DAREDEVIL Season Two Review
Brush up on your Catholic dogma, grab your cane, and punch a jaywalker in the kidney — Netflix’s Marvel’s DAREDEVIL is back for season two. Immediately , I have to give DAREDEVIL’s second season premiere praise for sheer bravado; season two hit Netflix the day after St. Patrick’s day and features a cold open that involves the massacre of a room full of Irishmen. Thus marks the much anticipated arrival of Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, who helps to ramp up the show’s ass-kicking quotient by at least 100%. Matt Murdock’s canonical girlfriend, Elektra (played by Elodie Yung), appears as well to flesh out more of Matt’s backstory and act as another character foil, attempting to convince Matt to join her in solving a conspiracy involving the Yakuza, and that the best way to solve the problem is by sticking sharp things in people.
90% of the time it works 100% of the time
With the addition of The Punisher and Elektra, the show begins to delve into “the nature of goodness,” this time framed as “bro, you think you’re better than me.” This is almost a cliché at this point due to how many other superhero narratives have covered it, including season one of DAREDEVIL. In the first season, the conflict was between Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), with the same ends (save a very specific part of New York) but different means. Now that the show has established that dragging an entire city into the shitter to rebuild it better than before (Fisk’s idea) is kind of terrible, it examines whether killing people that kill or otherwise harm other people is all that bad (the Punisher’s idea).
None of us remember our Ethics classes either
While this choice and the personalities of these two newcomers inform Matt’s arc for the entire season, they really sort of overshadow him and the gang at Murdock and Nelson. But, to be honest, that’s not a knock against the show; there’s a real tightrope act between hoisting up the main character and introducing us to these new heavily anticipated characters, and I felt that the show did a pretty good job. While the audience is a little concerned about Matt’s destiny and choices, we’re also invested in hearing what the Punisher has to grunt next.
“Man, nothing bad ever happens at Chuck E. Cheese”
DAREDEVIL powers along for most of the season, but suddenly and uncharacteristically stumbles when it nears the end. A relatively disappointing final battle on a rooftop as well as a somewhat confusing resolution to the Punisher arc seem like pretty big oversights for the last episodes in your season, and overall leaves an awkward taste in the mouth in general. Plus Karen Page’s (Deborah Ann Wolf) hokey “What is a Hero” monologue doesn’t make for a very good first piece at your brand new journalism job. None of this is enough to overpower the rest of the season, or even the episodes they appear in, but they all seem to be curious missteps in an otherwise excellent season.
I assumed that preventing missteps was what the cane was for
If for some reason you’re reading this without having seen the show, I suggest you skip a couple paragraphs down cause I’m gonna rant about some fairly integral plot spoilers.
Marvel’s Netflix shows, thus far, have succeeded because the shows do an excellent job of portraying the lives of superheroes more in the vein of magical realism than science fiction or fantasy. We accept that Matt Murdock has super senses, or that Jessica Jones is impossibly strong, or . Although canonically this is the same New York that also houses demigods and aliens (if you haven’t noticed in the offices of The New York Bulletin, there are framed covers that allude to “The Battle of New York,” otherwise known as the first AVENGERS movie), the show doesn’t deal with them directly, so the New York we get is pretty much the kind you can visit right now.
Just with significantly less hobo urine
Now that the Hand has been introduced as a secret clan of death-defying ninjas and not simply the Yakuza (which I’m not sure makes Matt and Elektra racist for thinking so, because apparently the henchmen thought so too), the show’s camp factor has been ratcheted up where it previously didn’t exist. This threatens the fabric of the show much more than a giant devil vase possibly filled with human blood and/or Elodie Yung. The Hand, of course, is a major player in the Marvel Comic Universe, but they’re ninjas in the middle of New York, for Chrissakes. We signed up for grit and grunge, Netflix/Marvel, not the script I wrote when I was fifteen.
DAREDEVIL’s second season is more or less an excellent return to form from the first season, bringing just about everything that was good about it back for more in a way that didn’t feel too recycled or rehashed. While the tone and writing seem to be faltering late in the game, there’s no real indication that the third season will be unwatchable, and no reason why you shouldn’t watch season two.
Also, this really doesn’t fit anywhere else, but goddamn, I hope they find reasons to bring back Wilson Fisk for like one episode per season because Vincent D’Onofrio is magic in that role.
DAREDEVIL is available in its entirety on Netflix