Daredevil: Series Two (Complete)
March 23, 2016 5:12 AM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Say, aren't the credits great? All 13 hours are over, and we know the fates of Elektra, Frank, Matt, Mahoney, Karen and Foggy. So, what did you think? io9 has an opinion, and CBR is looking at the best Punisher stories of all time, but where has Daredevil been, and where is he going? And has Melvin's workshop really teased Stilt-man twice now?
posted by Mezentian (43 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh yeah! was "fried", so, hey, here we are. Hell's Kitchen is saved! Again. For now.
posted by Mezentian at 5:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Stalled out after episode 8 and just haven't had the will to go back yet. I'll get back to it eventually probably. I just stopped caring because it seemed like the show was going in a different direction than what I was interested in. The Punisher storyline episodes were great though.
posted by ODiV at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2016


CBR is looking at the best Punisher stories of all time

In the lower left corner of the graphic at the top of the article, the Punisher appears to be killing Abraham Lincoln.

Also, this list includes “Franken-Castle”. Franken-Castle.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:36 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


This season was about 50% "Punisher origin story" and about 50% "Daredevil & Elektra & Stick poke old wounds, settle old differences, and battle the Hand to a draw in NYC." And I think the season would've been better if they'd either picked one or made two sort of half-seasons, with like the first six covering the Punisher and the last seven about Elektra and The Hand. (And I mean like Ep. Six would end with Frank escaped from prison and on the run, and that's it, we don't see him for the rest of the season; at the very end of the episode Elektra shows up for the first time.) It feels like a lot of story and theme elements got shorted because the show had so much room to cover each episode. As someone (Sangermaine?) pointed out in one of the episode threads, the whole "Kill/No Kill" debate between Castle and Matt (a debate that's kind of a core element when considering superheroes & vigilantes) just got kinda dropped, and more than one person thought the Schoonover (Clancy Brown) reveal as The Blacksmith was unearned and weak, plot-and-motivation-wise. I thought the breakup of Nelson & Murdock felt fairly perfunctory, because the show just didn't spend enough time showing the pressure they were under from the Castle trial - they spent more time saying "Trial of the Century!" than they did showing Matt, Foggy, and Karen struggling with the prep and the trial and battling their own weaknesses and uncertainties and the efforts of Reyes and the other prosecutors. Very little time was spent contrasting what Matt does at night versus what he does in the day.

And I think you could come up with a bunch of similar examples for the Elektra story, where if they'd had more time to spend digging into each character's feelings and motivations (and making The Hand a lot scarier than "bunch of ninjas") it would have wound up a more satisfying season. That ability and willingness to dig into many characters (Matt and Foggy and Karen and Fisk and Vanessa and Ulrich, etc etc etc) was one of the strengths of the first season, one of the things that made it rise above "generic superhero story."

It was still some pretty good television, but definitely a bit of a sophomore slump.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:31 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I dunno; I thought that the season pretty much was split into two parts, with the first part being more concerned with the Punisher and the second with Elektra, and even the part where the two worlds overlap being necessary to show Matt being torn between those two worlds. I don't think that that really needs to be belabored, since it's not only been part of the comic-Daredevil world for forever but is common to so many other superhero stories (it pretty much was the only Peter Parker story for decades). I agree that the Blacksmith reveal was anticlimactic--you'd think that a guy who was poised to become the heroin king of NYC, and had had his old subordinate-officer-turned-archenemy escape from prison, might have had at least a few goons around his remote home/HQ, if only to slow Frank down a little if he wanted to make his escape--and I was pretty fucking sick of ninjas by the end. (Not only was I happy and kind of expecting to see Frank at the big end fight, but I was sort of hoping that he'd have set up a Claymore mine or two to simply eliminate the whole ninja mob and leave Nobu there with his mouth hanging open.)

But, it's worth remembering just how many things got introduced in the first season; in fact, if there was a sophomore slump, it's that quite a few of the elements in this season were recycled. I'm also puzzled that you think that the kill/no-kill discussion went away when Frank dropped into the background, when it was also a major feature of the Elektra arc.

There were some problems, some of which I've already mentioned, some of which are in this io9 round-up, and a couple more: what's the connection between the "Black Sky" kid we saw in S1 and Elektra? And why couldn't they have given us even 30 seconds more of Madame Gao?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:46 PM on March 23, 2016


It seemed as though there was too much compromise.
Series 1 seemed, for all its faults, to be well crafted.

