By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 at 9:15 pm
Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Episodes 4-6
Created by Drew Goddard
Starring Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung Netflix
Premiere date: Friday, March 18th, 2016
The arrest of Wilson Fisk left a power vacuum in Hell’s Kitchen. As Irish gang members meet to try to fill it, they are interrupted, to put it mildly, by a military style assault leaving all but one dead. Turns out, someone is hunting down gangs and street scum in the neighborhood. Sgt. Mahoney (Royce Johnson) even jokes that some cops think this mysterious gunman is making their lives easier. He even has a nickname… The Punisher.
The law firm of Nelson & Murdock is overwrought with both cases and debt. Matt (Charlie Cox) is letting his *cough* night job get to him, and Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) are getting worried. Matt’s night persona, the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” soon meets The Punisher and it doesn’t end well for him… twice. After finally having a tete-a-tete on a rooftop, Daredevil gains an advantage before having to fight literally an entire biker gang to escape from the building. Two “heroes” with varying styles and moral codes fighting for the soul of a city… let’s keep on rolling.
Episode 4 – “Penny and Dime”
Written by John C. Kelley
Directed by Peter Hoar
At the funeral for the Irish gangsters killed in the season’s opening scene, Finn (Tony Curran) arrives late. His son is amongst the dead and he takes control by burying an ice pick in one of the Irish guy’s eyes! Well, that is how to make an entrance and take control! He orders the rest of the pack to fan out across the city and find out who the lone gunman was. After a few intimidations, they end up in Punisher’s apartment.
Matt, Foggy, and Karen attend Grotto’s (McCaleb Burnett) funeral (they’re the only ones). In the files on Grotto given to her by the DA, Karen finds an x-ray of a man shot who survived a headshot, and it’s a very familiar looking x-ray. The Irish find the Punisher and overwhelm him leading to a nasty torture scene and Bernthal is just lighting it up in this role. Really, he’s crazy Shane without the head rubbing, but his look of disdain as he’s about to get a drill in the foot is awesome. And when Daredevil arrives we get the inevitable kickass tag team with “Red” making sure to fight off the Irish gang AND prevent Punisher from killing people… which was hilarious.
Karen investigates the Castle home, and we get the picture of a military man whose family is gone… and there is a white van with suits inside. After beating/killing all the gang members, Daredevil carries Punisher to a cemetery to await the police. Bernthal gets center stage delivering the account of how he came to be. As a father of a 5-year old daughter, I was fighting back tears.
With Frank Castle under arrest, and a budding relationship with Karen, it seems Matt might finally be able to be happy… Elektra! Whoa. Episode 3 with its Oldboy-esque ending fight was crazy but this one took the cake. Almost a third in and oh my god Daredevil season 2 is KILLING IT… or in Matt Murdock’s case, beating him down, arresting it, and sending it off to prison!
Episode 5 – “Kinbaku”
Written by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich
Directed by Floria Sigismondi
10 years ago… Matt and Foggy snuck into a fancy gala and that’s where Matt Murdock met Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung). A daughter of wealth, she took a liking to him and they got hot and heavy. Fast forward ten years, and she shows up on his couch right after he made out with Karen in the rain… you know, where all superheroes kiss. She asks for his help and he turns her down, but magically all of Nelson & Murdock’s debts are settled in the morning.
Karen meanwhile, is back at the newspaper trying to get Mitchell Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) to publish ALL the facts about Frank Castle aka The Punisher, as the papers have conveniently omitted his military record and the murder of his family. Foggy is seeking a different type of help as the DA is still all over them about the Grotto/Punisher case. His calls old flame/current big time lawyer Marci (Amy Rutberg) for help, and HELLO!!! Jessica Jones namedrop!!!
Karen and Matt go on their date and it’s awkward and sweet and totally a”dork”able although way too high school. He doesn’t want to spoil the perfect night… bleh. We see the flashback of his much cooler and hotter romance with Elektra, where they break into a fancy house which turns out to be owned by the guy who killed Matt’s father. When Matt refuses to kill him, Elektra turns and leaves him. Flash back to now, and Matt goes to Elektra’s where she is again waiting to manipulate him, this time as Yakuza storms her building. Her claims to know him better than anyone are hard to ignore, when she pulls out his Daredevil costume as she preps herself for the fight.
The introduction of Elektra is a success. Elodie Yung is gorgeous and totally looks the part. 5 episodes in and no major villain, but all the cogs in the wheel are turning at such a pace that I feel like it’s unnecessary at this point. Get these two on screen with Punisher and let them tear the city and each other apart, and I’ll be there with bells on.
Episode 6 – “Regrets Only”
Written by Sneha Koorse
Directed by Andy Goddard
Picking up right where episode 5 left off and we get a pre-credits Daredevil/Elektra team up versus the Yakuza! After knocking out the last one, Elektra pulls down her face mask and says “Hungry?” Elodie Yung, I am yours! Their breakfast conversation/arrangement is fantastic and the chemistry between Charlie Cox and Yung is much better than his with Deborah Ann Woll.
The Punisher is ready for arraignment and since the corrupt DA assigned him the worst public defender ever, it seems like a job for Nelson & Murdock. Right after officially being hired by Frank Castle, a car is sent for Matt by his new rich mystery “client”. Elektra needs him escort her to a party to find the shady dealings of her partners, the Roxxon corporation, which is aligned with the Yakuza. This leads an episode long slow burning plan involving blind drink spilling, bathroom knockouts, sneaking around corporate offices, discovering secret hiding spots, and of course beating up Yakuza members. Oh, and then pretending to be lost lovers to escape from the party. They are so good together and you can tell Matt is quickly getting into trouble just as his relationship with Karen is starting to look promising.
Karen and Foggy meanwhile are back in the hospital trying to convince their now client, Punisher, to accept a plea deal with assurances of no death penalty and possibility of parole down the line. Bernthal is perfect capturing the obvious pain and loss of the character. He agrees to accept the deal, and soon the DA Samantha Reyes (Michelle Hurd) and a judge are in his hospital room all smiles finally ready to bury him. That’s when he turns the situation on them and pleads not guilty, ensuring a trial. Looks like Daredevil will defend Punisher in court… and it seems despite all the gangs and Yakuza, that the big story of this season is going to be DA Reyes and her vendetta against Castle, as well as the plot that killed his family and tried to erase him.
I HATE stopping this show, it is so good. While some saw March as the month of Batman V Superman, I was just waiting for the Man With No Fear to return and I’m ecstatic. The casting is perfect as Jon Bernthal is a worthy Punisher with grit, gloom, and a look that screams furious vengeance. And have I mentioned how much I love Elodie Yung as Elektra, and how her chemistry with Charlie Cox pulses off the screen? I love the subtle way they are pushing the tension between Murdock and his associates. Foggy spent half the season already trying to keep Matt alive and aware of his choices, while Karen is trying to start something more with him, and yet he is still risking his life daily, and now Elektra complicates things. All superhero stories suffer from the same issue; not being able to turn off being a hero. We’ve seen the conflict consume Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, Tony Stark, etc. What’s great about Daredevil and where I love the Netflix method over traditional movies and even TV, is that I have time to focus on other lesser cliche storylines, while getting the instant gratification of clicking “next episode” instead of waiting a week. Can’t wait to keep rolling on…