The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen has returned and he didn’t come alone. Netflix unleashed Season 2 of their smash hit original series on March 18th and Daredevil is packing more punch than ever before. SPOILERS AHEAD: This is the part where Han Solo dies. So only keep reading if you’re ready for all of the bloody details.
Remember the time Thomas Jane was the Punisher in 2004? Jane was a fantastic Punisher. They told his origin story, we got the Russian Super Shredder and all of Frank’s ragtag neighbors, and we even got the follow up Dirty Laundry short in 2012 to remind everyone just how good Jane was in his role. Garth Ennis’ Marvel Knights run came to life through Thomas Jane. Everyone was happy.
Then, Jon Bernthal happened. Just like Ennis’ MAX run redefined everything we knew about the Punisher, so too has Bernthal. Maybe spending paragraphs on end talking about the Punisher during a review of a Daredevil season might seem bizarre, but not if you’ve seen the closing minutes of dialogue between Frank Castle and Matt Murdock in “Penny and Dime.”
Let’s rewind for a minute and fill in some blanks. Last time we saw Daredevil he was putting Wilson Fisk behind bars, sporting some new threads, and the Law Office of Nelson & Murdock was open for business. However, with the Kingpin off the streets, the criminal real estate was ripe for the taking. The only problem the gangs of New York now face is a vigilante mad man the media coined as the Punisher.
So where does that leave Matt? Well, everyone’s favorite Catholic wasn’t just going to sit by and let Frank Castle kill people all over his city, criminals or not. Daredevil and the Punisher do some dancing and what we are left with is Frank Castle in police custody. Of course, Frank is going to need a lawyer.
We should take a break from the Punisher and talk about Daredevil’s love life. The blind guy has game. Veterans of Season 1 know his legal secretary Karen Page simply gushes over Matt, but this season we see that relationship take a step forward, and then a step back. To the surprise of no one, Matt’s old college flame Elektra shows up on his couch just after he shares an intimate night out with Karen. Yes, this is the same Elektra that was played by Jennifer Garner back when Batman was Daredevil.
Karen is cool and all, but is she a highly trained assassin who is willing to hunt down your father’s murderer in order for you to extract your much deserved revenge? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Turns out, Elektra and Matt didn’t meet by chance all those years ago, and they were both trained by Stick in order to help him wage his ongoing war with The Hand, the super sneaky ninja assassin clan.
This is where the season kind of splits into thirds. We have the Trial of the Punisher story, where Foggy and Karen attempt to help Frank avoid the death penalty. Then we have Daredevil attempting to help Elektra in order to find out what motivates The Hand. Lastly, we have the big reveal, The Hand can bring people back from the dead using test tube children and, wait for it, Elektra is Black Sky, the leader of The Hand and the most lethal killing weapon in the galaxy!!!! (Evil laugh) To top the story off, Stick knew about Elektra the whole time.
My assumption is that you’ve probably already seen the show if you’ve gotten this far. I’ve definitely skipped some plot points here in order to reach some kind of destination, but then, I’m not here to recap 13-ish hours of television for you either. To that point, let’s talk about some of the best moments of the season.
Turns out, Wilson Fisk, who has every intention of keeping his head down and quietly serving out his prison sentence, couldn’t help but become the Kingpin in prison too. He couldn’t obtain that throne without Frank Castle though, who coincidentally lands in the same prison and obliges Fisk by killing his rival inmate in order to uncover details about his families murder. If ever a bloodbath was art, in a psychopathic, Dexter in a cargo container, kind of way, the cellblock prison scene was that masterpiece.
We see the Punisher unravel the mystery of the Blacksmith and in the process reveal some of his own history. By this point, if you didn’t get goosebumps from seeing Frank Castle spray paint his own skull x-ray onto his body armor, well, you’re doing it wrong. The Punisher shows up just in time to help Daredevil take down The Hand in what is the culmination of all three intertwining stories.
The rooftop showdown doesn’t occur without casualty. Elektra meets her fate at the hands of The Hand. She spends her last moments on Earth exchanging breathy love whispers with our main protagonist. BUT WAIT! We already know that The Hand brings people back to life! Yes, this is a fact, a fictional fact, but still a fact. Anyways, everyone knows that Colin Farrell kills Elektra.
The season ends in a bit of disarray. Matt has his mission and his official team red billy club. Foggy has a new job that ties Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock directly together, because continuity. Karen is trying to become Lois Lane. Now we’re left to wonder if the most dynamic trio since Twilight will find their way back to each other, or if some future rogue can keep them divided.
Final analysis: Daredevil Season 2 lived up to the hype of Season 1. Sure, the season was a little Punisher and Elektra heavy, but then, they really zeroed in on Matt’s unwillingness to go to that dark place just to get the job done. Which, at the end of the day, is why Daredevil is more hero than vigilante. The show is primed for a Season 3 and will likely lead to Punisher getting his own 13 arc adventure. Netflix and the folks at Marvel have done it again, maybe with their best effort to-date.
Head over to Netflix now to catch all 26 episodes of the Man Without Fear. Have a favorite moment or a question from the season? Comment below to share your own thoughts on Daredevil Season 2.
Until next time, “See you around, Red.”Tags: Ben Affleck, Charlie Cox, Daredevil, Elektra, Jennifer Garner, Jon Bernthal, Punisher, Thomas Jane