This Daredevil Season 3 article consists of nothing but spoilers.
Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3 has finally arrived on Netflix, and kids, it is spectacular. This is one of the best seasons in the entire Marvel Netflix pantheon, and even though it is (relatively) light on the Marvel Comics references, there is still plenty to unpack, and probably plenty more I’m going to miss on the first viewing.
So here’s how this works…I’ve tried to catch all the cool Marvel references in Daredevil Season 3, but there’s only so much I can do. I’m only one man trying to clean up Hell’s Kitchen, after all. Let me know anything I missed down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter. If your catch checks out, I’ll update this with it. Together, we can make the most complete guide to Marvel Easter Eggs in Daredevil Season 3 out there!
One quick word of caution about all of this. While I will try not to spoil future episodes in the entry for a specific episode, sometimes speculation leads to spoilers. And while I definitely endorse everyone calling out what they spot down in the comments, I can’t control any Daredevil season 3 spoilers you might see if you’re down there, or if you scroll too far. Just be careful if you’re trying to remain unspoiled!
Fire up your Netflix machines, and let’s get to work!
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 1: Resurrection
“Shattered physically and spiritually, Matt rethinks his purpose and place in Hell’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Fisk puts a plan in motion from behind bars.”
It’s not a spoiler to say right out of the gate that this season is influenced by several Daredevil comics stories, and one of them is Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic Born Again. But if you’re looking for an adaptation of Born Again, this season definitely ain’t it.
That being said, opening with Matt recuperating in a church while being cared for by Sister Maggie is straight out of Born Again. It’s the circumstances that are slightly different, though. Here, we kick things off because of the events from the finale of The Defenders, where a building quite literally fell on Matt Murdock. In Born Again, the church (and Sister Maggie) doesn’t appear until midway through the story, when Matt is already physically and mentally broken. And while a building didn’t fall on him in that story, he ends up in the church after his actual apartment building is blown to bits…so there’s a little bit of a parallel.
– Sister Maggie Grace, by the way, first appeared in Daredevil #229 (you guessed it…that’s a Born Again chapter). She’s also a prominent figure in Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Guardian Devil. The more sharp-tongued, assertive Sister Maggie we see here is slightly more reminiscent of the way the character is portrayed in that story.
– Another parallel with Guardian Devil is Matt’s generally shitty attitude and his crisis of faith. While the circumstances contributing to those in that story were drastically different, and supernatural in nature (that is most certainly not the case this season), it’s the closest parallel to this season’s dickhead Matt I can think of. In Born Again he was more just broken and mentally unwell. While that is the case here, it’s just manifesting differently.
– Nice to see the return of Ben Donovan in this episode. It’s a relatively small thing, but without Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple to show up and link everything together, I rather like how these shows are now just letting minor characters weave in and out of all the shows, much the way they do in the actual Marvel Comics themselves.
– Ray Nadeem is not from the comics, nor, as far as I can tell, is he even loosely based on anyone from the comics. Don’t let that stop you from getting involved with this character, though. Jay Ali’s performance is terrific.
Otherwise, there aren’t a hell of a lot of actual comic book easter eggs this episode. Just lots of influences. Sometimes it’s better this way, and once again, it’s not a spoiler to say that I think everyone is going to enjoy the hell out of this season.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 2: Please
“Grieving for the life he’s abandoned, Matt suffers a crisis of faith. Fisk makes a deal with the FBI that turns him into a target.”
– I feel like maybe once per season each of these shows allows themselves one “comic book style” shot. The bit with Matt staring off into space in the basement of the church fading into Fisk looking the other way feels almost like a comic book split panel effect. Maybe this wasn’t intentional, maybe it was.
– The Mother Theresa back tattoo on that Albanian thug has nothing at all to do with the comics, but it’s an amusing touch, especially how the FBI guys jokingly refer to him as “Mother Theresa.”
– Is Fisk’s incident in the weight room the first time we’ve gotten an indication of JUST how strong he is? In the comics, it’s always pointed out that Kingpin isn’t fat, he’s “all muscle.” Here, he’s benching, what…315? Damn, Wilson!
