Season 2 Episodes 7-9
Created by Drew Goddard
Starring Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung
Premiere date: Friday, March 18th, 2016
Daredevil season 2 debuted a week before Batman V Superman is set to hit theaters, and while the TV superhero shows were on a brief hiatus. The definition of perfect timing, Daredevil is the talk of the watercooler, and with Netflix uploading shows all at once, the binger will have no crossover effect. And binge you should, because this is an absolutely epic season. Every time I think I’ve seen far and away the best episode, the next one starts and it’s a whole new level of “Holy Shit” and “Oh My God” and “Are you kidding me!?” We left off with The Punisher awaiting trial for his murders and Elektra causing all sorts of personal and professional issues for Matt “Daredevil” Murdock…
Episode 7 – “Semper Fidelis”
Written by Luke Kalteux
Directed by Ken Girotti
The trial of Frank “The Punisher” Castle (Jon Bernthal) is set to begin, and suffice to say finding an impartial jury is hard. Even harder, for Nelson & Murdock is finding a realistic defense for a man who has brutally murdered over 30 people… even if most were killers themselves. Foggy (Elden Henson), and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) are taking lead as Matt is sidetracked with his newest secret client, ex-girlfriend and co-masked vigilante Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung). They go to an Asian language scholar for some “forced” help in translating the ledger they stole from the Yakuza.
Matt (Charlie Cox) is struggling keeping his day and night life separate. The night before the trial is to commence with Matt delivering the defense’s opening statement, he and Elektra tangle with Yakuza and end up nursing each other’s wounds back at his apartment, in their underwear… The tension is palpable, their chemistry undeniable. When Matt finally gets some sleep, he ends up missing his court time, and Foggy makes a great save on their opening remarks. He begs forgiveness and asks Karen on a work-date to build strategy for the next day. Unfortunately, things get awkward when she starts empathizing with Castle. This bothers Matt, a Catholic, whose “only God decides who dies” faith is mirrored in his style of crime fighting. They call it a night, and wouldn’t you know it, Elektra just happens to be hiding out there ready to get back to her issues with Roxxon and the Yakuza.
The next day in court, the Nelson/Murdock defense strategy blows up as the corrupt medical inspector admits doctoring evidence in Frank’s file but does so due to threats from a certain masked female vigilante. Matt finally admits the truth about Elektra to Foggy, but it does NOT go well and Foggy has just about lost all patience with Matt’s lifestyle. Not to mention he still has to explain to Karen that he’s been secretly battling killers with his ex every night.
A furious Daredevil confronts Elektra but she easily coaxes him into more Yakuza conflict, and he is getting steadily more violent. When they find the building they were protecting, they find a hole… a really deep hole. When Daredevil tosses a flashlight down, we sit there anxious to hear it hit the bottom until the fade to black. Another phenomenal episode as we finally got the blow up between Foggy and Matt that has building since episode 1, and his budding relationship with Karen might be on the fritz already. It’s hard to deny how awesome Elektra is, as Elodie Yung just dominates the screen whenever on it. And in a version of Bill Murray’s Caddyshack character’s voice: “What’s in the hole?!”
Episode 8 – Guilty as Sin
Written by Whit Anderson
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Again picking up at the conclusion of the previous episode and Daredevil estimates the hole at 40-stories deep. Soon he and Elektra are having ninja stars thrown at them by the most silent of ninja assassins. Matt’s morals cost them again however as he prevents Elektra from killing one, leading to her being sliced. When all seems lost, out of nowhere Stick (Scott Glenn), Matt’s blind tutor from season 1 appears to help them get out of there. Those were definitely not the same old Yakuza, and I feel a severed “Hand” may give us a clue.
We find out that Elektra has been working with Stick for a long time, and her first encounter with a younger Matt Murdock were no coincidences. She swears that she was in love with him, and again their chemistry is natural and realistic. Matt is still caught up on the “kill or not to kill” part of his superhero gig and facing an enemy as strong and unrelenting as The Hand may make his choices harder. Stick, meanwhile, has had enough of anyone who won’t do what is necessary… Frank Castle would be perfect for him. Of course things get really complicated when Karen walks in and finds Elektra in his bed.
Back at court, Frank is set to testify in his own defense. Matt is there to, as Foggy puts it, “connect the dots for him.” The goal is get Frank put into medical care. A former Colonel (Clancy Brown) took the stand as a character witness to his time in war. Things don’t go as planned however, as a bailiff seemingly gives Frank a warning before he gets on the stand. Matt’s attempts to treat him as a hostile witness backfire as Frank has a meltdown of epic proportions and is carried out of court screaming, “I’M GUILTY!!!” Suffice to say Nelson & Murdock are falling apart, and it doesn’t seem likely there will be a positive resolution.
