TV Review: “Daredevil” – Raw Emotion

Written by Danielle Sing March 28, 2016

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Audiences return to the gritty world of Netflix’s “Daredevil”, and with the introduction of two fan favourite characters from the comic books, the season was set up for success. But with Steven S. DeKnight stepping down as showrunner, his replacements, Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez, seem to follow the excellent formula of season one step-by-step, leaving the development from season one to be slightly underwhelming. It felt like there was a void and some plot lines were incomplete. Thankfully, the raw emotion and moral conflicts provided by the characters – both new and old – still lead this season to be a great one to set up for future Marvel and Netflix collaborations.

Hell’s Kitchen welcomes the arrival of a new vigilante, The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), has he slaughters the neighbourhood’s gangs single handily and almost kills Daredevil (Charlie Cox). Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) are having some minor success with their law office when they decide to go against District Attorney Samantha Reyes (Michelle Hurd) for her injustices within the judicial system after their client is killed by The Punisher. They eventually represent the Punisher, aka Frank Castle, in hopes to expose these injustices but Matt is more occupied with his ex-girlfriend’s, Elektra Natchios (Élodie Young), surprise return to New York City.

“You know you’re one bad day away from being me.”

It’s unfortunate to even think of the second season of “Daredevil” as having downfalls because they definitely don’t ruin the show. With the unprecedented success of the first season, this season was expected to be bigger and better, but it wasn’t. It was mostly on par with the last season, but there was no development. Yes, the fight scenes are still some of the best on television, the writing is great and it’s still a unique adaptation of the comic books, but season two didn’t improve. With the absence of any main villain, or just the absence of the outstanding Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, this season felt like it was fighting against nothing. While Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) and The Hand served as a villain for this season, that plot line felt incomplete and left a lot to be desired. Though it can be assumed the reason for this is that The Hand will return in future “Daredevil” seasons or the upcoming Netflix adaption of “Iron Fist”.

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This season of “Daredevil” saw the departure of the gritty tone from the first season to something more raw and violent, but violence is to be expected with the introduction of Frank Castle. Castle is given a griping and emotional backstory to lead him on his revenge-fueled vigilantism. His presence is quite demanding on screen and his conflict with Fisk in the prison is a visually appealing power struggle. Elektra’s story is well done too; she doesn’t play the jaded ex-girlfriend since Matt is pursuing a relationship with Karen (which has zero chemistry and feels like a high school infatuation). Elektra is capable of manipulating Matt whether it be for romance, her father’s company, or her mission against The Hand. Castle and Elektra’s characters provide good conflicting force as Matt further questions the morality of vigilantism. Foggy has developed into a badass lawyer who’s no longer afraid to voice his opinions and Karen still seems to be as caring and curious as in the first season. Unfortunately, her transition to a journalist for The New York Bulletin feels like a strange attempt to replace Ben Ulrich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) from season one. The show has some potentially worrying tropes of gender, but even Karen calls this out, being more aware of her victim and motherly tropes within femininity. I hope that Elektra’s fate in this season isn’t merely used to progress the story into season three.

“You’d never pull this patriarchal shit with Ben.”

Overall, season two of “Daredevil” is excellent, but the show doesn’t really develop much from season one. The introductions of The Punisher and Elektra provide great conflicting forces for Daredevil without being the villains. The emotions in this season are raw and the stakes are higher than in season one. If anything, this season is meant to be a transition into future Marvel and Netflix collaborations. With the mention of Luke Cage in the first few episodes, it could be an excellent transition.

My Rating: 8/10

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