Friday, October 19, 2018

REVIEW: 'Daredevil' - Matt Murdock Recovers Following His Death at Midland Circle in 'Resurrection'

Netflix's Daredevil - Episode 3.01 "Resurrection"

Shattered physically and spiritually, Matt rethinks his purpose and place in Hell's Kitchen. Meanwhile, Fisk puts a plan into motion from behind bars.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Daredevil.

"Resurrection" was written by Erik Oleson and directed by Marc Jobst

Netflix debuted the second season of Daredevil back in March 2016. In the time since, Iron Fist has aired two seasons and been cancelled by the streaming service. Of course, the audience also got a significant taste of Daredevil during The Defenders. In fact, that miniseries was more consequential to Matt Murdock and his friends than any of the other Netflix-Marvel series. It built to the climatic moments of Matt's death. The building at Midland Circle crumbled on top of him and Elektra as they embraced their relationship once more. It signaled the end of The Hand. Those villains will no longer be appearing in any of these series. But all of the characters have been operating under the assumption that Matt died protecting his city. As such, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand took up the mantle of protecting it. They have all had new seasons of their stories air over the past year. And now, it's time for Daredevil to finally make its return as well. It opens its third season with yet another showrunner change. Erik Oleson is the fourth showrunner that this series has had. That's tumultuous and may hint at a lack of consistency when it comes to the creative vision of the project. The team that ran the second season and The Defenders are no longer the ones in charge of any aspect of this expanded franchise. Of course, they also left a significant cliffhanger for Oleson and his team to deal with at the top of this new season. They have to explain how Matt survived and was brought back to health. They have to explain why he hasn't reached out to any of his friends and let them know that he is still alive. Months have passed in this timeline since the events of The Defenders. It was time spent on his recovery. And now, he is getting in on the action once more. As such, the audience can once again fully accept an action-packed adventure from Daredevil and company.

However, the show doesn't quite have the conviction to just have this premiere be all about Matt's recovery. That's the most significant story. At times, it feels like it is cut short a little bit because the hour also has to touch base with all of the other characters who will be important throughout this season. As such, the action shows Karen and Foggy continuing to pay Matt's bills for another month, Wilson Fisk being updated on his legal case and FBI Agent Ray Nadeem realizing that his crippling debt is stopping his career from advancing any further. All of those stories feel very introductory and expositional. Sure, it's exciting to once again have Vincent D'Onofrio as the main villain for the season. His presence was missed significantly in the second season. At times, the show runs into the problem of him being the only captivating villain in the Daredevil canon. That's an issue for the future though. Right now, Fisk is hoping to make a deal. That's why time is spent on him once more. But again, it's just more compelling to watch as Matt copes with his failing body. His senses are no longer heightened following this disaster. Everything is slow to come back to normal. He is nursed back to health at the orphanage where he grew up. He does have one familiar face in Father Lantom looking over him. But he has experienced a loss of faith as well. That may not be the best way to define what's going on with Matt either. He believes he has clarity now because he understands who God truly is. He sees this higher being as someone willing to kill a bunch of innocent people just in order to prove a point to one individual. Matt carries that as his burden. It once again proves that he is so committed to the Daredevil persona. He is motivated to get back into shape. He is not as strong or fast as he once was. He is barely able to rescue a family from being abducted at the end of the hour. It's an encounter that leaves him bloodied and bruised once more. But it's just as significant that his faith is in shatters as well. In flashbacks, Karen points out to him that Daredevil may not be the persona that needs work. Right now, Matt is leaving his life behind believing he caused nothing but pain to those he loved. And yet, that's unlikely to stay true especially as the story keeps moving forward this season.