The Great Daredevil Season 2 Binge Is Here, and I’m Reviewing Every Episode. Head Here to Keep Up with Them.
What did the Punisher do with Daredevil? Where did Karen and Foggy’s client run off to? Will the D.A. actually smile?
Which One Is “New York’s Finest”?: Daredevil and Punisher have a moonlight chat about the existential ins and outs of vigilantism. Surprise: Punisher’s a bit more okay with killing. After her colossal screw-up trying to trap Punisher, D.A. “One-Note” Reyes threatens to scapegoat Nelson & Murdock, which sets Karen on a subplot to dig up dirt on Reyes. Meanwhile, Foggy tracks down the Night Nurse, who has no idea where Matt is. Oh, he’s just in a building fighting an entire biker gang by himself for 7 minutes. Where else would be be?
1. One Bad Day From Being Me
From Vulture‘s review:
The agonizingly long scenes in which Daredevil and the Punisher debate their varying approaches to crime-fighting really get at the heart of what makes this season so dull. They more or less boil down to a philosophical debate that can be paraphrased thusly: “I have a lot of pain!” “Well I have a lot of pain, too!” “Yeah, well, I think you inflict too much pain on other people!” “Oh yeah, well, I don’t think you inflict enough pain on other people!” “Criminals need to get beaten up!” “No, they need to get killed!” And so on and so forth. When Frank snarls, “You’re one bad day away from being me” to Matt, it’s hard not to groan — I mean, haven’t we heard that exact same line in, like, 100 Batman stories?
It’s also succinctly summarized in Batman’s exchange with one of his imitators at the start of The Dark Knight, “What makes you different from us?”/”I”m not wearing hockey pants.”
Wait. That doesn’t apply here as much as I thought it would. Also, wow, Batman totally sidestepped that completely legitimate question. He’s better because he can afford more exotic padding? Screw you, Batman, you freakin’ grief-obsessed one-percenter.
The point remains that the notion of a vigilante inspiring less scrupled imitators inevitability feels like familiar territory. It still shouldn’t be waved away with a giant hanky reading “superhero fatigue!” You have to greet Daredevil’s treatment of the material, however familiar, on its own terms.
For example, this Daredevil/Punisher debate is inevitably going to come down to the hero who won’t kill and the anti-hero who will. Sure. That seems familiar. Arrow‘s Oliver Queen spent multiple seasons internally struggling with that dilemma, and along the way his increasingly more heroic impulses were contrasted by potential allies who felt a need to kill.
It’s not quite the same though. On Arrow, those counterpoints usually came in the form of tortured love interests (Huntress, Sara Lance), and the debate charted Oliver’s progress from remorseless revenge-seeker to genuine hero. He essentially started out as his own version of the Punisher before evolving into Green Arrow. That evolution was never wrapped up in religious conviction or fear of damnation.
Daredevil, on the other hand, wears his religion and Catholic guilt like a cape. As such, he is more primed than anyone to have his core identity truly challenged by someone like the Punisher. Granted, this particular thread might grow tiresome over time, but here in the early goings of the season it’s plenty interesting.
Until his epic fight sequence at the end, Daredevil spends the entire episode atop a roof debating ethics with Punisher, Matt nicely using his lawyer skills to fish for information, find common ground between the two of them. What if the Punisher is right? The people Daredevil puts away keep getting put back on the streets. The client they were trying to protect actually killed people. He felt bad, sure, but he still did it. Come to the Dark Side, Matt.
We know Matt won’t, or at least we highly suspect he won’t. More so than most comic book vigilantes, Daredevil can better debate whether or not anyone can truly be judge, jury and executioner all in one because he deals with literal judges and juries for a living. However, the trick is that from a pragmatic point of the view the guy who’s willing to kill the enemy often makes a lot of good points, and hearing Grotto’s sob story clearly tested Daredevil’s resolve.
2. The Night Nurse Returns
The Night Nurse is the Agent Coulson of Netflix’s Marvel universe, linking the shows together, slowly setting the stage for The Defenders. However, Daredevil‘s first season built her up and then completely abandoned her, making her Jessica Jones cameo all the more surprising.
As such, it’s encouraging to see her so early in Daredevil‘s second season, going through her own Sorkin-esque walk-and-talk except instead of descending down a spiral staircase or proudly walking down a hallway she’s nonchalantly pushing meds and sewing up wounds while carrying on a conversation with Foggy.
3. The Obvious Luke Cage Easter Egg
4. Lawyered! Again!
Seriously, Foggy’s kicking ass this season. He talked his way out of trouble in a biker bar, put D.A. Reyes in her place (though that sure backfired), and then talked down two gang members who were about to attack each other in the hospital in full view of witnesses and police officers. As he pointed out, no lawyer in the world could help them after that. Well, maybe Johnny Cochran, but he’s not around anymore.
5. Was the Fight Scene a Series Best?
How do you top the season 1’s legendary continuous shot hallway fight scene? You attach chains to Daredevil’s hands, turning him into a whip-wielding Castlevania protagonist. You have the fight continue from a hallway into a stairwell, sacrificing the continuous shot gimmick in the process. You follow him down those stairs and to the bottom floor where he takes on three dudes way bigger than him. Essentially, you turn the whole thing into a video game sequence, with villains emerging from doorways at just the right time for you to punch them, and the hero engages in a big boss battle at the end.
Is this one a new series best? Or is some of the impact lessened because we’re expecting this kind of thing from Daredevil.
Here’s what co-showrunner Marco Ramirez told SlashFilm about the fight:
We talked about the hallway fight a lot while we were in the room on season one and how it would be this big showpiece for us. But I don’t think we wanted to top anything. If anything, certainly there were discussions on “What if we did another one?” That felt like doing a cover band version of something we had done the year before. So it felt like what do we want to do that’s not exactly the stairwell fight? What do we want to do that’s equally cool but very different? The last thing we want is for the audience to feel like, “Oh, here comes another one.” So I don’t know if we thought about topping it. If anything, it just felt like let’s add that one onto the fight scenes from Daredevil that people are going to love. It’s certainly really different to the Russian fight scene in episode two, season one. The way it’s shot, there’s more of a heavy metal, drugged out energy in it. It’s got tons of pumpy testosterone in it and it’s aggressive and he’s doing really brutal things. And also the big difference we have is he’s in the suit this time as opposed to at the end of the second episode in season one, he’s still in the vigilante outfit.
On to the next episode: “Penny and Dime”