Yet another 25 ways Daredevil’s third season reminds you that Matt is blind (for real)

May 10, 2023

Yet another 25 ways Daredevil’s third season reminds you that Matt is blind (for real)

May 10, 2023

It’s been almost six years since I typed up “The 50+ ways in which Marvel’s Daredevil reminds you that Matt is blind (for real),” which was followed up a few months later with “The 50+ additional ways in which Daredevil and Defenders remind you that Matt is blind (for real)”. The first post in the series remains one of TOMP’s best-performing posts of all time, and has consistently held that position month after month. I’ve been asked by at least a handful of people whether I would ever get around to finishing the series with a look at season three, and I’ve long been meaning to. That, however, would require that I sit down to rewatch it!

After the original show was canceled in late November 2018, I really couldn’t bring myself to watch it again. It may sound silly, but it was honestly too painful. This cut short my series of posts reviewing the individual episodes of season three (I may take that back up again too!), and also prevented me from putting together themed posts like the one you’re reading right now. After we learned about Charlie Cox’s return to the character and the plans for a new Daredevil show, going back to the original episodes was no longer tinged with any sense of loss, and I rewatched some of the episodes during the communal rewatches organized by the #Save(d)Daredevil campaign. But it actually took until just last week for me to sit down and rewatch the entire third season.

Matt on his knees, wearing the black costume, is begging the would-be kidnappers he was fighting to kill him, as seen in the first episode of the season

I have to first say that I’d forgotten just how good it was! My very first time through season three, I was somewhat frustrated by the amount of time and effort it took for Matt to return to relative sanity, but that sorted itself out pretty quickly the second time I sat through it, and I personally rank season three as head and shoulders above the first two seasons. Oddly enough, I can list more favorite scenes and moments from seasons one and two – and even the overall disappointing The Defenders – but season three holds together better than anything that came before it and also contains far fewer things that outright annoy me.

The third season also contains fewer items to put on a list such as the one below. With this being the case, and given my own priors when it comes to this particular topic, it may seem surprising that I love the season as much as I do. However, I obviously value a whole range of things having to do with this character, and storytelling in general, that cannot be measured in whatever unit I’m employing here. Additionally, since Matt spends the vast majority of the season outside the typical day to day life of “Matt Murdock, blind lawyer,” there’s naturally far less blind tech to discuss than there was in previous seasons. Matt spends most of the season holed up in a church basement, or out fighting crime, so it makes sense that his “blind side” would be less prominent overall.

There’s an interesting exception to note here though. What season three manages to do, repeatedly, is create palpable tension around the scenes where Matt is at real risk of having his blindness revealed. No one disputes that Matt, in his civilian life, has to pretend to be much more impacted by his blindness than he really is, but fans and creators alike tend to massively underplay the fact that there are real risks involved in pretending to be fully sighted, and that this requires its own kind of act to be performed. Season three reminds us of this fact in several scenes we’ll get back to below. Let’s dive in!

  1. Episodes 1 + 2 (general observations) – The dependence on sound

    If you’ve read my recent She-Hulk review, you might recall that I found its mention of echolocation noteworthy. Matt’s guest appearance on the show marks the first time that Matt’s ability to detect objects and surfaces around him has explicitly been given that label, for this iteration of the character. The suggestion that Matt’s “radar” hinges on his ability to make use of sound is not new, however, and season three shows us clearly how Matt’s loss of hearing in one ear makes him just as (real world) blind as he would have been without his heightened senses.

    At first glance, this may not seem like it belongs on a list like this. Matt losing his powers is not necessarily an indication of how he performs when he’s in possession of all of his faculties. However, it clearly brings home the point that even when his senses are functioning at peak capacity, his way of “seeing” is not the same as traditional eyesight, even while restoring some functions of sight. It also reveals how his hearing is source of vulnerability because he depends on it for more than just hearing active sources of sound. For more on why I really like the execution here, see the “Senses watch” section of my review of the episode.

