Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Daredevil is at its best when it’s letting its main characters actually talk to each other

Illustration for article titled Daredevil is at its best when it’s letting its main characters actually talk to each other
Photo: David Giesbrecht (Netflix)

It turns out that when you have three likable actors playing a trio of friends, your show tends to be stronger when they’re actually onscreen together. Who knew? After a season of Daredevil that saw Matt distance himself from Foggy and Karen and then a season of The Defenders where he largely did the same, I’m not sure it was a wise choice to have season three once again revolve around Matt positioning himself as such a loner. That’s something I didn’t fully realize until we got a bunch of scenes of Matt and Karen hanging out in a church basement and the show was suddenly engaging in a way I’d forgotten it used to be back in season one. Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll have a great, lived-in sense of chemistry by now, and watching them hang out and chat was so much more compelling than much of the stuff that’s happened elsewhere this season. That goes double once they eventually bring Foggy in as well. “Reunion” ultimately has Matt come to the conclusion that he’s better with his friends at his side. I just wish he’d reached it sooner.


“Reunion” deals with the fallout of Dex’s attack on the church. While Dex is panicking about having failed his mission to kill Karen Page (again, using a gun might’ve been helpful there), Ray is slowly developing a spine and deciding not to give into Fisk’s demands. Before that, however, Karen and Matt have to hide out from the evil killer who’s now posing as the rational FBI agent searching for them. That gives the whole episode a fun cat-and-mouse chase angle, and, again, I can’t emphasize how refreshing it is to have Karen and Matt just sit down and talk to each other for extended periods of time. Though Matt is initially mad at Karen for bringing violence to his church and for dragging him away from his chance to kill Fisk, they quickly come to a much more nuanced understanding of each other. Matt is genuinely impressed to learn of Karen’s bold attempt to singlehandedly take down Fisk. Karen directly calls out Matt’s false sense of abandonment. And once she finally tells Matt about having killed Kevin and Wesley—news Matt takes very gracefully—their conversations are colored by the fascinating dynamic of the seemingly innocent journalist informing the brutal vigilante what it’s like to commit murder.

Unfortunately, that also brings us to the part of this episode (and this season) that I care about the least—the question of whether Matt should kill Fisk. The question is dumb for any number of reasons, not least of all because it requires us to believe that in all the brutal beatings he’s delivered as Daredevil, Matt has never accidentally killed someone. But even beyond that, it’s hard to invest in this complex issue of real-world morality when Daredevil so clearly doesn’t exist in the real world. That’s one of the problems with making Fisk so overpowered. Foggy’s earnest “the system can still work!” plea carries no weight in a world where Fisk has control over the entire FBI and the ability to overturn his own criminal conviction at the drop of a hat.

There are timely, relevant conversations to be had about how to punish people who are functionally above the law. But those conversations don’t really apply to a series that’s amped up Fisk’s manipulative skills to the point where it wouldn’t feel out of place if the next episode suddenly revealed that based on an elaborate plan he set in motion five years ago, Fisk has the President of the United States in his pocket. The idea that Nadeem’s testimony alone would be enough to put Fisk back in prison is absurd, as is the idea that there’s even a prison that could hold Fisk. We’re meant to be on Foggy’s side about the whole thing, but all I could think is that if Matt doesn’t want to be the one to actually pull the trigger, they should just call up Karen’s dear friend Frank Castle and see if he’s free for an afternoon to get the job done without all the guilt.

Still, if Daredevil has to have these annoying conversations, I’m at least glad it’s having them among friends. The Karen/Matt scenes and the final Karen/Matt/Foggy conversation are some of the most engaging stuff the show has done all season. Hopefully the final two episodes offer even more of that.

Stray observations

  • If Matt and Foggy want to come to some ethical middle ground that’s less evil than murder, they should arrest Fisk but revoke his ability to talk to his lawyers from within prison. They’re the ones who actually carry out all of his evil plans and he would be powerless without them.
  • The true hero of this episode is Detective Brett Mahoney, who is also the hero of my heart.
  • This season hasn’t had nearly enough rooftop parkour.
  • This is a stellar episode for Maggie, who’s observant, quick on her feet, and great at using her position as a seemingly meek nun to fool Dex and his team.
  • I *think* the subplot about Fisk trying to buy back “Rabbit In A Snowstorm” is meant to add some complex humanity to his characterization, but it’s maybe the most bizarre tangent this show has even taken. Also Leslie Ann Warren deserves better than that Party City wig.
  • “Obviously, I’m here to help you,” is my favorite line reading Charlie Cox has ever done.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Caroline Siede is a pop culture critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. Her interests include superhero movies, feminist theory, and Jane Austen novels.