The new season of Daredevil put Matt Murdock and his allies through the wringer, bringing back Wilson Fisk in a major way while introducing a fan-favorite Marvel villain with Agent Poindexter, well on his way to becoming Bullseye.
But the new season also fleshed out Murdock's friends Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, with Deborah Ann Woll getting a major spotlight in the tenth episode. The appropriately titled "Karen" dives into the character's backstory which has often been alluded to, though never properly explored.
It's a change of pace, with a majority of the episode taking place in the past and showing why Karen leaves her small town in Vermont behind after tragedy strikes her family. ComicBook.com spoke with Daredevil Season 3 showrunner Erik Oleson about the episode, finding out why it was important to the show's narrative.
"I personally insisted on it. One of the things that I came into season three wanting to do, was to more fully flesh out the characters," Oleson said. "To make them all the protagonists of their own stories. I don't believe in sidekick characters. I think everybody is the hero of their own movie, and that to me is the mark of premium television, of quality TV...
"And so one of the things I wanted to do when I took over as the showrunner, was to more fully understand Karen and why she behaved the way she is. Why she in Season 1, never really formed a meaningful relationship, a romantic relationship with Matt, and why she then kind of just flirted with Foggy for five minutes and dropped it. And then why she had a chemistry with Frank Castle, but that never went anywhere. I was very interested in understanding why."
Oleson explained that Woll herself was worried her character would get a "saccharine" backstory, and that was far from what the showrunner himself wanted to explore.
"And so the writer's room and I spent quite a lot of time figuring out the story that you ended up seeing in episode 10 for her backstory, which really I think answers a lot of questions about why Karen came to Hell's Kitchen, why she shot Westley, why she's held back from forming meaningful, emotional and romantic relationships. And it's all fueled by the fear that she is unworthy of love. She fears that she's not a good person because of this backstory," Oleson said.
Oleson recognized that episodes like this, and like the episode in Stranger Things that divers from the main action to explore Eleven's adventure with her "sister," are divisive among fans. But he still wanted it if only to do justice to Karen Page, who has sometimes gotten the short shrift in the comics.2comments
"So in the comics, Karen Page is very different," Oleson said. "Like the 'Born Again' Karen Page, basically a drug addicted prostitute, is a very different Karen Page that exists on the television series, and the character that has been built by the show. And so I wanted to pay homage to it, and you see elements of Karen doing drugs, and you know, we definitely nod to it. And yet we honor the show and the backstory that has been created by the series."