By: Joe Jodoin
Daredevil’s second season aims to answer what it means to be a hero, both literally and figuratively.
I didn’t know what to expect of Daredevil’s sophomore season for a couple reasons. Firstly, the showrunner of the first season left and was replaced by two new guys, and secondly because the show was now going to focus on two other Marvel anti-heroes, Punisher and Elektra.
Luckily, they kept mostly everything that was great about the first season, and fixed mant of the problems. They also keep the show squarely focused on Daredevil himself, while Punisher and Elektra turn out to be two of the most interesting supporting characters ever to be seen on TV.
What I loved about Daredevil’s first season was its focus on character development, which lent one the ability to appreciate both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view. As Ben Urich put it, “There are no heroes. No villains. Just people with different agendas.”
This quote has never been more accurate than in the second season, as one of the focuses of the season is Daredevil’s ideological clash with the Punisher. Despite both being on the “good” side, Punisher believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to take care of criminals permanently. Daredevil on the other hand believes people’s lives should be put in the hands of the justice system, and that killing is wrong, whether someone deserves it or not. Elektra serves to make this conflict of justice and morality even more complicated than it already is.
Jon Bernthal’s performance as the Punisher was something I was eagerly anticipating, since the last three actors to portray Punisher in the movies have been quite mediocre. Luckily, Bernthal absolutely blew me away. The fourth episode cements his contribution with what is possibly the best scene of the entire show in which he delivers a tear-jerking monologue that serves as the emotional core of the entire season.
Elodie Yung delivers an even better performance as the sexy but scary Elektra. Her character is completely sociopathic, but always finds a way into seducing Daredevil and convincing him to do what she wants. Elektra is so unhinged that it is impossible to take your eyes off her, as you’re always wondering what she’ll do next. This is a pretty big departure from the strong but silent Elektra from the comics, but is instrumental to making the show so enjoyable. The returning cast members from the first season are also great, and all serve important roles.
This season also tops off the first one in terms of violence and action, which does make the fights slightly less realistic, but more visceral and exciting. The shocking amount of gore can get cringe-worthy at times, but it’s a very nice change from the more kid-friendly movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The pacing problems are fixed now too, with there being more interesting subplots, and more interesting supporting characters. There is also much more of The Hand, an evil organization of ninjas that are a huge part of the Daredevil comic books, and serves to complicate Daredevil’s life even more. The show is like a revolving door of great dialogue, badass action, and surprising twists.
One choice that I think prevented the season from reaching its full potential was the lack of an over-arching villain. I can name at least five antagonists in this season, but none of them were anywhere near as menacing or dangerous as the Kingpin from season one, or even Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. This made the season finale less epic than the first season’s, because even though the stakes were high, I was not interested in the bad guy Daredevil was fighting. This one complaint doesn’t matter too much though, as the entire season is still incredibly interesting and exciting.
While the first season left me satisfied, this season has made me eagerly anticipate the next season. I can’t wait to see the return of the Kingpin, and hopefully Bullseye.
In the same way that Game of Thrones is a masterclass in adapting books to screen, Daredevil is a masterclass in how to adapt comics to screen. If you’re a fan of good TV, then you will definitely love Daredevil.