Welcome back to ‘Daredevil!’ The new, highly anticipated season has a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of hype to live up to, especially considering the phenomenal first season and the teasers about new characters and cast members that have been all over the internet leading up to the premiere of Season 2. With that being said, let’s jump right in:
The episode opens with a meeting of Irish gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen, discussing how the void is going to be filled with criminal activities like drug trafficking in Hell’s Kitchen now that Fisk and his regime have fallen. The gangsters work themselves up into a frenzy as they discuss how they are going to take back the underworld after having been shut down by Fisk, but before they can get to work, their hide-out is assaulted by a furious hail of bullets, that almost instantly kill everyone inside, except for one man, who we will later find out is named Grotto, who manages to escape, even after having been wounded. For anyone not aware of the implications of the attack, we have just seen Punisher style justice, even if we have yet to see the man himself.
Meanwhile, Daredevil is out on the streets practicing his own style of justice, hunting down a group of criminals attempting to flee his newly armored fists, though each member of the gang is eventually hunted down by Daredevil, ending with a man holding a young girl hostage, who our hero handily saves.
The next day, as Matt and Foggy enter the office, we learn that a heat wave is sweeping through New York, and the offices of Nelson and Murdock is inundated with new cases thanks to their victory last year against Fisk. Despite the abundance of clients, however, they are still not making enough to turn a profit, let alone stay in business, but Matt is confident they will figure it out, and seems happy to be working for the people, taking payment in the form of food and gratitude. The gang decides to go out that night to let off some steam, and while playing an intimate game of pool (very intimate indeed as Karen is giving some strong signals to Matt), Matt notices Grotto at the bar, who has come looking for Matt and Foggy’s help. After some prodding, Grotto informs the team about the Irish gang massacre, and the new “army” in town, who seems hell bent on inciting a war. While speaking, Grotto’s injuries prove too severe, and he collapses. While Karen takes him to the hospital using alias names so Grotto will not be found, Matt and Foggy head to the Irish gang hide-out to get answers. They speak to their contact in the police department, who informs them that this “army” has been taking down gangs for some time now, and informs the lawyer team that if their contact is involved, their best bet is to get him into police custody.
As Matt decides to go out in costume to dig for more information (warned by a nagging and concerned Foggy to be careful), Foggy decides to take his own risks and run down his own leads. He heads to a biker gang bar where he might have a contact named “Smitty,” and attempts to find his old friend. After being pushed around by the Dogs of Hell gang, he is kicked out by the gang members, Foggy eventually gets through to one of them, after explaining that he and Matt help people in Hell’s Kitchen, including gang members. The man tells Foggy that it is one guy doing the damage, not an army.
Meanwhile, Grotto awakens in the hospital with Karen at his side, as she explains their cover as husband and wife. Grotto is terrified and does not want to stay, but Karen assures him they are safe. Unfortunately for her, the new armed vigilante has already managed to track down Grotto and wants to finish what he started. He blasts his way through the hospital with his shotgun, careful not to hit any innocents, but causing chaos and destruction nonetheless. Karen and Grotto flee, barely making it to their car and escaping ahead of the armed gunman.
Unbeknownst to them, the gunman anticipated their escape and had a sniper rifle set-up on a nearby rooftop. Just as he is about to take the shot to take out Grotto, Daredevil attacks, having hunted down the gunman. Their fight is fast and furious, showing off the military skills of the gunman, as he can fight without a gun as well. Daredevil is relentless, though, and continues to track and fight the man even as he flees. To end the fight, the gunman ends up pulling a gun out of his leg holster and shooting Matt in the head, the episode ending with Daredevil tumbling off a rooftop.
The next day, we find Karen and Grotto in police custody, hiding out from the gunman, as the police handle the fallout from the hospital attack. Foggy is nervous as he cannot find Matt and investigates the building rooftops surrounding the hospital, having heard about shots fired up there following the shooting. He finds Matt unconscious on a rooftop, having been saved by his costume as his headpiece is essentially a helmet. Foggy manages to take Matt home, where he berates his friend for the close call, reminding Matt that he is lucky to be alive. He leaves Matt resting in his apartment and heads off to meet Karen at the police station. Matt meanwhile is suffering from the aftermath of being hit with a bullet in the head, helmet or not, and soon finds his hearing fading out, leaving him truly blind in his apartment.
