It’s time to pay the devil in the season finale, which embodied ‘Agents of SHIELD’s’ mantra of ‘it’s all connected’ far more effectively as it neatly tied all the dangling plot threads and characters together.
Appropriately we kick off with Ben Urich’s funeral. I appreciated Karen confessing to Doris Urich (Adriane Lenox) that her prodding led to Ben getting killed (which it did!) and it was fitting that Karen has a guilty conscious.
Doris assures her no one could make Ben Urich write anything he didn’t want to write as the camera pans to Urich’s former friend/editor Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor), who may or may not be in Fisk’s pocket.
I loved the whole ‘Godfather’ feel of Matt and Karen talking and preparing for Fisk’s reckoning even though it felt a little too convenient that Doris was lucid during the funeral and her conversation with Karen, which she hadn’t maintained for such a sustained period for the rest of the series.
Fisk is sorting through files and catches some irregularities, prompting a visit with Leland, who confesses all his sins including scamming money from Fisk and partnering with Gao to poison Vanessa to get him back on track.
And just in case Fisk has some issues controlling that famous head-smashing temper of his, Leland reveals his insurance policy — Det. Holland, one of Fisk’s men in the police department who knows far too much of the inner workings of the operations is in Leland’s custody all set to share everything with the feds.
Leland’s men have a standing order to take Holland in if they don’t hear from him every 24 hours. Considering how smart he’d been all season, it sure was dumb for Leland to assume he’d be able to hold Fisk back simply with the threat of blackmail. Fisk goes full-on red lantern rage even shaking off Leland’s taser before tossing Leland down an elevator shaft and killing him. Perhaps this now paves the way for Leland’s son to take up the family business and adopt the identity of the Daredevil nemesis The Owl?
Foggy and Matt finally reconcile as Foggy reveals he’s been working with Marci to tackle the Fisk problem using documents from her law firm, which represents Fisk. It was safe to assume Foggy would eventually forgive Matt before the end of the season, but I liked that all is not forgotten and Matt will have to work to fully regain Foggy’s trust.
Armed with cigars, Foggy and Matt speak to Sgt. Mahoney (Royce Johnson), their one trustworthy ally on the police force as Matt overhears Fisk’s on the take officers scrambling to find Hoffman. Karen’s just ecstatic the band’s back together as they sort through Marci’s files and figure out where Leland has been hiding Hoffman.
Fisk’s men arrive first, but not quick enough to avoid a Daredevil beatdown and Daredevil tells Hoffman to turn himself in and report to Sgt. Mahoney. Anyone else think Mahoney was going to pull out a gun in the middle of the police department and kill Hoffman?
With Nelson and Murdock representing him, Hoffman tells the DA everything and in a well-shot montage (complete with operatic accompaniment “Nessun dorma” from Turandot worthy) of ‘The Godfather’ or ‘The Untouchables,’ all of Fisk’s allies get rounded up and brought to justice. Fisk knows his time is running short as well and gives Vanessa an engagement ring just as feds come to take him into custody.
But while Foggy, Karen and Matt celebrate, Fisk has already moved on to his contingency plan and has an armed guard attack his police escort and free him. Where the law has failed in taking Fisk down, there’s only one option left. And now Matt finally makes good on his near season-long promise and returns to Melvin Potter’s workshop (where plans for saw blade attachments are on his workbench) for a costume worthy of a hero. I’ll just assume everyone geeked out as Matt, clad in costume, stands on a rooftop preparing for his final confrontation with Fisk.
For all the buildup of the official costume, it left me a bit underwhelmed. It’s got too much detail for the sake of detail with some randomly added elements that make it too busy. The cowl in particular gives off far too much of a Batman vibe (are those eye holes?), which ironically was the first time in the entire series about a street-level vigilante I thought of Batman. A costume upgrade/simplification is on my short list of Season 2 suggestions and it’s a small matter since we get the long-awaited Daredevil vs. Kingpin rematch.
The rematch delivered exactly what the show had been building to all season with a nice lengthy battle. Thankfully, Matt didn’t get a +10 upgrade in fighting simply because he has a costume and Fisk is just as tenacious here as he’s been in other conflicts. Daredevil has Fisk down and in just as pivotal a moment as any this season, Matt has to decide if he’ll be the hero who fights for justice or delivers his own. Daredevil may be a vigilante, but he’s no killer even if the victim is Wilson Fisk, who he delivers to Mahoney (who should be in line for a major promotion after the week he had at the precinct). And how perfectly does that set up a conflict between Daredevil and The Punisher who needs to be in season 2 ASAP!
I’ll break down my full thoughts on the season shortly, but this has to be considered a definite win for Netflix and Marvel’s TV show wing. If ‘Jessica Jones,’ ‘Luke Cage’ and ‘Iron Fist’ can maintain this level of quality, we may start counting down to the next binge session of shows as much as their cinematic counterparts.