With “One Last Shot”, Daredevil‘s third season finally succumbed to a little contrivance, but it was nonetheless a solid episode that set things up for one hell of a finale.
This review of Daredevil Season 3, Episode 12, “One Last Shot”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free review of the first six episodes by clicking these words, and find our review of the previous episode by clicking these ones.
In many ways, “One Last Shot” returns Daredevil to a kind of status quo. Here’s Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), emerging from a helicopter and into the waiting arms of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). And here are Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), attorneys at law, offering to represent someone who desperately needs their help. That person is Special Agent Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali), who is currently hiding out in the home of Brett Mahoney (Royce Johnson) with his extremely pissed off wife, Seema (Sunita Deshpande), and his son, Sami (Noah Huq). Here’s Hell’s Kitchen coming together to protect its own.
Watching Fisk desperately, pathetically trying to please Vanessa is oddly heart-wrenching, and ties into the show’s themes of broken people trying anything they can to hold their pieces together, and of Fisk specifically being a stunted man-child who was denied a normal life and now uses violence, money and intimidation to furiously control the one he has built for himself.
But that life might be about to come crumbling down – at least if Agent Nadeem has any say in the matter. Foggy manipulates Blake Tower (Stephen Rider) into hearing his testimony. It’s clearly having a knock-on effect at Le Casa Kingpin, as Dex (Wilson Bethel) dutifully serves Fisk tea and begs for forgiveness. How the mighty have fallen. Nadeem’s story is obviously compelling, but Tower isn’t letting him get away with it too easy – the best he’ll offer is a five-year sentence, and Nadeem, nobly, to protect his family, agrees. If you do the crime you’ve got to do the time and all that.
But with Nadeem planning to turn state’s witness, Kingpin enters panic mode and demands he’s killed before he can testify. Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), meanwhile, catches up with New York Bulletin editor-in-chief Mitchell Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) to give him Doppeldevil’s real name and inform him that the head of Fisk’s FBI security detail is about to testify in court. She also asks him to arrange a press conference, where she plans to make, “a statement.”
Before that, though, Matt needs to get Nadeem to the courthouse, which is easier said than done. Accosted by Fisk’s henchman, there’s an incredibly cool scene in which Matt slickly uses his powers to give Nadeem instructions while still posing as an average blind man. It is sequences like this that remind you how infrequently the “super” aspect of Daredevil’s heroism is properly utilised, and it makes for the best chunk of “One Last Shot”.
The testimony goes rather well, as it happens, as does Karen’s persuasive statement, but it’s all undermined when the jury fail to indict Fisk regardless because he managed to threaten them all in advance. This, unsurprisingly, doesn’t sit well with Nadeem, who has just guaranteed himself a prison sentence and put his family in grave danger for nothing, so he socks Foggy in the grill and sets out on his own. Dex, meanwhile, isn’t doing himself any favours with Fisk; after “convincing” the owner of the Rabbit in a Snowstorm painting to part with it, and describing himself to Vanessa as “the new James Wesley”, he’s making himself a little too comfortable. Problematically, though, Vanessa has clearly taken something of a shine to him, and what Vanessa wants – even if it includes more participation in Fisk’s business affairs – Vanessa gets.
Thus, Dex is given another assignment: To kill Ray Nadeem. And this is the first time this season that I’ve felt myself get a little irritated with Daredevil, as circumstances seemed to contort themselves in order to allow this to happen and, by extension, prove Matt’s point about law and order not being enough to contain someone as powerful and influential as Fisk. I’m not mad about it, but it could have been handled in a neater way. Then again, how can we have everyone face off in the finale otherwise? I’ll see you there.