- Daredevil: Season 2
- Review: ★★★★★
“I’m Daredevil.” These are the words that keep replaying in my head after an amazing second season centered around the return of The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, joined by returning characters and several exciting new ones. From amazing character developments and expanded back story for the returning cast, the introduction of The Punisher and Elektra into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the season feels like it never lets you go. Season 2 breathes a breath of fresh air into the series. It throws in more Easter eggs from the other films in the MCU that have been released after season 1 and subtle nods to Netflix’s other hit series, Jessica Jones. This sets the tone from beginning to the end of Season 2 and leaves you with the burning question, along with many others in the tormented town that is Hell’s Kitchen, what is it to be a hero?
Season 2 kicks off by making arguably one of Marvel’s most recognizable comic book characters known in a big way, The Punisher. John Bernthal’s portrayal of the character is definitely one to be remembered as his actions are the biggest focus into the events in Hell’s Kitchen. Taking place months after Matt Murdock and his alter ego of Daredevil managed to apprehend and incarcerate the dangerous Wilson Fisk a.k.a Kingpin, there is still an overwhelming presence of dread, danger and crime in Hell’s Kitchen. Frank Castle sets his sights on a large part of the problem by doing what he, as anyone who knows who the Punisher is, does best: killing his enemies. While tensions build from the violent crimes still taking place in Hell’s Kitchen, Matt sets out to stop The Punisher in an attempt to prevent any more human lives being lost. The chemistry between Charlie Cox (DareDevil) and John Bernthal (Punisher) is fantastic and by Episode 2, really sets things into motion not even thinking about tapping the brakes until the very end. Ranging from the multiple intense fight scenes, another amazing hallway fight among them, to Punisher causing Matt to question the work he has done as a vigilante. Saving people, putting criminals behind bars, trusting the law. Is it really working? Is DareDevil really helping anyone?
The dynamic appearance Bernthal brings to The Punisher almost steals the show at points. For diehard Punisher fans, you DO NOT want to miss this. Another casting win for the MCU, Bernthal truly embraces who Frank Castle is with ease. Learning the back story and loss that this one man suffered brings you feelings of closeness with the character. After an attachment to the vigilante justice served up by DareDevil, Punisher leaves you with one question, who is the villain and who is the hero?
Season 2 blows us away with not only the addition of Punisher, but with the introduction of an old flame of Matt’s, none other than Elektra. The fear of a powerful anti-hero, portrayed by actress Elodie Yung, is introduced early in the season. Shrouded in mystery and motives unknown, Matt helps Elektra by trying to bring down a portion of the Yakuza. Matt soon discovers that there are other forces at play. More about “The War” that Matt’s trainer and mentor Stick had mentioned from season 1, continues to develop throughout this season. Both Stick and Elektra shine light onto the topic and it is revealed to be an ancient war which has now been brought into Hell’s Kitchen. The story and chemistry between Matt and Elektra is great, but starts to fall short of expectations as the season continues. A key example of this is apparent when the appearance of Elektra places the freshly established relationship between Matt and Karen on the back burner until later on in the season. Elodie Yung’s portrayal of Elektra is simply put a great fit for the MCU. As mysteriously as she enters Hell’s Kitchen, the developments at the end of the season will leave you wanting answers about Elektra and her back story.
Other returning characters play major parts in the story as the events that occur in Season 2 cause the characters to change and adapt. The relationship between Foggy and Matt continues to be strained as Foggy learns to be more independent as a lawyer. Specific trials put Foggy’s legal skills to the test and leaves you with a feeling of pride for the growth displayed by the character. Matt struggles to juggle the life of a vigilante and the life of a successful lawyer. The firm struggles as Foggy begins to resent Matt for his actions, even going as far as blaming Matt for the problems in Hell’s Kitchen. The amount of lies and deceit from Matt in an effort to protect Karen from danger ultimately leaves her looking for answers. Her curious and determined nature sends her searching for the truth about Frank Castle alongside Mitchell Ellison, Editor in Chief for the New York bulletin. It proves to be a great dynamic shift and makes for branching plot lines in the series that continue from. Ultimately, the fighting and detrimental effects on Foggy, Matt, and Karen’s friendship was hard to watch. The Matt and Foggy dynamic brings things to a serious close in the end of the season that almost makes you think the worst has yet to come. Major secrets revealed to Karen involving the identity of the elusive Blacksmith, the inner workings of Frank Castle, and more make for a season finale that leaves you with an overwhelming sense of anticipation for season 3.
Making you question the actions and definition of what does it mean to be a hero, Daredevil: Season 2 took off like a rocket and didn’t slow down from episode 1 to episode 13. With this being yet another phenomenal season, I don’t think we have seen the last of Daredevil or Hell’s Kitchen, nor will we see the end any time soon. From a bigger cast, twisty plot lines, and Kingpin on the rise, to The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen continuing to develop and change from the person he was in his debut into the MCU, season 3 has some seriously big shoes to fill if it wants to 1-up the events and feelings that were felt with this season.
“So, What is it, to be a hero? Look in the mirror, and you’ll know. Look into your own eyes, and tell me you are not heroic. That you have not endured, or suffered, or lost the things you care about most… and yet, here you are. A survivor of Hell’s Kitchen, the hottest place anyone’s ever known. A place where cowards don’t last long, so… you must be a hero. We all are. Some more than others, but none of us alone. Some bloody their fists, trying to keep the Kitchen safe. Others bloody the streets, in the hope that they can stop the tide- the crime, the cruelty, the disregard for human life all around them. But, this is Hell’s Kitchen. Angel or Devil, rich or poor, young or old, you live here. You didn’t choose this town, it chose you. Because a hero isn’t someone who lives above us, keeping us safe. A hero’s not a God, or an idea. A hero lives here, on the street, among us, with us. Always here, but rarely recognized. Look in the mirror, and see yourself for what you truly are. You’re a New Yorker. You are a hero. This is your Hell’s Kitchen. Welcome home.” – Karen Page-Daredevil Season 2