I wonder how much of the MCU pressure affected the story they wanted to tell.

I don't think it's a surprise that the MCU output which has been better is the more standalone stories which touch lightly on the shared universe. Use the universe to tell stories rather than tell stories about the universe.

Plus Elektra being semi-fridged was just lazy. Daredevil and Elektra do Europe could have been a blast. Shit, just make Daredevil be two seasons and end it there. It's not like there's not enough material to work with in the comics world.
posted by fullerine at 7:16 AM on March 25, 2016


I found this season very enjoyable and a amazing successor to season 1. One of the big reasons for that is having several different elements going on for our Matt to rage against. There was Punisher, the Hand and Electra, each coming to the fore and receding at various points over the 13 episodes. It's that sort of variety that these series will need going forward and I hope Jessica Jones is taking notes for its second season.

Having her face off against Kilgrave for the entire run was important, but a bit exhausting and the story felt a little loose at times in the middle. Same with Daredevil's first season. But both were necessary in terms of defining who these heroes were, so it mostly worked. Now that they've found themselves, for the most part, the level of complexity of their stories should go up.

As to Daredevil, it really succeeded in the second season with the return of Fisk, Claire and the all too brief appearance of Madame Gao. Both are excellent characters, well portrayed and they lend a lush seediness to the overall tone of the story.

All that said, leaving the unexplained 40 story hole unexplained was bizarre and seems poorly down in terms of this season. I hope this isn't an oversight (or literal plot hole, hahaha) and perhaps it ties into Iron Fist. Perhaps.

Two very welcome surprises where the well done stories of Foggy and Karen, both coming into their own and not putting up with Matt's shit in the long run. Karen in particular was particularly fearless and strong as she sought answers and helped, but didn't coddle Foggy. And Foggy responded to it well, as friend and they made plans to remain friends. Can't wait to see them both meet Jessica Jones (and Patsy!).

Finally, what I really liked was showing that Matt wasn't superhumanly superhuman. He couldn't be Daredevil all night, then come in and play the brilliant lawyer. He tried, sure, but he found out that he has limits and particular desires, and if given the choice, he would choose Daredevil and doing so would severely harm his relationships with Foggy and Karen. Matt can play the hero if he wants, but he'll have to pay a price.

Finally finally (for reals this time), Electra was great fun, with a welcome depth to her. I can't say I fully understand what Black Sky is or how it affects her personally, but Ioved seeing her drawn Matt in, struggle with him and the choices he made, which forced her own. Bring her back!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 PM on March 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I agree with jason_steakums, I felt like they could've done more with the Hand to interweave the Punisher and Elektra storylines, which just never really had any concrete reason to both be in the same season together other than "hey this is what we came up with".

As much as I like Clancy Brown (which is a lot!), that resolution with him as the Blacksmith felt like the kind of resolution I expect from a single episode of a procedural TV show like Castle; as a payoff to a half-season arc of a show like this it definitely was a bit of a letdown. If it'd been me writing it I might've had Karen kill him in probably-but-not-quite-clear-cut self-defense just before the Punisher could arrive, which would've set the stage for the two of them to have a climactic (verbal) confrontation about killing and morality and left Frank storming off in murderous unsatisfied frustration and Karen feeling still more guilt for both killing still another dude and quite possibly having denied the Punisher from ever getting his revenge (we know it wouldn't have given him any peace to kill the Blacksmith, but that way they would both always wonder). But then they probably wouldn't have been able to use that great bit with the tape in her car.

Overall though, I liked both "halves" of the season quite a lot, I thought they did a nice job establishing both the Punisher and Elektra's characters; I just wish they'd found stronger ways to tie them together, and had a stronger ending for them. If this is DD's sophomore slump, its "slump" is still a helluva lot better than most shows on TV.

Plus Elektra being semi-fridged was just lazy.

