I for one loved the introduction of “Daredevil” to the small screen universe. Much like Spider-Man, his is a character that works much better in episodic form rather than feature film format where every narrative has to be compressed. I loved what Marvl brought to the table with the first season, so it’s surprising to say that season two is not only better, but a huge improvement every way shape and form. Season two is, dare I say, amazing. The suit is better, the choreography is better, the performances are better, the writing is killer, and the characters have evolved from the last time we saw them. The entire battle with Wilson Fisk in season one felt a tad stretched out for the sake of a season. This time around the show provides Matt Murdock with two central plots and three sub-plots. At thirteen episodes, the show never feels padded, nor does a single episode feel like filler.
Every moment is crucial, as Matt struggles to stay alive and confront a new nemesis with The Punisher, and then has to immediately deal with old lover Elektra Nachios, who rolls in to town with a mission that Matt has to take part in. Season two really conveys how Matt has grown as a warrior and as Daredevil, where he is more and more accepting of his role as a vigilante and finds small thrills in bringing down criminals. He is almost an adrenaline junkie when we meet him, and he’s incapable of putting down the mask and suit, even when he is shot in the head at point blank range by Frank Castle. The casting of Jon Bernthal is a brilliant turn for the show, as Bernthal with his gruff exterior, well worn face, charisma, and intimidating walk that always looks as if he’s going to tackle a civilian to the ground, is a magnificent. Bernthal has a bad habit of stealing scenes from eveyone he shares the screen with, and he accomplishes that task with his co-star, even almost taking the show from Daredevil and turning it in to a back door season one for his own series.
The one caveat to season two is the depiction of Elektra which is by far one of the least faithful adaptations I’ve ever seen Marvel studios hand their audience. Elektra’s entire back story is re-written, her purpose is rethought, and she’s more a femme fatale, and much less a tragic warrior in the vein of Matt Murdock. Her story seems also purposely re-thought for the sake of injecting Scott Glenn as Stick back in to the fold. I don’t understand why the elaborate ruse unfolds for the sake of Stick. Just re-introduce him in the method the writers did Elektra. Scott Glenn is masterful as the enigmatic anti-hero who always has an ulterior motive for everything he does, and is as slimy as he is swift. He’s a bastard, but a lovable bastard. While Elodie Yung gives a bang up performance, the pointless straying from her character when she could very well have added a lot more to the season is baffling and disappointing.
That said, “Daredevil” Season Two props up a lot of future storylines while also evolving the world Matt Murdock roams around in. I hope there’s a season three to explain why the Hand are resurrecting warriors, and what they have planned for Elektra. I also would love to see if Melvin is ever forced to suit up as Gladiator and battle Matt Murdock against his will. In either case, “Daredevil” season two amps up the energy and dazzling fight scenes bringing together elements of crime thrillers, law dramas, and vigilante action films and once again shows a mass audience what his loyal fans have known for years: Daredevil is an amazing character, and I’m so glad to see this series getting stronger with every season. There’s further evolution, forward progression, and higher stakes, and it fits snug in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I anxiously await the treatment for Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
These are Five of the Most Exceptional Moments of the Season:
5. Daredevil Takes his Senses One Step Further
Though the series has seemed to opt out of showing Matt Murdock’s sonar vision, the writers have made it abundantly clear that Matt Murdock has super heightened senses that allow him to become a formidable warrior. He can hear heartbeats, footsteps, and weaponry clanging and guns loading. He can hear a gun firing from a distance, and he can even smell body scents and sweat. He can also smell blood, and dirty water, and can also sense when water is hitting an object close to him, as we see in the episode when he goes on a date with Karen Page. This all allows him to become one of the most deadly warriors to ever set foot in Hell’s Kitchen, and makes his vision unnecessary.
That said, while he has his senses mastered, he meets the Hand’s ninja clan, warriors that have mastered the art of slowing their heartbeats, making them undetectable to Matt. When they realize the only way he can sense them is by movement and activity of their swords, they take advantage and begin beating him in to a corner. Thanks to his super hearing, mentor Stick gives Matt one last lesson, helping him to figure out how to detect the breathing of his enemies. Good as these warriors are, they eventually have to breathe, and thanks to Matt’s ability to amplify his hearing, the exhales of the ninjas become a dead giveaway allowing Matt to lay the smackdown on them once and for all. With one final howl of victory, Matt reigns victorious and has garnered a new method to make his senses ever more powerful.