Foggy meets Karen and Grotto, assuring Grotto that he can work out a deal to get the man into witness protection. Unfortunately, the condescending DA of Hell’s Kitchen wants to use Grotto to gather information on other gangs and refuses to give him Witness Protection unless he wears a wire and snitches on some fellow criminals. Grotto does not like it, but Foggy has done everything he can (I enjoyed seeing Foggy stand up to the DA who tries to push him off the case) and informs Grotto it’s the best deal they are likely to get. The DA and the police also share information about the gunman, and his codename, the Punisher, letting Foggy and Karen know that the Feds are on the hunt for the new dangerous vigilante. And when Karen and Grotto ask where Matt is, Foggy claims Matt took a sick day, tying into his normal cover for Matt with Karen that Murdock has a drinking problem. Concerned, Karen goes to visit Matt, banging on his door, conveniently enough, just as his hearing returns. She speaks with Matt, telling him that she is not stupid, and knows something is going on, and informing him that when he is ready, she can be trusted and that she cares for him and will help through whatever he is dealing with. She also mentions that they might all be responsible for the Punisher, as supporting the Daredevil has led to copycats arising.
The Punisher meanwhile, visits a pawn shop looking for a high-tech police scanner, paying the proprietor handsomely for the device, the security tape of his visit, and the gun behind the counter. The creepy owner notices all the money the Punisher throwing around, and as the man exits, tries to sell him on some exotic sex tapes, including some made with children as young as 12. The Punisher stops, and in a menacing moment, turns back to the shop owner, and though the camera cuts away, we know the man is going to meet out his style of punishment on the perverted shop owner.
Despite his injuries, Matt visits his costume designer, Melvin, showing him the cracked helmet (the metaphor for Matt’s morality at the moment). Melvin informs Matt that the Punisher dealt him a warning shot, as he could have easily killed Matt, and warns that even if he patches up the head-piece, it will not be as strong as before (more symbolism), and needs some time to make Matt a new helmet (and new costume I’m assuming…). Matt investigates the Irish gang’s hide-out and manages to track the Punisher’s trail, finding the new vigilante’s hideout, complete with a new police scanner. However, the Punisher is not there. He is at the headquarters for another gang, who just managed to steal a semi-truck. We see the Punisher’s assault on the gang from the POV of the man cleaning the semi-truck, who does not hear the carnage due to his headphones. As blood splatters on the truck, he turns around to find the Punisher there, and we can guess at the man’s fate from there.
While Matt is out sleuthing, Karen, Foggy, and Grotto are being prepped for the sting operation, assuring the criminal that he will be given his Witness Protection deal once he has gotten some evidence for the DA. As Grotto approaches the meet-up for his contact, things start to seem a little fishy to Foggy and Karen, who are watching the deal with the DA and her cronies. Suddenly, Grotto disappears from the cameras, and we see him being held by NYPD officers as bait, as the DA was really using him to set a trap for the Punisher. Furious, Foggy, and Karen can only sit back and watch as events transpire.
A semi-truck smashes into the space where they are holding Grotto, and all the NYPD officers in the area open fire. Unfortunately, when they open the truck they discover one of the dead bodies from the gang massacre, and the DA realizes that the Punisher anticipated their trap. The man himself is perched nearby with a sniper rifle, once again lining up a shot on Grotto. Fortunately for Grotto, Daredevil attacks the Punisher once more at the right moment, and they engage in another terrific fight. Daredevil’s helmet is stitched and clearly does not look as strong as before, and the Punisher knows it, continually hitting Matt in the head. The DA orders the police officers to open fire, not caring about Daredevil’s safety, and the fight is interrupted by bullets, which the two vigilantes now have to dodge as they continue to battle. Eventually, the roof becomes unstable, and the two men crash into the building below, out of the sight of the NYPD, and able to engage in combat once more. Unfortunately for Matt, the battle is too much for him, and his hearing starts to go out once more, even as he starts to black out. Foggy, terrified for his friend, races out to find out what happened, and gathers around the hole in the ceiling where the vigilantes fell through, looking down as the empty space with the cops, realizing the two brawlers have escaped.