[SPOILERS]It's longstanding comics canon that she gets murdered (by Bullseye) and resurrected by the Hand. At least for me, it's right up there with the death of Gwen Stacy in terms of canonical events that always happen. (I know, I know...it's a big multiverse.) No Bullseye in evidence here, but given how RIDICULOUSLY BLATANTLY they telegraphed the Hand resurrecting Elektra at the end there...I mean if I have a gripe, it's that making it that clear they're going to resurrect her like five minutes later robs her death of most of its impact on the audience. (She even says "This is not the end" as she's dying which was a wee bit too on-the-nose for me.) But it's only "lazy" in the sense that they're hewing pretty closely to the comics instead of doing something new; and given that she'll probably be back by the end of next season if not sooner, I don't think it can truly be considered a fridging in any sense.

All that said, leaving the unexplained 40 story hole unexplained was bizarre and seems poorly down in terms of this season. I hope this isn't an oversight (or literal plot hole, hahaha) and perhaps it ties into Iron Fist.

FWIW, leaning a bit on comics-knowledge again here, I fully expect the hole to matter in Iron Fist or possibly the Defenders if they don't get to it in Iron Fist first.


My post-season-2 wishlist:
1.) Foggy showing up in the next season of Jessica Jones. In my head I picture a scene of a hungover-but-trying-to-be-cheerful Foggy trying to talk to a hungover-and-trying-to-be-grumpy Jessica while they're waiting around for Hogarth to show up to an early morning office meeting.

2.) A whole season of Typhoid Mary. I've got enough faith in the folks doing this show, now, that I think they could actually make her a compelling character, handle depicting her mental health issues in a reasonable way (especially if they find the right actor) and do some fascinating stuff with her. Especially with the groundwork laid this season, they've established that Matt started to follow Elektra down a dark path and they could make Mary the next step in that chain, especially if he met her while he was still feeling the loss of Elektra. (This would require them to leave Elektra dead a while, though, and I bet they won't.)

3.) Kingpin is so good, in every scene, that I basically just want to meet Vincent D'Onofrio and shake his hand. Seriously, he's just phenomenal.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:57 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


3.) Kingpin is so good, in every scene, that I basically just want to meet Vincent D'Onofrio and shake his hand. Seriously, he's just phenomenal.

I get the feeling that they're moving towards the Born Again storyline (The story details Daredevil's descent into insanity and destitution at the hands of the Kingpin, as well as his subsequent struggle to build a new life for himself), which would feature more elements crossing over from JJ. But hopefully they'd change some aspects of Karen's character from that arc, as it would be a terrible step down for her and make no damn sense.

I loved the Typhoid Mary arc in the comics, but suspect it sounds too similar to Electra to follow up anytime soon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:46 AM on March 27, 2016


I fully expect the hole to matter in Iron Fist or possibly the Defenders if they don't get to it in Iron Fist first.

Or Daredevil S3?
Iron Fist has his own story (which I really hope avoids ninjas) which seems more involved with Madam Gao than anything. And she hates ninjas.

Defenders (who MUST fight NULL THE LIVING DARKNESS! and I will BROOK NO ARGUMENT, except the fact they're a bit lacking in the Doctor Strange/Silver Surfer/Hulk/Namor department) will probably take its lead from The Pulse or something. I've read The Pulse, but I have no idea what the focus was there).... but it makes sense to keep the individual series largely separate.

change some aspects of Karen's character from that arc, as it would be a terrible step down for her and make no damn sense.

I can't see them doing that.

Daredevil 2 for me was solid. I hated the Ninjas and Elektra (a charisma vacuum who robbed every second of screen time of life and joy) , but I thought the way they drove multiple narratives worked really well, until the fumbled the Blacksmith reveal.

I liked the fact that Daredevil was, at times, a bit player in his own story, and that the series isn't afraid to do that, or that there are entire episodes where he never dresses up in spandex.


3.) Kingpin is so good, in every scene, that I basically just want to meet Vincent D'Onofrio and shake his hand. Seriously, he's just phenomenal.


There are people who disagree with you. I am not one of them.
His reveal was so unexpected (it was telegraphed a little, but given the world we live in, it was exciting) and with the revelation of his new prison physique, I look forward to seeing him and Cox battling it out next series, no matter how improbable his takeover of the prison guards was.

I've seen mentions of something called Shadowlands, and it seems its a silly place, and we shouldn't go there, but so far Netflix Marveil has given me a working week's worth of solid entertainment, and I have no reason to not be waiting for Daredevil 3.