– It took me until my second viewing to catch that Ray is a vegetarian.
– When Matt is out wandering outside the church, he’s kind of dressed like Stick, isn’t he? He’s already acting like his old sensei/frenemy, so may as well dress like him, too.
– Oh, do you think this cool fight in the backroom of the sketchy dry cleaner is this season’s answer to season one’s brilliant hallway fight? Keep watching…
– I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure if Foggy had this kind of working class background in the comics, or if Theo Nelson ever appeared or was mentioned there. In the comics it turned out his actual mother was Evelyn Sharpe, a powerful, high-class attorney. I’d be shocked if they ever go that way here.
– Karen’s “there’s no proof of that!” when Foggy is trying to convince her that Matt is dead feels like a sideways nod to the old comic book logic that “if there’s no body, they can still come back.”
– Fisk’s “Love is the perfect prison” sounds like something Billy Corgan would have written circa 1996. Hell, ol’ Billy is looking a bit like Kingpin these days.
– Gosh, that one FBI agent sure is a hell of a shot isn’t he? Almost like they’re telling us something…
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 3: No Good Deed
“As Fisk moves into swanky new digs amid a public outcry, Matt wrestles with how far he’s ready to go to right this wrong. Dex’s aim comes into focus.”
– That full Ralph Ellison quote from Invisible Man, “Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat” feels both like what should be carved on Matt Murdock’s tombstone and…just a quote we all really, really need to hear right now.
– Fisk keeps referring to Vanessa having a bodyguard named Felix, but I don’t think this is from the comics. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.
– I’m pretty sure that Agent Poindexter is not and cannot be the sniper briefly glimpsed in Daredevil season 1 we all hoped was going to turn out to be Bullseye. A minor trade off for a great introduction to the character here. At this point, it’s not a spoiler to say he’s Bullseye, right? You all figured that out already. Plus, it’s in the trailers!
Bullseye is the closest thing to a “Joker” Daredevil has in his rogues’ gallery, and he’s been hitting targets of all kinds since he first appeared in Daredevil #131 back in 1976, where he was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. Bullseye was played by Colin Farrell in the 2003 flick, but let’s try not to think too hard about that, as Wilson Bethel is looking like he’s going to be the definitive version of the character.
– Can someone help me out? Is Julie a reference from the comics? I’m stuck.
– Even via hallucination, it’s great to see Wilson Fisk in the classic Kingpin white suit. Matt hallucinating Fisk is a nice indicator of just how far gone he is at the moment, and again, while this isn’t straight out of any particular comics, it’s right in the spirit of both Born Again and Guardian Devil.
– I really appreciate the “stealth mode” fight in the parking garage. For all of Daredevil’s ninja training and roots, that’s usually focused on the actual ass-kicking elements of it, rather than the ninja’s crucial arts of stealth and deception. The fact that it takes place in a well lit parking garage is even cooler.
– Matt being a dick to Foggy is kind of like Born Again, too. Only there, it was because he had basically lost his mind to pressure and depression. Foggy would reach out to Matt by phone and Matt would pretend not to know (or maybe not actually know) who he is.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 4: Blindsided
“While Matt infiltrates a prison to find information on the Albanians, Fisk puts Dex in his crosshairs and a fed-up Foggy goes on the offensive.”
– They establish here that Matt is 5’10, which I think is about right for Charlie Cox’s actual height. However, I’m pretty sure that in the comics (either via The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or those awesome trading cards from the ’90s) it was established that Matt stands around six feet. Anyway, whatever, as a short dude I am totally here for more superheroes of average height.
– THIS is the hallway fight you’ve been waiting for. And you aren’t hallucinating, this long take fight goes on for nearly 15 minutes. No comic book easter eggs here, but…god damn it’s good.
– Pretty sure Jasper Evans isn’t from the comics, but please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll update this!
– Kingpin is playing some very familiar mindgames with Poindexter. Pretty sure we’ve heard this kind of talk from a certain occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Yeah, yeah, yeah “keep politics out of your articles” blahblahblah, I’ve heard it all before and I do not care. If you refuse to see the connections between art and the real world, that’s not really my problem.
