Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Daredevil season 3 ahead
Daredevil season 3 was a powerful return to the heights of season 1, and that has a lot to do with Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin returning as the series' main villain. As Daredevil and his allies watch aghast, Wilson Fisk manages to claw his way out from behind bars and back into the lap of luxury, even turning New York City against Daredevil for good measure. Season 3 cemented Kingpin's place as one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's greatest villains, but the finale leaves us with a difficult question: should Kingpin return in season 4, or would that undermine this season's excellent final episode?
Further complicating matters is the fact that Daredevil season 3 introduced another excellent new villain: Wilson Bethel's Agent Ben "Dex" Poindexter a.k.a. Bullseye. The season finale's stinger clearly sets Bullseye up as a fully-fledged supervillain antagonist - something that would be difficult to pull off if Bullseye were to continue living in Kingpin's shadow. So, should Kingpin stay behind bars, or come back out for one more round.
Daredevil Season 3 Ends With A Stalemate
Daredevil and Kingpin have been pitted against one another for so long that there's no longer any hope of a peaceful resolution, and for much of Daredevil season 3 Matt Murdock is convinced that the only option he has is to kill Wilson Fisk and end things once and for all. When it comes down to it, however, he simply cannot bring himself to take Fisk's life - but he also finds another way to force Fisk's silence about his true identity, and to keep him from coming after Foggy and Karen. Matt reveals that he has evidence that Fisk's wife, Vanessa, ordered the murder of FBI Agent Ray Nadeem, and tells Fisk that if he tries to come after Matt and his friends, Vanessa will end up behind bars as well.
Read More: Daredevil Season 3's Ending Explained
Kingpin's love for Vanessa is both a powerful driving motivator and his Achilles heel, so as long as Daredevil's threat stands, Fisk cannot move against him. The situation is still rather fragile, but it's certainly enough to keep Fisk quiet behind bars for the foreseeable future.
Kingpin Going Back To Prison Proves The System Can Work
One interpretation of Kingpin getting out of prison again and returning to his criminal ways would be that Matt was wrong to let the crime lord live, but there's something bigger at stake here. Daredevil season 3 is really about Matt losing his faith in the legal system as a means of stopping bad guys entirely, and finding his way back to that faith. Matt sees the prison doors open for Fisk, and the FBI themselves bend to his will until they're effectively his own personal task force, and even witnesses a jury becoming compromised by Fisk after their families are threatened. It seems as though the system has utterly failed at protecting the world from a monster like the Kingpin - that he's simply so powerful that the law does not apply to him.
However, ultimately it's the system that delivers the finishing blow when Matt cannot. Kingpin goes back to prison, and he's held there by the threat of Vanessa receiving retribution from the law as well. It's a crucial moment, because it's the moment that Matt's faith is reborn. He returns to the church and makes peace with his mother and with God, and then he and his friends decide to form a new law firm: Nelson, Murdock and Page. It's a far cry from the man who wanted to leave the Matt Murdock side of his identity behind earlier in the season.
Related: What To Expect In Daredevil Season 4
Kingpin Should Return... But Not Necessarily in Daredevil
As much as many fans would love to see D'Onofrio back again as the main antagonist in Daredevil season 4 - and as big a gamble it might seem to assume that the show will have a fifth season and more - bringing Fisk back right away would arguably undermine the ending of season 3. After all, if he manages to get free again quickly, it would imply that Matt's faith in the legal system was misplaced. Moreover, moving Kingpin aside for a while makes it possible for another antagonist to step into his place - if not Bullseye, then someone else from Daredevil's rogues gallery.
We've already had two season-long arcs in which Daredevil faces off against Kingpin, and as fun as it is to watch these two tango, a third season of it runs the risk of turning stale. However, it would also be a shame if D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk - whom many consider to be the best villain the Marvel Cinematic Universe has offered so far - was left to languish in a prison cell permanently. It might seem like a stretch, given the divide between Marvel movies and TV, but it would be a lot of fun (for example) to see the idealistic young Peter Parker run up against such an utterly ruthless master of crime in a future Spider-Man movie.
After all, if anyone's capable of worming his way out of prison and into the movie side of the MCU, it's Kingpin.