Major spoilers below for Daredevil Season 3, so it would not be wise to read on without having watched all 13 episodes.
In many ways a suitable bookend to its 2015 debut season, Daredevil Season 3 brought its post-Defenders Matt Murdock back to the land of the living. While none of the other MCU heroes showed up to aid in Daredevil’s quest to eradicate Wilson Fisk once and for all, Season 3 did introduce several new faces of varying importance. As well, it added new narrative layers to all of the well-established characters fans have been invested in.
When the Season 3 finale’s dust settled — atop several puddles of blood, sweat and tears — Hell’s Kitchen was a different place, as were its many citizens. As we wait to see if Season 4 will happen or not, let’s take a look at where the storylines left Matt, Karen, Fisk and the rest of the survivors, as well as those who didn’t live to see justice prevail.
Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson stepped it up in Season 3, as far as guiding his own destiny was concerned. His public persona blew up after his big anti-establishment speech went viral. He also used the power of the Internet to spread Agent Nadeem’s phone video, thus giving the entire world proof of Wilson Fisk’s conspiratorial crimes. Way to spread that word, Foggy!
Viewers also got to hang out with the rest of Foggy’s extended family for a while, which made for a pretty magical time within this universe. Especially when booze was involved. While we’re pumped that Daredevil ended Season 3 by making “Nelson, Murdock & Page” a reality, it would also be great if everyone from Foggy’s entire family also joined the firm and constantly helped out around the office.
Across Season 3, Karen’s present-day story isn’t the most complicated affair. She was initially invested in proving that Matt survived the Midland Tower implosion, and later affixed a gigantic target to herself by admitting to Wilson Fisk that she’d murdered his former lackey James Wesley. She helped a bunch of people escape proto-Bullseye’s wrath inside the church, and appeared ready to join the deadly villain’s bodycount. However, Deborah Ann Woll excelled at showing viewers more from Karen in the character’s tragic semi-standalone episode (that should have been a half-season arc).
Before entering the world of vigilante-infused journalism, Karen was caught in a drugged-out spiral trying to keep the family’s diner intact in the aftermath of her mother’s death. Terrible decisions were made, and an intoxicated Karen ended up killing her idealistic younger brother via car accident, after she’d shot her abusive dealer boyfriend. It was a lot to cram into 3/4 of a single episode, but it definitely gave the character more meaty subtext informing her place within these series. Here’s hoping her investigative reporting skills take her to The Punisher Season 2.
Agent Ray Nadeem
As an FBI agent/family man within a Marvel superhero show, Ray Nadeem obviously wasn’t going to become the Season 3 MVP. However, Jay Ali brought a somewhat nuanced performance in portraying a frustrated man who let career goals completely take over every aspect of his life. In all the worst ways, too, since Wilson Fisk was responsible for all the messes.
It’s with Nadeem that Daredevil arguably presents its most interesting catch-22 ethical dilemma, which did not go so well for either the agent or the kingpin calling the shots. In the end, he followed his government-sanctioned conscience and laid his life on the line to expose the entirety of Fisk’s Season 3 mission. We won’t be seeing Jay Ali’s protagonist in Season 4, but maybe Sunita Deshpande’s Seema Nadeem, Ray’s widow, will choose to join Matt’s vigilante exploits in the future.
For so many years, Peter McRobbie’s Father Lantom was one of the most important and trusted people in Matt’s life. Naturally, everything got upended in Season 3 when Matt unwittingly reconnected with his mother Margaret, better known to others as Sister Maggie. Matt’s faith in God’s plan was already dwindling in early episodes, and his faith in Father Lantom was fractured after Maggie’s motherly twist was revealed.
With that emotional crossroads set up between them, Matt and Lantom’s relationship reached its completion in the most tragic way possible. During Dex Poindexter’s costumed attack at the church, Father Lantom witnessed the villain’s lethal accuracy first-hand, though he didn’t live long enough to tell anyone about it. He did ask for Matt’s forgiveness, though, and the Man Without Fear granted it.
Season 3 finally gave Daredevil a chance to set Vincent D’Onofrio’s monstrous Wilson Fisk up with both his proper comic book moniker and his signature white suits. (His beloved painting also inspired an amazing scene with guest star Lesley Anne Warren.) Fisk had a lot to do in Season 3, playing a far-reaching long-con on the government to re-attain his freedom and his place among Hell’s Kitchen’s most powerful personalities. His most personal goal, however, is to marry the love of his life, Ayelet Zurer’s Vanessa Marianna.
It was during this oh-so-important wedding celebration that Fisk’s freedom was cut short. He didn’t get killed off, somehow, even though he begged for it, and even though much of the season had pegged his death as a potential catalyst for Matt’s redemption. Rather, Matt’s muted revenge plan put Fisk back behind bars in a way that will keep Matt’s Daredevil secrets intact. If Fisk does anything now that Matt doesn’t approve of, Vanessa’s role in the operation will be revealed, and she’ll go to jail. The shit is really going to hit the fan if (and when) she dies, though…
Matt Murdock / Daredevil
Throughout Season 3, Matt burned through nearly all of his personal demons, and a lot of Neti pot blood. His faith in a higher power was shattered, which actually inspired his latest return to vigilantism. He discovered the truth about his mother, and about Father Lantom’s role in the secrecy. He got comfortable with his own honesty as well, laying it all out with Karen and Foggy. Matt had seemingly found salvation in his quest to kill Wilson Fisk, but that inexplicably dissipated without much explanation.
Just ahead of the finale’s credits, viewers saw a visibly changed Matt Murdock, who smiled more in those final few minutes than he did in the entirety of the previous 38 episodes. He got the firm (band) back together, he delivered a swaying eulogy, and he finally removed Wilson Fisk from his to-do list. More threats will arise, naturally, but for the immediate future, Matt and Daredevil are actually content. (Who else thought Elektra would burst that bubble at the last minute?)
Dex / Proto-Bullseye
Wilson Bethel was only revealed to be portraying Benjamin Poindexter a month ahead of Daredevil‘s release, though many had already suspected it. Thankfully, Bethel nailed the performance, from Dex’s psychotic affection for the unfortunately-dead-now Julie to Dex’s ferocity when putting his deadly talents to work. As an unhinged FBI agent whose obsessions got exploited and molded by Fisk, Dex is also a complicated enough character to fittingly take over the big bad mantle in the future, even if Daredevil shouldn’t be his first target.
Fans should absolutely expect to see the fully formed Bullseye persona coming to life in Season 4, assuming Daredevil survives the recent Marvel cancellations. Though Dex’s spine was broken by Fisk in the finale, the ep’s last scene showed a comic book-specific doctor planning to use cogmium steel to fix Dex up. That will basically make him as unbreakable as Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton. Also, just in case anyone had any misconceptions about the scene’s meaning, the very last shot (seen above) was Dex’s bullseye-marked eyeball. Please renew Daredevil, Netflix, and give us a proper Bullseye!