Daredevil season 1 explored a number of themes. Not only did we get brilliant story, but we also got dynamic characters. Matthew Murdock is a God-fearing man who is all about doing the right thing. There is no other way in his mind. His alter ego Daredevil is almost identical to him as Matt Murdock. He’s a lawyer that fights for the little guy. It keeps him alive, it fuels his soul, it’s what he lives for. What’s the main problem with that though? Being a crime-fighting hero in a city littered with crime is tough, and not in a “losing weight for Spring Break” kind of tough. In season 1, Daredevil collided with one of his greatest enemies. Kingpin was built up as a somewhat mentally impaired man with a troubled past. His “love” for his city was toxic. Two men with two completely different views clashed throughout the entirety of that season. Kingpin got sent to jail, and Daredevil became a symbol in Hell’s Kitchen. We all know things can only get worse, and tougher from there. Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, The Two Towers, Spider-Man 2, and many others beautifully illustrate the struggle heroes go through after an opposition learns their tactics. It’s common in everyday life too. For any sports fans out there, a perfect example is Robert Griffin III. If you haven’t seen him play football, look up his rookie year stats. He was charismatic, enigmatic, and unpredictable. His awkward play confused most defenses because teams weren’t used to him. What happened after only one year. The same defenses who were embarrassed by him began to dominate him in every aspect of the game. During his dominance, the media loved him. There were stories on him about everything from his accuracy, to his unique socks. My point is, Daredevil soaked up the media presence in between season 1 and season 2. You can understand why that would rub some criminals, and a certain anti-hero the wrong way. I knew that this season was going to test Daredevil in ways many classic sequels do. But I also knew that if anyone could survive it, the man without fear could. This season might be better than the first season. Mainly because it takes more chances.
This show literally starts off with a bang in season two. Daredevil is running the streets. Kingpin is gone and the other criminals want a piece of the action. We get a scene early on where an Irish mobster is talking. He’s not saying anything important really, but he is menacing. Looking around the room, I thought, “Daredevil might be in for a challenge with these Irish mobsters.” As soon as I thought that, bullets pierced our over-zealous Irish leader. His buddies too. It’s a brutal scene, and it starts off a story that continues throughout the entirety of the season. This season balances two different, but similar plots very well. So this killing sends Hell’s Kitchen into a tailspin. The lone survivor, Grotto goes to Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page for help. Foggy wants to help the mobster. Remember that I said that, and go watch it. So they decide to help the mobster. They want to offer their services since they have a reputation of helping anybody and everybody. Daredevil does his own digging and finds the man who is responsible for killing the Irish. A gruesome scene shows Daredevil finding drug cartel members hanging off of meat hooks. Truly disgusting. Who is the man responsible for the killings? Frank Castle. Otherwise known as The Punisher. The show does a tremendous job giving us his backstory, so I won’t go into details now. The fight between them was awesome. It ends with Daredevil getting shot in the head by Punisher. His helmet protects him, but he has side effects of it in the next episode.
The story revolves heavily around Punisher for the next couple of episodes. I didn’t mind it at all. He was a great character. He’s elusive. The cops can’t get a beat on him. We’re introduced to District Attorney Reyes. She clearly has an agenda when it comes to Punisher. Foggy and Karen help their client Grotto set up a sting involving another mobster. In reality, Reyes wanted to use Grotto as bait to drive out Punisher. Her plan works, but we’re given a glimpse into corruption of Punisher’s past. Another fight ensues between Daredevil and our favorite anti-hero. Daredevil is eventually captured by Punisher, and a GREAT conversation about vigilante justice happens next. Punisher calls Daredevil a coward since he’s only a half-measure. He says he’s willing to go all the way so the criminals don’t hurt anyone anymore. Of course, Daredevil doesn’t agree with a bit of that. He believes it isn’t their job to determine whether a man lives or dies. The dialogue is awesome. I draw parallels here from Jessica Jones season 1. I feel as if most humans don’t want to kill another human, no matter how despicable a person is. Jessica wanted Kilgrave at all costs, but she wanted to prove his existence so he could rot in a jail cell. Obviously, he forced Jessica into killing him, but through all the mess he put her through, she was willing to lock him up. Officer Simpson wanted him dead. Both Simpson and Castle are former military. Is there something about our military that makes these men willing to kill so easily? Well, obviously they are trained to kill, but that detachment they have to human life is a bit scary. I’m not an expert on military training nor do I want to be, it’s just an interesting conversation that has happened twice now in these Marvel shows. But at the end of the day, is Punisher wrong? His methods are brutal no doubt, but he only kills killers. Daredevil can’t reason with it at all. I love when he tells Punisher that he’ll have to kill him because he’s just going to keep coming no matter what. So after their conversation, Daredevil gets free and fights the biker gang in one of the best fights this show has ever had. The red lighting really gave it an eerie feel. Later in the show, Punisher is kidnapped by the Irish Mafia. They want their money back that Punisher stole. The scene of him getting tortured is brutal. Throughout all of this, Karen is doing research on Punisher and finds out he has a family. The side story of her digging into his past was pretty cool. Daredevil actually frees Punisher, and one of the best scenes from this season happened next. Punisher tells Daredevil about his family. There isn’t any flashbacks or transitions. Just a sad, bloody Punisher talking about his life. I got a little teary eyed watching this scene. He talked about his kids, his wife and how everything went to shit. At the end, he’s taken to jail.
