The second season of Marvel’s Daredevil may have shown traces of a sophomore slump, but it’s still a slick bit of television (Netflix-vision?) that perfectly encapsulates the MCU’s gritty side with some compelling drama to boot. The many, many ninja fight scenes don’t really hurt, either.
But there’s always room to improve. Regardless of whether you loved season 2 or thought it was a pale imitation of what came before, here are 10 Ways to Make Daredevil Even Better in Season 3.
10 Exploring the Mysticism
Daredevil has thus far focused on Matt Murdock’s character and job, his role as vigilante and the moral implications of hitting bad guys in the teeth with a metal stick, so they can be forgiven for teasing mystical shenanigans and not yet delivering. What we don’t want to see heading into season 3 is all of those plot threads left dangling. We’ve seen an old lady smack Daredevil across a room and state that where she comes from is "considerably farther" than the distance between America and China; if you don’t see anything wrong with that, take a look at a globe sometime. On top of that, season 2 revealed that the mysterious and coveted "Black Sky" wasn’t the only one of its kind, with potential implications that could be the entire reason that the Defenders get together in the first place.
However it ends up happening, the show has deep, mystical roots that have barely begun to be explored. That’s a whole wealth of plots waiting to be tapped, now that Daredevil and his role in the MCU is pretty well-defined and we can move on from a bit of the superhero angst. And we’re long overdue an explanation as to what the heck Black Sky actually is.
Given how soon newly-debuted superheroes end up taking on their most iconic villains, it’s sort of surprising that Bullseye hasn’t shown up before now. An assassin with a personal beef against Daredevil in the comics, Bullseye even made it into that other Daredevil movie that we don’t talk about, so it makes sense for him to receive an MCU re-imagining.
Not only does he have a sort-of-badass backstory involving the recently-introduced Punisher, Bullseye also briefly became a member of the Dark Avengers with the codename "Hawkeye," which, as you might remember, is already in use. His history with Daredevil is long and painful, but mostly amounts to Bullseye proving himself the better man, a markedly different goal to Matt’s enemies in the series thus far (whose goals have been ‘take over the whole city,’ 'shoot everyone' and 'more ninjas,' respectively). Bullseye would not only be an iconic villain; he could also be one who could challenge Daredevil and be a genuine, recurring threat.
And not that Jeremy Renner will be making a cameo on a Netflix series, but we won't say no to having the two Hawkeyes duke it out over who’s the most accurate.
(it's Jeremy Renner, though)
8 Less Interpersonal Drama
Just as The Walking Dead must stoop to filling the non-zombie time with endless petty arguments over nothing, so must Daredevil give us tensions between its main characters. That’s great for a little bit, but when the big players over in movie world start fighting, we get Civil War. When it happens in the TV series, we get Foggy Nelson chewing Matt out for the fifteenth time in a row for not showing up to a meeting on time. Y’know, because Matt was crime-fighting. Which Foggy knows.
Season 2 Foggy, when not filling in the gaps being genuinely useful and proactive, was mostly used as a drama device. His relationship with Karen was interesting for a little while, but ultimately things reached the tipping point where the piles of ninjas and minigun-wielding sociopaths made it just a little bit unwelcome. That’s not to say that there can’t be genuine tension in the right place, but not when it leaves the viewers with a severe sense of misplaced priorities. Here’s hoping that the universal status quo dumps Foggy right back at Nelson and Murdock; the pay might not be as good, but we all know it’s where he belongs.
7 The Impact of The Defenders
There’s a case to be made for the Marvel TV and movie universes being kept mostly separate for now, and it would definitely drain all the tension to have Thor blunder in and solve every problem by hitting it with a hammer. Daredevil has a focus and scope that doesn’t fit the big leagues, and for now, that’s totally fine.
