**Spoilers for Daredevil season two episodes 1-4 ahead. Turn back now if you haven’t watched.**
And we’re back! Daredevil‘s second season, streaming today on Netflix, wastes no time getting right into the action, so we won’t, either. And it’s pretty random action, actually, just to make sure we’re all on the same page that Matt Murdock is still running around at night beating up criminals. (He also still doesn’t seem to understand how guns work as he slowly approaches an armed criminal in a church, but he’ll learn soon enough. Oh, he will learn.)
Foggy’s still not pleased with the whole Daredevil thing, but he’s getting over it because of friendship, which is essentially his very own superpower. Just look at this tender moment as he dabs blood off of his best friend:
Business also appears to have picked up at Nelson and Murdock:
And now we’re all caught up, because there’s going to be a lot to get through over the next few episodes. So, we head over to your regularly-scheduled stereotypical backroom mob meeting.
Then gunfire pours in through the wall and takes everyone out, which is actually one of the least brutal things about to go down this season. Yeah, this is going to be a gruesome one, in case you thought they could get away with a PG-13 version of the Punisher. One guy gets away, and he goes to ask for the help of Nelson and Murdock, because they’ve got a reputation for being upstanding, and he’s seen the error of his ways. Suuuuuuuure.
They’re hanging out at Josie’s as usual, and Matt and Karen are getting way too close for my (or Foggy’s) liking.
Our would-be Punisher victim, Grotto, shows up, explains what happened and why he needs their lawyering skills, then collapses and is rushed to the hospital due to his gunshot wound. Matt and Foggy head out to gather information through their typical methods: first, together as lawyers talking to the police where Grotto’s mob friends were killed, then Matt beating people down as Daredevil and Foggy getting in over his head talking to a biker gang.
This first episode very much feels like a re-introduction to the standard street-level superheroics of Daredevil, but with good reason: as the gang goes through their normal paces, there’s an undercurrent of something more sinister and dangerous than they’re used to going on, and things are about to change. Matt eventually tracks down a barely-living Punisher victim hanging from a meat hook in a freezer who clues him in that whoever’s going around shooting up criminals is just one guy—basically introducing Punisher like a horror movie monster—and that one guy shows up at the hospital where Karen is keeping watch over their client/his intended victim.
A chase through the hospital ensues, and Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle/Punisher is pretty much perfect. Of course, Matt shows up as Daredevil to save the day just in time, which he does before he gets shot by Punisher, because for some reason having a gun pulled on him at a short distance puts a stop to him, unlike the beginning of the episode.
That leaves Foggy to frantically find Matt’s unconscious body on a rooftop the next morning and get him home at the beginning of the second episode. This leads to more friendship angst, but everyone gets on with their day anyway as Foggy and Karen try to keep their new client safe. Their cop “buddy”
mentions that Daredevil vigilante copycats have become pretty common, covering all of our “Daredevil is basically Batman” bases as the series movies forward. Foggy and Karen meet the District Attorney, who wants to meddle with their client, but Foggy’s not having it and has one of his signature, “In case you forgot, I’m actually an incredible lawyer,” moments, which she’s not thrilled with.
Meanwhile, Matt’s back at his apartment doing the “Oh no my powers are going haywire!” thing—you know, after the bullet he took to the head—to give him another excuse to lose a fight with Punisher. Speaking of whom, he’s out stocking up on weapons and establishing for the audience that he’s not a huge fan of criminals as he casually decides to murder a guy for offering him child porn.
The DA works out a witness protection plan for Grotto while we get more hints that Karen’s hiding something (probably in addition to that time last season when she shot a guy), Matt gets his suit repaired and a hint that maybe Punisher didn’t want to do him in, and he and Karen get some more romantic tension time.
Then, the witness protection thing turns out to be a Punisher trap set by the DA with Grotto as bait, and Foggy and Karen aren’t too happy about it. Matt shows up again as Daredevil to stop Punisher at the last moment, they have another fight, and it again ends with Matt getting taken down—you guessed it—because his powers are on the fritz.
This results in what might be the weirdest kind-of-sort-of “bottle episode” of all time, with Daredevil chained to a rather large brick structure on a rooftop while Punisher extolls the virtues of shooting people, which is basically the entire third episode. There’s a definite cheesiness factor to the whole thing, but it’s mostly mitigated by the fact that Bernthal’s performance is so great.
Mostly. Then he goes full Jigsaw and straps a gun to Matt’s hand, and it’s a liiiitle much.
He seems to be going pretty far out of his way to have a morality conversation with Matt as he drags Grotto out, explains that he killed an old woman once, and tells him that he’ll murder Grotto unless Matt stops him with his box art Mega Man gun-hand.
Meanwhile, Foggy’s demonstrating his own skills as he pays a visit to Claire Temple while looking for Matt and talks two gang members down from attacking each other in the hospital. Karen, on the other hand, is picking up the slack for both of them and getting some Punisher info from the DA’s assistant.
Back on the rooftop, Matt gets free and almost saves Grotto, but he doesn’t quite manage to. Punisher alerts the entire gang across the street to their presence by blowing up some motorcycles, which leads to Hallway Fight Round 2 as they crowd through the building toward the rooftop. Matt finally puts Punisher out of commission and does his best God of War impression to take out the gang with the piece of chain still attached to his arm.
He succeeds, but Punisher gets away in the meantime. Luckily, Matt’s super senses seem to be back to normal, not just because he needs them to save his own ass, but because I’m in no mood to deal with an entire season of the old “partially lost superpowers” trope.
The next episode picks up with with a more serious gang leader coming to town to take down Punisher, and that seriousness is communicated through more gross eye-related death like when that one guy offed himself in season one.
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Matt, Karen, and Foggy have a rather lonely funeral for Grotto, and Matt gets another ever-uplifting pep talk from his priest pal. They continue their investigation into what’s going on with Punisher as a group, and of course, Karen keeps digging on her own, because that’s kind of her thing. When she disappears, Matt and Foggy get worried about her running into the Punisher, but the Irish gang has already taken care of that.
They found him, tasered him, and locked him up to torture him and get their money back, which probably won’t go well for them. You might think that’s because they’ll keep it to pretty tame torture methods for TV purposes, and you would be wrong as they jam an electric drill into his foot.
Matt tracks him down and manages to pull off a rescue, and we get our first taste of the two fighting together as Matt uses his enhanced senses to anticipate when Punisher is feeling particularly murdery and play mid-fight morality babysitter. (But not before Castle takes out Super Serious Mob Guy, so that’s over quickly.)
Matt turns Punisher over to the police and goes Daredevil No More! as he tells them people need to see that the justice system works, and it can’t be Daredevil taking out criminals all the time if there’s to be any order restored to the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. I’m sure that’ll last. If we’ve established anything so far, it’s definitely that Matt is super able to overcome his feelings of guilt, amirite?
Anyway, things look quiet for a bit as the gang takes a load off at Josie’s, and Matt and Karen continue to get romantic with a … mildly overdone rainy kiss scene.
Then he heads home, and just as it seems the (initial, anyway) Punisher arc is wrapping up a bit, Elektra shows up:
But we’ll talk more about her in part 2! That’s pretty much the end of the “first act” of Daredevil‘s second season.
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