Foggy and Karen confront the DA for the lies and for allowing Grotto to escape, and she fires back by saying she is going to put the blame for the whole fiasco on Murdock and Nelson, warning them to back off. Karen does a little digging on her own and finds that the DA has a history of throwing her “allies” under the bus, and manages to speak to her assistant, warning him that the DA could turn on him as well. He seems to understand her point, and sneaks her some files, but still throws her out of the office in order to save face. Karen takes the files and starts digging, engrossing herself in the case files on the Punisher, all while feeling she should be punished for her own wrongdoings, namely when she took a gun and killed Fisk’s man Wesley last season. Clearly this is something she is still grappling with, and with the Punisher also taking down villains with a gun, she cannot help but sympathize a bit with the dangerous vigilante.
Foggy knows that Matt is in trouble, and goes to hunt down his friend, deciding to enlist the aid of the Night Nurse herself, Claire Temple, who is currently working extended hours in the ER as punishment for the help she gave to Jessica Jones and Luke Cage during the events of ‘Jessica Jones.’ She is reluctant to help Foggy at first because she is busy and believes Matt can handle himself, but after Foggy manages to talk down two gangsters about to brawl in the middle of the emergency room, she decides to help. After checking hospitals in Hell’s Kitchen and finding no mention of Matt Murdock as being brought in injured or in a morgue, she assures Foggy that his friend is alright.
- After a strange flashback to Matt as a child being cared for by what appeared to be a nun, Matt wakes up on a rooftop, chained to a brick wall, as the Punisher watches over him, preparing a new hit. The two engage in a philosophical debate, setting up the moral quandaries of the season, namely, whose brand of justice actually produces results. The Punisher makes it clear that his way gets the criminals off the streets permanently, and that there is no redemption for those who have killed others in cold blood (the irony here is outstanding). Matt cannot help but have hope for every person, criminal or not, and truly believes everyone deserves a second chance, which is why he does not kill. To prove his point, the Punisher brings out Grotto, who he managed to kidnap, and after duct taping a gun to Matt’s hand, demands that Daredevil kill the criminal, helping his case by forcing a confession out of Grotto, who apparently killed an old woman just because she saw his face during a crime. Daredevil will not budge, and the Punisher (who’s name we learned is Frank) pulls out his own gun and tells Matt he will either have to kill him or Grotto. Matt, of course, takes another action and shoots his chains, freeing himself, but not before Frank shoots Grotto. As Grotto dies he asks Matt why he did not save him, and we can see the remark take its toll on Daredevil, even as he turns to face the Punisher. The two duel once more, and the Punisher leaves Matt unconscious on the ground, and then lines up his shot. His new target is the Dogs of Hell biker gang that Foggy visited in the first episode. He shoots their bikes and the explosion of the vehicles causes the gang to come outside. Frank turns on a spotlight to illuminate his targets, and the gang starts heading toward the building to take out their attacker. Before Frank can fire, though, Matt attacks him, still having the gun taped to his hand, and now trailing a length of chain from his other, which he uses handily.
What follows is a spectacular fight wherein Matt finally takes down the Punisher, but he has no time to savor the victory as the Dogs of Hells are currently charging up the staircase of the building to get revenge on the men who destroyed their bikes. Matt manages to evade them at first, getting Frank into an elevator and almost escaping, but stopping as he sees the gang accost an elderly man in the hallway, as the building is an apartment building. He leaves Frank’s unconscious body in the elevator, pushing the ‘down’ button, and attacks, and what follows is this season’s version of the epic hallway fight from season 1. This time, Matt is handicapped by the gun still stuck to his hand (which he does try to fire, and learns that Frank only gave him one bullet, which he used earlier to break the chains), but he also has the length of chain, which he brandishes with excellent skill as a long-range weapon. The fight spills onto the staircase, where we see Matt really open up with his acrobatic combat form, taking down what felt like every member of the gang multiple times, making sure they stay down. By the time he reaches the first floor, we see the elevator ding, and Frank still seems to be unconscious. Before he can collect his prize, Matt is assaulted by the final three members of the gang, who manages to get in some good hits before Daredevil takes them down. The fight over, Matt realizes Frank is gone and has left yet more bodies in his wake.
All in all, not a bad start for season 2 of the acclaimed show, helped along by the fact that they could jump right in this season, and not have to waste time setting up who all the characters are. No sign of Elektra or the Hand just yet, but the Punisher is more than enough villain (?) for now, and I cannot wait to see where they are going with all of the concurrent storylines. Check back here for the next recap soon!