  2. Episode 1 (at 03:30) – The crashing out of bed

    Matt falls out of his bed at the orphanage, and hits the floor. Maggie reaches for him
    The scene where Matt crashes out of bed may seem like just a specific example of what I talked about in relation to the first item on the list, and thus not worthy of being its own thing. However, what makes it interesting on its own is that it showcases a curious difference between Matt and Joe Average. Just as in a similar sequence from the Miller run where Matt is waking up in the hospital after he has lost his radar sense (and which I’m pretty sure this scene was seeking to emulate, see again my review of episode one linked above), Matt appears unaware that anything is amiss until this “sense” fails to catch him. This brings us back to one question that used to occupy much of my thinking as a new Daredevil fan: Is this sense – whatever we make of it – always “on”? Here’s some of what I had to say on this particular conundrum in my book, apropos of the Miller scene:

    “We might conclude from this that resting in bed, talking to someone he knows well, is not the kind of situation where he would need to use his radar sense. This raises other questions, of course. Why would a sense be something you turn on or off? We can’t turn any of our other senses off, with the exception of sight, which is done by closing our eyes. And even with sight, it would seem odd for anyone to only keep their eyes open “as needed.” While our brains work hard to process what we’re seeing, this is not an effort we’re conscious of.
    Imagining the radar sense as the sort of literal radar (or active sonar), which requires Daredevil to consciously perform some trick of the mind to send those waves flowing from his head, would offer one explanation. In this scenario, the radar really could be a sensation that is either activated at will, or by something like the rapid movements of objects toward him.
    However, imagining the radar to be a sort of hearing “subtask” may also help us explain what is going on. As you might remember from chapter six, detecting echoes and detecting the location of sound sources require somewhat opposing strategies. We would expect Daredevil and his heightened senses to be excellent at both, but there may be some switching of attention needed to optimally achieve either task. If this is the case, then letting the parts of the brain that specialize in echo detection take a break in the background when not needed suddenly makes sense. This might sound odd, but attention itself is a highly limited resource and radar-sensing may need attending to, even if it doesn’t necessarily require much concentration per se.”

    Whatever the case may be, Matt’s perceptions of the world, especially when he’s at rest, are likely to be very qualitatively different from those of someone with normal eyesight.

  3. Episode 1 (at 08:30) – The Daredevil conversation

    The scene I’m highlighting here is the one where Sister Maggie quizzes Matt on his Daredevil activities and how it is that he can do the things she’s heard he can do, wondering if he may have been faking his blindness this whole time. Matt seems mildly offended by the accusation and sarcastically remarks that “you finally caught me!” He then explains that the accident blinded him, but that it also sharpened his other senses.

    Scenes of Matt talking about his blindness and heightened senses combo are always interesting since they say at least something about how he views himself, and he seems to always defend categorizing himself as blind. Having said that, I’ve yet to see any such scene really nail the description to my personal satisfaction. Which brings us to…

  4. Episode 1 (at 11:45) – The flashback scene

    Matt tells Karen about his abilities as Daredevil in a flashback scene from episode one. Karen stands by the windows of Matt's apartment and looks at him hesitatingly
    …the flashback scene that is set between the end of Daredevil season two and The Defenders. Here we see Matt (attempting to) explain himself to Karen. As noted above, these scenes always leave me wanting more, and less. Something different. Here, Karen asks Matt if he can see her, and he responds with a “not see exactly.” He then talks about how what he has is different, “I think better,” and gives her examples of what he picked up about her. When Matt offers Karen a drink, she nods and then comments on how Matt, of course, knew she was nodding.

    Just as with the moment in season one, where Foggy shoves a raised middle finger in Matt’s face during their big fight, there’s a real risk that viewers will read more into these “revelations” than they probably should. While Matt obviously wouldn’t be able to “see” someone nod, or know that someone was flipping him off, if he didn’t have heightened senses, they’re hardly tests of fine visual – or pseudo-visual – acuity. In fact, counting fingers is the kind of diagnostic test that is performed with people whose vision is so poor that a standard eye chart is no longer useful, or when visual acuity measures between 20/1000 and 20/2000 (or 1-2% of what is classified as normal). When even counting fingers is no longer useful, the next test is for the detection of hand movements.

