A couple of weeks ago, Marvel’s Daredevil season three premiered on Netflix. This season took a more introspective approach to storytelling. We got to see the inner turmoil and struggle of these characters on a deeper level. The season structure was less linear than the first two seasons. They did a great job of digging into the depths of what motivates or terrorizes these characters. Deep emotional trauma was played out in very surrealistic ways a la Legion or Twin Peaks. It’s an approach I didn’t expect at all. I also feel that Marvel’s Netflix shows do a great job at tackling really sensitive and complex topics like abuse, rape, consent, and mental health. I found this season to be a great opportunity to discuss mental health and what that can look like for some people.
[Editor’s Note: This article contains mild spoilers about Season 3 of Daredevil]
One of the characters that stood out the most was Special Agent Benjamin Poindexter aka Dex (Bull’s Eye). Dex was a deeply troubled and complicated person. His parents died when he was a young child and he was placed in Lyndhurst Home for Boys. He was the star pitcher of his baseball team. During one of his games, his coach and Dex had a disagreement which lead to the untimely death of Coach Bradley. Dex’s latent abilities manifested and he threw a ball that ricocheted off the fence hitting Coach Bradley and fatally killing him instantly. Dex was institutionalized later and was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and psychotic episodes. His therapist, Dr. Eileen Mercer, took Dex as her patient.
Now this is where things get difficult. I personally suffer from mild depression and anxiety. I regularly see a therapist to manage my mental health. Having regularly scheduled sessions, you naturally form an emotional bond with this person. Your therapist sees you in your most vulnerable and raw state. As Dex got older, he had formed an intense bond with Dr. Mercer. When Dr. Mercer revealed that she was going to die from cancer, Dex became furious. He even threatened to kill her. “I want to kill you for dying” he says to her. Dex was acting out of fear of being abandoned and his own psychological issues as well. I understand that feeling of being separated with your therapist. I’ve had to changed therapists twice now. Both times were very emotional for me. It is very challenging especially if you’re a teenager or someone with abandonment issues. However, I had a better handle on my emotions than Dex did. I loved that this season went more in depth about how that intimate relationship shapes someone’s life. Dex felt lost without Dr. Mercer. That disruption can be very traumatic for someone seeking treatment.
|Everything seems fine at first…|
|Dex goes off the rails during his dinner date with Julie|
Dr. Mercer’s final advice was for Dex to find structure in his life and refer to their old sessions she had recorded if he needed them. She also says that needs a “good person” to help guide him. Dex finds that good person to guide him while working at a Suicide Hotline. Dex found that structure when he joins the military and then becomes a FBI agent. People with mental health issues need structure and routine. Constant change and shifting in life make it difficult to have normalcy. Dex seemed to have developed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as a result. His need for structure manifested in the way he decorated his apartment and how meticulous he was about every single detail.
Things start to fall apart for Dex when his loses his job after the Kingpin orchestrated an operation with the FBI that goes wrong leaving Dex to be scapegoat. Also, his former co-worker Julie is completely creeped out by him when they went on date to catch up. Dex has some concerning outbursts that ultimately made Julie feel uncomfortable. Dex continues to stalk Julie. He eventually confronts her while she’s jogging and tries to convince her to help him be a better person. While talking with her, Dex confesses that without his job, his life is spiraling out of control. I resonated with this so much. Sudden or abrupt life changes can disrupt your nature order and balance you have created for yourself. He says to her “I’m swimming in deep water. I don’t know if I’m swimming up to the surface or swimming further into the depths.” That may not be the exact quote but that’s the gist of it. That feeling of drowning in your own head is a terrible feeling. He looked to Julie as that “good person” who can help him rediscover the balance that he needs.
|Dex convinces Julie to help him with his trauma.|
|Dex breaking down in front of the Kingpin|
|The Kingpin provides support as a father figure to Dex|
Unfortunately for both Kanye West and Dex, they are the most vulnerable. They both fall victim to powerful (white) men who prey upon the lost and wayward people who need purpose and guidance. After Dex’s life is completely turned upside down, he turns to the Kingpin for direction. Kingpin is very cunning and sees this as an opportunity to use Dex as a tool. He even presents himself as a father figure that Dex ultimately longs for. It’s very similar to how Kanye West looked to Donald Trump. One of my favorite Black Feminist Theorist and Social Activist Kimberly Foster made a video discussing Kanye’s Daddy issues. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Dex.
Kanye West’s [White] Daddy Issues