Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Episode one and two of this season of Daredevil have been fairly large in scope. They have traversed several locations contained within Hell’s Kitchen and have featured a bevy of characters all working to forward their individual goals. That’s what makes this episode so refreshing, it was much smaller in scale and delivered more meaningful character progression than has been seen up until now.
The bulk of the episode deals once more with The Punisher and Daredevil. The former has the latter chained to a roof, as was seen in the iconic trailers ahead of this season. After the two vicious fight scenes between these men it was nice to see them just talk, and in doing so reveal a great amount about themselves.
Of course, it was Punisher who had the most to reveal to audiences as he is a fresh face in the show still. Episode two gave you a glimpse at his complicated morality and that was expanded upon and explained in this episode. It became clear that he is not a man who is likely to waver in what he is doing. He firmly believes that he is doing the right thing in gunning down those he deems evil enough to deserve it. He fires back at Matt calling him a ‘nut job’ by saying that Daredevil is nothing more than a half measure and that he offers only temporary solutions. There is a great deal of truth in this as the vast majority of the criminals Matt apprehends will find themselves back on the streets in a short space of time, leaving them to commit more heinous acts. Punisher puts down the problem for good and he feels justified in doing so.
For his part, Matt contests that everybody has a glimmer of good in them and Punisher is simply extinguishing that when he riddles them with bullets. It is a good point and speaks to a much larger, and far more real, question of whether the death penalty is a just course of action. This argument is one that could never be settled inside the confines of a TV show but it is still a good move by the writers to introduce important themes such as this to underpin their storylines. It allows audiences to join in on the conversation in a sense and creates a much more engaging and interactive show.
The prolonged verbal exchange between the two comes to a close when Frank tapes a revolver with a single bullet in it to Matt’s hand. He them brings Grotto to the roof, beats him senseless, and makes him confess to the murders he committed. Frank tells Matt that he will kill Grotto unless Matt shoots him in the head a finishes it there and then. Instead, Matt shoots the chains binding him and charges at Frank, only he is too late to stop the fatal shot being fired. From here there is yet another fight scene between the two vigilantes but it is mercifully short and leads to something all fans of this show will have been looking forwards to for a while now… another hallway fight scene.
The Dogs of Hell biker gang are brought to the roof after Punisher fires at their bikes and, after knocking Frank out, Matt is forced to fight them all whilst making his way down the apartment complex. The first season saw a similar sequences and it ended up being heralded as one the best choreographed fights of any show, the same can again be said for this one. The action flowed with remarkable fluidity considering it was set in such tight confines. Daredevil’s hand to hand prowess was on display yet again as he made short work of the bikers, save for one giant of a man who was a little harder to take down. In taking his eye off of the ball to deal with all of this he managed to let Punisher get away, though his condition has to be questionable at best.
Aside from the main drama the side stories of Foggy and Karen were still present and made for welcome respites between the intensity on display elsewhere in this episode. That’s not say that their stories weren’t tense, they were, but they relied far less heavily on action set pieces which is vital for a show such as this.
Foggy took to the local hospital to find Matt and Claire Temple, the nurse from last season who treated him. He finds the latter but not the former. The main takeaway from this part of the story has nothing to do with Matt though and instead has to do with Foggy showing that, in his own way, he is just as brave and heroic as his costume clad counterpart. He diffused a tense gang situation at the hospital by relying on his smarts and in doing so surely gave fans even more reason to like this plucky, affable character.
Karen had a different but no less ballsy trajectory as she looked to undermine the DA by turning her own ADA against her. Her use of manipulation and cunning to get what she wanted showed an effective and intriguing side to her. It also led to more light being shone on The Punisher’s activities as she obtained the top secret files about him. In amongst those files was an x-ray of a skull that looked very much like the one good old Frank likes to emblazon on his t-shirts.
This episode laid down the beginnings of Punisher’s origin story, which is an eye opener as those of you in the know can attest to. There is much more ground to be covered with this complex character but this was the perfect way to start that journey. From here the smartest thing to do would be to keep Punisher and Daredevil separate for a while so as not to go overboard on their interactions this early in the season. Ideally, they wouldn’t face off again until nearer to the finale. Maybe they can do so in a corridor?
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