After the previous action-packed episode, The Perfect Game cools things down a bit for an immensely satisfying character-drive episode. It was so good that I didn’t realize Matt was barely in it.
That’s the beauty of having such a strong supporting cast. The main character can be MIA and it barely registers. Perfect Game was largely an origin episode explaining how Benjamin Poindexter will become Bullseye.
No spoilers at this point as Perfect Game goes all in drawing the connections. Dex was in a suicide prevention group, which is how he first encountered Julie the bartender.
Donovan breaks the bad news to Fisk that there was no body in the cab after it was retrieved from the water. I was curious how Matt escaped that death trap, but the dude survived a building collapsing on him. A cab in the drink is nothing at that point.
Fisk shows Donovan how Matt beat down his goons at the prison. And since Fisk has been a model and cooperative informant, Donovan wants the feds to start making good on their agreement. Showing his true ruthlessness, Fisk fingers Matt as another of his accomplices. That’s just dirty pool.
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This sends Ray on an information gathering mission with the last people who are associated with Matt — Karen and Foggy. Karen likely appreciated the round up as Kingpin’s cleaner, Felix Manning, made a not so subtle threat when she tried to ambush him for a quote. Foggy was less enthusiastic as Ray caught him at a campaign rally at the meat shop.
Karen and Foggy are prominently featured this episode as Matt’s sins are coming back to haunt them. We’ve probably grown tired of heroes claiming they don’t want those close to them to get hurt, but in Matt’s case, we’re seeing exactly how that plays out. It’s ugly and terrible for people who were just trying to be good friends.
Now Karen is worried the feds are going to learn she killed Fisk’s right hand man, James Wesley. I’m glad she finally told Foggy about this as it’s always made Karen look bad for trashing Matt while she had a major secret of her own.
Now for the heart of Perfect Game — Dex’s origin. Fisk is curious about his new potential ally. Like any good kingpin, Fisk wants to know all he can before making his pitch.
Looking through Dex’s files, Fisk learns he was a child prodigy pitcher. The Bullseye references were clever here as young Dex wore a uniform resembling Bullseye’s comic attire. I really loved how this origin story was told with muted black and white colors and Fisk ‘watching’ all the events play out. And the subtle Superman reference was incredible.
We learn Dex has borderline personality disorder with extreme psychopathic tendencies. And he hates losing people like his parents and the kindly therapist who helped him until she died from cancer. The therapist advises him to find someone with a good heart to help him point North. That’s going to be real messy when Fisk establishes himself as Dex’s emotional compass.
Dex worked the suicide prevention hotline, but he clearly seemed like he wouldn’t mind directing some violence. In the current day, Dex has managed the nerve to bump into Julie again. She remembers him from their days at the hotline and they connect after her shift ends. Like all stalkers, Dex makes the mistake of oversharing information Julie hadn’t offered up yet. Julie quickly ends the date and runs off, but this definitely won’t end well for her as Dex goes home and promptly goes off. Most concerning is the precision aim of the knife he threw at the hotline picture that landed directly on Julie.
With three minutes left in the episode we catch up to Matt. He’d just gotten home when he heard the feds about to breach his door. From the rooftops, Matt learns he’s wanted and considered armed and dangerous. I’m loving this interpretation of Born Again.
Playing that out over the course of a season has made for a very engaging story arc. This is the first time Marvel Netflix has attempted adapting a major comic arc. Judging by Daredevil Season 3’s quality, it would seem foolish not to mine more arcs for the Marvel Netflix characters’ future seasons.
Perfect Game was another winner and with the clever storytelling format, this was another standout episode.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Netflix