Air Date: March 18, 2016
Genre: Action, Crime Drama, Superhero
Daredevil‘s second season brings both continuity and change. Hell’s Kitchen lights up with the addition of new characters for Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) to deal with. With Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) imprisoned, Murdock finds that he must now deal with the power vacuum left over in his city, as a variety of different gangs try to rise to the top.
Unfortunately for the crime population in Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil is not the only character they will have to deal with. The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) has come to exact his vengeance. Notably one of the best characters this season, this antihero is important to Daredevil’s story through all 13 episodes. At first, it seems as if he will only be around for a limited time. After all, four episodes in he seems to be caught. But the Punisher is not done there, sticking around to finish out his storyline with the rest of the season in various unexpected ways.
The question of the Punisher, whose real name is Frank Castle, continues to haunt Murdock from the moment these two meet. Over time, we slowly get to see how Castle’s life became the way it is, mostly through the eyes of Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) as she seeks the truth. Bernthal portrays the raw emotions of Castle perfectly, and he is really believable. The Punisher and Daredevil have many similarities between them, as they are both trying to get crime off the streets. However, the Punisher acts out of a need to exact violent vengeance, and will kill easily. This drawn line between Castle and Murdock – that one will kill and the other will not – becomes the focusing question of morality throughout the season.
Another interesting character who is introduced is Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung), Murdock’s former flame and a dangerous woman in her own right. Elektra seems to know everything there is to know about Murdock, including the fact that he masquerades his evenings as Daredevil. However, she also illustrates the difference in morality between herself and Murdock, as Elektra is a character who thrives on killing and wishes for Murdock to do the same. Yung is an excellent Elektra, and her chemistry with Cox is palpable. While Elektra may have reasons for the way she is (as is revealed later in the show), she contrasts Daredevil’s version of justice completely, even when they work together for a bit. Elektra and the Punisher bring out two different sides of who Daredevil could be and question his morality each in their own way. And with Elektra, Castle, and Murdock growing significantly in character over the course of the season, they are easily the best part of the show.
That’s not to say that the other characters in Daredevil take a backseat in season two. Cox as Matt Murdock is, as usual, perfect in his role. Karen Page is even more important, as she moves more into the role that Ben Urich left behind. Wilson Fisk, although he may be removed from the streets, is certainly not removed from power. Even more minor characters like Sergeant Brett Mahoney (Royce Johnson) and Mitchell Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) have their own roles to play in the plot. All of these actors do well in their roles and support the show beautifully.
However, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) takes a noticeable backseat this season, even though he now knows about his best friend’s identity. Foggy was an immensely valued character in the first season, often helping in shaping Murdock’s past and present decisions. He was also part of a very poignant moment when he discovered that his friend was actually Daredevil, and continued to be the voice of reason for Murdock. In this second season, Foggy seems to get overwhelmed and almost forgotten amidst the other strong characters. He plays a part in the trial for Frank Castle but does not really get much development beyond that. While I enjoyed the new characters that were brought into Daredevil, I was sad that Foggy ended up left in the background, as he was one of my favorite characters from the show.
In contrast, the way that the producers moved from one season to the next worked very well. Daredevil usually has a sense of fluidity between episodes, and that has not changed in the second season. Yet so many of the themes and plotlines from the first season have also carried over smoothly to this recent one. Even characters that were killed off before the Punisher and Elektra came to Hell’s Kitchen have not been forgotten. It is impressive to see such detail in a show, and gratifying to those who are fans of Daredevil and his companions in comic form. Clearly Daredevil is given a lot of thought and care, and it definitely shows.
One small inconsistency that stuck out to me in the plot of Daredevil season 2 was the idea of the Black Sky. While both the members of the Hand and Stick claim that Elektra is the Black Sky, apparently having been so since she was very young, in the first season Stick and Murdock went on a mission to kill Black Sky. And they succeeded. Much to Murdock’s dislike, Stick managed to infiltrate the shipping container where Black Sky was being held. This Black Sky was a young boy, and Stick said he slit the boy’s throat without mercy. However, this whole episode makes little sense when compared with the last few episodes of season two. Elektra is important to the Hand as Black Sky, and they seem to be relying on her alone. Does that mean the young boy was the only other Black Sky available, or are the Hand just too lazy to find another? While this inconsistency is fairly small, it still bothered me enough to take note.
As usual with Daredevil, the camera work is fantastic. The producers use a lot of unique angles, showing off scenes from all different perspectives. The filter used to depict Matt Murdock’s blindness is consistent with the first season. It works well at showing how Murdock can “see” things around him, and helps bring the audience even more into the world of Hell’s Kitchen.
Overall, Daredevil‘s second season is much better than the first. The producers have taken what worked in the show’s first season and brought in new characters and ideas to elevate its episodes even further. Daredevil had me hooked from start to finish, and it shows how seriously Netflix is taking its various Marvel series.
- Characters: The Punisher is the real standout character from this season, with Elektra and Matt Murdock being a close second. The supporting cast is excellent and shows real growth in several areas. Unfortunately, Foggy is not as involved.
- Cinematography: Beautiful camera work, with a lot of unique angles and perspectives.
- Story: A few inconsistencies with the main story, but overall a very interesting and strong plot.
- Acting: All of the actors give outstanding performances, with Bernthal, Yung, and Cox giving their comic book characters real life and emotion.
- Great acting put forth by all
- The Punisher as a series standout
- Connects story to the first season well, while building up its own
- Small discrepancies in plot holes
- Foggy noticeably left out from most of the season
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