The Defenders series is looming on the horizon, however, and whether it takes place before or after Daredevil’s third season, we need some serious confirmation that these stories take place in the same world. The skeleton has been formed, references have been sown to those sharp enough to pick up on them and we’ve already met three of the four members of the team. Still, one of two things has to happen from here on out: either season 3 is released before the Defenders, which will mean it has some serious groundwork to lay, or it’s being released afterwards, in which case we’ll be seeing a changed Matt Murdock and a changed Marvel Netflix world. Daredevil won’t be alone any more, and unless they make the bold move of killing off most of the team in the finale, he’ll have friends to call upon. At the very least, cameos and one-episode guest roles are pretty much mandatory, as we can’t just go back to Matt moping around his apartment about how his super-ears force him to fight all the crime by himself.
As the flagship show, Daredevil will have to change the most, as the grim, isolated world it established will suddenly be a whole lot bigger. And that’s without Captain America and Iron Man duking it out in the streets.
Speaking of which, there exists one major exception to the TV/movie segregation that seems to have been imposed, and while it stands little chance of ever happening, just a passing mention would be enough to cause mass fandom rejoicing.
Spider-Man and Daredevil share more than just wearing red, hanging out on rooftops and sometimes brooding about powers and responsibility. They’re both street-level heroes, taking on petty crime and representing the ordinary folks as they try to make life better in the city of New York. Spidey’s popularity might mean that he ends up fighting major threats more than usual, but at heart, he’s still your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, an adorkable high-school kid (in the MCU, at least) who webs up grocery store thieves while worrying about his mid-term paper. He balances his superhero life with his normal one, a lot like Matt Murdock with his career as a lawyer/devil-themed vigilante. The two have so much in common, the only thing holding them back from teaming up and embroiling themselves in costumed shenanigans are the logistics. Or that, and the fact that Daredevil’s methods are considerably more brutal than what we’re used to seeing from Spider-Man, which will always be the problem with crossing over the TV and movie settings.
But hey, maybe the Peter Parker is just what Matt Murdock needs to soften him up a bit…and there’s no denying that a crossover episode would drive the fans absolutely nuts.
5 Karen Page as the New Ben Urich
Karen Page has gone from helpless victim to accidental killer to competent law firm secretary, and has finally taken up the mantle of reporter. While this mostly just seems like a way to split up Nelson and Murdock so that they can eventually reform in all their glory, there’s another way to spin the situation: have Karen become the new Ben Urich.
As you might remember, Ben Urich was an important (if somewhat dry) part of season 1, at least before he got a visit from Fisk and ended up violently strangled to death on the floor. At that point, Spider-Man’s appearance in the MCU was a fanciful pipe dream, meaning that poor old Ben’s story came to an end before his comic connections with the web-slinger could be explored.
Comic Ben Urich was essentially the Marvel version of Lois Lane, a fearless investigative reporter involved in pretty much every instance of super-crime and justice, and the journalistic juggernaut of the Daily Bugle. We already know Karen is a pretty keen investigator and isn’t a stranger to being on the wrong side of a gun. Now that she’s begun a foray into investigative journalism, she has the potential to fill Urich’s original role… the one he could’ve continued if Sony hadn’t taken so long to share their stuff.
4 A Tighter, Less Padded Story
This problem has plagued every Marvel Netflix series thus far (so, all three of them), so we can all hope that they’re beginning to learn their lesson: if you plan a series of thirteen episodes, make sure you have enough story to fill it all in.
Daredevil’s first season lapsed around the midpoint, with a few mind-numbing subplots taking up time even as we had to sit through an entire episode explaining how mini-Fisk got his daddy issues. Jessica Jones artificially lengthened its own ending by having Kilgrave bounce in and out of confinement while the viewers yelled at Jessica to just snap his neck already. Daredevil’s second season was also hit with shades of this, with Frank Castle relegated to a side-player after his first few episodes and the plot devoted to the mysterious Elektra without any satisfying payoff in the finale. If anything, the series itself felt like a set-up for what comes next.
The quality of the writing makes this harder to notice, but it’s easy to see how, if the showrunners absolutely had to, they could’ve snipped the respective series down to ten or eleven episodes and not really lost much. Maybe fewer episodes are necessary to tell a tighter story, or maybe the filler would still find a way to insert itself. Whatever the method, season 3 needs to be just that little bit more streamlined; less meandering and character drama to kill a few spare scenes, and definitely a stronger payoff after we sit through the inevitable episode-length flashbacks.