There was a bunch of content in the first four episodes of Daredevil season 2. They truthfully had enough material and story to stretch out the Punisher storyline. Karen and Matt got together at this point, which was nice. The show took a crazy turn when they introduce Elektra soon after Punisher went to jail. At first, I didn’t like this at all. Elektra came off as a bratty, spoiled little girl. We get insight into her and Matt’s relationship. They met in college and eventually separated when Elektra found the man who killed Matt’s father, Jack. She prompted Matt to kill him, of course though, Matt refused. She ended up killing the man and leaving Matt. In the present, his Daredevil and Matt Murdock life is completely different, for honestly the first time in the show. His firm decides to represent Frank Castle during his trial. The biggest trial of the decade. Elektra asks Matt to help her take down the Yakuza. Both require intense attention. Matt struggles hardcore with these pressures. I love this because this is Daredevil. He goes through it sometimes more than any superhero. After a night of escapades with Elektra, he misses the opening statement. Foggy loses his mind. They have an argument in the bathroom, basically signifying the end of their relationship. Foggy couldn’t handle Matt’s lifestyle and he was jealous of him from the start. Karen and Matt’s relationship was fairly quick. She still doesn’t know he’s Daredevil so his absences anger her. The season’s second act ends when Elektra is attacked. Stick shows up to save her and reveals to Matt the nature of the war he told him about in season 1. Stick tells him about the Hand, an ancient group that has been fighting the Chaste in search of the Black Sky. Matt doesn’t believe it. He thinks Stick needs to get committed. Elektra heals soon after. A ninja breaks into his home and Elektra ends up killing him. They do a good job of showing how insane she is. But you can still tell that Matt is somewhat falling for her again. Someone gets to Punisher and makes him lose his mind. He talks about how he enjoyed killing the criminals. Nelson and Murdock lose the case. Who does Punisher meet when he gets to jail? Freaking Kingpin!!
The third act of this show was strong to me. Kingpin was much needed. I wasn’t expecting him at all. He set up Punisher to be put in jail. The main reason Kingpin did this, was to get control of the jail from his rival. He tells Punisher that his rival was involved in the hit on Frank’s family. That’s all he needs. An awesome hallway fight scene happens where Punisher kills the rival and his crew of minions. He also learns that his family dying was the result of a government sting. Karen, who’s working for the Bulletin, finds out the same thing at the same time. This show definitely expands on Kingpin’s control. He went from ordinary flunky to Kingpin of the jail in no time at all. He proposes to Punisher his release so he can clean up the streets. When Kingpin is set free, he’ll rule the crime world. Punisher doesn’t care either way. He tells Kingpin that the next time they see each other, only one of them lives. It was a great scene and seeing Fisk again was definitely needed. Daredevil continues his fight against the Hand and realizes that Nobu, the ninja from last season, has been resurrected. Reyes, the uptight DA gets Foggy, Karen, and Matt together after this when Punisher escapes prison. She admits to setting up the sting that killed his family. Soon after she says that, she is killed by a random gunman! Foggy is shot in the arm. Matt goes to the jail to talk to Fisk. This is a great scene. It’s almost as good as the Punisher gravestone scene. Matt loses himself for a bit. When Kingpin doesn’t budge, he brings up Vanessa. Bad move, Matty. I knew Kingpin was going to snap. He starts to beat and choke Matt. He swears that he’s going to take him and Foggy down. It’s almost a forgettable moment in the craziness of everything else, but I think it’ll directly lead into season 3. The show goes all over the place here, but I loved every second of it. Frank meets up with Karen and says he didn’t kill Reyes. He also admits to Karen that he’s losing her as bait. After a vicious fight, Punisher learns that the Blacksmith, the drug lord who ordered the hit, has a shipment coming to the pier. Daredevil finds out the same information from Madame Gao. Blacksmith isn’t their however, and his men arrive instead. They shoot up the boat, presumably killing Frank Castle.
