Oh boy. I’ll get to my critical assessment of the episode in a moment, but let me first take a moment to relish in fan-glee. It’s only been a few short years since Marvel announced their deal with Netflix and the slate of shows that would follow, and we’ve already had an amazing season each of Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Judging from “Bang”, the first episode of Daredevil‘s second season, the trend is going to continue.
I’ll be reviewing the first four episodes of the season, and then the task of reviewing each episode will be taken over by a number of other MCUExchange writers, with one review being posted a day for each of the 13 episodes. While the entire series is currently streaming on Netflix, I’m going to be reviewing each episode right after I watch it so there won’t be any spoilers. If you’ve watched ahead, please mark any of your comments with a spoiler notice before you mention anything past the first episode.
With Phil Abraham pulling directorial duty this episode (after having helmed the first two episodes of Season 1), it’s no surprise that many of the scenes in “Bang” are long, moody, establishing shots. It’s been a defining trait for both of the Netflix series so far, and it’s a nice way to set up this darker corner of the MCU. It’s clear that the fallout from the Chitauri Invasion has set New York back a couple of decades, and nowhere is that more apparent then in Daredevil‘s version of Hell’s Kitchen. After a slow sweep across the city with the night sounds flitting in and out in the way we’ve come accustomed to hearing things from Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) perspective, we finally land on Daredevil, decked out in his full costume. While we’re not told how long he’s been at it since he put away Fisk, the show makes sure to highlight that Matt’s been at this awhile and the city and criminals within know who he is.
While the opening heist-halt lacks the pizazz the show’s crew seems to be hoping for, it’s still refreshing to see the new status quo established and exciting when the incredible opening credits sequence kicks in. We’re then treated to a wonderful series of scenes between Matt and Foggy (Elden Henson) proving their chemistry is still alive and fun, despite the strain of Foggy knowing Matt’s secret. Then comes a reintroduction to Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and the office of Nelson and Murdock and we see that while times are still tough for the small firm, they’re doing the work they set out to and are keeping it together thanks to their shared camaraderie and optimism. It’s important that between all the brutal massacres and people hanging from meat hooks that we check in with the lighter and more human base of the show, and that’s always the strongest when Matt, Foggy, and Karen are together.
But all the flirty pool games in the world can’t cover up the fact that the trio’s takedown of Fisk last season hasn’t meant happier days for the neighborhood. A whole slew of criminal organizations have risen up to fill the power vacuum and if that weren’t bad enough, an army of one has been slaughtering each gang right where they do business. We finally get a glimspe of the culprit at the episode’s end as he marches through the hospital that Karen’s protecting Grotto in, grasping his gun without a care in the world. He takes down the secruity gaurd in one move before disengaging his gun and dumping it in the trash in a fantastically choreographed scene establishing he has the skills to match his ruthlessness. He then begins unloading shotgun spray all over the hospital as Karen and Grotto flee. As they speed off in Karen’s (formerly Urich’s) car, the gunman takes aim at Grotto through a sniper rifle while posted up on the roof. Right before he can take the shot though, it’s Daredevil vs. Punisher for the first of many times.
In terms of fight skills, they appear to be relatively matched. It’s surprisng that Matt’s superior senses can’t give him an edge, especially once Punisher is releived of his weapons, but that showcases just how deadly Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) will be as an adversary in the episodes to come. They trade blows for a bit before Castle pulls a hidden gun, gives us the titular line, and blows Matt off the roof. Credits.
Now obviously, Matt isn’t dead or else we wouldn’t have show with his name on the marquee, but it’s still an instense way to introduce his foe this season and show that he’s got a lot of work cut out for him if he’s going to take down this latest threat to Hell’s Kitchen. Of course, Season 2 is going to be all about the issue of whether Frank Castle and his methods are actually a hindrence or a help to the neighborhood. For the answers, let the binge continue!
4 Turk-takedowns Out of 5. An overall strong return for the series, especially in its focus on character, but with room to grow in the action and story department.
- We got a loose Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. connection as the biker gang the Dogs Of War featured prominently in the Season 2 episode “Yes Men” where exiled Asgardian Lorelei brainwashes them into being her army.
- Bar-owner Josie makes a welcome return, offering the Nelson and Murdock gang some potentially poisonous water. Oh, and don’t drink her mojitos unless you’re a fan of minty beer.
- We know from the various trailers that Elektra, Stick, and the Hand will all be showing up this season to further the show’s mystical ninja roots, but it’s difficult to see how they’ll fit into the tone established in this episode.
- Oh Turk, I’d feel bad for you if it wasn’t for all the human trafficking and gunrunning.
I’ll be posting my review for Episode 2 titled “Dogs To A Gunfight” tomorrow. Sound off in the comments about your thoughts on the first episode and be sure to mark any spoilers you post for the rest of the season. For all things Daredevil, head here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest MCU news, reviews, and rumors.