This article contains mild SPOILERS and spoilers for the entire season further below…
In my write-up of season one of Daredevil, I was really looking forward to more varied adventures of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen for season two. And for the most part, season two delivered on a lot of that promise, by bringing in two big characters for Daredevil to play off of. Instead of going for the slow burn build-up of Matt Murdock becoming Daredevil and eventually confronting Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, like was the case in season one, things jump off pretty fast this season. And with the addition of Frank Castle/The Punisher and Elektra, this is definitely the most violent season of Marvel shows to date.
Let’s start with Punisher, since we start this season on him and Daredevil trying to stop his rampage of killing gangs in the city. The idea of a vigilante trying to stop a vigilante who has gone extreme in fighting crime isn’t a foreign concept, even in regular dramas, but in a show like Daredevil, its fascinating early on to watch the good guy face the worst version of themselves. And Jon Bernthal was a great choice to play Frank, as he makes the character a broken man with a shattered psyche and able to take a lot of, excuse the phrase, punishment. Later on, we learn Frank’s quest is spurred on by a familiar event to comic readers, but becomes a more convoluted storyline as the season goes on.
Later on, we get another demon pestering Matt in his former love, Elektra (Elodie Yung), as she comes into town and drags him into all sorts of violent encounters with the group known as The Hand (who were alluded to in season one, but come in full force here). She is the more playful demon in this case, and her playoff with Matt throughout the season are a fun and often emotional backbone for some of the less grounded stuff that happens later. She has her own backstory that gets revealed, and its one that puts her in front of the mayhem that ensues as the former lovers fight a crazed ninja cult. Her arrival also complicates Matt’s growing relationship with Karen, and pretty much Matt’s attorney life.
Certainly, Foggy and Karen are left in the occasional lurch thanks to Matt’s nighttime activities, and a big case they pick up later is not helped by Matt’s absence. It all hits a fever pitch as soon as Elektra enters the picture, and threatens to destroy the Nelson and Murdock law team at a critical time. And that leads to another improvement (if marginal in this case) in a bit more court time for Matt and Foggy, although they and Karen are occasionally back to sleuthing as the Punisher plot starts unfolding. There are also a few big developments that change things for the show going into a possible third season, but let’s talk about those developments below…
So, onto big SPOILERS for the season below….
So, where to start? I guess the big thing is the whole Daredevil, Elektra, and Stick (!) vs. The Hand and how that goes down. There’s a lot of ninja fighting in the final few episodes of the season, and it gets messy, especially when one major attack occurs at Claire’s hospital and the Hand kidnap a lot of the people Daredevil helped to lure him into a trap. And of course, Elektra being one of the Hand’s “Black Sky” kids puts that kid murder by Stick in season one into more perspective. That she dies by Nobu’s hand (by the way, this guy seemed unable to die until Stick cleaves his head off) is a surprise, seeing how she met her (not permanent) end in the comics, but of course, she seems to be about to be resurrected by the remaining members of The Hand for next season.
And boy, it looks like no more Nelson and Murdock for the time being, now that Foggy is moving onto Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones‘ law firm. Then there’s Matt deciding to let Karen (who is a reporter now at Ben Urich’s newspaper, and in his office no less!) in onto him being Daredevil, and the open ended question of what she’ll do with that knowledge. Certainly Matt will have a harder time getting patched up now that Claire has quit her job at the hospital following the bizarre Hand victims and attack at the hospital. Fisk pops up also, still in prison, and based on his chilling threat and beating of Matt, Murdock and Foggy have trouble to look forward to if and when he gets out.
Not that another season will be suffering from lack of ultra violence, because season two got really bloody. From Frank’s brutal interrogation in episode four (Gah! The power drill to the feet!), him blowing his captor’s face off with a shotgun, and that brutal prison fight, there’s not much flinching from gore. This show has had some great fights, and even with a little underwhelming rooftop fight in the finale, this show improved on the action. Even then, there’s some great emotional moments, like Frank’s sad remembrance of his daughter, and that first perfect date for Matt and Karen.
As much as there have been improvements in season two, the last few episodes have some really scattershot plot logic that brings the season down a bit. For instance, the end of the Punisher arc, and dealing with the Blacksmith, whose identity was a character we hadn’t seen for about five episodes (on the other hand, when you realize actor Clancy Brown was brought in for a brief cameo during that trial, it almost makes sense he would be revealed to be the architect behind the death of Frank’s family). Even the threat of the corrupt D.A., Reyes, falls flat as she turns from vicious adversary through the season to quivering accomplice and corpse in her final scene. And just to nitpick, Frank shows up to the final fight with Daredevil and the Hand just to pick off a few guys and nothing else, besides appear with his famous skull shirt?
The minor quibbles of this season keep Daredevil season two from eclipsing season one, but at least keep it on par. And now with the big developments happening for Matt, Foggy, and Karen, plus whatever will happen with Punisher and Elektra, what will season three hold? Wilson Fisk becoming the big baddie of the show again? Bullseye appearing? Any appearances by say, Jessica Jones or Luke Cage?
What are your thoughts on season two? Ideas for a season three? Comment below, and let’s discuss it…