(Because Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been, I feel, better than all three Iron Man films and Avengers 2).
posted by Mezentian at 3:56 AM on March 27, 2016


As much as I like Clancy Brown (which is a lot!), that resolution with him as the Blacksmith felt like the kind of resolution I expect from a single episode of a procedural TV show like Castle;

It actually was a single episode of The Blacklist, iirc.

Speaking of The Blacklist, you know what I'd love to see in this show? Some Ann Nocenti Daredevil awesomeness so we can get James Spader in there for that Daredevil vs Ultron fight.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2016


I get the feeling that they're moving towards the Born Again storyline...But hopefully they'd change some aspects of Karen's character from that arc, as it would be a terrible step down for her and make no damn sense.

I mean, I agree that Elektra and Typhoid Mary plotlines probably look too similar on paper to get a TV exec to go along with it (that's why she's a wishlist item and not a prediction), but that's part of why it works so well, IMO - it just shows that Matt Murdock has a type. Plus I feel like they could work Mary into the Born Again plotline, quite possibly in place of Karen (because yeah, they better not do that to Karen.) Karen could be the one who rejects Matt and starts dating Foggy maybe? That I could see. Meanwhile Mary would be (intentionally or otherwise) helping with Matt's slide into darkness and madness, cuz that's how she do.

Then you bring in Nuke, and Jessica at the end to help with Nuke, instead of Cap. She and Karen the Intrepid Investigator/Journalist can figure out Mary is the one that tipped off the Kingpin and then they and Foggy can help DD kick his Typhoid habit. (JJ is THE expert, by now, at dealing with fucked-up relationships with supervillains with mind powers, after all.) All fits together nice and neat. Better than two halves of this season, I dare say. Hey Netflix if you want my help to write this thing, I'm available!
posted by mstokes650 at 5:28 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Daredevil and Elektra do Europe could have been a blast.

I feel you, but (1) there's no way they take him out of Hell's Kitchen after all the "my city" stuff, (2) his relationship with Elektra is supposed to be doomed doomed doomed, not to mention that she represents an escape from facing the problems of his dual life, which leads to (3) that the whole plan was just a fantasy of running away from real life that isn't morally or narratively satisfying, much less tenable.

I agree that the Blacksmith felt like a cheat, yeah. And there wasn't any resolution to the whole gun/killing thing. In fact you could argue that the Punisher's and Stick's final appearances were proof that Matt is wrong and killing is a good way to solve these problems.

I really really wanted Stick to be the Blacksmith as a "by any means necessary" way of funding and winning his war.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:50 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I cheerfully admit that season 2 had plot holes and inconsistencies, but I don't care much. The themes and arcs were quite satisfying for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I found the whole "no killing" thing terribly antiquated. Ironman, Thor, Captain America all kill people. Good decent hard working honest cops sometimes have to kill people, it's part of violently interceding.

The idea that no-one even accidentally dies while daredevil brutally assaults them is so silly. So childishly, hilariously silly. It's silly when it's Batman and it's silly here.

I felt a much stronger more nuanced debate between Daredevil and the Punisher would have been about being a "sheriff/peacekeeper" versus being a "soldier/assassin". The necessity and discretion of violence in apprehending suspects vs the application of an instant death penalty. Boiling it down to "Me-Kill" vs "Me-No-Kill" just led to a lot of eye-rolling.
posted by French Fry at 12:18 PM on March 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


D'Onofrio is amazing and I'm really glad they found a place for him in this season. I'm also glad Karen and Foggy actually moved on, rather than the writers hitting the reset button; it makes their characters much more compelling. (I still find Karen magically becoming a journalist with no writing background to be... implausible, at best, but hey, the show has superpowers.) I do suspect that Foggy's time at the big law firm will end only slightly less tragically than Saul Goodman's.

I was expecting the Blacksmith to turn out to be the ADA (whose name I don't recall) in an effort to pull down Reyes and help his own career, which would also give him a reason to a) feel guilty about Frank and b) end up mysteriously unhurt despite standing right next to Reyes when she gets blown away. Not sure why a former military guy, by contrast, would be able to dodge police attention so effectively, but I guess Clancy Brown bought a police scanner from a pawn shop like Frank?

