Daredevil’s finale is like the rest of the show: smart touches with flashes of brilliance and fun alongside an overuse of tropes and some ham-handed writing.
Set to the somber “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff is the funeral that Ben Urich actually deserves (albeit with a startling lack of black people, which, come on), with Matt’s priest presiding. So he was Catholic, too? That’s very narratively convenient. Also narratively convenient? The fact that Ben’s widow, Doris, tells Karen that Ben spoke so much about Karen and really admired her, and Karen is totally what their daughter would’ve been like if they had a daughter. Okay. No. No, no, no. That is just lazy writing to throw the blame off Karen for Urich’s death. Yes, while Fisk is ultimately at fault, she didn’t help matters by taking Ben somewhere without his knowledge of why, and glossing over that isn’t going to change anything. Although, let’s be real, if Ben had deigned to start blogging sooner, this would’ve changed the game. Then Doris leaves — probably the whole show, because she’s Too Good to commiserate with Karen and to try to exact revenge. (Not enough women want to exact revenge on this show. Feels very unrealistic, in my opinion.)
Foggy’s not at the funeral, though, as he tells Matt when they meet at Matt’s dad’s old boxing-training arena. They finally talk about the whole deal like good friends should, although their conversation is not unlike that of a married couple trying to overcome infidelity:
Foggy: There’s nothing I want more than to find our way back to the way we were. But … I don’t know if we can.
Matt: No, we can’t. But maybe we can find a way to move forward, Foggy.
They decide to go on a restorative second honeymoon and use their combined lawyer forces to take down Fisk legally. But first, some illegal legal work: specifically, talking to Brett the Cop, yay! They ask him about the investigations into Ben Urich’s murder and Wilson Fisk. When Brett hears that they go to him because they know he’s clean, he’s a little too genre-savvy to feel comfortable with that moniker. “Never see Serpico? Honest cops are the ones who usually get shot in the face,” he insists. Please live forever, Brett. Besides, they killed one black guy on this show, they can’t kill the only other one, dammit.
During their meeting, Matt overhears that Detective Hoffman — the one who murdered his best friend — is alive and well. Turns out, Leland’s been keeping him on standby in case Fisk ever went car-door murderer on him. Well, he needn’t have worried! After Fisk finds out that Leland’s been siphoning off funds and tried to kill off Vanessa, they’re nowhere near a car. So he throws him down an elevator shaft instead.
Turns out, if Leland doesn’t check in every 24 hours, Hoffman’s set to go to the FBI. Luckily, just as Karen finds an oddity in the real-estate holdings at 53rd and Tenth, sending Matt that way, Wilson Fisk sends a police team straight there to capture Hoffman. Hoffman watches as the men protecting and holding him are shot, but as soon as one of them has a gun to his head, Matt swoops in. In one of the subtler, more interesting scenes, we stay on Hoffman as he hears the bam!s and pow!s of Matt’s handiwork. Matt orders him to turn himself in and make a statement, which gives us a great shot of Brett’s face as a blood-spatted Hoffman approaches his desk.
He gives a deposition while represented by his lawyers, Nelson and Murdock (as the masked man told him, which feels illegal in more ways than one). Cops, lawyers, judges, that one senator he knows … they all get tracked down and arrested to the tune of “Nessun Dorma,” the go-to song for cinematic political dénouements. They also grab the newspaper lady who was at Urich’s funeral, although that doesn’t really explain why his stories weren’t accepted — maybe she was sleeping with the editor and convinced him Ben was dumb or something?
Meanwhile, Fisk is ready to go, but Vanessa isn’t ready to leave him! Still, as the Feds arrive, he tells her to do … something. We’ll figure out in a year. And then, of course, just as the Feds are knocking on their door, Wilson takes out a freaking ring and asks Vanessa to marry him. “You’re my heart! You’re my everything!” he says as they cuff him, because for a gritty and dark superhero show, all any of these dudes want is somebody to love them. Having a villain whose villainy isn’t set up through sexual violence or strip clubs, a villain who is emotionally invested in a woman who enthusiastically consents to be with him, is something amazing and impressive to behold.