    Where am I going with this? Well, I’m just pointing out that Matt’s heightened senses don’t have to nudge him very far along the axis from de facto total blindness to 20/20 vision in order to “restore” the ability to detect a nod of the head or how many fingers someone is holding up from a short distance away. But since Daredevil creators have not traditionally been great at communicating where the limits of compensation actually lie, the display of these relatively modest abilities become “gotchas!” that signal to credulous viewers that Matt can basically see. The way to counteract this would be for Matt to give some examples of things he can’t do, or further explain the complexity of the situation, and so far we’ve never seen him do that. This wouldn’t need to be a whole lecture, it could be very brief in fact, and would not seem out of place at all. And so these scenes remain lost opportunities in my mind, but at least he’s not denying that he’s blind here so it does qualify for this list.

  5. Episode 1 (at 20:50) – The braille Bible

    As mentioned, there was very little in terms of blind tech on display this season, and the same goes for reading material. But, I suppose the braille Bible makes up for some of that in sheer bulk. And we also still don’t see any instances of reading print by touch. I really hope this approach carries over to the new show. Reading print by touch is not technically one of Daredevil’s most absurd powers, but the implications of it would definitely come across as dated and out of touch. There’s nothing wrong with showcasing more braille on TV in the 21st century!

  6. Episode 2 (at 18:00) – The not so useless cane

    In the flashback scene with Karen, she also asks Matt whether the cane is just a prop then, which he readily admits to. I don’t take issue with this. If we’re talking about using it strictly for mobility purposes, it very clearly is. There’s probably room for some rare exceptions to this under certain circumstances – inebriation, a severe head cold, or perhaps following a concussion – but as a general rule? Yeah. This doesn’t mean that the cane might not have other uses, and I’d argue that they help us make sense of why Matt chooses to carry one when he goes out (beginning at the time stamp above, where he meets with Father Lantom on his way out the door). He’s not in costume, sure, but he’s ostensibly trying to lay low as someone he’s adamant is not Matt Murdock. So, what gives? I touched on some of this in my review of episode two, but I will again take the opportunity to quote from my book:

    “What we need to keep in mind is that the white cane has more than one purpose. The more obvious one is, of course, to warn its user of unseen obstacles and detect landmarks. But it also informs other people of the blind person’s vision status.
    In Matt’s case, this would save him from all kinds of needless or unhelpful exchanges with other people. Let us say that Matt wants to go to a bookstore and pick up a birthday present for Foggy. And let us also all agree that this is not the kind of environment where merely sensing the shapes of objects gets you very far. If Matt shows up there with his cane, the staff at the store would hopefully notice and help him find what he’s looking for. If he were to show up without the cane and try to solicit help from the staff, he might be met with “it’s over in section 15” or something else that is not the least bit helpful. Then he would have to explain that he can’t see very well, which may result in his being escorted to the right section, at which point he still wouldn’t be able to find the book. Cue another round of questions, and maybe even suspicion on behalf of the staff member: “What the heck is this guy’s problem?”
    This is why I found it to be a very wise choice on behalf of the Daredevil season three writers to still have Matt using a cane around town during episodes two and three, despite the fact that he had pretty much declared “Matt Murdock” dead and buried, and despite the fact that he might have actually wanted to lay low. Sure, there’s at least one example of his playing up the blind guy angle, as seen in the scene where he enters a dry-cleaning establishment, but it is also a way to make sure that he is able to elicit information that is actually useful to him, and not some version of “go to this address, look for the 50% SALE sign in the window.”
    Much of what makes the white cane a defensible part of Matt’s “act” is the sheer impracticality of his trying to feign actual sightedness, though this line of thinking is rarely drawn to its natural conclusion in the comics.”

    And, to perfectly illustrate this point, we have the scene below!

  7. Episode 2 (at 21:30) – The information solicitation

    Matt asks for directions on how to find a particular dry-cleaning establishment from a man who's sitting the back of a dry-cleaning van
    This scene sees Matt approach a dry cleaning van (by smell) to inquire about a different dry cleaning establishment. The guy inside starts out looking at his paperwork and directs Matt to the side of the van. Of course, that’s not actually the information he was looking for, but in other similar circumstances it very well might have been. Either way, the fact that Matt’s cane is able to communicate to “van guy” that he can’t see saves him both from having to explain that he can’t read the side of the van (if that had in fact been what he needed to do), or be the recipient of useless visual descriptions.

