It’s fitting that both this episode and the first Daredevil trailer end with the exact same scene introducing Elektra to the series. These first four episodes of the second season have constituted one long arc examining the new status quo in Hell’s Kitchen and its criminal underworld, the more confident role Daredevil plays in upholding justice, the terror being wrought by the Punisher, and looking at the similarities and differences between what Matt and Frank do in their efforts to help the city they love. As the final act of the four-part story that’s kicked off this season, it makes sense that the scene in question would act as a coda for the next part of the story just as it set up the next trailer that would more prominently feature Elektra and all the mystical baggage she brings with her. But I’ll leave that discussion to the writers who will be taking up the charge after me. For now, let’s talk about Frank.
Though he will certainly continue to be a presence this season, I have a feeling his story will have changed after this arc. It’s not that his mission is finished, but the rest of the season can’t just be Matt vs. Frank, as we know bigger threats loom on the horizon. Nor is the conversation about vigilantism over this season, as the future trial against the Punisher will surely continue to bring up these elements along with the mystery surrounding his family’s deaths. But this chapter is closed, and what could be more evidence of that ending than Matt and Frank’s very long graveyard chat. I have to once again give this show kudos for really taking time for its scenes to breathe. Even more so than many HBO shows, this series isn’t afraid to take a full ten minutes on one scene, most of which is dominated by Frank giving his backstory to Matt. While a character spewing exposition is normally a knock against a show, this speech is well-earned. As the audience, we know a bit about this already, so Frank’s monologue to Matt is less about spilling information and more about filling out the emotional details of the story and granting Frank some much needed pathos. As I noted in my review yesterday, his shades of gray don’t forgive his actions, but they provide us with a much richer character and give us some very strong context for why he chooses to do what he does. The writing by John C. Kelley is masterful and Bernthal proves why he was cast in this role. The Punisher has been portrayed on film three times and none of them came anywhere close to this version in terms of depth.
While the above scene dominates the episode upon viewing it as a whole, the entire ride is immensely satisfying. I appreciate how even the scummy gang members have been getting some story time. The more we get a peek at the inside of this version of New York’s criminal element, the more impact the vigilante discussion has and helps us to see the other side of Frank’s war. Karen also continues to be one hell of an investigator as she finds the nurse who watched over Castle after he was shot and learns that some powerful people wanted him dead. She gets his old address from him and unwisely breaks into it without telling anyone where she’s going. It helps to flesh out Frank’s story and gives his talk with Matt even more nuance and I guess she walks away scot-free so maybe it was a smart move after all. Either way, both Karen and Foggy have been given a lot more to do this season and I appreciate the writers giving them their own stories that still intertwine with the main narrative. I worried that the addition of the Punisher and Elektra would pull focus from the two non-superhero pieces of our core trio, but the show’s allowed them to provide us with the human element of the story and keep the law and order aspects of the show relevant.
4 out of 5 Ice Picks In The Eye Out of 5. Another phenomenal episode. While it doesn’t match the perfection of the previous entry, the cast and crew still do strong work showcasing what this series does best, from inventive fight sequences to deep character work as it unfolds dark, methodic storytelling.
What does everyone think of Daredevil’s new cowl? The ears and eyes are a big improvement and I’m digging the extra focus on the red. The new gloves are neat as well. Fellow just needs some fancier boots now.
Matt and Karen finally turn their awkward flirting into more awkward flirting, but this time in the rain!
I love that Matt is so punch drunk that it dulls his radar senses to picking up Elektra’s presence.
The fight scenes were also impeccable this episode. I’m super happy that the crew continues to show off Matt’s skill and resourcefulness with his batons.
My wife and I are also really enjoying the glee and confidence Matt has as Daredevil this season. It helps break through the dire nature of everything else. One of the best little moments this episode was when Matt goes to rescue Frank and just casually walks through the hallway, tapping his baton on the wall and continuing on so the bad guys come to him.
This is my last review of the season. Keep checking back here as a new episode will be covered each day by some more of our great team. You can read my previous reviews here, here, and here. Thanks for joining me!