Wasn't crazy about Elektra - I'm not sure how much to chalk that up to not being that into the character generally, and how implausible I find a woman who looks like she doesn't weigh all that much regularly taking on men with a lot more muscle. Her big costume reveal basically made her look like Sub-Zero in red, too, which... meh. Not the worst thing, but not great either. Maybe her Hand/Black Sky resurrection will make her more interesting.

I felt a much stronger more nuanced debate between Daredevil and the Punisher would have been about being a "sheriff/peacekeeper" versus being a "soldier/assassin".

Agreed. DD preferring to err on the side of not killing is reasonable; hitting thirty dudes every night in the head with metal clubs and insisting you haven't killed any of them is pretty nonsensical.
posted by tautological at 5:59 PM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I still find Karen magically becoming a journalist with no writing background to be... implausible, at best, but hey, the show has superpowers.)

Maybe she was an unpaid intern?

Also, I can only imagine she was let go after her editor read the piece that she was writing.
posted by ODiV at 6:14 PM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


I like how Frank waited until after Elektra was brutally impaled to open fire on Nobu and the ninjas. Either it was a long walk to to that rooftop, or he was helping out Karen with her relationship problems.

I would totally read the heck out of an "Ask The Punisher" relationship advice column.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:21 PM on March 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


The writing just kept getting worse and worse and i have chosen to believe it was all the work of one person who was doing a performance art thing where they hit themselves real hard in the head with a hammer between each script
posted by Greg Nog at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


DD preferring to err on the side of not killing is reasonable; hitting thirty dudes every night in the head with metal clubs and insisting you haven't killed any of them is pretty nonsensical.

1. Dude has enhanced senses, so yeah, he can tell if someone is dead or not.

2. It's pretty clear that Matt has a certain view on life and the taking of it. The series doesn't delve into how he came to that point of view, but he has.

3. That said, it's also clear that Matt likes beating bad guys. He doesn't have to argue a case or convince anyone of anything, he can merely act outside of the law, in support of the law. So it makes sense that he's some lines for himself, odd that they may be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 PM on March 28, 2016


(I still find Karen magically becoming a journalist with no writing background to be... implausible, at best, but hey, the show has superpowers.)

The most implausible thing about the entire show - more implausible than a secret 40 storey hole, or Black Skies, or invisible ninja hordes, or the unkillable Nobu - is the proposition that a newspaper was actually hiring.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:48 PM on March 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


I don't recall anyone saying they were actually going to pay her. . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 6:23 AM on March 29, 2016


(I still find Karen magically becoming a journalist with no writing background to be... implausible, at best, but hey, the show has superpowers.)

Maybe she was an unpaid intern?


A journo, or an intern, with an office?
Space to think?

IMPOSSIBLE!
posted by Mezentian at 6:35 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Karen: Okay, I've got the article you were looking for, if you want me to read it to you.

Editor: Sure, go for it.

Karen: "What is... a hero? Is a hero you, or am I am one? Look into your heroic eyes, you hero, and what do you see? A big face? A cool guy? Or something better. Something bigger. Something hero-sized? Is a hero a knife? No! But a hero could be a GUY with a knife. Or a gun. Or a LOT of guns. Frank Castle, for example, he had so many guns! lol. Nice job. A hero's job. The most heroic hero job. Our hero... is heart. Big heart, cool strength. Hero strong? But sometimes a hero is weak! But not inside. where it counts. where hero heart lives. pumping hero blood. Like ba-bum, ba-bum. that's what that hero heart sounds like. like a little hero drum." and then the next two pages are just the word "hero" typed over and over again in progressively larger fonts

Editor: oh my god i just realized you're not actually a reporter
posted by Greg Nog at 6:47 AM on March 29, 2016 [31 favorites]


Dude has enhanced senses, so yeah, he can tell if someone is dead or not.

I meant in a more long-term sense; surely some of those guys would either end up with permanent vegetable status or significant brain damage. Add to that Matt's belief that he'd killed Nobu until halfway through the season, and it makes his insistence that he doesn't kill *ever* a pretty shaky proposition.

Also, I can only imagine she was let go after her editor read the piece that she was writing.

Yeah, I pictured the editor after the fade to black doing a Malcolm Tucker-style stream of expletives about how that was neither about Frank Castle, who she was supposed to write about, nor anything coherent at all. Karen's a decent fact-checker and researcher, but should not be allowed to write anything ever again.
posted by tautological at 12:11 PM on March 29, 2016


I meant in a more long-term sense; surely some of those guys would either end up with permanent vegetable status or significant brain damage. Add to that Matt's belief that he'd killed Nobu until halfway through the season, and it makes his insistence that he doesn't kill *ever* a pretty shaky proposition.

