Steven DeKnight writes and directs this finale to his vision of Daredevil (it’s been confirmed that he won’t be showrunning the just-announced second year), incorporating all the elements which have made this series so successful. There are emotional scenes; moments where characters claim they are being truthful with themselves and each other but are being anything but; vicious, violent and downright brutal fight sequences from which the participants don’t just wander away; and a credible portrait of two men who both believe that their city is being polluted by the other.
Vincent D’Onofrio’s recounting of the tale of the Good Samaritan as he’s being taken away to jail counts as a real moment of truthfulness, as he realizes (maybe for the first time) that he is the evil intent. It’s appropriate (and of course inevitable) that the final fight is between him and Matt – adorned in his new suit as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen – and that the time comes when Matt could take his life… but doesn’t. I’m sure that’s a decision that is going to turn round and bite him in the second season, and I also am certain that he’s made an implacable enemy in Vanessa!
The montage of Fisk’s people being arrested is set to Nessun Dorma whose lyrics finish with a proclamation of victory – “at dawn I shall win”. It certainly seems like a new dawn for Hell’s Kitchen, and for the revitalised Nelson & Murdock – and although it will probably be deemed dramatically necessary, it would be really good if there wasn’t some artificial barrier placed between Foggy and Matt during the next season (and that Matt somehow finds out Karen’s secret – and whether she was telling the truth to Wesley just before she killed him…)
The core cast of Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Wolf, Elden Henson, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Ayelet Zurer (Vanessa) have been uniformly excellent, supported by great performances by Toby Leonard Moore (Wesley), Vondie Curtis-Hall (Ben Urich) and Bob Gunton (Owsley) – none of whom will be joining the next season. Hopefully we will see more of Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple: of all the plotlines across the series, hers seems the least fulfilled. Peter McRobbie’s Father Lantom has been not simply the sounding-board for Matt that I feared he might be from the opening episode (and watch that scene again once you’ve seen the whole of the series…) and has provided some continuity across the show as Matt has deteriorated mentally.
Daredevil has set the bar extremely high for the Netflix series, and with at least four more to come, I can’t wait for the debut of AKA Jessica Jones.
Verdict: A fitting end to an excellent series. 9/10