  8. Episode 2 (at 32:00) – The touchy-feely

    As I noted in my review of this episode, the scene where Matt finally finds the right dry-cleaner – and the person he recognizes from the attempted kidnapping – gives us all kinds of contradictory (yet interesting) information. First of all, it is clear that Matt doesn’t recognize the would-be kidnapper by scent alone, or even by the sound of his voice. This is something we really should expect him to be able to do, though I realize that it may be difficult to communicate on screen. (I honestly suspect this mostly boils down to the sense of smell being so easily forgotten.)

    Instead, the way this scene plays out, Matt requests a pamphlet from the man behind the counter only to play up the blind guy angle so that he can awkwardly explore the man’s hand and recognizes it as the same hand with the missing finger that he noticed during their previous encounter. What’s key here is that he’s using touch, the other sense besides smell that I would characterize as underused. The difference between touch and smell, however, is that while smell is legitimately forgotten (because we’re not great at thinking about smells), touch tends to be played down because it probably seems unnecessary to some creators. Why would he need to touch things when he can “see” them with his other senses? The simple answer is that he shouldn’t be able to “see” in fine detail so kudos to the people behind this episode for recognizing that.

  9. Episode 2 (at 34:20) – The weapon inspection

    Which brings me to the next scene! Isn’t it interesting how all of these scenes come in the perfect order for the points I’m making? Gotta love that. So, right after Matt has ascertained that he’s in the right place, he breaks into the basement and starts “looking” around. This too involves the sense of touch in that he can be seen manually inspecting some guns that are held in a gun case. Of course, this is something he would do and it could be argued that he should be doing much more of it but at least it’s a step in the right direction, and follows nicely from what we talked about above.

  10. Episode 3 (at 10:30) – The unseen protest

    After learning about Fisk’s release from prison at the end of the previous episode, Matt takes a stroll over to the hotel where there are protestors outside. This scene also reminds us of some of the things Matt can’t do. He would obviously know that there are protesters there, but he can’t see any of the signs they’re holding. This is as it should be, and not something the creators would actively have to think about, but it’s still something worth noting.

  11. Episode 3 (at 14:40) – The ruse

    I mentioned at the start of this post that this season sees Matt in a number of potentially perilous situations where he has to pretend to be sighted. The first such scene sees him breaking into Fisk’s hotel by listening to the code that’s being entered into the keypad outside by a work crew and snatches a jacket from inside their van so that he can blend in. Matt is taking a bit of a risk here since he can’t actually know that this jacket is the same one the others are wearing. Next, he has to feign eye contact and just hope that nothing will happen that might blow his cover and put him in jeopardy.

  12. Episode 3 (at 15:10) – The ruse, continued

    The scene continues inside where Matt is asked by one of his supposed “colleagues” to hand him a BNC from the box of tools and mechanical parts next to them. I must admit that I actually had Google what a BNC is (it’s a small cable connector commonly used in radio systems). Since this requires specialized knowledge that Matt doesn’t have, he’s obviously not in a great position here, but the question remains whether he’d be able to quickly locate it among all the similar metallic parts, all of them tiny, even if he knew what a BNC is. He also can’t read what’s on any of the boxes, or distinguish other potentially useful markings. (You might argue that Matt could spot a box of nails from across the room in season one, but you should also know that that particular scene… Let’s just say it’s not a favorite scene.)

  13. Episode 3 (at 24:30) – The Dex encounter

    Matt is still sneaking around the hotel and meets Agent Poindexter in the lobby
    Now inside the hotel, Matt continues to snoop around, and eventually comes face to face with Dex. Again, this is a fraught situation. While feigning eye contact may not be a huge deal (not all blind people “look blind” in any sort of obvious way), anything could happen to trip Matt up here. At any moment, he could be asked to look at something he would be expected to react to, or be pointed toward something he would have to pretend to see. None of that happens, of course, but the tension is definitely there.

  14. Episode 3 (at 46:45) – The stolen bar association ID

    At the end of the episode, Matt steals Foggy’s wallet after finding him in a bar. Once outside the building, he takes the wallet out to check for the presence of the bar association ID he’s going to need to break into prison in the next episode. He verifies this by touch, obviously, even though I can’t really tell from watching this scene whether there are any discernible markings or imprints on it.