Matt isn't against beating the hell out of bad guys and I doubt he loses much sleep over damage that much suffer. To equate that he should with he never kills seems like a leap in my opinion.

Never mind that Matt is quite the hypocrite on some levels. Lawyer by dead, vigilante by neat aren't the actions of someone with airtight logic. Point being, Matt enjoys beating up on bad guys, but he's set up a line for himself in doing that, i.e. he's not going to kill someone outright.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on March 29, 2016


Zack Snyder's Daredevil: Lawyer by Dead, Vigilante by Neat
posted by middleclasstool at 5:49 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would watch the hell out of a Superhero who was an undead lawyer neat-freak crime-fighting machine.

Anyways, just finished this and...yeah, it is finished and I'm glad. Didn't do much for me, felt like the show was juggling too much, dancing between Punisher/Elektra/Hand and nothing seemed to have a satisfying conclusion, and I spent the last several episodes predicting each plot beat. I know nothing about Daredevil or the Punisher, so to feel that everything was so rote and predictable was also disappointing. Most disappointing was after all of Matt's tortured defence of not killing, it's apparently ok by the time of the rooftop fight and Matt has no qualms about it happening all around him as long as it advances his goals. Which is fine, but I would have liked at least some acknowledgment.

Maybe I'm just done with superheroes for a bit.
posted by nubs at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2016


I'm chalking up the attempted murder of Nobu and the lack of concern for the Punisher's (underwhelming!) headshots on the ninja to the emotional impact of Elektra's death. Daredevil has a code, but he's also a man who fucks up. The show didn't do a great job of showing that, but I think that's what it was going for. Catholics go to confession, they don't live their lives without committing any sins.
posted by ODiV at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2016


That probably was what they were going for, but between how the faceless ninja hordes were handled this season and last season's "I don't want Vladimir to die in front of me! I'm deeply conflicted about possibly killing Wilson Fisk! Oops I just burned a Japanese guy to death, oh well" moral dilemma, my takeaway is that the show just doesn't care about Asian lives the way it does white people. Either in the literal sense or the "hey, these are terrible people but they have inner lives and complex motivations" sense. Like, imagine if Nobu had any personality to speak of.

It does seem like they're leading into Shadowland and I'm not sure why -- surely there are other team-up storylines they could create for the Defenders that aren't, uh... terrible? No one in my circle remembers that arc fondly, but perhaps we're outliers.

I loved the Nelson/Murdock/Page dynamic the first season, so I was sad not just that they fell apart so quickly this time around but how... limply the break came across? The idea made sense but the pacing felt rushed and so much of the acting seemed really stilted, at least from Cox and Henson. Deborah Ann Woll sold the hell out of her bit and was generally the MVP of the season -- I can't believe I'm saying this because I love Karen and her arc was my favorite part this year, but I'd honestly be okay with her being written out of the show so DAW can headline another series, because she deserves it. Maybe she can take Elodie Yung and Vondie Curtis-Hall with her.
posted by bettafish at 4:36 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Three clever things -

- Kingpin’s size. We saw a little of this last season when Leeland looms over Fisk in the last ep he’s in. Fisk is Yao Ming big when being brought into jail for the first time to undress, and he takes up almost the entirety of his cell when Dutton shows up to threaten him (and give him ideas in the process!) He’s a weird, little, rotund man when the Punisher meets him in the weight yard (never mind how many plates on that barbell), a pathetic schemer with a pathetic scheme. Frank literally looks down on him. This doesn’t last long, as Fisk LOOMS over Frank in their confrontation and fight scene, man-handles the Punisher his own goddamn self with his immense size advantage, shrugs off the worst blows Frank can muster, and beats him easily.

- Frank Castle’s accent. A sort-of-Southern accent, clear and precise. The kind of accent a lifer-Marine develops spending a decade overseas with his brothers-in-arms. When he is in complete control, it comes out to the fore. When he loses his composure, it slips, and the New Yorker comes out. Hard.

