“Aftermath” was a strong episode of Daredevil, as Fisk revelled in the chaos he caused at the Bulletin while Matt and Nadeem finally formed an uneasy alliance.
This review of Daredevil Season 3, Episode 7, “Aftermath”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free review of the first six episodes by clicking these words.
It’s easy to forget that Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is in FBI custody. In “Aftermath” he negotiates the acquiring of his favourite art for the walls, and saunters through his luxury apartment running his fingers along his collection of comic-classic, pristine white suits. The intrusive surveillance cameras are the only clue that he isn’t a free man; but they don’t peer in through the hidden door in his closet, which leads downstairs to a bank of televisions, from which he can monitor the Feds outside, and the news bullets that detail an attack orchestrated by him but carried out, apparently, by Daredevil.
It’s no coincidence that Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) stark white shirt is, in contrast, drenched in blood. In his hideout, flanked by sculpted angels, he once again berates Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley), who patches him up and admits that, for once, her advice to involve his friends in his fight against Fisk might have been misguided. Matt is, predictably, still wracked by guilt and self-loathing and doubt, which has been a theme throughout the first half of the season and doesn’t seem to be abating in the second. But Sister Maggie also allows Matt’s nose to pick up the right scent: If Daredevil’s doppelganger was wearing a perfect replica of his suit, where might he have acquired it?
Meanwhile in “Aftermath”, Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) is being questioned by Special Agent Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) about Doppeldevil’s attack on the New York Bulletin offices, perhaps understandably because Doppeldevil – who we know, of course, to be Benjamin “Dex” Pointdexter (Wilson Bethel) – was caught on film saying hi to her and all-too-conveniently left her alive. Karen’s not unreasonable retort is that the real Daredevil historically doesn’t kill anyone, and that it’s one hell of a coincidence that Doppeldevil just so happened to take out the one person who had legitimate dirt on Wilson Fisk. As she says, it would be rather embarrassing if word got out that the FBI had him set up like royalty in a public suite – and on the taxpayer’s dime, no less.
In case you’ve forgotten your Daredevil lore, Matt’s suit-maker is Melvin Potter (Matt Gerald), whom Matt visits to pump for information about Doppeldevil. He also mentions that he has “grown out of what it stands for”, regarding his suit, which I hope isn’t a position he maintains – that dopey do-rag look is not ideal for vigilantism. Anyway, this results in Melvin attempting an ill-thought-out betrayal, which in turn leads to a cool action sequence involving Matt, Melvin and the FBI that’ll be doubly enjoyable for anyone familiar with Melvin’s comic-book alter-ego, Gladiator.
While Agent Nadeem pokes some holes in the blatantly obvious cover-up, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who was representing Karen during her questioning, returns home fired up by his brush with death and decides he not only needs to do the no-pants-dance with Marci (Amy Rutberg) immediately, but also that he wouldn’t mind marrying her, like, right away. That’s what danger will do to you, I suppose, although I must admit that buying Foggy as a no-nonsense lover is a bit of a stretch. Then again it’s probably a consequence of neither him nor Karen having much to do thus far in Season 3, having been mainly tasked with reacting to all the stuff Matt is getting up to.
Speaking of Karen, she goes to see New York Bulletin editor-in-chief Mitchell Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) while he’s laid up in hospital, and lets slip the juicy fact that she knows Daredevil’s real identity. Now, you can take it from me that at this point Ellison’s journalistic impulses will have been going haywire – I’m an editor, after all, and I wouldn’t let one of my reporters sit on a story like that, let me tell you. But blimey, I don’t think I could summon an outburst like that. It was a fine, totally out-of-character moment, although it doesn’t exactly help poor old Karen, who has had tears in her eyes in almost every scene this season, and doesn’t look to be cheering up anytime soon, especially not after calling her father.
“Aftermath” had a couple of great conversational moments like this, including one between Fisk and Agent Nadeem, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop enjoying the way D’Onofrio elected to pronounce the name “Jiggy”. It remains a constant pleasure of Daredevil to simply listen to Wilson Fisk speak – his bizarre, outlandish tone is equal parts soothing and terrifying, like a giant, maniac baby shrugged its way into a suit. And it’s just as well, because Wilson Fisk is doing a lot of speaking this season, especially now that he has become Matt’s doubtful inner demon. Those conversations are the most fascinating, because even though they’re quite clearly written to give voice to Matt’s anxieties – lots of God-bothering, lots of insistence that Matt isn’t strong enough to conquer his enemies – they just sound so right coming from Fisk. It is testament, I think, to how perfect of a villain Fisk is for Daredevil; how capably he mirrors him and exacerbates his doubt and self-loathing.
By episode’s end, we finally have a Ray, quite literally, of positivity. Matt visits Agent Nadeem at home and informs him that Doppeldevil works for the FBI, and Nadeem, refreshingly, believes him. This had to happen at this point, as any more insistence that Fisk wasn’t up to no good after he has continued to be blatantly up to no good since the first episode would have probably been a deal-breaker. Luckily Daredevil’s third season is, thus far at least, proving to be very smartly written, and for once the plot is developing throughout the pesky middle portion without feeling too sedentary and bogged-down by diversions. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the next episode and see if that continues.