Daredevil, final episodes *spoilers*
1. I think the showrunners must have watched some Agents of Shield before writing this season of the show. Firstly because the season, taken as a whole, is far more cohesive and better paced than really any of the other Netflix shows, with none of the third act filler that has shown up in pretty much all of them. Agents of Shield has become an incredibly tightly paced show, with very little fat in narrative terms, as well as turning intriguingly political at the most unexpected moments. Which I mention, because I think what the show does with Fisk, and how he uses rumour, innuendo and money (mostly gained from dodgy New York real estate dealings) to manipulate public opinion and make the legal system effectively inoperable when it comes to him, is incredibly interesting (if unsubtle) and, for me at least, almost completely unexpected. And what makes it work is that, much like AoS or BSG at their best, the political analogies seem to spring entirely naturally from the dramatic arc, rather than being forced.
2. I became, no other word for it, laughably unsympathetic to Matt in the final four or five episodes. Like, to the moment where I was giggling and saying “not so fun now, when the boot is on the other foot, is it?” when he was complaining about Karen’s suicidal acts of self-sacrifice. I have never cheered anyone so much as when Karen told him to “shut up.”
3. Also – note to Matt. TWO of your girlfriends have now been caused intense distress by the thought of never being able to live up to your good opinion. Maybe take this as a sign?
4. He had surprisingly few questions about Karen murdering Wesley, I thought. (Or maybe we were supposed to think he was putting it all together and didn’t NEED to be told the circumstances, but still…)
5. As for Karen…Deborah Ann Woll is such a fabulous actress. The Daredevil writers team have been remarkably stingy with her dramatic material, very rarely giving her scenes she could sink her teeth into. But the scene between her and Fisk is probably the single most tense scene the show has ever had, and she dominates it effortlessly.
6. Also, man, Karen has had a tough life. Opportunity after opportunity ripped away from her, often (but not always) because she has been running away from herself for so long, so driven by horrible guilt, that she has compounded that first mistake (unintentionally). It’s no wonder Matt, Foggy and Frank are so important to her – much like Matt, she simply cannot face the thought of losing someone again. (A character note I liked is that losing Foggy would be every bit as devastating for her as losing Matt). That said, she desperately needs Marci, who is so lovely, to take out for cocktails, because good lord she has far too many melodramatic men in her life.
7. The swarm of bees sound effect they used for Bullseye got old fast.
8. I wish some of the initial writing for Ray Nadeem had been better thought out. How the show uses his story – as a counterpoint for Matt and Karen both – is really clever, but the building blocks of the story (his family, his debt etc) being so perfunctory means that, even when it all ties together, it’s not as satisfying as it could be. That said, I really liked the actor – hopefully he gets more work out of this.
9. It’s fitting for a show about a Catholic hero to have unbearable guilt be a driving force in the actions of at least half the characters!
10. The shot of all the mobile phones in the Bulletin after the attack was incredibly upsetting. That said…the single most unbelievable aspect of the story is that Frank Castle didn’t come in guns blazing as soon as that happened. I feel like – short of being physically tied down – nothing would have kept him out of that situation.
11. I am intrigued by the possibility of a fourth season with Vanessa as the Big Bad. Though I note the chief reason Fisk is a compelling villain and the Hand weren’t is that we know what he wants and why.
12. The Nelsons must be a very recent immigrant family – I saw boxes of Lyons tea in the background of the final scene. (My family were always Barry’s tea drinkers, but… still an impressive reference).
13. Karen has an impressive ability to do fancy twisty buns in her hair (which I envy).
14. Matt was remarkably touchy-feely with her in the final scene (the bit where he touches the back of her neck…)