Allen: Welcome back everyone, to another exciting Lewton Bus Fireside Chat, as we continue our coverage of Daredevil Season 3. Sorry for the delay between installments, but quite frankly, we’ve all been crazy busy and synching up schedules has been a bit of a nightmare. Join us as we cover episodes 7-9, which, while less actiony than some of the previous ones, have, in this writer’s opinion, some of the juiciest drama of the season.
Diane: *throws devil-shaped confetti*
Allen: So when we last left off, Dexter, AKA Dex, AKA Bullseye, AKA Fake Daredevil, attacked the bulletin and completely demolished the Avocado’s best laid plans to bring down Fisk. Matt’s hurt, Karen and Foggy are traumatized, and the world thinks Daredevil is a villain.
Diane: Matt’s pretty traumatized, too. He’s more obsessed with Fisk than ever. He knew that Fisk was powerful, but underestimated him when he entered the prison for that scorching hot hallway brawl. Now, he’s finally seen the full extent of Fisk’s power – that he’s finally able to find someone who is as skilled and fast as Matt, with his own abilities of unknown origin.
Allen: Yeah, Matt clearly feels pretty powerless at this point. He’s tried punching and lawyering his way out of this and both have blown up in his face.
Diane: Yeah. Matt’s in a bad place, mentally. In Season 1, we heard the refrain “the Murdock boys’ got the devil in them” and this season seems to be a metaphorical exploration of that, with Fisk talking over his shoulder and being a constant presence in his mind, almost possessing him.
Allen: Yeah as we’ve discussed before, Matt Murdock and “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” have been at war with each other for quite some time, and so far, for the bulk of season three, The Devil is winning. I think the old black costume is a reflection of this, Daredevil was a middle ground between the two, an equilibrium point. But now, Matt’s almost completely been consumed and the brutality from season one has returned.
Diane: The black costume was also more fully in tune with his origins, when he was fighting alone. Back then, he didn’t have any armor because he couldn’t get it. But now he’s choosing not to have it.
I really want to talk about Foggy being a badass in episode 6.
Allen: THAT IS LAST CHAT CONTENT DIANE
Diane: THAT IS EVERY CHAT CONTENT, ALLEN.
Allen: Perhaps a more important thing to talk about is what Foggy does in episode 7.
Diane: Oh wait, I meant episode 7. I’d like to carve “F ♥️M” into a tree. Is it Marci or Matt? Both? He does love both.
Allen: Yeah this is another moment for us to talk about Marci and Foggy’s AMAZING chemistry.
Diane: One of the things I appreciate about Daredevil is that even from season 1, the joke was never that Marci, blonde bombshell, would go for Foggy. He’s not the joke. The joke is that how he would go for her, given that she was a scary shark lady. In season 3 we see that they’ve settled into a really nice relationship as equals. They support each other.
Allen: Well, we do have the answer as to why Marci went for Foggy. Foggy is apparently no slouch between the sheets. One can assume this was discovered on a drunken night in law school
Diane: Probably. When one avocado was separated from the other.
Allen: And then she realizes that Foggy is an extremely idealistic and good-hearted guy and that he’s also super smart. Plus current Foggy is super self-assured and confidence is attractive on anyone.
Diane: Foggy seems like he’s always been confident. He enrolled in Punjabi because of a girl. He was confident she was worth it.
Allen: That is a move not unlike several that I pulled in college.
Diane: What random skills did you cultivate?
Allen: Acapella and dancing. Which, for anyone that knows me, are things that I now talk about, A LOT.
Allen: it is a flawed plan though. Why dudes, (myself included) think that they can impress women by signing up for things the women are already good at, is beyond me, but we always do. It makes Foggy extremely relatable.
Diane: I think it’s more like you want to show you have something in common with a woman, but you’re going at it in a totally artificial way. Like you’re going to create something rather than do the work of talking and asking questions and discovering… cause you might find out there is absolutely nothing interesting about someone.
