TV review: Netflixs Daredevil: Season 3 takes a very long time to unfold

DAREDEVIL: SEASON 3 (multiple directors). All 13 episodes streaming Friday (October 19) on Netflix. Rating: NNNSpoiler for The Defenders: Daredevils.


DAREDEVIL: SEASON 3 (multiple directors). All 13 episodes streaming Friday (October 19) on Netflix. Rating: NNN

Spoiler for The Defenders: Daredevils not dead. I mean, you kind of saw that coming, right? With the announcement of a third season of his show and all?

At least Daredevil doesnt stretch that out any more than it needs to. The new season opens with the not exactly shocking news that lawyer-turned-vigilante Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) did not die at the end of last years big Netflix team-up event, as his fellow superheroes believed.

Instead, badly injured, Matt wound up recovering at the Catholic orphanage where he grew up, his radar sense compromised by his wounds. And for whatever reason, hes chosen not to tell his dear friends Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) that hes still alive.

Matt is initially content to spend his convalescence debating theology with the clergy, but when Daredevils arch-enemy, Wilson Fisk (Vincent DOnofrio), decides to start helping the FBI so he can trade prison for a hotel penthouse (and consolidate power, the better for his own evildoing), Matt must face the only question that matters: can he rally himself to fight crime once again?

Of course he can, though as is the case with most of Marvels ongoing TV projects that story takes a very, very long time to unfold. The obsessive focus on telling a single, bingeable story means theres no shape to the first half of this season (which is all that was available for preview), and the limitations of TV restrict the show to one blowout action sequence per episode. When that pays off as well as the one in 304 which stages the shows annual hallway brawl in the middle of an evolving prison riot, all captured in one continuous shot the show captures the comics synthesis of pulpy action and self-serious Catholicism.

More often than not, this season settles for generic punch-ups and shootouts while laboriously moving its pieces into place for the next big development and making sure all the regular players have something to do, no matter how trivial. (Foggy thinks about his life choices and considers taking over the family deli Karen continues to develop her journalistic chops at the New York Bulletin.) And with Jon Bernthals Frank Castle off doing his own thing, Wilson Bethel is introduced as the troubled fed Fisk decides to corrupt into this seasons dark-mirror villain, Bullseye.

I know I sound like a broken record these days, but Daredevil is yet another Marvel series that could have benefitted from a shorter episode order. Theres just a ridiculous amount of padding on these episodes, and the writers are clearly running out of ways to dramatize Matts internal conflict. Most awkward is a bit where Matt hallucinates Fisk dressed in the signature white suit of his comics incarnation: its an effective image until you realize Matt Murdock, being blind, would have no use for a visual representation of a look he has literally never seen.

Im still watching, so I guess its good enough. But I also know it could be so much better.

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