The Man in Black: Daredevil Season One Recap

One of my favorite shows of 2015, Netflix’s Daredevil, is coming back for season two on Friday! A second season, consisting of 13 episodes, premieres on Netflix in its entirety on March 18. It will feature two new characters in particular: Elektra Natchios (an assassin and ex-girlfriend of Daredevil himself) and Frank Castle (the supervillain The Punisher). In honor its return, here’s everything you missed in season one!

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  • The scene: the events of the Marvel film The Avengers have left Hell’s Kitchen a mess, and mob violence has taken root in its wake. Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is our big baddie, and the season chronicles his rise in equal measure to the titular character.
  • Intro Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), who is framed for a coworker’s murder after she finds about an embezzlement scheme at Union Allied (a Very Important Company). It happens.

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  • Let it be clear that Karen is an amazing character and is the human incarnation of the sun.
  • Her saviors are our two other main characters: Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). They’re best friends who turned down lucrative offers at law firms in order to help the innocent, and they make me want to cry.
  • [Stefan voice] Matt Murdock’s past has everything: men boxing, that thing where you get chemicals in your eyes and lose your sight but get superpowers, Catholic orphanages, a blind mentor that teaches you how to fight, law school—

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  • Foggy is his unfailing best friend who confuses avocados with abogados and is undeniably the heart and soul of the entire show.
  • Ben Urich is a reporter who exposes the embezzlement, thus pissing off the mobs (they’re all working together in a much larger and more high-stakes plan) and entangling himself forever more in the drama that’s about to unfold.
  • Matt (so far only known as “the man in black”) plays at being a vigilante by night and ends up in a dumpster. He’s found by Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), a nurse who is both no-nonsense and impossibly gentle, and has Matt coming back to her like a stray cat.

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  • James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), Fisk’s assistant, is often seen lurking around the edges, pulling strings. He’s delightfully creepy and draws focus, and his devotion to Fisk is one of the strongest parts in what is already such a wonderful, character-driven show.
  • Wesley starts pulling strings! Union Allied (the mob-adjacent company involved in the embezzlement scandal) tries to cover its tracks! Money is basically thrown at people that would rather have truth and justice instead!
  • Matt scours the city for Fisk, who looms over the criminal operations while rudely refusing to leave an easy paper trail for people to follow.
  • Things become personal as both sides start to get a little desperate. While Fisk meets a new flame (an art curator named Vanessa Marianna, played by Ayelet Zurer), Claire is kidnapped by the Russian mob in an attempt to get to Matt.
  • Let it be known that Fisk has no chill in Vanessa’s presence.

 

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  • MATT AND CLAIRE KISS!!!
  • There is an unbelievable amount of mob drama as Matt attempts to dismantle the groups that Fisk is taking control of in a segment I like to call Keeping Up With the Mobs.
  • Foggy has an ex-girlfriend, Marci Stahl (Amy Rutberg), and even though he has a ton of chemistry with Karen and the show seems to suggest a burgeoning relationship at one point, they might have rekindled things at the end of the first season. It’s not entirely clear, and more than a little disappointing, because Foggy and Karen so cute together.
  • Karen and Foggy, unaware of Matt’s nighttime exploits, begin trying to take down Union Allied. They are also unaware of just what they’re getting themselves into. Matt has to watch them like children.

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  • Public image is a big factor here. Matt, as “the man in black” and “the devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” is a shadowy figure connected to violence and vigilantism. Fisk, once he realizes anonymity is no longer an option, paints himself as an alternate (and more trustworthy) savior. Obviously his own violence and mob connections are not made public as well.
  • Claire leaves 😦
  • Matt meets an engineer who makes him a real superhero outfit, instead of the off-brand DIY effort of before. It’s a huge improvement, not least because it’s armored.

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  • In what’s easily one of the most tense and well-crafted sequences of the show, Karen finally takes it too far, and is kidnapped by Wesley as a result. He threatens her and attempts to blackmail her, and Woll is astounding in this scene as Karen reaches her breaking point. In a moment of a perfect poeticism, Fisk calls Wesley, and Wesley breaks focus. His automatic, ingrained loyalty pulls him away, and it’s all Karen needs to grab his gun and shoot him.
  • There are casualties on both sides: Urich is killed as Page, desperate to find justice and closure, gets him to write an exposé on Fisk.
  • Fisk realizes his own grip on power is not as secure as he thought after Matt takes down central mob operations. He also learns that his own partners have betrayed him by attempting to kill Vanessa. He throws someone down an elevator shaft. It’s a rough couple of days for Fisk.

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  • While Fisk’s plans begin to crumble, Matt’s life goes really well. Foggy forgives him for not telling him about the whole vigilante thing, and they all finally find legal proof to expose Fisk’s criminal activities.
  • Matt and Fisk go head to head, with the win going to the former. Fisk goes to jail and it seems like all is well in Hell’s Kitchen for now. The media dubs him “Daredevil.”

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-Mariana Zavala

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