3 A True Villain
One thing season 2 really had going for it was that it had no fixed ‘villain’, or at least not one that we had to wait thirteen episodes to see finally taken down. That formula worked for season 1 and Jessica Jones, but the writers realized that we now needed something different, and they delivered. What we got were anti-heroes who challenged Daredevil’s methods and mission, acting as foils rather than straight antagonists. And then there was a big, silly ninja fight at the end to keep the other side happy.
What we haven’t seen yet is a true adversary for Daredevil, both physically and mentally. Wilson Fisk might have been a murderous psychopath with monstrous strength, but he and Daredevil only had one true fight in the finale. The rest of the time was spent on Fisk’s far more menacing abilities of manipulation and coercion. The same went for Kilgrave, who looked like every bone in his body would shatter like sugar-glass if he ever tried to throw an actual punch. He was never a physical challenge for Jessica, because his powers were a far worse threat.
Daredevil’s third season has the chance to deliver an antagonist with real skill, one who poses a genuine physical challenge for Matt Murdock but also one with the psychological game to go with it. Bullseye could fill the role, but it could be anyone from Marvel’s vast swathe of villains. Basically, someone who can go toe-to-toe with Daredevil, but is also a villain we can love to hate.
2 Move Out of Hell's Kitchen
As you might expect from the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, a lot of the series takes place in… Hell’s Kitchen. Jessica Jones made use of the same location, and while Luke Cage is shifting to the far-flung reaches of Harlem, season 3 might just be a good time to show us that there are things that happen in the world outside New York.
The series doesn’t have to spend the entire season roaming the Yorkshire Dales, or the Australian Outback, or the Siberian Tundra, or Baltimore. Daredevil is intrinsically tied to New York, both due to Matt Murdock’s desire to protect his home and the fact that the Defenders all have to meet up somewhere, so moving the whole setting might defeat the point. That’s not to say that is has to be stuck in New York forever, though, especially with a big Marvel world out there to explore.
With mysticism creeping into the show, it might be the perfect opportunity for Daredevil to travel to far-flung realms (even different dimensions) to learn more about upcoming threats or even himself. Have Nelson and Murdock take a trip to Japan for the finale, because the show clearly needs more ninjas. Throw in a subplot where Karen travels to London in search of a story and meets a pleasant fellow named Brian Braddock. We know our heroes will always be hanging around New York, but a purely concrete setting quickly becomes stale when it’s all we ever see. We can’t begrudge Matt a day-trip to Boston to clear his head. There’s probably loads for Daredevil to get up to in Boston, right?
1 More Marvel Characters
Season 2 laid it on thick with comic characters being brought into live-action…or rather, we got two, but they were major players. The Punisher and Elektra are now officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is great, but there’s always room for more. Part of the reason these two worked so well is that they were introduced in a setting dark enough for them to let loose. The Punisher could never work in Captain America: Civil War, because his talents of wholesale murder would have to be toned right down to vague, implied carnage. Similarly, Elektra works best from the shadows in her role as street-level assassin.
Daredevil’s third season has the potential to introduce us to even more Marvel characters who won’t quite fit on the big screen. Maybe it’s time for updated version of Cloak and Dagger, who don’t so often make it to the big leagues and would slot right into the setting. Perhaps they could introduce Echo, a deaf superhero with the power of mimicry who could prove an interesting foil to Daredevil’s own abilities. Even now, a small-yet-vocal fanbase is crying out for Moon Knight to get his own series, and there’s no denying that his connections to mysticism and brutality would fit the bill. Daredevil has the wiggle room to continue its expansion of the MCU without reading on the toes of the whatever’s going on in the high-flying movie world. Not that we’re giving up on a massive crossover event just yet…
Anything you're hoping to see once Daredevil's third season rolls around? Let us know in the comments!