Well, that’s definitely the way to kick off a new season.
While it didn’t start with one, the debut episode of Season 2 certainly ended with a bang capping off a premiere that indicates Daredevil has no intention of slogging through a sophomore slump.
Director Phil Abraham kicks off the fun by having Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), in his Daredevil alter ego, silently and quickly take down a pack of criminals. Abraham kept Daredevil hidden for most of this sequence only showing an arm or a hand taking down the crooks until the heroic victory stance atop a rooftop.
The shadowy horror movie villain is a theme repeated through the episode, but as it unfolds, it becomes obvious there’s someone far deadlier in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen than Daredevil.
Although it’s still a little too plated and patchwork in its design, Daredevil’s costume largely looked good in action. The Batman style nose cover and black face plate remains the worst aspect of the outfit. Hopefully a version 3 will occur at some point this season to provide at least a more streamlined and less busy cowl.
With Wilson Fisk taken down, there’s a void atop the Hell’s Kitchen crime syndicate and several gangs/factions are making big moves to fill it. Only problem is someone is content on improving the status quo by going on a gang genocide.
Matt and Foggy Nelson’s (Elden Henson) law firm has definitely seen an uptick in clientele, but in keeping with their business model of only working with good clients, business isn’t exactly booming financially. At least Matt and Foggy still have their faithful administrative assistant Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) to point out the perks like clients delivering delicious looking pies. Mmmm pies…..
Despite its darker tone, Daredevil thrives with the interpersonal relationship of Matt’s support system. Henson continues to make Foggy the coolest and most fun wing man in the comic book TV genre without having to be a tech whiz/hacker extraordinaire. Woll provides a tender, but tough gal pal, who seems conflicted with moving forward with her feelings for Matt at the expense of their triangle friendship dynamic. Delaying the Karen/Matt pairing last season was smart as their flirtations this season already feel much more earned and welcome.
Their night gets cut short by Grotto, the lone survivor of a massacre at an Irish gang spot who wants their aid in getting out of town. The shootout was extremely violent in the way that’s exactly why this take on Daredevil (and The Punisher) is perfect for the Netflix format as opposed to traditional TV. There were no ‘pretty’ quick deaths, but ugly, painful murders with shots to the necks, throats and chests.
Abraham established a great tone of suspense as homicide detectives speculated on the army it must have taken to do this much damage. On a tip from the amusingly inept Turk, Daredevil finds a Mexican cartel in a meat locker impaled on hooks. One member survives long enough to share the most important detail — it’s not a ‘they,’ it’s one guy doing all of this destruction.
While Foggy visits a biker gang to get info on the gang that took down some of their crew, Karen is stuck at the hospital with Grotto, who suffered some injuries in the shootout. Grotto’s fears of being discovered by the gang that killed his crew immediately prove correct as the gunman (Jon Bernthal) arrives at the hospital, Terminator style with a shotgun in hand, ready to finish the job.
Echoing Daredevil’s arrival scene, the yet to be named gunman is largely obscured and kept in shadows as he tries to kill Grotto having little concern if Karen is caught in the crossfire. Just as the gunman gets Grado in his sniper sight, Daredevil arrives and episode 1 already provides our first Daredevil/Punisher battle. Compare that to how long it took in season 1 for Daredevil to come face to face with Fisk.
This was a brutal fight that felt like it easily could have been the final battle instead of the first round. Daredevil gets a momentary advantage of decks the gunman to the ground when he realizes he brought a gun to a fistfight and shoots Daredevil presumably right in the head after uttering one word — Bang.
So yeah, watching this episode when you don’t have time to continue binging isn’t the best idea. That cliffhanger pretty much demands letting that next episode roll.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix