6 Thoughts on the Second Season of Daredevil
Like many comic book fans, I spent this past weekend binge-watching the new season of Daredevil. Once again, Marvel dominates entertainment. This show is everything we comic fans could possibly want from a Daredevil adaptation. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s charming, it’s exciting; this is damn fine television, and fits perfectly with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Season Rating: 9/10 – Great.
I also love the Netflix delivery system. I like being able to binge-watch an entire season in a few sittings, getting the whole story in one big go, rather than waiting week to week. It keeps me in the moment, it allows the writers to really dig deep into the material, and create a big tapestry of a story. I loved almost every episode, I loved every storyline, the new characters were great; Daredevil Season 2 was another huge success for Marvel!
Join me after the jump to hear my specific thoughts on the season. There will be MAJOR SPOILERS for the whole season, so read at your own risk.
6. I loved it
If my glowing opening wasn’t proof enough, I loved Daredevil Season 2. I loved the first season, and this one was possibly even better…though occasionally worse, but we’ll get to that. This season had more going on, and expertly juggled the different storylines to keep the binge-watch moving. It helped to split everything up into mini-chunks of story, while keeping the whole train rolling along.
I loved the exploration of vigilantism, and where Matt Murdock draws the line. I loved the focus on Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson being lawyers, though I think I would have liked even more. If I recall correctly, they really only had the one case this season, but that went quite well, from an entertainment perspective.
Though if I may take a moment and grumble: You don’t go from arraignment to trial in the span of a weekend, no matter how many strings the DA can pull. That’s not how the criminal justice system works! These things take time, specifically to give the attorneys plenty of time to line up witnesses and defense strategies. You can’t just spring the insanity defense out of nowhere. There’s reams of paperwork and preparation involved, from all sides.
But I know too much about how courtrooms work to ever feel comfortable watching that kind of TV ever again.
Minor gripes aside (and there will be a few), Daredevil Season 2 was another triumph for Marvel, Netflix and the Daredevil team. This is everything I could possibly want from superhero TV.
5. Everybody was great
It helps that the cast is amazing, especially the new additions. Charlie Cox is great as both Matt Murdock and Daredevil. He’s charming and friendly, and carries himself well as a blind person. He looks great in the costume (which I love), and he does a great job playing both a nice guy and a tough guy. All of the returning cast is good, especially Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, who gets a lot more to do, and isn’t just a damsel in distress. Elden Henson continues to make Foggy Nelson the smartest and most heroic person on the show (more on him in a bit). Vincent D’Onofrio was, once again, picture perfect as Wilson Fisk, and even Royce Johnson is doing a fine job as DD’s police contact.
It should go without saying, for anyone who has watched Season 2, that the new characters stole the show. Jon Bernthal was brilliant as the Punisher, a casting none of us should have doubted. He’s intense, he’s brooding, and he’s powerful, but he can also be charming and friendly when needed. He can turn on a dime, and made the character deeper and more nuanced than I could have predicted. His origin story got a little convoluted, and I didn’t like the fact that, once again, he was on more of a revenge mission than regular punishment. But he’s got a future now, and it looks bright.
Elodie Yung was, likewise, perfectly cast as Elektra. She was fun and energetic, a nice foil for both Daredevil and Murdock. She livened up the show whenever she appeared on screen, and brought real serious stakes to what Murdock was doing, both in and out of costume. This was probably the most I’ve ever been interested in Elektra.
Both Punisher and Elektra were great foils for Daredevil, though I think the show did miss out on adding a great new villain. Nobu was fine, but he wasn’t anything special in the end.
4. The Foggy/Matt drama was disappointing, but good
Like I said, Cox and Henson did another great couple of jobs as Matt and Foggy. Their friendship feels real, and I would have loved to see them really kick butt together as a couple of scrappy lawyers. Instead, Season 2 decided to just redo Season 1 by having Matt and Foggy break up. Drama is fine, and putting their friendship at odds makes for good drama. But we’ve really only ever seen them as good partners in flashbacks. That’s kind of weird.
Granted, it works for the season that Matt completely withdraws from the law firm to focus on being Daredevil. I get that. But it was just hugely disappointing that doing so once again resulted in Matt and Foggy being at odds. And considering how amazing Foggy was this season, do we even really want them to get back together? We’ve seen them butting heads more than we’ve seen them buddy buddy. Foggy will do a much better job, make a lot more money, and probably have a much better life if he focuses on sometimes girlfriend Marci and his new gig with Jeri Hogarth.
Though I do like the overall idea that Matt Murdock just keeps making dumb decisions. Daredevil may be an awesome guy, but Matt Murdock is wrong and selfish almost every step of the way.
3. The Karen/Matt romance was nice, but Elektra was better!
I liked the romantic scenes between Karen Page and Matt Murdock. They were cute and charming. It was a nice little romance, especially that scene in the Indian restaurant…but what the heck did Karen see in Matt Murdock? Matt was never around, was clearly keeping major secrets from her, and kept letting down both her and the firm. I honestly kind of think her interest in him was based solely on the fact that Murdock is a stud muffin. Foggy was the one who kept kicking total ass around Karen, but she wasn’t interest in him at all.
Though I did read something online the other day about Matt and Karen that really made sense to me. Basically, both Matt and Karen fall for the idealized version of each other. They fall in love with who they think the other person is — but they aren’t those people, and that’s what makes the relationship doomed. I like that description.
Fortunately, the Matt/Elektra romance was fantastic! I like that even though the show went to great lengths to tell us that Elektra was a bad influence on Matt, the two of them still clicked on a wonderful level. Like I said before, Elektra was fun in ways that Karen couldn’t be. Karen had more important things to do than put up with Matt Murdock’s crap, but Elektra was right in the thick of things, and I liked how the show pivoted Matt from Karen to Elektra. Usually goodie two-shoes heroes reject the bad girl in favor of the good girl, but I liked how the show had other ideas.
2. The final episode was the worst of the series
I hated the climactic final fight of Daredevil Season 2. I spent the entire fight groaning and whining, yelling at the screen for how ridiculous it was. I couldn’t believe that such a great season devolved into such garbage and so many wasted opportunities. I think I’m just going to list my gripes and rant to my heart’s content.
To set the scene: Daredevil and Elektra are alone against a building full of Hand ninjas. I don’t fully understand the whole Black Sky thing, but I at least understood that Nobu and the Hand wanted to kill them. Fine, I understood that much, and I liked that final pre-fight conversation between Matt and Elektra. But the moment they burst through that door, everything just went to pot.
- The number of Hand ninjas shrank dramatically scene-by-scene. We were shown clips of dozens of ninjas up on that roof, moving in swift formation. We were told that the odds were overwhelming, and that both Matt and Elektra were convinced they were about to die. But when they finally burst onto that roof, it was mostly empty. There were maybe a dozen ninjas gathered around the end of the roof. Then when the actual fighting started, that dozen immediately shrank to maybe six or so ninjas. Then when the showdown with Nobu came, they were down to four Hand ninjas just standing by and watching.
- Nobu was a bad choice for final boss. Matt already beat Nobu single-handedly last season, in one of Season 1’s best and most brutal fights. So why were we expected to believe Nobu would be a challenge for both Daredevil and Elektra? He wasn’t, and it showed. That final fight scene was nothing compared to other fight scenes on the show. It was dark, awkward and had no real standout moments. In Season 1, Nobu rocked that chain blade, but it barely made an impact in the climactic fight.
- Elektra’s death was hugely disappointing. Yes, she dies in the comics, and that’s fine, but the show messed it up somehow — and I don’t mean by not using Bullseye. I’m perfectly fine with the show not using Bullseye. But the scene in the comics where Bullseye stabs Elektra is iconic. It’s a harsh, brutal scene, with Elektra’s own sai sticking out through her torso. The Ben Affleck movie even managed to recreate this scene. But on the show, Nobu seems to stab Elektra entirely in shadow, in another awkward bit of terrible fight choreography. Not only that, but what was the point of giving Elektra a Melvin Potter costume if it wasn’t going to protect against blades, which was the entire purpose of the Potter costumes? Wasn’t that the one thing they could do in Season 1?
- Did Daredevil believe he’d killed Nobu? The entire season was about whether or not Matt Murdock would break his one rule. Then the fight with Nobu ends with Daredevil chucking him off a roof. Surely that would kill someone…but Matt also knew that Nobu could somehow beat death. So did Matt consciously throw Nobu off the roof intending to kill him? Or did Matt think it would just incapacitate the villain? Considering how big a deal killing was for Matt, this question should have had a definite answer.
- THEY WASTED THE FREAKIN’ PUNISHER!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DAREDEVIL SEASON 2? YOU GO TO ALL THE TROUBLE OF GIVING THE PUNISHER A MINI-GUN EARLIER IN THE EPISODE, BUT YOU DON’T LET HIM USE IT?! THAT IS BASIC FILMMAKING! This part is inexcusable. The show set up both an army of ninjas on an open rooftop and the Punisher getting his hands on a mini-gun, BUT IT DOES NOT BRING THEM TOGETHER! It sets up Matt and Elektra facing insurmountable odds, but it doesn’t bring the Punisher in to even the odds. Daredevil and Elektra do just fine against the army of Hand ninjas. And sure, Elektra is killed, but then Matt is filled with rage, and he only has four Hand ninjas standing between him and Nobu. If you rewatch that final moment, an anger-filled Daredevil starts fighting those four ninjas, and actually seems to be kicking their butts, and ONLY THEN does Punisher show up! He shows up for a handful of seconds to use a sniper rifle to take down three or four measly ninjas! It’s bad enough that the show didn’t add Punisher to the final warehouse assault in full, but to only show up in that tiny little cameo? COME ON! HE HAD A MINI-GUN!!
- Also, why the heck was Punisher then carrying the mini-gun after setting fire to his house? Did he bring the mini-gun to the house to introduce his new child to his old children? And why was the final Punisher scene him burning down his house? Wouldn’t it have been perfect if the show had ended with him ambushing and killing some other criminals, starting his war on crime?
And that’s my rant. Sorry for the various walls of text, but holy cow did I hate the season climax. So much wasted potential. So many weird choices. It really got under my skin.
1. Make the Punisher show!
Marvel and Netflix have not yet confirmed that they’re working on a Punisher TV show. There have been rumors, but no official word has come down. So far, they’re sticking with the Netflix Defenders. This has to change, and hopefully the announcement will come soon. Considering how thoroughly and carefully they built up Frank Castle this season, and how much they teased in the end. He only just gets the skull suit in the last shot, he never gets to use the mini-gun, and he finds a secret disc labeled ‘Micro’, a nod to his computer hacker sidekick from the comics. So clearly they’re going to make a Punisher show, right? They have to, and it has to be awesome.
My recommendation: just convert Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX run into a series. That’s all you need to do. The Slavers, Kitchen Irish, Barracuda, maybe Mother Russia, definitely Valley Forge, Valley Forge; it’s all gold.
What did you think of the second season of Daredevil? Love it? Hate it? Was I totally off base on my final episode complaints? Let me know in the comments!