- The violence is a deliberate progression. We start out where someone getting punched isn’t even on screen, artistically, to preserve the viewer… and we wind up with literal bamboo under the fingernails in the kind of close-up torture-porn even the vilest cinema hasn’t dared to show. Gallons of blood are shed. Matt sheds none of it. Is that good enough?

Bonus round!

- Matt is a fuckup. Foggy is a legit talent, Matt is a fuckup, staying up all night to entertain an old flame, ruining all of his hard won connections and legal opportunities for some fun with her. Losing to the Kingpin questioning Frank on the stand, case in point. Matt goes from awesome to complete fuckup. He utterly unhinges his opponents so that they panic and become prey, and opportunistic shitstains like Castle, Stick and Electra go get their murder on. Matt doesn’t care in the moment. He’s too busy saving, what? A high-density residential neighborhood? The idea of what that neighborhood was like?

Karen is sublimely the hero of the series.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:04 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


It seems to me this season had a lot of dorm-room-caliber discussions about whether or not heroes were necessary. It may be an outgrowth of the weird "Hell's Kitchen equals New York" thing, but apart from a couple of framed Bulletin front pages, no one seems to ponder that Iron Man and Thor and the Hulk and a bunch of others battled toothy alien worms the size of battleships and thousands of extraterrestrial invaders coming out of a wormhole a mile above Grand Central Station. I am not sure New York's Finest (who in this show cannot even keep an eye on someone in protective custody) are prepared to handle that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:15 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Karen is sublimely the hero of the series.

What is it, to be a hero? Look in the mirror and you'll know. Look into your own eyes and tell me you're not a hero...

j/k. Karen was the standout of S2 for me - she was tough, resourceful, and her relationship with Frank Castle was the most interesting.
posted by nubs at 9:18 AM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Karen was the best character in the series, I'm really happy at how much agency and screen time she got and that she wasn't always the damsel in distress.

Overall I was pretty happy this this season, it's got to be tough to write what's essentially a thirteen hour movie and it kept me interested all the way through. I was worried going in that putting both Electra and The Punisher in would make it feel overstuffed like so many superhero films but I guess the long format allows for more sprawl than a 2 (or 2.5 usually) hour movie.
posted by octothorpe at 5:01 AM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


adding more than a single villain is essential unless there's a very targeted building as in season 1 of JJ and DD.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on April 9, 2016


Meanwhile... Cloak and Dagger!
I kind of care?
But I am also kind of annoyed this isn't on Netflix.
posted by Mezentian at 7:35 AM on April 9, 2016


OK - just finished it up.

My only real complaints are the dip, nay, the abrupt jerk, about mid-season that really seemed to be the narrative stumbling - the stories (Punisher, Electra/Stick/Hand, Matt and Foggy and Karen) could've been wound a bit tighter. If that could've been fixed, what I just saw was a good series. Not awesome (c'mon, narratively Bullseye could've been the weird french guy that Stick sent after her, just not sent by Stick and not french- and then postpone the actual sai-through-costume contractually-obligated comics-purist-necessary moment), but very, very good. I know that the 'I don't kill' thing seems a bit overdrawn, but that's DD - he's a catholic through and through, and his own sense of crippling guilt is a major driver for what he does. The other, supporting character stories were well done, IMO a nod to the sorta-semi Kerry Drake flavor of those first 20-50 issues of DD, with the glaring exception of Reyes - a good character that was picked up and put down with too much ease; there was alot of meat on those bones to just dispatch so quickly (I think the 'true' story of Frank Castle will come up in future seasons, or pieced together between various seasons of Luke Cage/Iron Fist, so the Blacksmith thing, while ham-handed, doesn't bother me as much), and likewise we saw too little of certain bit character from the fist series, though Turk Barrett and Josie made an appearance, which excuses much.

In short, a decent sophomore effort. I hope they get a third season.
I'm sure I'll have more thoughts after I've processed it.
posted by eclectist at 7:54 PM on April 12, 2016


I'm a little surprised that so many of you liked Karen this season and didn't like Elektra, because my feelings are exactly the opposite. I hated everything they did with Karen, from her weird attachment to The Punisher to the bizarre journalism plot that ended with that insipid monologue about how New Yorkers are All Heroes Just For Living in New York. Meanwhile, Elektra was a breath of fresh air in that she was basically the only character who remotely seemed like she had ever had fun at any prior point and was also the only thing keeping it all from sinking into dour, sullen grunting (at least 100% of the time, there was still plenty of dour, sullen grunting).

