Perhaps we were spoiled by the lightning fast renewal of Daredevil after its first season. When Marvel and Netflix announced their initial deal, second seasons weren’t part of the equation. Yet both Daredevil and Jessica Jones were renewed. The smart money says that Luke Cage and Iron Fist also have a shot at multiple seasons. And don’t bet against the Punisher and Elektra getting their own series as well.
But for this installment of The Binge, we are focusing exclusively on the second season of Daredevil. The first season was terrific, and it was almost everything that comic fans could have hoped for. The lighter tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t hinder Daredevil’s inherent darkness, and the series was better for it. This show was also immaculately well cast, with Charlie Cox in the lead as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, and Rosario Dawson as the unexpectedly compelling Claire Temple. Strong writing, excellent performances, and terrific production values easily made Daredevil the best live-action superhero series currently active.
Was the second season of Daredevil as good as the first one? No, it wasn’t. But that was largely due to the quality of the first season. Daredevil season 2 was still the best superhero live-action series, and frankly, it’s one of the best action series, period. The show’s stunt team and fight choreographers really outdid themselves in their second year, with at least two standout sequences that were among the best we’ve seen.
Daredevil season 2 also expanded the MCU with Jon Bernthal as the Punisher and Élodie Yung as Elektra, both of whom made the roles their own. Bernthal had so much screen time this season that it could have been The Punisher season 1 guest starring Daredevil. But largely, Bernthal had the best material to work with and the show would have been weaker without him. Yung also delivered a more interesting Elektra than her previous live-action incarnation on the big screen. Yung was very convincing in her action scenes and quite funny when Elektra was being playful. However, it was Elektra’s rare moments of vulnerability that really elevated Yung’s take on the character.
That said, season 2 of Daredevil definitely had its flaws. And before we talk about them, consider this your SPOILER WARNING! Don’t read the rest of the column until you’ve finished Daredevil season 2.
The biggest dropped ball in season 2 was the way that the Punisher’s storyline came to an end. For the Punisher, his ending came in episode 12, when he caught up to the man who was ultimately responsible for the death of his family. There was a very cool moment when the Punisher/Frank Castle came across the body armor that he adopted in the comics. But that doesn’t change the fact that Castle had no real role in the season finale other than to shoot a few random ninjas as a parting favor to Daredevil. If The Hand storyline had even been slightly connected to Castle’s narrative, that could have brought both Matt and Castle’s storylines together in a more organic way.
Similarly, Elektra’s character arc in the season felt very rushed. It was almost as if the creative team felt like they had to get to the death of Elektra this season even though her demise was incredibly awkward and forced. That “death” was always part of Elektra’s evolution in the comic book realm, but her first demise had so much more power on the page than it did on screen. There’s no getting around the fact that the show botched it. A third season of Daredevil may not have been guaranteed, but giving Elektra’s character more time to develop would have made her death sting…especially if it happened at the hands of a more memorable villain.
New showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez weren’t afraid to shake up the status quo of Daredevil, and by the end of the season, the core trio of Matt, Foggy, and Karen had largely gone their separate ways. Petrie and Ramirez also gave Foggy and Karen their own storylines to follow this season, which helped strengthen their characters. Sadly, Dawson’s Claire was severely underused this season, which was a noticeable issue. Fisk’s absence was more story driven than Claire’s, and it was an excellent surprise when D’Onofrio made his return for two episodes, as well as a short scene at the end of another episode.
As a whole, the second season was still very enthralling and Daredevil deserves to run for as many seasons as it can. The team behind Daredevil makes it look easy, but it’s rare that a show captures the spirit of a comic book so completely.
Here are the top five episodes of Daredevil season 2:
Elektra’s second full appearance on the series was a lot of fun, from the opening fight scene to their heist at the Roxxon building. Yung was particularly hilarious in the diner with a very frustrated Matt Murdock. The other side of the episode dealt with Foggy and Karen’s attempts to get the Punisher a good plea deal, which quickly fell apart and led to the trial of the century. This episode neatly balanced both season-long storylines.
Wilson Fisk’s return elevated “Seven Minutes In Heaven” to the creative heights of Daredevil’s first season. D’Onofrio didn’t miss a step as he resumed his role and revealed what Fisk’s life behind bars was like before striking a bargain with the Punisher. This episode also had another strong turn from Jon Bernthal, as the Punisher went to his doom and came out of prison alive and ready for more mayhem.
Oh, and Daredevil was also in this episode…and it was quite significant on that front too, as his personal relationships dissolved and he discovered that one of his deadliest enemies was very much alive.
This was D’Onofrio’s last episode of the season, but what a way to go out! The confrontation between Matt and Fisk was riveting, and it may have set the stage for a future season of Daredevil. The Punisher’s rampage across New York also upped the intensity of the episode, especially when that turned out to not be what it appeared. Meanwhile, Elektra picked up her signature weapons in another great fight sequence. Top notch episode, all the way.
What were your favorite episodes of Daredevil season 2? Let us know in the comment section below!
Meet the major players of the new season of Daredevil!
As you can see, Daredevil has a bit of a ninja problem this season.
Daredevil also has a Punisher problem!
She was hinted at in the first season of Daredevil, and now Elektra is here!
It looks like Daredevil came out on the losing end of this fight...
Who wants to bet that a dozen ninjas aren't waiting for Daredevil in the depths below?
Some ominous imagery from the new season of Daredevil.
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil.
A rare daylight image of Charlie Cox as Daredevil/Matt Murdock
Élodie Yung as Elektra Natchios.
Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher.
Matt (Charlie Cox), Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), and Foggy (Elden Henson) appear to be mourning someone they know.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) get closer in Daredevil season 2.
Things don't look so hot for Daredevil, as the Punisher has the upper hand in an early encounter.