I’m not very impressed, however, by the way Fisk’s villainy manifests, which is a less interesting or subtle version of Moriarty’s. Yes, he has money and, thus, power, which is how he escapes the FBI, with some of the guards being under his thumb. And yes, Fisk has decided to lean into his ill intent. But does that guard’s family know about him? Are they going to discuss his treason at Thanksgiving? Or is he just going to the Bahamas with the money Fisk used to pay him off? Unless he’s specifically threatening them, are all of Fisk’s turncoats just a bunch of lonely dudes who have nothing to lose by taking his money? It’s like Hydra, but instead of ruthless militarism and Nazi ideals, it’s just money and loneliness.
Meanwhile, Karen and Foggy and Matt watch this on the news and berate themselves for thinking it would be that easy. After Foggy sends Karen home, he tells Matt, “Go be a hero!” Matt is totally ready to go clubbing (er, baton-ing), but first, he needs the right outfit. Mervin has his prepared, which we see in the final fight. And it’s … I mean, it’s fine. It’ll take some getting used to after the sexy subtlety of that black mask.
Regarding that fight, it is mildly disappointing after the cleverness of past scenes, but it is still a well-choreographed, bloody extravaganza. It has a bit of the body dynamics of the aforementioned Westley-Fezzik fight from The Princess Bride, the aesthetic of a Lucha Libre fight, and a setup not unlike a video game — or was I the only one getting flashbacks to Super Mario Brothers? Wilson Fisk does fight a bit like Bowser.
But Matt finally takes him down (although I don’t really know how he’s still standing), just in time for Brett to show up. “This man was a fugitive from the law,” explains Matt as he parkours away. Brett’s all, I don’t have time for you, I need backup before this guy gets up again. The next day, “DAREDEVIL” is all over the news (too bad Ben Urich couldn’t be around to write that damn story), and Karen and Foggy and Matt prepare to become “avocados at law”! Foggy’s off to help Marci find a new job, and Matt and Karen are left alone, and he takes the time to point out that Karen’s been hiding something for a while, which he thought would disappear after Fisk was put away. Karen deflects, saying it has to do with Elena and Ben’s deaths. Matt can tell she’s lying, but speaks forgivingly in the usual condescending way he talks to her. Maybe because he still hasn’t told her he’s the man in the mask? They hold hands, even as they’re both lying to each other.
Meanwhile, Vanessa has left the country with Fisk’s ring in tow — to become the new Kingpin, right? Right?? Come on! Fisk is left in prison to stare at a very familiar white wall …
Things to address next season:
- The scene with Brett giving information has this subtle Law & Order vibe, complete with our lawyers in nice peacoats and camerawork through the gate. More law and less disorder next season, please.
- Also, please, please, more Brett and Marci next season. Heck, the trio talk a lot of love about this city, but they sure don’t interact with enough random civilians. Do they even know their deli guy’s name?
- Getting the sense we might go Karen and Matt next season. The new showrunners might put enough kick in their relationships to give them a chemistry to root for. But the dramatic irony that pervades their story doesn’t bode well. Also, Matt scolds her like a child, and there’s no chemistry at all between the two.
- And on that note, y’all already know my thoughts on how the percentage of Claire Temple needs to go up next season.
- Who is Matt’s mom?! Is she an Inhuman, and that’s why he can live forever? Matt and Skye did live in the same orphanage, after all.
- For all that talk of love, pretty sure almost all the other Netflix shows have even just more explicit kissing than this show.
- Finally, will Vanessa and Fisk get married next season? Or is she conning him with that guard he beat up? If it’s the former, she better get a clean white dress, because he’s going to get twitchy if there’s even a smudge on it.