She is a total subversion of the ‘innocent girl’ stereotype
Karen arrived at Nelson and Murdock as a victim. After accidentally being sent a work email she shouldn’t have seen concerning some Wilson Fisk level dodgey accounting, she was set up for the brutal murder of one of her colleagues. Nelson and Murdock scooped her up and saved her, and thus began a pattern of hero worship that established Karen as the typical one dimensional Marvel woman we are all used to being disappointed by.
But then she went rogue. Fuelled not so much by her crush on Matt as her dogged and insistent demand for the truth, she went after Wilson Fisk, murder crime boss extraordinaire, alone. When one of his henchmen, Westley (RIP) came after her, I think we all expected yet another rescue from Daredevil.
Instead, Karen shot the guy with his own gun. A lot. We were all like… Karen? He’s dead now.
It was at this moment that Daredevil started to interest me beyond Matt’s shirtless scenes.
It’s after Westley’s death that we start to see the effort Karen has to put into playing the ‘innocent’ role Matt has assigned her. Throughout season two their every conversation occurs at cross purposes. In episode 5, Kinbaku, when Matt and Karen finally go on their (totally adorable, btw) first date, all they do is lie to each other. When Karen asks Matt how his day was, he says he was working (actually he was chasing his psychopath ex-girlfriend around New York City) and Karen says she was doing nothing at all (she spent the day at The New York Bulletin, working with a journalist to uncover Frank Castle’s past). Karen’s deep need to uncover the truth – no matter the cost – is probably the most significant thing about her. It is her passion and her obsession. And she feels totally unable to share it with Matt. Her drive and determination and the crimes she is sometimes pushed to commit are in total opposition to Matt’s idea of her. So she hides herself from him. This active pretending reveals the ‘innocent’ girl for the imaginary thing that she is. Everyone is more complicated than that.
I found watching such a tired trope toyed with in this way delightful, in case you couldn’t tell.
She’s an accidental journalist
Karen finding her new home at The New York Bulletin has been heavily criticised as unrealistic. Mostly by journalists. To them I say this: you are watching a show about a blind guy with super powers. Get over yourselves.
I adore how separate Karen’s character development is from Matt’s. Yeah, it was through being a legal assistant at Nelson and Murdock that she was able to channel her truth-seeking skills, but in the end it was only outside the constraints of the firm that she would really be able to realise her talents.
(Though this didn’t make the demise of Nelson and Murdock hurt any less.)
Karen Page: Badass Investigative Journalist is a story I could watch for hours.
She’s got sass.
One time a client asked her to give her a kiss before he stepped onto the battlefield (a police sting that would earn him witness protection) instead, she gave him the finger.
And then this happened:
Karen and Daredevil are basically the same person
Watching season 2 of Daredevil is a lot like losing your mind. It is so frustrating watching Matt and Karen run circles around each other, both of them using their secret identities like invisible suits of armour.
Karen Page and Daredevil both care about justice above all else. They both know that they’ll never stop, even if it kills them. They both believe the people in their lives would never understand this. They both lie to the people they love, freaking constantly.
In so many Marvel movies the love interest is established as a foil to the hero. Where he is irrational, she is sensible. Where he is a playboy, she is dedicated and monogamous. Where he is brave, she is afraid.
Not Karen Page. She’s just as much of a daredevil as Daredevil is.
She’s got secrets
The main thing the past 2 seasons of Daredevil have taught us about Karen Page is that we know nothing about her.
Part of the whole ‘innocent girl’ trope is that she is taken at face value. She acts sweet and dresses girly and we assume there is nothing more to it.
There is so much more to it.
This past season, we found out she has a dead brother. What made this all the more intriguing was the conversation about said brother she had with Matt during with she failed to mention that he’d died.
We have seen Matt’s life through flashbacks, Foggy is an open book and Frank Castle had an entire season dedicated to his personal mysteries. The only person hiding from us is Karen Page.
Karen Page has quickly become one of my favourite characters of all time. There’d better be a Daredevil season three. I need to know where her story goes next.