Delving deep into 'Daredevil's' Karen Page, her actions and history
'Daredevil', the popular Netflix show, recently released its third season. While the new season is brilliantly made, following protagonist Matt Murdock as he grapples with his loss of faith and trying to find a new identity, the character we really get an insight into finally, is Karen Page. Actress Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Karen, also opened up about her role. Here's more.
Fair warning, in discussing Karen's character across seasons, both Woll and we shall be discussing aspects of the show that might spoil the experience for those who have not watched it yet. Now that we cleared that up, enjoy reading about Karen Page.
In Daredevil's third season, the tenth episode is simply titled 'Karen' and delves into her backstory growing up. A darkness in Karen's past had been hinted for two seasons and viewers knew her brother had died in a mysterious accident. However, the reason for Karen's secrecy, her unhappy life at home and her urge to do good, remained unexplained until this explosive episode.
The episode shows a carefree Karen in her hometown, Fagan Corners, Vermont. She peddles drugs at a college party. However, it is revealed that she holds her family and failing diner together, after her mother's demise. Having to deal with her father's spendthrift habits, Karen makes ends meet, dealing drugs along with her no-good boyfriend. Her only source of happiness is her younger brother.
Karen's life falls apart soon after she gets accepted into college. After a family dinner ends in tears, Karen's brother and her boyfriend get into a tussle. While driving away from the situation, Karen, high on drugs, crashes the car which kills her brother. Her father, already distant after her mother's death, cannot cope with the loss. He sends Karen away, never forgiving her.
Her father's unforgiving nature shines through in season 3 when Karen loses her job. With nowhere to go, she calls her father wanting to return to the safety of her home. However, she is refused point blank, and when she seeks validation saying that she ended up hurting people while trying to do good, her father coldly replies, that is what she does.
In the aforementioned context, Woll explained Karen's feelings. Karen feels disconnected due to Matt Murdock's rumored death, and Foggy Nelson living a happy life balancing work and love. Even Punisher, whom Karen grew close to, left her to lead a vigilante's life. In her complete loneliness, she desperately clings on to the hope that Matt is alive, to feel a sense of worldly belonging.
Woll talks about Karen's sense of shame and secrecy, which stems from blaming herself for her brother's death. Coupled with the murder of Wilson Fisk's second-in-command, James Wesley, Karen is guilt-ridden. The new season sees her accepting it as she confesses the crimes to Matt. She tries to do good to atone for her sins and we finally see her forgiving her past misdeeds.
For those unaware, Matt being tended to by his mother in a church is straight out of Frank Miller's 'Born Again'. The story saw Karen becoming a heroin addict and revealing Daredevil's identity to Fisk. The show referred to this when Karen accidentally revealed Matt's identity in her interview with Fisk. Her young days as a drug peddler is a reference to Karen's comic storyline involving porn and drugs.
Karen's desire to do good culminates in one of her best scenes in season 3, when she interviews Fisk, trying to provoke him into making a mistake. Karen, uncaring for her own safety, tries to get a reaction from Kingpin, by talking about his parents and childhood. She comes close and does not lose her nerve, proving herself as much a hero as Daredevil.
Woll and this author concur in their opinion about Karen in the season finale. She joins Nelson and Murdock in a new partnership. Karen will continue helping the justice system, using her investigative skills. Having finally come to terms with her actions, she appears ready to turn a new page (pun intended). We can't wait to see where her character goes in next season.