– Sending Matt to a watery grave via checkered taxi is straight out of Born Again. All that did was make Matt even crazier.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 5: The Perfect Game
“To quell the rising backlash over his release, Fisk serves up a scapegoat to the FBI. Dex misses the mark when he runs into a woman from his past.”
– Fisk deciding to ruin Matt Murdock’s life is perhaps the biggest parallel to Born Again we’ve seen so far. While he has certainly been suspicious of Matt since their brief chat during season two, if he isn’t 100% clued in to the fact that Matt is Daredevil right now, he sure will be soon. In any case, he loathes Matt enough to want to destroy him, and making that happen via apparently “legitimate means” is the most Kingpin thing ever, and right in line with Born Again.
– Felix Manning is from the Born Again story. He first appeared in Daredevil #230. There, he was responsible for outfitting someone with an authentic Daredevil costume. Hmmm…
– Keeping all of the flashback materials in an Airwalk box is a nice touch.
– The logo of Poindexter’s old baseball team is very much the Bullseye logo from the comics. The black and white of the scene only drives that home further.
– In the comics, Bullseye’s history with baseball has been explored a couple of times. The first was in Bullseye: Greatest Hits by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. There, Bullseye was a promising minor league pitcher, and he demanded to be taken out while he was in the midst of a perfect game (not the differences between what happened on the show). His coach asked him to get one more batter out, and Bullseye obliged, by killing the batter with a pitch.
The other was in the really interesting and fun Bullseye: Perfect Game by Charlie Huston, Shawn Martinbrough, and Lee Loughridge. That tells the tale of how Bullseye took a year off from supervillainy to become a Major League Baseball pitcher. His intention was to take a hit job on a problematic opposing player. Instead, the two got into an incredible pitchers’ duel. If you can track this down, it’s totally worth a read, especially if you’re a baseball fan.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 6: The Devil You Know
“Driven to the edge, Dex loses his way until he’s offered a lifeline by Fisk. Matt comes to Karen for help, which she agrees to give — on one condition.”
– Ahem…you will note that Karen Page and Matt Murdock most certainly do not have coffee together in this scene. Symbolic? I mean, Luke Cage kinda ruined that beverage for any character pairing for the entire Marvel Netflix Universe, didn’t he?
Here’s an amusing thing Deborah Ann Woll told reporters while this season was filming:
“You know what happened? On our Marvel shows, we are no longer allowed to just actually literally go for coffee as characters because of that euphemism. We’ve literally had scenes where, I’m like, ‘alright, well let’s go get some coffee.’ Literally let’s get coffee, and they’re like, ‘no you can’t say that because people will read into it.’ Isn’t that too bad?”
– Every time Karen Page is in a sketchy situation, or even in the vicinity of drugs, it makes me think of (you guessed it) Born Again. While the show has long been building a very different kind of tragic backstory for Karen, and at this point I don’t think the comics version would ever work here, it’s still a little unnerving, considering how attached we’ve all become to this character.
– Poindexter’s increasing derangement as he feels his world unraveling almost feels a little like one of Bullseye’s earliest appearances, during the early days of Frank Miller’s legendary tenure on the Daredevil comics. At one point Bullseye had a brain tumor and it affected his perceptions and his already shady behavior pretty dramatically. I don’t think they’re going there (and certainly not so soon), this just felt like a little bit of a reminder.
– Welcome to the first proper Daredevil and Bullseye fight. And while it had already been well established that Poindexter is an almost supernaturally good shot, this is the classic “can use anything at all as a weapon” Bullseye from the comics. This is truly a spectacular action sequence, and the fourth in four episodes. And we’re not even halfway through the season yet!
There are two massive parallels to the comics here. One involves Bullseye, the other doesn’t.
