Dogs to a Gunfight
New York’s Finest
Penny and Dime
Guilty as Sin
Seven Minutes In Heaven
The Man In The Box
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
A Cold Day In Hell’s Kitchen
Netflix’s surprise hit from 2015 spawned a plethora of other superhero shows. After the success of Jessica Jones and the lukewarm reception of Luke Cage, Daredevil returns for a second season. With more episodes and more action packed scenes, there’s certainly potential here for a better season but its squandered by a plot thats more convoluted than before. Antihero The Punisher is an excellent addition to the season though, helping to blur the moral line and anchor the characters around a common goal of stopping his explosive rampage. The moral questions this raises for Matt around whats right and wrong is explored in great deal ans it makes for some good television. Unfortunately, Elektra and the alternate storyline around The Hand contrast badly with the grounded crime thriller, especially late on, making it a season that’s constantly at odds with itself.
The story picks up where season 1 left off, following the aftermath of Wilson Fisk being arrested. When The Punisher arrives in New York and begins killing the squabbling gang members left in Hell’s Kitchen, its up to Daredevil to try and stop him. To complicate matters, old flame Elektra shows up with a mission of her own around the mystical, mysterious group called “The Hand”. Individually, these two stories are interesting and play out well, despite the large amount of exposition that bogs the season down. Together, the season clashes badly with a pace that never quite feels natural and as such, bogs the season down. This may well be due to the number of episodes and at 13, it does feel overlong when these stories could have benefited from 2 separate seasons, rather than forced together.
Ironically, the effort to make Daredevil feel more like a superhero battling mystical forces pushes Daredevil away from what made the show so appealing to begin with. When Matt Murdoch is the Daredevil, battling thugs and The Punisher at street level, the second season is at its best. There’s no denying there’s some excellent choreography again this year, cementing Daredevil’s place as one of the best shot action shows out right now. The use of lighting, including flickering strobes and a mixture of large areas and choked corridors are put to good use and throughout the season there’s a good balance of character work and action pieces.
The middle portion of the season does lack some pace, with a lot more character driven pieces to drive the show forward. At times, these drag on for an unneccessary amount of time and they usually revolve around The Hand and Elektra learning about both of their pasts. While its still intriguing stuff, it feels unncessary with The Punisher looming in the background. You may well find yourself itching to get back to his scenes that are masterfully executed and have a good story overall. He’s by far the best part of this season, stealing the scenes he’s in and responsible for most of the best action.
Out of the mask, the fractured relationship between Foggy, Karen and Matt Murdock comes to its conclusion and throughout the season, the consequence of Daredevil and Elektra being on the scene is fully realized. There’s some great dramatic scenes and Foggy in particular really comes into his own this season, playing a conflicted, frustrated man who’s grappling with the future of his career and keeping Matt at his side.
Overall, season 2 of Daredevil is a season that should surpass the first. Its brutal, well executed action scenes are an improvement over last year and the storyline around The Punisher is excellent, making him a worthwhile foe for vast periods of the 13 episodes. The contrasting storyline around The Hand is not, bringing some unncessary convolution to a series that’s otherwise grounded and well done. This is only further emphasised by Elektra’s presence this year, that feels more like a hindrance than a natural fit to this crime thriller, with both actors not quite striking the right balance to pull off the scenes. With The Defenders on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out but for now, Daredevil season 2 has all the components to be great but misses the mark.