‘Daredevil: Season 3′ Is 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

‘Daredevil: Season 3′ Is 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

When it comes to small-screen superheroics, it’s hard to beat all of the fantastic work that Marvel has been doing on both Netflix and regular network television.  It’s hard to do better than Daredevil, who is functionally the Defenders’ Iron Man of the blue-collar streets of New York.

And, really, that title has certainly been earned at this point.  Both crimson-clad superheroes launched their respective halves of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Both saw unprecedented degrees of popularity stemming from their debut, which garnered them an immediate sequel before many of their cohorts got so much as their own series.  Both provided the template for what we could expect from similar super series.  And, of course, both ascended to the rank of leader (or some approximation therein) when all of the disparate heroes were forced to band together in order to save New York from an invading army lead by the arch nemesis of the mystic in the group.

‘Daredevil: Season 3′ Is 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Daredevil Season 1 was a landmark piece of television, which introduced us to who is possibly still the best villain in the entire MCU (the Kingpin) and graduated our protagonist from black ninja-rags into the iconic red costume for which he is recognized today.  Season 2 was, at least in some regards, a far better series.  Punisher proved to be an unsettlingly perfect foil for our hero, professing (not incorrectly) that Murdock was “one bad day away from being me.”  Fisk’s return to the franchise as powerfully manipulative prison inmate was a thrilling sendup to his presence in the first season.  It’s just that all of the Elektra drama and tiresome ninja conspiracies in the second half of the season drowned out everything that was so unimpeachable about the first few episodes.

But moving forward from The Defenders, things were looking up for Season 3.  Elektra was dead and buried (this time, unquestionably, for good).  And sure, there might be rocky times ahead with his fractured supporting cast, but things were looking up for him and he could get back to saving Hell’s Kitchen from all manner of crime (hopefully now under the monolithic thumb of the Kingpin, who seems due for a pardon or jailbreak or something along those lines).

‘Daredevil: Season 3′ Is 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

That is when I heard the news.  And, in light of Elektra’s death at the end of The Defenders, it cannot help but feel like a massive step in the wrong direction for not just the character, but the entire franchise.  Rather than moving forward with his iconic red devil suit, Murdock’s going to be sporting his Season 1 rags again: black ninja garb with a stupid bandana over his face (pretty much telegraphing his one easily discernable feature — his blindness — to every criminal he squares off against on the street).

It’s almost painfully obvious what direction the showrunners are trying to take the character in.  Now that the love of his life has been killed in front of him a second time, now that his closest friends (Foggy and Karen) have moved on to have successful careers without him, now that he has to put up with Danny freaking Rand in semi-regular crossover mini-series, the crushing pain of the world has proven to be far too much for him.  He once again dons his funereal black accoutrement, whips himself into frenzied nightly rages, and takes out his boundless angst on the ne’er-do-wells of Hell’s Kitchen.

‘Daredevil: Season 3′ Is 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Thus, the single greatest plot point from The Defenders, the fact that Elektra (an incredibly uninteresting character that was both bad for Matt psychologically and for him professionally), is turned on its head.  Now it’s just an excuse to undo his previous seasons worth of character development and growth and prolong the arrested developmental funk that he finds himself in (that, by rights, he should work his way out of and use it as the catalyst to make amends with and rejoin his lively, interesting and compelling supporting cast of characters).

And none of that even touches on what a god-awful eyesore that first costume was.  It at least made sense as he was starting out, before he could find himself a proper tailor to give him a proper costume.  But he grew beyond that in a matter of episodes, only to be saddled with it a second time years after the fact: when it is both uglier and less functional than his armored red costume.

Matthew, seriously man, sort your life out.  Stop regressing back to the worst parts of your first season because of the worst parts of your second season, increasingly pushing aside the best parts of both.

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