In Born Again, Fisk hired an unbalanced person to masquerade as Daredevil and beat up on Matt. In the case of this show, that unbalanced person is actually Bullseye. BUT…
…Bullseye did spend some time in the Daredevil costume himself, during Ann Nocenti and Lee Weeks’ underrated period on the character. Hell, Bullseye ended up convincing himself he was actually Daredevil for a while. It’s easy to imagine how that could end up playing out here the rest of the season. The fact that he introduces himself with an “I’m Daredevil” would almost seem to play into this, so I’m curious to see how it plays out as the season continues.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 7: Aftermath
“The press crucifies Daredevil after the attack on the Bulletin, and Agent Nadeem suspects the FBI paid too high a price for Fisk’s cooperation.”
– This is, perhaps, the best Wilson Fisk episode this series has ever done, and that’s saying something. Fisk is, of course, very into the idea of getting the “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” painting from season one back in his life. Nice callback.
– But Fisk in that white, shiny suit might just be the ultimate visual evolution of this character on TV. We’re getting closer to the “full Kingpin” from Marvel Comics, and Vincent D’Onofrio positively owns it.
– All the major Marvel Cinematic Universe news stations are running with the “tragedy at the Bulletin” story. We have MCU mainstays, WJBP, WNEX (home of Trish Talk!), and WHIH all accounted for.
– Anyone else start humming Elvis Costello’s “Watching the Detectives” when Fisk went into his secret lair with his assistant there? Also, is she supposed to be someone we know?
– This show has given us Melvin Potter moments that tease his Gladiator supervillain identity since all the way back in season one, but never has he been more perfect than in this episode.
Not only is he wearing a shirt that reflects that logo, he uses the saw blades as weapons. But more importantly, Melvin has always been a deeply tragic and conflicted villain, and never has that been more at the forefront than right here. This is also the first time we meet his oft-referred to Betsy, although in the comics, I believe she was a social worker, not a parole officer.
Also, just as it is here, in Born Again, Felix Manning DID make Melvin make the perfect copy of the Daredevil suit.
– Foggy’s “I’m advising my client not to answer any questions that treat her like an asshole” might seriously be Elden Henson’s finest moment in series history. Great scene with Foggy, Karen, and Ray. Jay Ali is becoming the secret weapon of this season.
Also, that conversational reference to Santa Claus? It’s KIND OF a comics callback. A chunk of Born Again takes place at Christmastime, and in the “Bullseye goes crazy from a brain tumor” story I mentioned earlier, he was even mistaking guys dressed like Santa for Daredevil.
– While Karen seems to going all Lady Macbeth with the blood on her sweater, the placement of it on her palms makes me think of the stigmata. As one who has the most faith in Matt (who crucifies himself at every opportunity), she may be manifesting stigmata as his most loyal disciple.
– Fisk’s line about how Matt, like his father, is “too proud to lay down” really just gets to the heart of everything about Daredevil. Spectacular stuff.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 8: Upstairs/Downstairs
“A desperate Dex reaches out for help, Matt froms an uneasy alliance with Agent Nadeem, and Karen concocts a dangerous plan to provoke Fisk.”
– Dex’s cool black jogging suit at the start of the episode sure looks/feels like a proto-Bullseye costume, doesn’t it?
– On that sheet of paper Karen is looking at, you can see the word MAGGIA scrawled. Is this the first time the Maggia has ever been referenced explicitly in the MCU? Think of the Maggia as the international, supercriminal, not explicitly Italian-American Marvel equivalent of the Mafia.
– Oh. So Fisk DOES know Matt is Daredevil. Yes, I do believe we are headed towards full Born Again mode soon. But at this point, SCREW adapting the comics. That scene with Deborah Ann Woll and Vincent D’Onofrio is one of the greatest scenes ever played between two actors in the entire history of the MCU.
This is actually the first time Woll and D’Onofrio have shared a scene together on this show. Ms. Woll told reporters about it while filming the season, describing the feelings between Karen Page and Wilson Fisk as “a very Shakespearean mutual disgust for one another.”
“As actors, I think we both have tremendous respect for one another and the opportunity to get to play with him in this brilliantly flamboyant performance that he gives which is very much a contrast to Karen, it was just great to get both of those energies in the room and see how they play off each other,” Woll says. “It was a great day. It was a snowstorm out when we shot it, so it felt very like we were all stuck in this little sound stage. And the winds are roaring outside and the emotions were roaring inside. It’s very cool.”