Allen: I think that Foggy has always had confidence in certain areas, he definitely has always styled himself a ladies man, but his confidence as a hotshot lawyer and the image he is pairing with that are new, and you can tell that Marci is really vibing with it.
Diane: Yeah, Marci clearly wanted someone who was an intellectual equal. Foggy’s not the tallest guy or the fittest guy, but he doesn’t need to be because he’s smart. Which makes Matt a completely lethal combination.
Allen: So, I think it’s also important to touch on the other characters reactions, because while Foggy recovers pretty quickly, everyone else is reeling. Nadeem, is trying to figure out what is true, Karen is trying to keep her one million secrets safe, Matt is crossing some serious lines, and in the background of it all, Fisk is ascending.
Diane: I think Foggy has always been consistent about holding strong to the law, using the law to get to the truth and to get justice. So his coping mechanism is to dig even further into the law. It’s to their credit that these characters, even if they are behaving erratically, are still consistently doing what they would typically do. Even Ellison is still trying to investigate, just from his own hospital bed.
Allen: Ellison basically does a J Jonah Jameson bit word for word from his hospital bed though. So he’s deviating a little. (Seriously, it’s almost word for word from a Jameson rant)
Diane: I think his impulse is still to confront what did this to him, though. He’s not interested in backing down. That’s great and also I hope he’s being paid well.
Allen: Matt reaches possibly his darkest point in this episode with his hanging Melvin out to dry. He knows that Melvin is easily manipulated and scared, he doesn’t care, all that matters is getting Fisk. But Matt does get what he needs out of Melvin though. He gets Dex. which springboards us into the next episode rather nicely. Because Matt convinces Nadeem to join Team Avocado, if briefly and unknowingly, to go after Fisk even further, and in the process gets Nadeem way more tied up in all of this than he can honestly afford to be.
Tanner: Lol hi
Allen: Welcome to the chat Tanner!
Tanner: So, Team Avocado. Is there evidence that our millennial heroes actually eat avocados?
Diane: I’m sure they eat a fruit or vegetable occasionally.
Tanner: Not convinced Matt actually eats. Which would explain his anger issues.
Allen: Can’t get that jacked without eating. I feel like Matt has definitely dabbled in avocado eating. At least for the sake of the ladies. After all, Matt is all about the ladies. When he isn’t self-flagellating or going on near murderous rampages that is. Matt’s a complicated dude is what I’m saying.
Diane: Sometimes he goes on murderous rampages with a lady. It’s about finding common interests with your partner.
Tanner: One thing I like about this season: the return to his original makeshift costume. (I like many things about this season to be clear.)
Allen: Yeah we’ve touched on that. Matt has regressed personally, and the regression to the black suit reflects that.
Diane: I do like the idea that Nadeem, who was so ambitious that he practically handed Fisk penthouse keys on a silver platter, has joined Team Avocado out of desperation because he no longer has any hubris.
Tanner: Nadeem having to thoroughly break down to his elements before he can start to redeem himself is a pretty powerful arc.
Allen: Yeah, Nadeem is scrambling all of episode 7. And in episode 8, he’s made a decision to act, because he finally believes that he’s screwed up. I love episode 8, because it features showcases for all of the major players. Matt and Nadeem go after Dex who returns the favor. Foggy has his speech, and Karen goes after Fisk.
Diane: Episode 8 also has our whole team working together. The plan is forming.
Tanner: With Nadeem, I thought a lot about the nature of complicity. This is really relevant to our political moment, of course – what happens when good people are trapped by forces out of their control? What does it take for good people to risk everything and take a stand?
Diane: The parallels to our government are clearly very, very deliberate.
Allen: And if you lose everything taking a stand, was it worth it?
Diane: Right, exactly.
Allen: Nadeem ends up in a real ethical and moral dilemma as of the end of episode 8. He’s tried to do the right thing to save lives, and has endangered the lives of his family in the process. And now, working for Fisk, he’s going to have to hurt people. It’s hard to say what the correct choice is when presented to that quagmire. Do we owe our family more than we owe strangers?