The ending is yet another amazing scene in a collection this season as Matt checks on Elektra, only to be surprised with an arrow through the chest by a member of the Hand. After a grueling fight, Elektra violates Matt’s only rule in graphic detail. The cop who warned Castle in court escorts him through the prison to a workout area where an unseen man is benching the rack… “I see you got my message.”
I find myself getting repetitive with my praises for this show, but OH MY GOD! Every episode is better than the one before it, and I hate having to pull away to watch more later. If this was a one episode a week on regular TV deal, I wouldn’t be able to cope. What I love most about this show is that every character feels important and thus I am never bored even when there are prolonged portions of episodes where all the characters do is talk. I felt that was about Matt and Elektra’s bedroom dialogue. I love the tension and anger between Matt and Foggy, with as Karen learns more about Elektra, you know sparks will fly there as well. Just keep giving me more!
Episode 9 – Seven Minutes in Heaven
Written by Marco Ramirez & Lauren Schmidt Hissrich
Directed by Stephen Surjik
We flashback to Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) being brought into jail after the events of season 1. He is made aware of his financial situation from his lawyer, and then warned by the prison “Kingpin” Dutton (William Forsythe) not to try anything cute, as this is his yard. So naturally, Fisk immediately starts recruiting forces, using his assets to cover some inmates’ families. We are obviously railroading towards a prison war, and who better to have on your side than the newest inmate, the craziest killer in Hell’s Kitchen, The Punisher. “I see you got my message.”
The confrontation is an offer of a deal; and Frank Castle doesn’t make deals with “scumbag has-been mob bosses.” Except Fisk is offering the chance to meet Dutton, who has bragged about orchestrating the three gang shootout that left Frank’s family dead. “The rising tide lifts all ships,” Fisk tells him. Sure, Kingpin benefits, but Castle gets his revenge, plus a chance to kill more scumbag criminals. He’ll only have a 7-minute window in which to get to the next cellblock, but he will make do.
Meanwhile, Elektra has a team come in to clean the bloodstained apartment, while she nurses Matt back to health. He can’t erase the image of her slitting the throat of the assassin, and despite their love for each other, he knows now it’ll never work for them. I always found Daredevil annoying in my youth for his unnatural unflinching adherence to the law, but it makes sense and is his best trait as much as it’s his worst.
Foggy goes to see Matt, and Matt basically ends the friendship/law firm for him. He can’t stop being Daredevil now, and thus can’t give any assurance to his friends or loved ones. When he tries to explain himself, Foggy hits back;
“You don’t get to create danger, and then save from that danger, that’s not heroic… that’s insane.”
Karen needs to find some level of truth and that leads her back to the Bulletin, where her and Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) investigate the disgraced medical examiner from the Castle trial. She finds that there was more to the carousel shooting than meets the eye, as in the missing John Doe was an undercover cop.
Frank goes to have his 7-minutes in heaven with Dutton, and finds out that the entire massacre at the carousel was set up by an unseen mob with a line on pure heroin called The Blacksmith. But the Feds infiltrated the groups and when the Blacksmith didn’t show, someone started shooting. After dispatching Dutton, Frank heads to leave and the fix was in. The cops on Fisk’s payroll leave him alone on the black and open all the cells. What follows next is one of the absolute sickest and most best scenes in modern television (Netflix), as Frank charges screaming into armed combat against a bevy of orange suited inmates and OH MY GOD! I thought nothing could beat Daredevil vs. The Dogs of Hell hallway/staircase fight from episode 3. I was wrong!
The last 15 minutes of this episode were unreal. Frank Castle and his interactions with Wilson Fisk were insane, and the deal that gets Castle out of jail will undoubtedly make the next episodes even better. Frank is a man torn between accepting one wrong for the sake of getting more revenge. “Next time I see you, only one of us walks away,” he promises Fisk. Vincent D’Onofrio is so good as Kingpin, and I’m so happy he’s back on the show. Speaking of back on the show; Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) is back, the incredible ninja who nearly killed Daredevil in season 1. He appears to be the leader of The Hand.
There is SO MUCH going on it’s hard to keep up and there never a dull second. Again, I sound repetitive and boring but this was the best episode so far and there are still 4 more. Not since the first four seasons of Dexter has a show gotten better with each episode like this season of Daredevil. Drew Goddard and his team of writers and directors are so on point. It is the best thing on any medium right now, and it’s impacted my desires to watch other favorites like Arrow and Flash, and even my anticipation for Batman V Superman has waned because I’m just so into Daredevil.