– “God damn it, Karen. Don’t turn into Matt on me.” For the second episode in a row, Elden Henson gets the best line of dialogue.
– And there’s the Sister Maggie reveal we’ve all been waiting for! Shortly after her introduction in Born Again it was revealed that she was really Matt’s mother. Although Matt didn’t actually confirm that he knew to her until Guardian Devil. The way that initial reveal came about was a little different than here, though. There, Matt had already suspected she was his mother, and asked her point blank. She lied and said “no” but Matt knew it was a lie because her heartbeat jumped. Here, he overhears her praying to Jack Murdock, so it’s similar enough in that the reveal came via Matt’s heightened senses.
Terrific way to end an already terrific episode. A candidate for the best hour in the history of all of these shows, really.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 9: Revelations
“Matt’s already shaky world tilts when he learns a shocking truth. Karen runs for her life. Nadeem discovers how deep Fisk’s influence runs.”
– “Yeah, you knew.” I consider this to be an additional nod to how Matt learned the truth about Maggie in Born Again. He could tell from Father Lantom’s heartbeat that he knew about Maggie all along.
The fact that Lantom spends his time hustling pool at Josie’s is amazing. “Take your money and go!” is such a great way to defuse the tension…for a moment.
– The “origin” of Maggie Murdock differs slightly from that of the comics. There, she had already had Matt, and her post-partum depression led her to the church. Here, she broke her vows to be with Jack, and then the post-partum depression led her back to the church.
– Just a quick note about how insanely good this season is. The “turn in your badge and gun” moment is immediately flipped into a “holy fucking shit!” moment. Jay Ali should be up for some awards for this performance. What a wonderful character Ray Nadeem is turning out to be.
– It’s good to see the old Crusher Creel poster is still hanging up in Fogwell’s Gym. It’s even better to know that unlike season 2, we don’t have to deal with the creepiness of Matt and Elektra having sex in the ring. Sorry, that gave me the skeeves.
– We finally get to hear Wilson Fisk referred to by the name we’ve all been waiting for: Kingpin.
– Among Fisk’s rivals getting rounded up by the FBI is Annabella Sciorra as Rosalie Carbone! We met her briefly in the first season of The Punisher, again (even more briefly) in Luke Cage season 2, and I suspect we’ll be seeing more of her soon. I’ll try and identify the other folks soon…or you nice folks can do it for me. I don’t mind.
– Y’know, I wasn’t feeling the whole “ghost of Jack Murdock talks to Matt” thing until he morphed into Fisk and Matt went berserk.
– So Matt is wrapping up with Muay Thai ropes. He means business. This isn’t going to be fun for his opponent.
– Dex taking that guy out with the pencil is a classic Bullseye moment.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 10: Karen
“Hunted by Fisk and haunted by mistakes from her past, Karen seeks refuge at the church. Matt finally gets his shot, and Dex goes in for the kill.”
– Well, we finally get the full picture of Karen Page’s troubled past. And while we don’t go the full Born Again opening with her (thank heavens), there’s still just enough substance abuse, violence, seediness, and death to make it all feel like the hints and teases about the skeletons in her closet these last few years were worthwhile. What I especially like about this is how it isn’t some lurid, crazy thing. Karen is someone who liked to party hard, perhaps too hard for her small town, and made some unfortunate choices that had serious consequences.
Although her crack to her brother about being one step away from “giving blowjobs for my next fix” is definitely a wink at the comics, as that is exactly what did end up happening there.
– Sean Francis (@SeanFrancis) on Twitter pointed out something crazy to me. Karen’s hometown of Fagan, VT may very well be a nod to Tom Fagan, a noted Bronze Age of comics letter writer who ran the Rutland, VT Halloween parade, which led to comics appearances. The greatly missed Comics Alliance has a great story on this, and it’s just one of those wonderful tales of fandom past.