  15. Episode 4 (at 02:40) – The pile of bills

    At the start of episode four, Matt finally returns home to his old apartment and takes a moment to absorb it all. On the coffee table we see stacks of envelopes piled up, but it takes Matt a while to notice. In my review of episode four, I talked a bit about the significance of this delay. I’ll quote some of what I had to say below:

    “I count about twenty-five seconds between Matt stepping into the main living area and his suddenly noticing the mail on the coffee table. This really is a nice touch and goes well with one point I’ve occasionally made about Matt’s senses in that they don’t follow the same hierarchy as those of the average person. The moment you imagine what he’s doing as walking into a lit room (and artists who draw the radar sense as an Instagram filter on acid would be better off not trying to render it at all), you’re missing something.

    In an environment where he is actively “interrogating” his surroundings, exploring or looking for something, he likely would have noticed the stacks of papers sooner (compare this to his almost imperceptible brief “check” of that area of the hotel before he grabs a brochure [in the previous episode]), but in this case, he’s not actively looking for anything like that, and from his perspective, it’s not particularly attention-grabbing, compared to many other things in that room.”

    Another thing I mention in that post is that this scene is a good example of a phenomenon I’ve taken to calling “CAR,” or “conspicuously absent radar.” In fact, Matt falling out of bed in the first episode of season three is also an example of CAR. In addition to what I’ve had to say about how the hierarchy of the senses plays a role here – with Matt’s perceptions following a slightly different logic than those of the average person – we could also borrow some insight from the study of attention. To again quote from my book:

    “One interesting concept to introduce here is salience, which is an important topic in attention research. Salience refers to the propensity of an object to stand out against a background by virtue of the contrast of some feature that differentiates it from its surroundings. For instance, a red apple easily catches our eye in a bowl of green apples. It is rendered salient by the contrast in color.
    If we apply this line of thinking to the radar sense, it would actually explain much of Daredevil’s paradoxical behavior over the decades. If what he perceives through this channel generally ranks pretty low on the “salience scale,” then it makes sense that the other senses are better at grabbing his attention, while “seeing” in the manner of the radar may require more of a top-down process of active attention. Large objects and surfaces close by, especially if Matt and the object are moving relative to each other, would be more salient and “attention-grabby” than distant and stationary ones. This would allow the radar to be a decent surveillance system even when his attention is directed elsewhere.”

    Simply put: The bills on the table are simply not that naturally “attention-grabby” from Matt’s point of view.

  16. Episode 4 (at 07:15) – The wad of cash

    Matt takes a cab to Fisk’s former prison to investigate his feud with the Albanian mob, and uses the cash in Foggy’s wallet to pay for the trip and get the driver to stick around (though we all know how that goes). How much cash though? Who knows? Certainly not Matt. He grabs all of it and can only hope that they’re not all one-dollar bills.

  17. Episode 4 (at 19:45) – The nurse’s office

    Matt looks determined standing in front of a menacing-looking eye chart in the nurse's office of the prison, following his phone call with Fisk
    Matt’s visit to the nurse’s office after he’s been punched in the head at the prison is a perfect example of that tension I’ve talked about a few times now. Of course, this tension doesn’t begin with this scene; Matt bluffing his way in to the prison, and his long walk between the visitor’s room and the nurse’s office could count as their own examples of this too. The nurse’s office raises the stakes though. While this whole thing turns out to be a trap where the nurse in question is more interested in injecting Matt with a sedative than getting him to sign a form, the fact is that this scenario could have turned out very differently for Matt. It’s maybe a stretch to say that it would have been worse than what really happened next, but while Matt clearly is capable of fighting his way out of the prison, he would be entirely incapable of passing the eye exam that might have followed if the nurse had been allowed to test his pupil response, or quickly filling out a form. Having that eye chart placed menacingly behind Matt as the camera turns around after Matt’s conversation with Fisk was also a deliberate creative choice. Season three showrunner Erik Oleson confirmed it when I asked about it on Twitter a while back.

  18. Episode 6 (at 38:50) – The wallet

    So remember that wallet Matt stole from Foggy? Well, he obviously has to replace it, which happens when they’re meeting at the Bulletin before everything goes horribly wrong. Matt has apparently bought Foggy a new wallet, and it looks like the kind you might get from a cheap store or even a street vendor. Either way, it seems plausible that the purchase of this wallet would have entailed Matt asking the seller about their selection of wallets, colors, and so on.

