Daredevil Season 2 Review

Season one of Daredevil showed what a mature street crime centric version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is capable of and was good enough for me to give it a nine out of ten. The second season is a slight improvement over the first and would be near perfect, if the last two episodes didn’t slip in quality.

One of the two new major characters to join the second season is Frank Castle or The Punisher played Jon Bernthal. While I didn’t see any of the three Punisher films, with three different actors portraying the character, I can see why people that saw one or all of the previous Punishers would say Bernthal’s version of the character is the best one not seen in a comic. Scenes involving the Punisher tend to make full use the show’s MA rating to show the full brutality of Punisher’s war on criminal organizations. What separates the Punisher from other characters that turn into human terminators after the death of people close to them is the realness of Bernthal’s portrayal. When Punisher talks about his family both the character and viewer feel an emotional connection to a man that killed at least 50 people without remorse.

Spoiler
The speech a severely injured Punisher gives Daredevil about the day he returned home from war and saw his daughter, was given in such a realistic and believable way that I could see how much he truly loved his daughter and why he would only care about getting revenge after losing her with his wife and son at the same time.

While his storyline shows the issues with a super hero/vigilante that takes lives, it does so in a way that made more sense or was deeper then killing is bad so real heroes must be above killing. As a viewer watching an action movie or TV show, I usually want the hero to kill the villain and I usually don’t give any though to the political or social issues to come with him or her taking the law into their own hands. While the second season of Daredevil shows both sides of the argument without giving a definite answer to which side is right, by focusing on each character’s personal theosophy, I understood why they did what they did. Daredevil is religious and considers murder to be the one sins people should never commit with no exceptions and the Punisher only cares about elimination criminals and doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions. There are times when Daredevil’s decision not to kill causes issues that could be avoided if he had simply murdered that person earlier, and there are times when Punisher’s consistent killing causes issue that wouldn’t be possible if he wasn’t known as the most effective serial killer in the MCU.

Spoiler
Daredevil’s decision to not kill Wilson Fisk last season is clearly going to comeback to haunt him in season 3 or The Defenders. Instead of taking care of Fisk’s criminal empire for good, he has allowed him to rebuild his empire stronger. Fisk can learn from the mistakes he made last time, considers blind lawyer Matt Murdock a legitimate threat, and is nearly impossible to stop as along as he stays in a prison that he control. The Punisher’s reputation as an unstoppable killing machine gave Fisk the opportunity to kill the Kingpin that was originally running the jailed. While Fisk’s plan to kill Punisher in one of the best and bloodiest fight scenes I’ve ever seen outside of a movie theater failed, Fisk still managed to make the most of the situation by letting Punisher out of jail, knowing any criminals he kill will be less competition for Fisk.

The Punisher storyline also featured good material for Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. The role of superhero love interest can be one of the worst roles an actress can play. Regardless how smart, accomplished, and beautiful the character is, there’s always the possible that they become annoying over time. Either the superhero gets caught in the endless cycle of having to save their damsel-in-distress, or the viewers are forced to watch several scenes of her complaining that the superhero needs to stop doing what made the character popular in the first place for his own safety. Lucky, Karen avoids these issues for the most part. There are times when she needs the hero to save her, but her entire existence isn’t defined by her relationship with Matt, and her relationship with Matt was one of the weaker parts of this season. Building upon the investigation skills Karen learnt while working with Ben Urich last season, Karen spends most of the season trying to find out Frank Castle’s life story and who or what made him become the Punisher. The personal connection she feels to Frank stems from a surprising moment late last season and guilty involving her family. While her storyline ends somewhat disappointingly, it was overall good use of the character.

Spoiler
The scene when Karen and Ellison enter the now departed Ben Urich’s office and Ellison mentioned that Ben knew her secret and news paper about a car crash, suggest that Karen was feeling guilt about her role in her brother’s death (I believe she mentions having a brother and him being gone to Matt at some point during this season). The guilty of her brother’s death and killing Wesley last season, is part of the reason Karen wants to help Frank. Her investigation of who was behind Frank’s family’s murder ending with the colonel that testified in Frank’s trail being the man behind it all was disappointing, and as someone that went to college to be a writer and will probably never get their own office with a news paper company, it was kind of ridiculous that she could be given the former top reporter’s office and job with no official job experience or training.

I hated Foggy Nelson at the beginning of the first season, but he grew on me as time went on and his second season storyline is very good. With the exception of episode 3, season one of Daredevil didn’t have any courtroom drama. When the main character and his best friend are lawyers, it felt like a missed opportunity to not have some big superhero related case for Nelson and Murdock to tackle. Season 2 fixes this issue giving the two lawyers the MCU equivalent of the O.J. Simpson trail, as far as publicity and challenges proving the defendant’s innocent is concerned. Due to Murdock spending more time as Daredevil and mostly neglecting his responsibility to defend his client, Foggy was forced to do his best to win a seemingly un-winnable with only Karen to assist him. This lead to good court room scenes and gave Foggy a useful role in the story. Earlier I mentioned that I was happy Karen didn’t complain to Murdock that he needs to quite being Daredevil, but I didn’t mention that Foggy is given that role. When Foggy was telling Murdock that being Daredevil was too dangerous in the first two episodes, I wanted him to shut up. But when his time as Daredevil was legitimately getting in the way of the most important case of their careers, I understood Foggy’s point and began to sympathize with his character.

Spoiler
It was a great decision to have Murdock defend the Punisher, after spending episodes trying to take him off the streets as Daredevil. I was a bit disappoint that Murdock wasn’t very involved in the case, because I’m curious how it would’ve played out if Murdock was given Foggy’s role and Punisher never intentionally tanked his lawyer’s insanity defense. Part of me believes Murdock might have fond someway to win the case, but showing Daredevil as Murdock’s addiction instead of his required duty to make Hell’s Kitchen a better place, was still a good storyline that wouldn’t be possible if Murdock cared more about the case than Daredevil.

The main reason Foggy is forced to work the big trial with little help from Murdock and the character that lead to the weakest storyline of the season Electra Natchios, is both a good and bad character. When she first arrives on episode 5, I thought she was a great character. Electra did whatever she wanted, felt no guilt about killing, and found dangerous situations to be arousing. The issue with Electra, is that later episodes kill everything I liked about the character in a storyline involving an evil ninja organizing called The Hand. As a viewer, I never saw The Hand as a real threat and never understood what their ultimate goal was. While some of my questions involving The Hand could be answers in season 3 or The Defenders, the season finally was the worst episode of the season and all the villains that are part of The Hand is the main reason it was a disappointment. Daredevil and Electra fighting ninjas sounds cool in theory, but wasn’t very good in practice. Some of the fight scenes between Daredevil and The Hand were good, but got old as Daredevil repeatedly fought no name ninjas and beat them easily.

Spoiler
After two seasons of Daredevil mentioning Black Sky, I still have no clear idea what it is or why it’s dangerous. Season one it seemed like Black Sky was a possessed child, and part of season two seemed to support this ideas with The Hand kidnapping children/teenagers and doing some experiments one them, but episode 12 reveled that Electra was the Black Sky, so what was The Hand doing with the kids Daredevil brought to the hospital? While Electra is a good fighter, she never showed any signs of having super natural powers. Her being the chosen one that was destined to lead an evil organization was a less interesting storyline than her being a slightly unhinged person that loves violence and life-or-death situations. And Nobu was a lame villain that failed as Daredevil’s big challenge in the season finally.
9.3/10

Final Score

The second season of Daredevil showed why it’s one of my favorite TV shows, one of Netflix’s best original series, and a show I would recommend to everyone.

Author: Michael Bronson

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