The Return of the Best Damn Avocados.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Daredevil Season 3, Episode 12. If you need a refresher on where we left off, check out our review of Season 3, episode 11.
“I hurt people. My pride hurt people. And I need to make that right again.”
Here we are at the penultimate Season 3 episode of Daredevil – perhaps even the penultimate series episode of Daredevil, if Netflix’s recent Marvel series cancelations are meant to signal something dire – and…well, things didn’t quite work out for our heroes.
I’m actually very surprised that, just from a messaging standpoint, Foggy’s plan to take the high road with clean and clear legal tactics don’t work. I mean, sure, I also understand that you can’t repeat the same beats that brought down Fisk back in Season 1. Oh, and Nadeem’s been a walking corpse, pretty much, since he got blackmailed back in Episode 9. Still, it’s very interesting to see the story swerve away from Foggy’s plan so savagely. Especially since Nelson and Murdock: Avocados at Law risk so much trying to get Nadeem to that courthouse.
Forget the part where they, Karen included, wind up looking like fools in front of the public when Felix Manning swoops in and threatens the lives of the grand jury, sending everything crashing to halt, but at least one officer dies transporting Nadeem. I was so sure, given the cool action scene Nadeem got to have with Matt out on the streets, where Matt used his super senses to tell Nadeem where and when to shoot, that some good would come out of this. But nope. Fisk won again. And it’s another crushing blow. So much so that Matt spirals back into his original plan and sets off to take down, and presumedly kill, Fisk himself.
Some of the scenes get a little chewy in “One Last Shot.” Maybe because the structure for the episode feels like that of a finale, like we’re barreling toward a big win for the good guys, so the first 15, 20 minutes are spent with Nadeem and his crumbling life. A wife who wants to leave him. Convincing Tower to play ball. Nadeem’s choice to actually do time for his crimes (which was a fun swerve that feels like him atoning for the allowances he gave Fisk for Fisk’s testimony). Of course, “One Last Shot” also has to stand as a send off for Nadeem, given that Dex shoots him dead in the end, but we still spend a bit too long rooting around in his life. He’s a new character to the show that got a ton of screen time, for sure, but he also didn’t become an engaging, investable presence until the back half of the season.
Funnily enough, Vanessa’s choice to have Nadeem killed, when Fisk simply wants to let him stand trial for murder and get shamed into oblivion, is the best case scenario option for Nadeem. It feels crueler, and that moment with Vanessa was a joyfully wicked twist, but now Nadeem’s way more likely to remembered as a hero. His son, eventually, will be able to sift through things on his own and find out his dad made mistakes but tried to redeem himself. As a dead man, people might imagine Fisk’s invisible hand lashing out in the darkness.
Fisk himself endures a lot in this episode, given that he’s almost indicted and Vanessa comes back into his life not quite right. We watch him squirm and contort both professionally and personally. Even his famed omelette doesn’t elevate Vanessa out of her ennui. Then came her scene with Dex, and that painting, and the off-screen death of Mrs. Falb, and I really want to call out Ayelet Zurer’s vague reaction to seeing the blood smear. Because it helped that moment enormously. I didn’t know if she was frightened by Dex’s murderous move (in the very least, she knew he was creepy and full of s***) or enraptured by it.
We know, previous to all this, Vanessa was turned on by Fisk’s power and control. It’s why he loves her so much. He found the only woman in the world, he feels, that can accept him. But in the two years she spent away…did she have a change of heart? Was the bloom off the rose? Did she want out of this life? No. She wants to go all in. She doesn’t want to feel like one of Fisk’s “beautiful things on display.” So bringing her back this way, and having her dive into the deep end the way she does, is awesome. Sure, we’re close to the end here, but I didn’t even know we’d see her this season at all. She could have remained off-screen, forever out of Fisk’s reach.
I don’t think she’s safe though. Now that it’s looking more and more like maaayybe Fisk won’t actually fall this season. Again, maybe. Like, he might remain in power moving forward into Season 4 (if Daredevil survives the recent chopping block). Because Dex has kind of been reduced to the buzzing of flies. Literal buzzing noises. He doesn’t like being dismissed. He doesn’t like disappointing his “North Star.” And he might not like the attention Fisk gives to Vanessa. Who knows though? Maybe he’ll surprise me and be able to somehow compartmentalize his various needs for validation.