At last, we’ve come to the end of our reviews of the second season of Daredevil.
Now, regardless of my criticisms of this show (and we’ll get to those in a minute), I am, above all else, a fan of the MCU. So in order to end these reviews on the most positive note, I’ll start this review by getting all my complaints with this episode out of the way, and then get on to the many great things about this episode (and this season in general).
So, with that said, what didn’t work in this episode? For one, the rooftop fight. Everything building up to the fight was superb, but as the final fight of the entire season, it felt a little lacking. We’re shown The Hand in massive numbers getting ready to do whatever it takes to kill Daredevil, and Elektra and Daredevil basically come to terms with the fact that they’re probably going to die. And then they get to the roof, and…there are like, two dozen guys. That’s a lot for two people to take on, sure, but it seemed like there were more ninjas in the assault on the Hospital just a few episodes before. Not to mention the fact that when Nobu and Daredevil begin their one-on-one fight, the rest of the ninjas stand down. Clearly, the part of this fight that’s supposed to be important isn’t the number of people Daredevil is fighting, but the fact that he’s fighting Nobu, a seemingly unkillable ninja lord who nearly killed him last year. But, as intimidating as Nobu was in the first season, this season didn’t dedicate enough time to making Nobu feel like a powerful Big Bad. If he’d been set up as a villain early on in the season, then this final confrontation between hero and villain might work a little better, but as it is Nobu just feels like a slightly-more-powerful ninja. It’s really only in these last few episodes that this season’s lack of a strong central villain becomes noticeable. Sure, this season has Elektra and Punisher, who are great as temporary obstacles, but without a Kilgrave or a Fisk the season just doesn’t have a big climactic finale.
Speaking of Punisher, he’s another element that disappointed in this episode. We finally see him in his armory, creating his body armor with the iconic skull image, but when he finally shows up, it’s only to shoot a few people from a rooftop far away. I don’t mean to complain too harshly about The Punisher in this season, because as an origin story and a set-up to his own series his arc is pretty much perfect (if maybe just a little rushed near the end). But after 12 episodes of Frank Castle’s impressive presence, I was hoping he’d either stay out of the plot with The Hand entirely, or join it and help out in a more meaningful way. It was almost as though the writers couldn’t decide which option would be better, so they tried to do both.
My final complaint with this episode is a small-ish nitpick, but it was something that bugged me. The past few episodes, Karen has been trying to write the “true” story of Frank Castle–first it was a revealing piece of investigative journalism about the cover-up surrounding his family’s murder, then it became a character profile about a dead man who wasn’t understood by anyone, and then it became…a puff piece about how everyone can be a hero, especially New Yorkers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not exactly the important story she’s been trying to write for the past few episodes. Again, it’s a small nitpick, but considering it’s one of the final moments of the season I wish it had carried a little more weight. Karen becoming a journalist is a really great step for her character, I think, but her first story didn’t seem to be much of a promising start.
Now onto the things I liked about this episode. There were a lot of them, but first and foremost let’s talk about Elektra. Elodie Yung has been consistently good this season, but she had some stand-out moments this episode that really highlight why she was such a great fit for the character. The aforementioned scene right before the rooftop fight, when she and Matt say their final goodbyes and prepare for a battle that they assume will kill both of them (and does kill one of them), is one of the more touching moments that Daredevil has pulled off. And her final moments, after she sacrifices herself to save Matt and tells him she finally knows what it feels like to be good, made me care about a character’s death even though I knew it was only temporary.
Other than Elektra, the bus filled with people that Daredevil had saved gave us some great moments between Karen and everyone’s favorite arms dealer Turk Barrett. In fact, this episode was a great moment for a few minor characters to shine, including Melvin Potter. His new clothes for Elektra looked great, and it’s been great seeing him this season when he isn’t constantly afraid for his life. Last season, it seemed like Potter had some sort of mental handicap, but that hasn’t been apparent in his few appearances this season. It definitely seems like Melvin’s fear and anxiety about Betsy when he was controlled by Fisk made his mental state deteriorate in season one. So it’s nice to see him in a better place, and the club he designs for Daredevil is all sorts of badass.
Finally, Matt and Stick’s conversation at Elektra’s grave was, in my opinion, a better ending for this season than the one we got. I’ve already mentioned my complaints about Karen’s article, but the conversation that Matt and Stick have at Elektra’s grave lands much better than the article does, and I think the episode (and season) could have ended there. Well…not right there, of course. The final shot of the season, teasing Elektra’s revival, was a great promise of things to come. I wouldn’t mind seeing Elektra show up again in the future as a Big Bad, or as the leader of The Hand in season three.
And thus ends our coverage of Daredevil season 2! Overall, I felt that the season was better than the first, though it suffered some problems near the end from the sheer amount of material it had to cover. Either way, it’s going to be a long wait to Luke Cage in September.
3.5 dead Elektras out of 5.
The appearance of Jeri Hogarth this episode was rumored, but still totally unexpected! Joining her law firm hopefully means we might see some more of Foggy in the second season of Jessica Jones
On that note, though, is anyone else shocked that Foggy and Matt didn’t make up before the season ended? I’m not complaining, but I definitely wasn’t expecting that.
Karen finding out about Matt’s identity was a nice moment, and it’s about damn time that happened.
“This time, you piece of shit…stay down.” Stick killing Nobu again was awesome. I wonder if he’ll actually stay dead?
“Matt, you are the toughest son of a bitch I have ever met. Let’s go home.”