Diane: Nadeem wasn’t even a bad guy. He was in over his head, and he couldn’t get out. He’s in deep water because he’s not willing to drown people in order to get out of the pool.
Tanner: I don’t recall how much we’ve learned about Foggy’s bro’s situation by this point? Similar quagmire there
Allen: Yeah that comes up in episode 9. Speaking of people in deep water… DEX.
Tanner: Oh, Dex, how I love you.
Diane: Dex is so wonderfully unhinged. He’s an interesting monster.
Tanner: Dex’s occasional push and pull back toward the light is fascinating.
Diane: Is it the light, though? Was Dex the monster inevitable?
Tanner: Mm, less the light, more just a need for relief.
Diane: He just needs a nap.
Allen: Episode 8 also features everyone’s favorite scene: DUSTBUSTIN DAREDEVIL.
Diane: Dustbuster Daredevil is such a perfect shot. It was funny and disturbing all at once.
Tanner: Googling Dustbuster Daredevil…
Allen: Dex is striving for normalcy. And Julie is, in his mind, how to get there. He wants to be good. He just only knows how to be bad
Tanner: And now I’m looking at pics of vacuum machines.
Allen: Dex has a grabbag of psychological issues and has been trying to self-medicate by listening to old tapes and stalking nice people. It’s not working. His sense of right and wrong isn’t really properly there, so he needs people to tell him what is right and what is wrong. So he reaches out to Julie again… and it kinda helps. Until… you know.
Diane: Which is interesting on its own because he somehow got into the Army and then the FBI basically by being willing to become a weapon to be pointed in whatever direction. I believe he was upset that his fellow FBI agents got killed, but only because he’s been trained to believe that is a tragedy.
Allen: Yeah he strives for structure and rules. For pass/fail scenarios. And fellow agents dying is failure.
Tanner: Dex has no functional compass. Just a need for order.
Allen: Yeah his therapist straight up lied to him.
Diane: She’s a terrible therapist.
Tanner: Episode 8 has my favorite scene in the whole series: Karen & Fisk. My god those two, the suspense that hangs between their words is just incredible. It’s a tour de force of writing and performance, and quiet, loaded execution.
Allen: Deborah Ann Woll is very good at that acting thing.
Tanner: She has such immense power over him with the revelation of Wesley’s murder. It is exhilarating to see her corner him, even for just a minute.
Allen: It’s her trying to reclaim her power for sure, because she’s been spiraling for two episodes.
Diane: Woll and D’Onofrio have never had a scene like that before. It’s incredible to watch it play out.
Allen: Meanwhile, Foggy just continues to be awesome.
Tanner: The show put a lot on her and that hanging thread of her actions with Wesley, reserving it for a payoff.
Diane: So much of the impact in that scene is due to her arc, too. When we first see her she’s powerless and she’s holding a knife. She’s a victim already, and victimized even further by attempted murder and then by simply having no place to go. No job, no friends, nothing. Her acknowledging in the open to Fisk that she killed Wesley, owning her decision, and using it against him was really important for her getting closure.
Tanner: Yep. We’ve seen her sort of claw her way up, fall, up again, and to finally wield this great big emotional club is just huge, dramatically.
Diane: Because at that point, I think she’s just ready to let the chips fall where they may. She doesn’t have a death wish, but she’s been living in fear that Fisk would find out and that she wouldn’t know that he knew… now she gets to tell him.
Tanner: We need to talk about Kingpin’s naming.
iane: The boardroom scene. It’s silly and kind of great?
Allen: We’ll get to that. But first… the framing of Ray Nadeem.
Tanner: Oh, that was shocking.
Diane: I did not expect that at all.
Tanner: Somewhere I’d commented that this show has a lot of blunt, horrifying murder. That scene, I really wanted to hate Tammy Hattley, but then she’s in the same position of forced conciliation that Nadeem is now in.