4. One Batch, Two Batch…
After a very violent confrontation with mobster Cooley and ultimately murdering him, Daredevil finally manages to bring Frank Castle in after saving his life. Prepared to face whatever is awaiting him with the authorities, Daredevil finds some empathy for Frank Castle who reveals so much more about himself that breaks any assumptions about him being a psychotic gun wielding maniac. Bernthal delivers his monologue beautifully, successfully bringing the audience over to his side, including Daredevil, who feels especially heartbroken at the recounting of coming home to his daughters, and feeling a crushing guilt for inadvertently taking them for granted. This is a man torn apart by their murders, and it carries well in to the season.
3. The Introduction of the Billy Club
Like many others, I was wondering if the series would even approach the Billy Club. And if they did, how? Would Matt automatically have it at his disposal? Who would give it to him? After using two hand held batons for the entirety of season one and most of season two, Matt’s engineer Melvin gives him the gift of his trademark Billy Club. A staple of the Daredevil mythology, Melvin’s creation of it is a welcome conneciton to the comics, revealing its multi purpose concept, which incudes its ability to become nunchuks, a larger staff, and even propel Matt across the sky with the help of a grappling hook. I hope season three displays the brilliance of this weapon and how Matt wields it in combat.
2. Daredevil Meets the Dogs of Hell
Meeting the Dogs of Hell isn’t just a wonderful fight scene, but it helps convey how much Matt Murdock has evolved as a warrior, and how much he realizes he loves being a fighter. By the time we see him in season two, he’s unapologetic about being Daredevil, and doesn’t make excuses. It’s a job he has to do, and not even Claire Temple is able to convince him otherwise. Every time he takes a break, someone dies, and he proves it when the hand invades the hospital nearly murdering Temple. After being held hostage by the Punisher, Daredevil breaks free from his chains and isn’t able to save criminal Gotto from being murdered by Frank.
Frank does set off a chain of explosions in the nearby hang out of Hell’s Kitchen’s most vicious biker gang, and thanks to circumstances, Daredevil becomes the target. Deciding to flee with an unconscious Castle over his shoulder, Matt has every opportunity to escape, but as he leaves, he steps up to help out an elderly neighbor being beaten by the angry gang. Armed with a long broken chain and a gun strapped to his hand, Matt battles the entire Dogs of Hell biker gang among the halls of the apartment complex. Filled with amazing choreography, brilliant stunt work, and flawless editing that makes Matt’s journey through battle feel like one continuous take, Matt proves he is a force to be reckoned with, whipping his chain at his enemies with precision while batting at them with empty gun in hand. It’s a breathtaking sequence that jump starts an excellent sophomore season.
1. Frank Castle Punishes Some Prisoners
While many folks loved the battle of Daredevil and the Dogs of Hell, it’s tough to beat the raw vicious violent brawl that ensues when Frank Castle allows himself to be a pawn in a criminal’s master plan just once. In a mistake he’ll never make again, Frank Castle throws his court case, which sends him off to jail. There, he meets up with Wilson Fisk, who explains that the only person stopping him from ruling over the prison is William Forsythe’s Dutton. Convincing him Dutton knows who took a role in murdering his family, Castle agrees begrudgingly. Wise enough to close all loopholes, Fisk leaves Frank for dead in Dutton’s cell, after murdering him. But Frank isn’t just a normal man. Like a dog, he fights best when cornered and left to go absolutely primal.
Tasked with battle ten men with only a shiv in hand, Frank charges head first in to the onslaught of vicious prisoners and destroys them using his wits, martial arts skills, and merciless tactics. Reminiscent of “The Raid,” Bernthal handles the sequence brilliantly, bringing down every man in his sight and lying among the pile of bodies, drenched in their blood and savoring the punishment he’d given them. That’s then when Fisk realizes Castle isn’t just a patsy, he’s someone incredible, and he’s someone he has to be weary of once he leaves the prison. It’s a remarkable moment that defines Castle, and shows new fans who the Punisher really is. The icing on the cake is when the SWAT team are dragging Frank to his cell, he notices the blood on his chest looks an awful lot like a skull face.
What did you think of Season Two? What were some of your favorite moments? Let us know in the comments.