The Great Daredevil Season 2 Binge Is Here, and I’m Reviewing Every Episode. Head Here to Keep Up with Them.
Which One Is “Penny and Dime”?: The Punisher gets caught by the Irish mob. Is saved by Daredevil. Arrested by cops. We learn about his dead daughter. Feel bad for him. Also, Karen snoops around for dirt on the Punisher’s home life, and ends her night finally kissing Matt. Yay? Then she gets Elektra-blocked. Boo?
1. A Reflection on the Punisher Arc
Daredevil and Jessica Jones’s respective first seasons followed the same formula. The first three episodes established tone, introduced character and built up a bogeyman-esque central antagonist (Fisk for DD, Killgrave for JJ) who managed to have a hand in every facet of the show without ever actually making an appearance. Then the big bad made a startling entrance near the end of the third episode, and was gradually worked into more scenes with each subsequent episode. Eventually, they became equally if not more interesting than the hero.
Jessica Jones now has to worry about topping Killgrave, and we are currently watching Daredevil‘s attempt to help us forget about D’Onofrio’s imitable performance as Fisk. Thus far the season’s answer has been to change the formula.
“Penny and Dime” is the end of the season’s initial Punisher arc, and we’ve yet to meet the real antagonist. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Punisher returns with a vengeance and is truly the bad guy of the piece. However, it doesn’t feel that way. Instead, he seems like an eventual ally, someone whose rather public exploits and subsequent capture will be used for the true bad guy’s ultimate gain.
In the process, Jon Bernthal’s compellingly unhinged performance has pulled focus from the rest of the cast, and his incredibly long “Penny and Dime” speech at the graveyard is an early season highlight. The devastating death of his family in no way excuses his actions, but it helps us glimpse the human under what had previously been the Terminator.
With him removed from the field and the show transitioning into an Elektra arc, I am intrigued but uneasy. I have genuinely no idea where season 2 is ultimately heading, which is exciting, but I’m also fearful that this procession of mini-arcs will lend the season an overall formless feel compared to the first season. We think this is heading to some larger scandal/corruption in the District Attorney’s office, but there has to more to it than that.
It’s important to recognize that when we meet Frank Castle at the beginning of the season, he’s in no way the Punisher. He’s a guy who is reeling and completely unhinged after all that’s happened to him. He’s just a man on a mission. He’s not concerned with keeping the streets of Hell’s Kitchen safe. He’s not concerned with right and wrong or his own personal morality. He’s built a wall around all of that. He wants to find the people that killed his family. He wants to kill them in the most brutal ways possible. That’s different from what Matt Murdock is doing as Daredevil. But as the season continues, their philosophies and what they’re going after will get a lot closer.
2. Poor Grotto Had an Eleanor Rigby Funeral
Three people. That’s it. That’s how many people attended Grotto’s funeral, and they were all his lawyers. Still better than poor Eleanor Rigby, but, still, three people?
3. The Cold Open at the Irish Wake Went On So Long I Thought I Had Somehow Turned on an Irish Beer Commercial
Well, I thought that before the one guy at the funeral was murdered via a knife through is eye, unless there are some weird beer commercials I don’t know about. Also, yes, the Irish mobster who just wanted his dang money back was played by the actor best known as Doctor Who‘s Vincent Van Gogh and Defiance‘s Datak Tarr. Shoving something through an enemy’s eye was such a Datak Tarr thing to do.
4. If They Had Killed That Freakin’ Dog…
I would have been rooting for a John Wick display of bloody vengeance. Screw you and your morals, Matt. The Punisher can kill all the bad guys he wants if those bad guys killed a dog he had actually rescued from them in the first place.
5. The Catholic Imagery is Strong With This One
This was an episode which began with our heroes in a church and ended with our new anti-hero recounting his sad lifestory while leaning against a headstone in a cemetery. Then as the police took him away on a stretcher the camera panned up to a splash page image of Daredevil perched atop a Catholic statue-adorned gateway overlooking the cemetery. Somewhere in-between there Matt confessed to feeling guilty for not doing enough to save Grotto, despite his priest’s attempts to let him off the hook. Foggy even made a Catholic joke when Matt looked too happy at the end.
I suddenly want an episode which uses Matt at Confession as a framing device for a particular hectic 48-hour period of his life which resulted in so much bone-crushing he rushed to confess his sins. Did they already do that last season?
On to the next episode: “Kinbaku”