    And I know this seems like a reach for a list like this, but as with some of the other items in this and previous similar posts, they’re not all things that scream of: “Hey, the creators did this thing where they wish to remind us of Matt’s blindness!” Many things are passive reminders that require the viewer to think of either a backstory or some other piece of context. For me, this scene definitely conjured up a backstory!

  19. Episode 6 (at 42:45) – The more violent Dex encounter

    I suppose you could either call this yet another case of “CAR,” or of Matt simply having to actively figure things out, but when he comes face to face with Dex at the Bulletin, the realization that this man is wearing what appears to be a Daredevil costume comes to him gradually and with some delay. And it starts with him catching a very familiar baton. This is what we should expect. Can he detect the mask, and the little horns sticking up? Probably. But, this won’t be as noticeable on its own as it would be if he could see. Later on (see the next item), we also learn that the costume has a particular scent, which I think is a nice touch. This too might help the whole scene come together.

  20. Episode 8 (at 16:30) – The apartment inspection

    In Dex's apartment, Ray Nadeem takes a close look at a framed photograph featuring Dex and his colleagues from the suicide hotline. The glass is cracked.
    This is the scene where Matt and agent Ray Nadeem meet up to inspect Dex’s apartment in order to confirm their suspicion that he is the murderous Daredevil impersonator. I did notice that Matt didn’t seem to be jumping for joy at the suggestion they scope out the apartment together, maybe because he senses the risk involved in doing this with Ray without being found out. As things play out, Matt is able to put his senses to good use – like I said, I think his smelling the traces of the Daredevil costume is a nice touch, even though it would have made even more sense for him to simply recognize scent of Dex, the person – while Ray focuses on the more visual details. It sort of reminds me of when Matt teamed up with Elektra in season two, with the important distinction that Ray doesn’t yet know that Matt is blind. (Though he might be curious to know why Matt doesn’t need a flashlight.)

    It may seem like I’m exaggerating the risk to Matt here, especially since he clearly makes it out of this and other similar situations without betraying his blindness. But that’s because of how these scenes are written. If these were not fictional accounts constrained by a predetermined outcome, virtually anything could have happened in that apartment that would have spelled trouble for Matt. Anything from a shocking piece of artwork on the wall to incriminating written documents scattered around the apartment that would have caught Ray’s immediate attention (but not Matt’s!) would have served to highlight his different vantage point. And, even when none of this happens, I think season three generally does a good job of building that kind of tension into the show. A character like Matt Murdock should be well aware that just as he will inevitably pick up on details, such as sounds and smells, that are lost on the average person he is also surrounded by “known unknowns,” or things readily apparent to the average person but completely lost on him.

  21. Episode 9 (at 23:35) – The ropes

    I probably wasn’t the only one who was thrilled to John Patrick Hayden return to play Jack Murdock this season. He does so in the flashbacks detailing his and Maggie’s backstory and Matt’s earliest childhood, as well as in this scene where Matt is having a conversation with his dead father in his head. While this “conversation” is happening at Fogwell’s gym, which is looking more abandoned than ever, Matt rummages through the lockers searching for ropes to wrap around his fists. What I appreciate about this scene is that he does most of this rummaging by touch and the same goes for untangling those ropes. Unless you count the part where he lifts the knotted bundle to his face as if to inspect it visually…

  22. Episode 9 (at 41:15) – The audible text

    I mentioned that there was very little blind tech on display this season, and this scene is the only exception. Still at Fogwell’s gym, Matt receives a text from Agent Nadeem containing an address. We never learn where he gets this new phone, which doesn’t look particularly high-tech. However, it wouldn’t need to be in order to have this kind of functionality.

    While we’re on the topic of phones, let’s talk about a later set of scene showing Matt using Felix Manning’s phone to talk to Dex. We can only assume he came into possession of this phone the same way he squeezed Manning for information, that is by inflicting an excruciating amount of pain. That Matt is able to use the phone and access numbers and information stored in it is not that surprising as most modern phones come pre-equipped with various adaptive features that can simply be turned on. Provided that Manning has given him the password, Matt can likely take it from there. However, I do feel like it would have been a nice touch to actually get to seem him do this, and it only would have taken a few seconds.

