Daredevil: A New Napkin


A future we’ll never see

Everything comes to a head here, as Matt Murdock’s crusade runs headlong into Wilson Fisk’s webs and machinations. It’s the true Daredevil versus the Kingpin, with Dex the Faux-Devil running around in the background. Fisk has an army of thugs, an amazing reach, and seemingly limitless resources. Matt has a black costume, not even his armored one and special club anymore, a gutsy lawyer, and a dogged reporter, with a few honest lawmen backing them up. It doesn’t sound like much of a match, does it? This is both the season and series finale, so there will likely be spoilers below for “A New Napkin,” and yes, that title makes sense eventually.

The episode opens with Matt skulking on a rooftop in his black Dark-Devil costume while Fisk picks out clothes from his lavish closet. There’s a nice dissolve between the two as the radio news shows how good a job Fisk’s machine has done of spinning public opinion. Matt has captured Felix, Fisk’s driver/fixer, and is going to extremes to make the man talk. Fisk, on the other hand, is preparing for something special. Matt makes threats and finally does something impressive to loosen Felix’s tongue, getting a new name to investigate, while Fisk has a heart to heart with Vanessa.


Mahoney shows up to clean up after Matt’s interrogation, and Felix gets in an amusing final line. Foggy shows up to talk to the detective, making a tough decision to do what he thinks is right and taking a stand against a close friend. Mahoney, too, has mixed feelings about this, and snaps out his own conditions for what he’s going to do. SAC Tammy Hattley holds a press conference, spewing Fisk’s lies and blaming one of her own crimes on a fallen coworker. Karen and Foggy debate what to do next, and how it seems Fisk is going to get away with everything. Karen is beginning to side more with Matt’s methods than Foggy’s. The lawyer’s optimism and analysis of Matt’s religious beliefs gets interrupted when Dex calls and asks him to come in and answer more questions for the FBI. Karen is worried, but Foggy resolves to go.


Dex greets Foggy with a joke, and the lawyer, no dummy, takes some immediate precautions. Dex brings Foggy in to a very unexpected meeting with the survivor of one of the many deaths orchestrated by Fisk this season. Foggy and the survivor have two very different conversations, showing both of them are damn clever, Overconfident and reliant on gadgets, Tammy and Dex give Foggy the room, and a new plan takes shape with an important discovery. Dex might be forgiven for not paying more attention, since he gets a call from Matt about this time promising a meeting and the recovery of his suit. They taunt each other until Matt namedrops someone that’s very important to Dex and sets him on edge. Matt gets in the final word and rattles the killer.


Foggy and Karen go over their new evidence, and Foggy walks Karen (and the audience) through an important legal term as they find specific details and names as things go on. Foggy calls this a silver bullet for Fisk, and he might well be right. Dex follows up on what he was told, as Matt shadows him from above. The killer agent makes a shattering discovery, and Matt, via cell phone (he’s no idiot, at least not all the time), walks Dex through what must have happened. Matt prepares to crash an event while Karen goes to Ellison to share the good news.


Some familiar faces are coerced into attending a special event, which some of them handle better than others. Dex makes his own unique arrival, bringing an uninvited and unexpected guest along. Dex might not be in black tie, but he’s dressed to make an impression. The big event gets marred by the timely, and apparently one step beyond viral, release of a video that I suspect New York will see a lot of over the coming weeks. Most of the guests decide it’s a good time to be someplace else, leaving Fisk to snarl helplessly and, for once, powerlessly.


Things go from bad to worse as Dex puts in an appearance and all hell breaks loose. It’s an odd fight with Dex-Devil doing his best to kill Fisk, and Matt both saving the gangster and not letting him get away. Dex carves a path through Fisk’s security, using his special talents. Vanessa proves to be the smarter one involved as they flee for their lives. The chaos spreads as news of the attack ripples outward and more sides get involved. The major fight relocates to the penthouse as the fists, and whatever Dex can lay hands on, fly. Matt, on the way up, talks with Fisk’s aide Shelby, who isn’t happy to be working for her boss, and does as Matt tells her to. It’s a chaotic, messy, freewheeling fight that utterly destroys Fisk’s place and leaves the three men battered and bloody, with Vanessa unharmed, thanks to the efforts of two of the three. Dex is finally defeated and Matt and Fisk come to a sort of mutually-assured destruction style truce. Mahoney leads the cops in to mop up, and gets two great lines, one about Daredevil and one later to Fisk. The good guys finish mopping up, and Matt gets a hero pose up on a roof.


Much later, Matt and Sister Maggie have a conversation at the church. Matt has come to accept a lot of things that enraged him earlier, and he and Maggie arrive at an agreement for a future we’ll never see. At Lantom’s funeral, Matt speaks eloquently, invoking a lot of the past, hope for the future, and even one of Daredevil’s nicknames. Karen and Matt talk after the service, and come to some understandings of their own. Marci and Foggy get an entertaining scene together that shows how good their relationship is, and then Foggy goes to live up to a promise.


There’s a wrap-up party at the Nelson family shop, with several things being resolved, including Theo’s problem and the elder Nelsons’ future. After wrapping things up with Theo, Foggy rejoins Matt and Karen, and they plan for the future. Matt gets teased about moving back to his apartment, and Foggy gets the titular new napkin to write something up. Things look good for our heroes, and there were clearly new stories planned. I’d like to have seen them. There’s even a passing reference to one of the other Defenders, jokes about how they’re going to get paid, and where they can get rid of some of the unique payment. The final scene shows more planned future for one of the bad guys, and a nod to their comic book version.


What I liked: The good guys won without anyone having to cross too far over their lines. The victory was from a good man’s sacrifice, and matched the more heroic tone this show has than some of the other Marvel/Netflix ones. The final fight was amazing, and things worked out believably. This was more high quality work, so they went out on a good note. Mahoney got some good final lines.


What I didn’t: There was clearly more planned, but at least it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. Between Dex’s final fate and Marvin being arrested a while ago, Matt doesn’t have his costume and doesn’t have a good way to get a new one. And, as with the other series, I really didn’t want this one, or their world, to end.


I’ll give this season a 4 out of 5, the episode a 4.5 out of 5, and the series a high 4 out of 5.


Another corner of the Netflix-verse goes dark.