– Daredevil fighting Bullseye in a church is reminiscent of Guardian Devil. But Father Lantom taking a baton meant for Karen Page is a reversal of how Karen died in the that story, where she took a baton meant for Matt.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 11: Reunion
“Dex tries to run his prey to ground, Nedeem’s conscience kicks in, and Fisk looks to recover a gift from Vanessa seized during his incarceration.”
– Is this the first time we’ve seen Captain Strieber since The Defenders?
– It’s downright disturbing seeing kindly Father Lantom laid out dead on the altar like that. Even if he was a pool shark. Nobody needs to die with a billy club sticking out of their chest.
– The Kingpin press conference is completely ridiculous, and perhaps this season’s only misstep, but it sure does feel like perfect comic book logic. It’s a little more on-the-nose than most of this season has been, but the score he really helps amp it up.
– Fisk later expressing sympathy for the woman who had a history with Nazi atrocities, however, means that even he is better than certain people in power these days. It reminds me slightly of Paul Sorvino’s Eddie Valentine in the wonderful The Rocketeer, who decides that even though he’s in the mafia, he’s 100% American, and doesn’t have time for any of Timothy Dalton’s Nazi bullshit.
– “The only thing powerful enough to take down scumbags like him is the law.” God damn it, Foggy. Stop showing up for like 10 minutes each episode and having the best, most inspiring moments.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 12: One Last Shot
“Fisk’s long-awaited reunion doesn’t go as planned. Nelson & Murdock take on a new client who holds key information on Kingpin.”
– Was that…did Matt just crack a smile when Foggy said “Nelson & Murdock, Attorneys at Law?” Is that the first time he has almost smiled this entire season? What a great moment. Once again, Elden Henson to the rescue.
– Even though I initially thought there were no more Marvel Easter eggs to be found in Fogwell’s, a bunch of you in the comments (and some nice folks on Twitter) all caught something I didn’t! There’s a poster for a “Parker vs. Morales” match. While I suppose that COULD be a coincidence…I doubt it. With Peter Parker and Miles Morales sharing the screen together in the upcoming (and extraordinary looking) animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this is a fun little nod.
– “Can I get you anything else, sir?” ol’ Dex sure has changed from the days when he was taking bites out of Fisk’s dinner and calling him “convict” hasn’t he?
– The exchange between Vanessa and Fisk is like a reverse of the “don’t ask me about my business, Kay!” stuff from The Godfather.
– Other than that, not a lot of comics references in this episode, which is just fine. It’s compelling enough on its own. I sure am gonna miss Ray, though. Jay Ali was absolutely brilliant. What a terrific performance, and a spectacular character. Like a Greek tragedy playing out in the Marvel Universe.
Daredevil Season 3 Episode 13: A New Napkin
“In the season finale, Matt prepares to cross the line, as Dex becomes more dangerous than ever, and Fisk enacts his endgame.”
– That brief flashback hallucination that Fisk has seeing himself as a child is like something out of The Shining, isn’t it?
– I can’t tell because of the frost, but is one of those bodies in the freezer with Julie poor Melvin Potter? God damn it, I hope not. I feel so bad for that character and was hoping we’d see more of him.
– Bullseye’s paralysis is something he went through for a period in the comics, as well. He got better, and as that final shot proves, he’s going to here, as well.
– Matt’s eulogy for Father Lantom includes the words “man without fear,” which is, of course, Daredevil’s comic book tagline.
– I have to appreciate Matt’s joke at how Karen is “way more stable than Jessica Jones.” You think he’s still holding a grudge after she gave him such a hard time during The Defenders?
– Joanna down in the comments caught something very cool: the surgeon operating on Bullseye is apparently “Dr. Oyama.” If this is Kenji Oyama, we’re talking about Lord Dark Wind (first appearance: Daredevil #196 in 1983), who developed the process by which adamantium could be bound to bone (ala Wolverine). We can see that Bullseye is having his spine repaired with metal, and in the comics, Bullseye did indeed end up with an adamantium-laced skeleton courtesy of Lord Dark Wind!
Spot anything I missed? Drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and if it checks out, I’ll keep updating this!