Allen: Ray thinks he’s making a sacrifice play and giving up everything he’s been clawing to get, and really he’s just offering himself like a lamb to the slaughter. Walking willingly into the trap.
Tanner: So while what she does is awful, it’s no more awful than what Nadeem has done and will do.
Allen: But that’s not even the most crazy dramatic thing to happen in what is a crazy dramatic episode. No sir, because we still haven’t gotten to prayer time with Sister Maggie.
Diane: This episode is really about everyone falling into traps.Maggie obviously didn’t realize Matt would hear her. But she knew about his skillset.
Tanner: I have to say that as much as I like Maggie and her story overall, I felt like the show sort of let her go in the last few episodes.
Diane: The story, by necessity, had to focus on people who were pushing the plot. Maggie is mostly only in the church or around the church.
Tanner: Her revelation is earth-shattering, emotionally, and we see a lot of her reacting to it I suppose, but ultimately I wanted more of her as a participant in the story.
Diane: Her reaction to realizing Matt had left is really wrenching.
Allen: But yeah, the revelation that Maggie is Matt’s mom and the aftermath kinda lays bare the lie of keeping info from someone to protect them. Matt is worse off because he never had a mother.
Diane: It was especially awful because we know bits and pieces about Matt’s life, how Stick took him and trained him, but we also find out here that Matt basically felt so abandoned and alone that he never asked for anything again after someone had failed him. Even as a child, Matt had that self-punishing streak about him.
Allen: Matt has been systemically failed by every single mentor or parental figure he’s ever had. The fact that he isn’t a supervillain says so much about who he is at the core. Matt’s a disaster, but he’s a disaster that actively tries to do good. He just… struggles sometimes. He’s the opposite of Dex in a lot of ways. Dex was loved, but it didn’t matter. Matt wasn’t but he still ended up somebody that tries to be his best and make the world better.
Diane: Dex didn’t have anyone though. He had people who may have cared but ultimately weren’t his family. They weren’t friends.
Tanner: I love that Matt is mostly a dumpy sadsack throughout the season. It also manages to say some things about the difficulty of carrying on when you’re under the weight of significant depression. Where just getting out of your mom’s basement once in a while is a big deal. Literally his mom’s basement.
Diane: Hahahaha! I hadn’t thought of it that way before.
Allen: Yeah, we’ve discussed this but Matt has spent several season refusing to succumb to the weight of all of his baggage and demons, just barely keeping an equilibrium, but the combo of losing Elektra again and Fisk returning more powerful than ever just brought it all crashing down on him. Matt for the first three seasons (if you count Defenders) was shockingly functional considering what all had happened to him.
Diane: I think it was Foggy keeping him afloat. Matt and Foggy are one of the greatest friendships in comics. They have to go through a lot, both because of Matt being Daredevil and because Foggy is such a good friend he always finds a way to help Matt. If we get a fourth season I wouldn’t be surprised if they test the waters to see what would happen to Matt if Fisk really did try to hurt Foggy.
Allen: So let’s talk about Kingpin. Because the final episode of our block is his coming out party.
Diane: He’s got everything he wants. Mostly.
Allen: He’s stronger than he’s ever been. And he owned a Senator in season one. OK, so wrapping things up, episode 9 ends on a handful of back to back reveals: the scope of Kingpin’s operation, Foggy’s family being compromised and, more concerningly, the plot to kill Karen. These all stack up at such a rate that it’s almost hard to keep track.
Tanner: When next we talk, Karen will be front and center. I can’t wait to discuss the next episodes.
Allen: I think the most chilling thing about episode 9 is how well Fisk has planned all of this. Matt, Foggy, and Karen are losing because they’ve jumped into the middle of a chess game in which they were already in check. It’s hard to win a game when you don’t even know that the other side is already playing. Fisk has been maneuvering everyone into place for his ascension.
Anyone else have any final thoughts?
Allen: Well I guess that wraps it up. Join us next time as we cover episodes 10-12!