The Ninjabot

Daredevil Season Two Returns to Netflix, Delivers on More Gritty Action

Posted on March 17, 2016 at 6:00 am by Amanda Andonian

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Marvel’s Daredevil returns to Netflix tomorrow, March 18th, for a second season, and the episodes we’ve previewed so far demonstrate Marvel’s initial foray into the Daredevil universe was no fluke. Both first seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones have visited the idea of what it means to be a hero, and Daredevil season two looks like it’s picking up those themes and running with them, weaving a greater narrative about (you guessed it) good versus evil.

Regarding the new season, Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television, said if “season one was about Matt’s decision to be a hero, then season two would be about what the cost of being a hero is and how you define what a hero is.” Understandably, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is riding high on his new-found fame as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, and he’s enjoying kicking ass and taking names. He’s finally found a way to make a difference and be effective at seeing justice is served, and the citizens of Hell’s Kitchen are praising him for it.

“The way that I like to describe it is that in the first season,” said Cox, “it felt like Daredevil, the character, kind of happened to New York. He was this faceless man and his impact on the city was documented through the course of the first season. This year, it feels like the world happens to Matt Murdock.” He feels invincible, he’s getting cocky about it, and we see it in him almost immediately at the start of season two. Predictably, the good times don’t last long.

“This season is dense and it really hits the ground running,” said Elden Henson, who plays Matt Murdock’s best friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. “It starts off with a bang and it gets crazier from there.”

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He’s not wrong. What I enjoyed about the first season was how it took such an unflinching view of violence, and Daredevil season two is no different thus far. The fight sequences are just as impressive and visually stunning, and the show doesn’t sugarcoat the consequences and repercussions of Matt’s nighttime activities on his body and personal life. Most of the time in TV and movies, our heroes walk away from a beating mostly intact, which is not really the case in Daredevil. He’s able to take a beating, but we can see in him the effect of those successive beatings throughout the season.

Season two sees the introduction of two well-known characters from the Daredevil comics (and the Marvel universe in general): the Punisher and Elektra. Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) takes on the role of Frank Castle, bringing his own brand of crazy to a divisive and controversial character. I always thought he was a little creepy as Shane in The Walking Dead, and he definitely cranks up the crazy to 11 in Daredevil. While watching him on screen, I found myself feeling genuinely chilled by the look in his eyes as he goes after the criminal element of New York.

The Punisher, also a vigilante like Daredevil, takes a much more hardline stance on what should happen to evil-doers, and the resulting clash between the two “heroes” is explosive. Bernthal said about his character, “What I found most interesting is this point of conflict where I think he absolutely at one point in his life had a real sort of sense of right and wrong and that’s completely unimportant to him now.” Daredevil now has to fight a war on two fronts: stopping the bad guys, and making sure they live long enough to see justice when the Punisher has them in his sights.

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And of course, where would Daredevil be without Elektra? Elodie Yung brings a ton of subtlety and depth to the show as Elektra Natchios, and she’s made this character my favorite of the series so far. Where Foggy and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) represent the good side of Matt—his idealism, his faith in justice, and his empathy—Elektra brings out the darkness that exists in him. It’s this very darkness that made Daredevil possible in the first place, but Matt doesn’t want to acknowledge it exists. In confronting that duality within himself, Matt is also forced to ask himself some pretty tough questions, and he’s not sure if he likes the answers. As the Punisher says in the season two trailer, “You’re one bad day away from being me.”

Everything this season seems pointed at drawing that stark comparison between the good and bad in all of us, showing that the line may not be as clearly defined as we might think. Matt constantly struggles with what his role as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen really means, and whether his morals and code of honor are actually enough to justify the things he thinks he needs to do. Whether on purpose or not, each of his friends, enemies, and rivals poses that question to him at some point: what are you willing to do to see justice done?

If it were only Matt dealing with this question, it might get old fast, but Daredevil season two doesn’t focus just on his inner demons. Woll said, “The fact that no one is all good, no one is all bad. No one is just a hero or just a villain, there’s a little bit of all of that in everyone…Not everyone’s going to have the same moral code that Matt Murdock has or that Daredevil has. And then that can be a dangerous thing.” Every single character is confronted with that internal struggle to varying degrees, making the show far more complex than it might have been had we just focused on Daredevil’s inner struggle the whole time.

In fact, one of my biggest pet peeves with the first season was that I felt Matt was the least interesting character in the show. I kind of just wanted it to be all about Wilson Fisk and his BFF/assistant. Season two has helped Matt grow on me, however, and it’s also given us a chance to better acquaint ourselves with the rest of the cast.

So is Daredevil/Matt Murdock’s moral code enough, even for him? Is he really the hero New York City needs? Or is he just as bad as those he’s trying to stop? I can’t wait to find out, and I’ll be parked in front of my Netflix this weekend watching the rest of season two.

Check back next week for our take on Daredevil season two on the Geek Legacy podcast, as well as a more in-depth (and spoiler-filled) look at the episodes once everyone has had a chance to watch.

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