The last two episodes are action packed. Stick orders a hit on Elektra but she kills the assassin. She is determined to kill Stick. Daredevil talks her out of it momentarily, but the Hand captures Stick. They go after them and eventually rescue Stick. For the past couple of episodes before this, Daredevil was struggling to fight the ninjas. The masked their movements. Stick told Daredevil to focus on their breaths instead of their heartbeats. After he does that, Daredevil lets out a scream of relief. One of the coolest moments in the show to me. Nobu finds them and it is revealed that Elektra is the legendary Black Sky. She is the leader the Hand serves. They bow to her, but she ends up helping Stick escape. During this, Karen goes to Frank’s former military commander, Ray Schoonover. She wants to do a piece about Frank, the real Frank. As they talk, she realizes that Schoonover is the Blacksmith. He puts a gun to her head, but another car rams them. Punisher is alive!! He takes Blacksmith to a shed and kills him with one shot. Karen is distraught about it though. I think she saw Frank as an embodiment of herself. She has a confusing, dark past. Frank was her opportunity to show the world how good someone is, despite their demons. That’s why she was obsessed with this story the entire season. When Frank kills Blacksmith, Karen feels as if she has failed. The show ends with an epic fight on a rooftop involving the Hand and Daredevil and Elektra. A beautiful scene happens where the pair talk about leaving their lives in New York for a life abroad together. From here, I knew Elektra’s fate. The scene had erased the frustration Elektra had caused me earlier in the season. She was a special type of crazy, but something about her and Matt works. You want them to be together. During the fight, Nobu arrives. He is about to strike, when Elektra intervenes. She is stabbed. Immediately, she dies in Daredevil’s arms. She asks him if being good always feels like this. My heart broke. Daredevil continues to fight though. Punisher arrives, with his signature skull, on another rooftop to kill the remaining ninjas so Daredevil can finish off Nobu. Nobu ends up falling off the roof. He’s alive until Stick shows up and cuts his head clean off! The season wraps up nicely after that. Karen gets a permanent job at the Bulletin, Foggy accepts a job at Hogarth’s law firm (the annoying lawyer from Jessica Jones) and Matt goes about living his life. At the end, the Hand digs up Elektra’s body. She might be resurrected in the next season. The season ends with Matt telling Karen he’s Daredevil!
I definitely enjoyed this season. The origin aspect and Kingpin make season 1 better from that aspect, but season 2 juggled a lot really well. Like I said, the first four Punisher episodes could have been stretched no doubt into eight episodes. Then, we could’ve gotten the Kingpin scene, then the ending with Blacksmith. Boom, season 2. What they decided to do though worked for me. Daredevil usually has a lot going on. He’s just like Spider-Man and Batman. Elektra is a key figure in his life. She was a little too crazy for me, but that scene at the end with them forgave most of it. The action as usual was fantastic. They stepped it up from season 1. The fights between Punisher and Daredevil really stuck out to me. I loved the upgraded suit in this season. Certain shots looked directly ripped from the comic books. Truly breathtaking. My only negatives for this season was Foggy. I don’t like his character mainly because of his stubbornness to adapt to his changing surroundings, which is ironic, given he lives in New York City. Blaming Matt for Frank losing it in court? For real? He never got over Daredevil wooing Karen in season 1 and it carries over to his hate for Matt in season 2. I don’t know, some, or maybe most, would argue that Matt could’ve done more for their relationship, but it fell apart so quickly. Were they even friends in the first place? Or did Foggy get a little hurt his blind friend is cooler than him? To me, it all boils down to insecurity, and that’s lame because he blames Matt for everything. I loved when Matt finally told Foggy he’s done apologizing for what he does. I’m sure we’ll see him in season 3 or Jessica Jones season 2 but I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t.
Overall, the Punisher was probably my favorite part about this season. His acting was superb. He was in the show for a perfect amount of time. Now, his show can draw attention. People are interested in him and now they can focus on something other than his family. I can’t wait. But everything else in this show was good. If anyone hasn’t read the Daredevil graphic novel, Born Again, please do so. I actually reviewed it on my channel, so after you read it check it out. I think season 3 might follow this story. Mainly because of two scenes. The scene where Kingpin swears revenge on Matt Murdock, and the very end, where he tells Karen he’s Daredevil. I just think the setup is there. They could do something like this for the first 7 episodes and maybe introduce Bullseye at the same time. Maybe he kills Karen? I don’t know, but I’m excited for the future. I give this season a solid 9.8/10
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