Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Here you have it, the finale for season two of Daredevil. The last episodes may have tailed off quite dramatically but surely they would pull it back for the big send off? You know the drill by now, no they did not manage to do that. ‘A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen’ was best described as predictable. It lacked any and all impact and really was nothing short of a failure as a season finale.
As the show plodded along it became horrendously obvious that many of the storylines that had been left dangling would not be getting a satisfying conclusion. Instead of answering the fans questions and making it abundantly clear what was at stake, they instead opted for a run of the mill episode with none of the pomp that it should have had. Naturally, you got yet more fight scenes with The Hand but they were done in the exact same way that they have been since the group first appeared half a season ago. It didn’t feel special and it did nothing to close out the story that had been built up. Perhaps most disappointing though was the way in which The Punisher was treated as an afterthought.
For an entire season the narrative has hinged on The Punisher. He has been the best thing about Daredevil since he arrived on the scene and over that period he has been established as both a legendarily formidable force and an emotionally damaged, real life man. Despite his storyline concluding in the last episode it would only have been right to feature him in a meaningful way here too, after all Daredevil would need all hands on deck to tackle such a vast army of foes. Bafflingly, the character is seen for a few minutes in total and the majority of that has to do with the debut of his signature costume. Sure, it’s a great fanboy moment to see him in all his skull emblazoned glory but they did the same thing last season with Daredevil finally getting his red costume. There was no need to repeat such a trope again, Punisher deserved to be in the thick of the action and not firing a few shots form a nearby rooftop at the opportune moment. It did him a great disservice and took away from the journey he has been on for so long now.
For the entire episode, The Hand are shown to be hunting down Elektra and Daredevil. Of course this makes sense as Elektra was revealed to be the Black Sky in the last episode and Nobu resolved to Kill DD. Still, both of these elements were poorly handled.
First let’s look at Elektra as the Black Sky. This could have worked out very nicely and created some real tension if she had been pitted against Matt but that avenue was completely ignored in favour of continuing her allegiance to him, despite it flying in the face of her character’s persona. On top of this there is the issue that it is never actually explained just what this Black Sky is. What is it capable of? Is she the only one? No one knows and that makes it very difficult to buy into the stakes supposedly set forth. Why would it matter if The Hand got her? You can’t just tell your audience that it would be a bad thing but never tell them the exact consequences. It’s sloppy writing at its absolute worst and detracted greatly from a potentially explosive development.
Secondly let’s look at Nobu’s vendetta, or more specifically the entire rooftop fight. The Hand, in order to flush out Elektra and Daredevil, took Karen and several other people DD had rescued, as hostages. Of course, this led to a big fight scene where your heroes were pitted against insurmountable odds. Or at least they were supposed to be. Just before heading to the rooftop to face the forces of The Hand, Daredevil says that there are too many men to count, some already on the roof and some coming from below. When they get into the thick of the fight however there are only a handful of enemies who fall with worrying ease. Where did the other guys go? Again, no one knows.
When it comes down to Daredevil facing off with Nobu you would have expected something of an epic battle considering the war they waged in series one that nearly killed Daredevil and did briefly dispatch Nobu. What you got was something with far less luster as it appears that Nobu’s balls may have been left out of the resurrection process. The man who had once cut DD to shreds now looked like a child compared to his red clad adversary. He, frankly, got his ass kicked. Then Stick killed him, for good this time it would appear. So yes, it was about as lackluster as it gets.
It would be wrong not to point out some of the very good things that occurred in this episode though. They may not outnumber or negate the negatives but they do offer some light in the dark. Chief amongst these was the touching scene between Elektra and Matt before they headed out the rooftop. The chemistry these two have together has developed very nicely throughout the season and it was more than a little touching to hear Matt tell her what she meant to him and how he would uproot his entire life just to be with her. Yes, it did foreshadow her impending death a little too obviously but it was still a fantastic little scene.
The aforementioned death of Elektra was also rather good. Foreshadowed too heavily, but good nonetheless. After the emotional connection between her and Matt was so strongly established you will genuinely have felt for him when he watched the woman he loved die in his arms. It broke up the fighting with something far more real and impactful, making it a scene many will look back on fondly. The only trouble with it was that it was painfully obvious that she would not stay dead, and lo and behold she was in the resurrection chamber before the end credits rolled. That took away from things more than a little bit, and it’s a damn shame that it did, but the impact on Matt’s character is in no way lessened and it should lead to some drastic changes in the man going forward.
On top of this you had some smaller but still very welcome moments that helped drag this episode out of the mire it had created. One of these was a further nod the comic books as Elektra gained her costume at long last and Daredevil got his famous billy club. Foggy got a new job in the legal profession and it was with none other than Jeri Hogarth who you should know from Jessica Jones. That is an exceedingly interesting pairing and one that could see Foggy become a far more prevalent character in the Netflix MCU, something that is music to the ears of many. Karen also had a respectable showing as she showed more of her bravery in the face of The Hand, not allowing herself to become just another damsel in distress and instead showing some real backbone. She also threw herself into her new career as a Journalist. To see her take Ben Urich’s job makes perfect sense and she has the same dogged determination in the pursuit of the truth as he did.
The biggest shock though? Well, that was when Matt finally revealed himself as Daredevil to Karen. It was a move that just felt right and one that could mean she is far from out of his life. The relationship between the pair may have soured considerably in recent episodes but there is so much room for exploration left that the idea to bring them back together is one that should be celebrated. They will undoubtedly have a hell of a season three.
It is fair to say that ‘A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen’ was not the finale that this season deserved. It wasn’t awful by any means but it wasn’t particularly good either. Sure, they set things up for season three but that was done at the cost of the here and now and that is a crying shame. Now though it is time to look forwards to Luke Cage, as that will offer something very different and very entertaining.
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