  23. Episode 12 (at 36:25) – The car

    Matt walks over to the passenger side of the abandoned cab
    Okay, so maybe this one is a bit of a stretch, but I’m including it here mostly because it gives me a chance to talk about cars and driving. On their way to the court house, Matt and Ray Nadeem are under attack and have to use unconventional means of escape through gridlocked traffic. At some point, Matt notices an abandoned car on the road ahead by the sound of the car keys swinging from the ignition (which is frankly a bit of a stretch, but I’ll allow it), and suggests they use it to get away. When they get closer, Matt is disappointed to discover it’s a cab. I could make a point of the fact that he only notices this when they’re basically right next to it, but what amuses me more about this scene is when Ray suggests that he drive, and Matt dutifully takes the passenger seat.

    This is an obvious suggestion on Ray’s part, even after seeing first hand what Matt can do. Even if he could drive in theory, Matt doesn’t have a driver’s license and has precisely zero hours of driver’s ed under his belt. But what I think also needs to be underscored is that it’s not just the narrow-mindedness of the DMV and their presumed attitudes vis-à-vis blind guys with super senses that should prevent Matt from driving. Maybe I shouldn’t have to point this out, but not only does Matt occasionally drive in the comics – though usually not with great success, see my old post on the topic of driving – I’ve occasionally seen fans suggest that driving really is something Daredevil should be able to do. To which I say: No, absolutely not.

    Not only do we have the obvious issues with things like traffic signs, traffic lights, lane markings and other indicators on the surface of the road itself. In order to drive safely, you also need to be able to see reasonably well at distances that stretch far beyond your immediate surroundings. There are quite a few places in and around my hometown of Stockholm that make driving there somewhat complicated. I’m talking about intersections and off-ramps with confusing signage, or that are just hard to “read” if you’ve never driven there before. And I know this is not unique to where I live, but pretty much a staple of all urban areas, especially ones that periodically undergo construction. Now imagine that none of the indicators that help you make at least some sense of the situation are available to you, and you’ll appreciate why I think Matt attempting to drive in any kind of real traffic would be a terrible idea.

  24. Episode 13 (at 39:10) – The tapestry

    In the final episode, Matt has a conversation with Sister Maggie about the realizations he’s come to about himself and his life. During this monologue, he mentions something that Father Lantom – now regrettably deceased – had said to him when he was younger, about how God’s plan is like a beautiful tapestry and that the tragedy of being human is that we only get to see it from the back, with its ragged threads and muddy colors.

    This is, of course, a very visual metaphor that lies far from Matt’s everyday experiences. That’s not what makes it worth mentioning though – because it’s not as if blind people don’t use visual metaphors – but that this was said to young Matt because he was angry at God for blinding him. While this loss is most certainly felt much less acutely more than twenty years down the line – and the whole scene is about Matt making peace with God – it is still an admission that something was, in fact, lost. This is hardly something for Matt – or us viewers – to dwell on, but it’s an interesting contrast to the common notion that Matt’s accident was such an obvious net gain. Clearly, it’s more complicated than that.

  25. Episode 13 (at 50:00) – The napkin

    Foggy holds up a napkin that reads Nelson, Murdock and Page
    One of the final scenes of the season sees Foggy writing something down on a napkin to imagine their future together. This is a callback to his outlining the Nelson & Murdock letterhead on a napkin before they went into business together, and now features the addition of the last name Page. He then holds the napkin up for Karen to see, and for Matt to, well… not see. Of course, Matt figures it out anyway, it’s an obvious guess, but this clearly counts as a reminder that Matt literally can’t see what’s written on that piece of paper.

Okay, that marks the end of the list! As always, it probably could have been longer or shorter, depending on where you draw the line, and what kinds of things come to mind while watching. Here’s to hoping that Daredevil: Born Again can capture most of what season three got right, and make improvements where needed. Did you notice anything from season three that I missed? Please add your comments below!

2 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    One example that always stood out to me is in episode 6, when Matt and Nadeem are escaping Dex’s apartment, Matt’s location is betrayed by a mirror, as he is would be unaware that it is being reflected back at Dex.

    Reply
    • Christine

      Ha! I was actually debating whether I should include that. I remember after the show came out, and I mentioned that scene on Twitter (with the same understanding that you suggested), and had one or two people argue that I’d misread the scene and that Matt did know there was a mirror there. So, for this list, I erred on the side of caution. But I much prefer it the way you describe.

      Reply

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