I also liked the ninja plot way more than the vigilante plot. It felt like they approached the vigilante plot from a weird angle and then neither resolved it nor bothered to have Matt stick to his principles. I agree with the people who said that it leaves an entirely plausible reading that killing people is actually good and useful, which I'm guessing was not exactly their intent. The ninja stuff, on the other hand, was a little silly plotwise, but I'm fine with silly plots in a comic book series, and it managed to make the mysterious stuff actually mysterious and the creepy stuff actually creepy. It also felt like it was going somewhere more interesting than grown men wrestling on top of buildings while yelling at each other about whether the ends justify the means. I would take a thousand weird holes, resurrection jars, and blood dungeons over any more of that.

Plus, as silly as the ninja stuff was, it was arguably less silly than the legal plotline, which was 100% bonkers nonsense from start to finish. By the breakup of Murdock & Nelson, I was just happy that people in the show were yelling basically the same things I was at Matt about his disgraceful behavior. I'm not sure if the writers intended to make him quite as unlikeable as I found him, but bailing on his professional duty so he can go punching ninjas with his girlfriend for a scheme the purpose of which is a complete mystery to him while screwing over his co-workers and remaining completely unavailable to his other girlfriend was something of a low point. With the benefit of hindsight, I get that they were trying to give him some internal conflict, but he never really seemed like he cared that much about Foggy, Karen, or the trial, so he just kind of came off like a dick. That said, I've always kind of thought he was a smug dick, so it's not like I needed a huge push.

I have no idea what they're planning for the third season, but I hope it's got more Kingpin in it. I didn't realize until he came back how much I'd enjoyed having bizarre parables haltingly whispered at me. Hopefully his new henchmen can fill the hole in my heart that Wesley and Owlsley left.
posted by Copronymus at 9:58 PM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I desperately want to see the story arc where The Owl is brought back under the Kingpin's sway, ruthlessly, methodically, surgically, because Fisk has USE of Leeland. Wilson was betrayed, his life's love imperiled and imperiled again, but! Make those spreadsheets dance, and all is forgiven...

...but NOT forgotten.

Because, let's face it, Leeland isn't dead.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:15 PM on April 16, 2016


I think my biggest disappointment was that they did such a good job with the scenes of Foggy finding out Matt was Daredevil, I was really looking forward to Karen finally figuring it out (surely she recognized him when he was right in front of her at the final hostage rescue?) Even if we get Dared evil Season 3, I can't imagine it's going to start right there with her reaction.
posted by straight at 1:24 AM on November 26, 2016


I can't think of another series where I so completely disliked and lacked respect for the main character.
posted by bq at 10:42 AM on February 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


I spent some time thinking about why, and here's what occurred to me: in most shows where the protagonist does sketchy things, they are humanize with the other side of their life. The Sopranos got us to root for Tony by portraying loving (if complicated) family relationships. Tony is a thug and a murderer, but he loves his wife and children and he does his best for them. He is invested in those relationships in a meaningful way. Daredevil, on the other hand, went out of its way to show Matt Murdock treating his friends like garbage and setting all his important relationships on fire. Now we're supposed to handwave this because he's endangering himself with all the dangerous crime fighting at night that's just soooo stressful that he can't fulfill his mundane obligations during the day. But frankly he's just a violent thug who's put dozens of people in the hospital and killed a couple and he isn't even honest about it to himself until the finale when he admits to Electra that he 'needs this'. The fact that he's a lawyer who at one point made a conscious choice to work for justice within the system makes it even more incongruous. If Matt is supposed to be a normal person who's driven by circumstance to be a vigilante, well, ok, but then he's still a normal person who acts like a jackass to his friends.
posted by bq at 3:02 PM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think Matt is supposed to be a completely abnormal person who, like Superman, can't escape the sounds of the prostitute being beaten by her pimp, of the elderly couple being robbed for drug money, of a child being hit by a stray bullet from a gang war. But unlike Superman, he has very little power to do anything about it. And it eats at him constantly, unrelentingly, until he just has to go beat the crap out of whoever seems most responsible for all the suffering.
posted by straight at 8:03 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


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