usual one finally out of the picture. Matt’s progress was done well, and, while his pushing himself the way he did it was dumb, it was perfectly in character. I liked Ray, but…
What I didn’t: …I’m feeling preemptively bad for him because I think I see what’s coming. The desperation of feeling like you’re failing your family will drive you to do amazingly stupid things you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. I know we have almost the whole season to go, but I would have liked some word on Elektra. It took almost an entire season to get Matt in costume, and now he’s back to urban vigilante 1.0.
I think this was a fine start to the final season, and I’m looking forward to seeing where all this goes. I’ll give this a high 3.5 for the first outing.