*CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS
Less than 24 hours ago, Season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil arrived on Netflix and it is superb. With action from the very first scene, it’s fair to say that this season starts off with a bang. My concern was that, like the first season, the show might lose some steam somewhere in the middle of the thirteen episodes but that never happened.
If you don’t know anything about Daredevil Season 1 then check out our guide but if you watched the first season then you probably noticed that the show all but forgot about Matt’s day job as a lawyer in the final half of the season. These new episodes rectify that and also address the issues that arise when you’re self-employed but moonlight as a masked vigilante – it’s not good for business.
As usual, Marvel’s casting is excellent: I love a lot of these characters but in particular I think that this season did a great job of building on Foggy and Matt’s relationship. They’ve been best friends for a long time but Foggy can’t stand to see Matt put himself in harm’s way. In that capacity, Marvel does a great job of flipping some comic-book cliches: instead of a girlfriend knowing Matt’s secret and worrying about him, Matt has Foggy.
His insistence on trying to keep Matt safe is one of the many things that endears me to Foggy because I feel the same way. Typically when you watch superheroes, you want them to fight and win and never give up but there’s something about Daredevil that creates pause. Clearly, Matt has no shortage of will power – sprinkle on a strong dose of Catholic guilt and the man doesn’t rest.The gritty, realistic style of the show means that you can’t just forget that Matt is a real person behind his mask, a real person who should probably go to sleep for 36 hours.
The Punisher is one of Daredevil’s adversaries this time around and he is fantastic. Played by Jon Bernthal, the character is certainly no hero but if he only kills bad people, is he a villain? The conundrum of the anti-hero. The character is strangely likable – sure, he killed a lot of people but look at how much he loves his dog. There’s no doubt that Bernthal looked the part to play The Punisher but I wasn’t sure about him acting wise. After his heartfelt monologue to Matt in the graveyard there is no doubt that he is perfect as this character. He’s nothing like Jessica Jones’ Kilgrave but he brings up similar conflicting feelings for me.
Speaking of Jessica Jones, the show throws in some references to her including an appearance by the lawyer, Hogarth, and an indication that she will be an active part of one of the character’s lives going forward which is all building up to The Defenders.
It wouldn’t be Daredevil without some great hand-to-hand combat scenes and that doesn’t disappoint. There are definitely a few more guns in the mix thanks to The Punisher but not one fighting scene falls flat or grows tiresome. We have the return of the hallway scene and The Punisher gets his own hallway scene of sorts in a prison block. If you haven’t seen it, look out for that scene – it’s amazing.
The tone of this season is much lighter, in places, than the first one: there are more jokes and flirting but that just makes it more intense when they do delve into darker territory. The other new character introduced this season was Elektra (played Elodie Yung) who, in a lot of ways, is the anti-Daredevil so having her fight alongside Matt really helped to elevate this season in comparison to the first one. Giving Daredevil somebody to play off of and talk to made everything more interesting and fun.
Elektra defies all expectations. There was a danger that she may have come across as one-dimensional but some flashbacks are well-integrated into the show that help to give us some more information about her. Just like The Punisher, Elektra isn’t definitively good or evil but that makes her all the more fun – she doesn’t hold back and you don’t know what to expect of her. More so than any other characters we get to see Elektra grow and develop throughout the series and I was left wanting nothing more than an Elektra spin-off series.
A lot of characters return this season: Stick, Wilson Fisk, Madame Gao, Claire Temple. A lot of the time these characters were an asset but I have never particularly liked Fisk as a character. This season was used to build Fisk up to the status of Kingpin which means that he will most likely be a frequent feature in future Daredevil outings.
Matt started a relationship with Karen this season which ultimately blew up in his face – not helped much by the fact that Elektra came back on the scene – but before everything went wrong, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the two as a couple. It’s not so much that I believe the characters are compatible but it’s a cute, tentative romance. It would fit quite well in a gushy romance feature but it breaks up some of the action and offers a nice change of pace.
The last two episodes of the season are intense and action-packed. There are a lot of new costumes for one thing: Elektra finally gets a costume and her distinctive sai, Daredevil gets a new baton and The Punisher makes his own costume. By the second half of the season, The Punisher is following a separate story-arc to Daredevil and one the big reveals is an amazing twist. Ultimately, the day is saved but there are serious consequences and a lot of things have changed for the characters – Nelson Murdock is no more, Foggy and Karen have new jobs.
This season wasn’t perfect but it was really close and it left a lot of things to explore the next time we see the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
What did you think of Daredevil? Were you a fan of Elektra and The Punisher? Did that death at the end crush your soul as much as it did mine? Let me know in the comments.