For as much as I like Daredevil, I tend to underestimate it dramatically. The show and I are on the same page as far as action goes—I know what to expect and it knows how to deliver—but when it comes to everything else, Daredevil is pretty workmanlike. It’s not plain and it definitely experiments—consider the monochrome dioramas of “The Perfect Game”—but scene-to-scene, Daredevil is mostly just getting stuff done. Moving us through scenes. Lingering on images it wants us to think about in ways that often aren’t terribly subtle. (The crucifix pose of Matt as Daredevil, “dying” in the opening moments of this season, comes to mind.)
But one shot in “Aftermath” really messed me up, in a way I didn’t think the show was capable of doing. It’s in the FBI office, where Karen and Foggy are on their way out from being questioned by Nadeem. There’s a table full of phones locked in evidence bags. They’re ringing, getting text messages, lighting up left and right. And there’s no one to answer them.
This is an example of Daredevil choosing to take something seriously, and getting it right. As exciting as the Daredevil-on-Daredevil brawl of “The Devil You Know” was, it was also immediately preceded by a shockingly violent slaughter of innocent people, one that marked a pivotal moment in this story. In a single shot, those deaths are felt. And honestly? I needed a minute.
As its title implies, “Aftermath” is an episode about the fallout from the attack on the Bulletin. Rahul Nadeem is beginning to suspect that he’s been had, but his pride—and the threat being wrong would pose to all the work he’s accomplished—keeps him from seeing that. He’s more interested in “Daredevil” saying hi to Karen on camera than he is in the murder of Jasper Evans. But for as proud as he is, he doesn’t rule out the fact that he may have been played—ultimately asking Hatley if he can have two days to sort out whether Foggy and Karen were right about Jasper, and if Fisk got him out. Eventually, he gets a bit of evidence he can’t ignore: The prison warden lawyers up, and refuses to talk about how Jasper got out.
Matt, meanwhile, is reeling. Bleeding in the church basement as Sister Maggie stitches a wound, he curses himself for being outwitted by Fisk, for getting all those people hurt or killed, for not being good enough to bring the man who framed him down. But Fisk is his problem, and he’s going to see this through. His first stop: Melvin Potter.
Potter, if you remember, is the man who designed Daredevil’s weapons and costume. Now that there’s a new Daredevil costume out there, he’s the only one who could’ve made it. Matt’s hunch is right: Potter made the costume under duress after Fisk’s men discovered he was secretly dating his parole officer and threatened her life. He also was told by Fisk to lock Daredevil in his shop with a second red costume, so the FBI would find and apprehend him.
Matt, however, is able to break out and learn from Potter that the killer posing as Daredevil is an FBI agent—right before the FBI arrives. Matt gets away, but only by letting Potter get caught. Another person who has to pay for Matt’s mess.
But the person paying the most might be Karen Page. Karen feels responsible for the massacre: She agreed to bring Jasper to the Bulletin, she was the one who threatened him to persuade him to come forward, and she was the one who lost many of her coworkers in the attack. She goes to the hospital, feeling guilty about being the only one who wasn’t hurt, and sees Ellison.
Ellison, being the newsman he is, immediately wants her to resume working the story and get to the bottom of this. But in talking it out, she tells him that the man who attacked them all wasn’t the real Daredevil—which tells Ellison that she knows who Daredevil really is. This infuriates him, because people died on his watch, in his office, and if Karen won’t tell him something that can help him get the truth, then he wants her to quit.
Karen leaves in tears and calls home, for what presumably is the first time in a very long time. She asks if she can come home for a bit to sort things out, he tells her no—and when she says she’s trying hard to do the right thing but just messes things up, he says, “That’s what you do.” So now I want to know: What the hell is up with the Page family?
Then there’s Foggy. Foggy is almost certainly in shock, but he’s powering through it by acting as Karen’s lawyer, dealing with Nadeem, and then going home to sit in a daze while his girlfriend Marci. Marci’s truly a useless character, except for when she causes the plot to move forward by having can’t-believe-I’m-alive sex with Foggy and knocking over a briefcase full of papers. It’s those papers that later spark an idea in Foggy, one that makes him believe he knows what Fisk is up to.
And if you want to know how Fisk has been pulling strings so effectively, “Aftermath” has an answer. In his bedroom—where there don’t seem to be any cameras watching him—Fisk has a walk-in closet with a false wall, which opens into a stairwell that leads to a command center of sorts. Here he can monitor the news, tap into every security camera trained on him—and a few that watch his watchmen—and take meetings with his Fixer. There’s even a woman on staff, working the feeds! Truly great scam you’ve got there, Wilson.
But it looks like people are wising up to his scheme, as Nadeem keeps finding more reasons to doubt Fisk is being straight with him. Namely: Matt Murdock, in his black costume, saying that he’s the real Daredevil, and the killer was an FBI agent. And for the first time in seven damn episodes, Rahul Nadeem is ready to listen.