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Daredevil Recap: Hey Matt, Remember Your Friends?

Daredevil

Reunion
Season 3 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating *****

Daredevil

Reunion
Season 3 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Daredevil can’t build momentum to save its life. Why does it have a baffling compulsion to follow up its show-stopper episodes by … stopping the show? When done right, this can admittedly be effective—“Aftermath” was a very good episode that did a lot of work to do narrative justice to an act of shocking violence — but most of the time, Daredevil immediately follows big pivotal moments with episodes like “Reunion,” where most of the cast spends most of their time sitting in a room, talking.

For almost its entire running time, “Reunion” doesn’t leave the church that Dex assaulted while dressed as Daredevil at the end of “Karen.” Matt, who’s badly beaten, but not as broken as the end of the previous episode suggested, immediately goes to hide in the church basement with Karen after the FBI swarms the scene, making it impossible to make a clean exit while she’s still a target.

Dex has exited the church to change into his FBI uniform (unbeknownst to him, Sister Maggie spots Daredevil leaving) and with Nadeem, takes control of the scene, saying Daredevil is still in the church and that they must find him — ignoring Maggie’s account of the opposite. This tips her off to something being amiss with the Feds, who are looking for Karen Page and consider her a suspect, and so she decides to get to Matt and run interference.

In the basement, Matt, wracked with guilt over Father Lantom’s death, tells Karen how she has to run, because the man in the Daredevil suit is an FBI agent, and the FBI is now in Fisk’s pocket. Then the two come clean to each other.

Karen tells Matt that Fisk knows. Matt tells her he knows — presumably he’s thought so since Fisk set him up at the prison, but he doesn’t really elaborate. What he doesn’t know is why Fisk is targeting Karen. So she tells him about her plan to get Fisk riled up, how she killed Wesley, and that she never told him because he always thought of her as innocent.

“It was nice you thought of me that way,” she says.

Every once in a while, Daredevil just straight up says what it’s been trying to do all along, and that’s often a shame. This could have been a great line from Karen, one that cuts to the heart of the Karen/Matt/Foggy dynamic, but it’s really not backed up, because Karen’s growth and agency in this season mostly takes place in isolation from Matt and Foggy, who never really have to deal with how patronizing of Karen they are.

At the very least, Matt knows he has no room to talk, telling Karen that he wants to kill Fisk, and that any judgment she has for him is deserved. Karen, however, is over blaming people. She just feels sad for him, because killing —as she learned from getting her brother killed in a car crash because she was drunk and high — isn’t something you feel like you can take back. It’ll change everything about how he feels about himself.

Meanwhile, the NYPD arrives at the scene, led by Detective Brett Mahoney. He tells Nadeem that his story isn’t lining up, that Karen Page can’t be a suspect, that too many witnesses have said Daredevil was there to kill Karen. Nadeem rebuffs him, and Mahoney seems to know what that means.

All this time, Nadeem is struggling against his conscience, trying to rein in Dex and wrap up the scene — he didn’t sign on for a night that would end with a dead priest and another innocent in the crosshairs. Sister Maggie, like any good Daughter of Christ, is very good at spotting guilt, and so she works on Nadeem’s, asking him if he’s a moral person, telling him that Lantom died protecting Karen Page from evil, and whether he’s going to help that same evil find her. She’s very good at this.

Inside the church, Matt and Karen continue to hash things out: She knows Maggie is his mom, and notes that Matt is foolishly engaging in his favorite activity, pushing people away. He has friends, and he’s dumb for ignoring them. That gives Matt an idea.

During all this, Fisk’s power grab is now complete. At the hotel, he holds a press conference where his lawyer announces that Fisk’s conviction has been overturned, and he is free. (I have a hunch that Daredevil is skipping some steps here, but sure.) Fisk makes his first statement to the media as a free man, placing all the blame on Daredevil, the monster who framed him, and who is now on a rampage through New York. In his eyes, Daredevil is the true Public Enemy No. 1.

Back in his penthouse, Fisk gets his ankle bracelet removed and Hatley tells him that, as a DOJ asset, he’ll continue to receive police protection. He asks about Vanessa, and is told she’s being brought back to the States. That leaves only one thing left for him to feel whole again: the white painting Vanessa had gifted him.

This leads to the episode’s most interesting scene, one that doesn’t seem to be of much consequence but nonetheless fascinates me. Fisk arrives in person in the townhouse of the woman who now owns his painting, seeking to negotiate in person after she’s turned him down at any price. He tries to play to her sympathies, and says it was a gift from his wife — when he’s with it, he says, he’s with her. The painting was taken from him, and he wants it back.

The owner, however, tells Fisk that it was stolen from her first. It belonged to her father, and when the Gestapo came, they killed him and took it. To her, the painting is a connection to the people she loves, people who are no longer here, thanks to wolves like Fisk. She will not let him take it.

Fisk seems distressed, and for a moment, it’s honestly difficult to tell which way the scene will go. Ultimately, Fisk decides to give up, and says good-bye to the painting — he believes that Vanessa would want the owner to keep it.

All this time has passed and we still haven’t gotten to the titular reunion, which is in fact very brief. Foggy arrives following a call from Matt, and waltzing onto the scene, distracts Nadeem long enough for Karen to come out and surrender herself to Brett Mahoney and the NYPD. A pissing match follows. Dex is furious and can’t abide failing his new authority figure, but Nadeem relents, discreetly telling Mahoney that the FBI is compromised and Karen will die if she enters into their custody. Dex, in turn, tells Nadeem he messed up, implying that he’s not long for this world.

With Karen out safely, Matt sneaks away from the church and meets his friends on a rooftop. Together, they figure out one last option for bringing Fisk down, by focusing on the man who has everything to lose — Rahul Nadeem. Cut to Nadeem, who is speeding to his home, worried for his family. He tells them they have to leave now — and then the attack comes. But he’s able to get them to safety, and Matt arrives in costume to help him defend them all.

Desperate for help, but suspicious that the man sold out to Fisk would want to save him, Matt realizes he has to prove he trusts Nadeem. The guy saved Karen Page’s life, after all, so he owes him one. He takes off his mask. Now they’re in it together.

Daredevil Recap: Hey Matt, Remember Your Friends?