January 21, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

My Very Late, Anti-Ryan Review Of Daredevil Season Two

Once again Ryan and I are polar opposites when it comes to all things geeky. This shouldn't be a surprise, as this is a man that likes Krull. He also loved Daredevil Season Two. I did not. More (including spoilers) after the break.

I’ve very behind on most shows that don’t have the words “walking” and “dead” in their title.  I just don’t know where people find the time to watch so much TV.  But I guess people have different priorities, interests, etc.  I’m sure I spend many hours of each day doing things that people scratch their head at and wonder why I “waste” my time doing them.

Like my good friend who I’ve never met, Tom Kelly, I’m not a big binge watcher.  Less so because of interest, and more so again, because of time.  I just don’t usually have the time to sit down and watch any more than one or two episodes of a show in a row.  And getting to that next set of shows to watch could be a week later, not the next day.

What I’m trying to say by making a short story long, is that I just tonight finished Daredevil Season Two.  I did well in plowing through the previous Netflix shows.  I don’t think I finished them the first weekend, but it wasn’t six weeks later.  I think the big difference though was that I thoroughly enjoyed Daredevil Season One and Jessica Jones.  Whereas I couldn’t wait for Daredevil Season Two to end.

I really loved season one and thought it was one of the best things that Marvel had ever done.  As Tom mentioned in his review of season two, “season one [succeeded] by being a somewhat straight legal drama with a vigilante hero involved”.  It’s hard to argue with that.  The story made you care about the characters.  The struggles of Nelson and Murdock to get on their feet and make a go of it.  For Karen to find her way in the world to friendships and happiness.  The long journey for Matt from sport store cast off wearing “ninja” to red clad devil.  Hell, we even cared about Wilson Fisk.

Know who I cared about in Season Two?  No one.  Our returning regulars just all got annoying.  Particularly Karen, who has turned into Jack Bauer’s daughter.  Seriously, how many times can she simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Foggy had little to do, and while they made strides to show him stepping up and becoming some great lawyer and escaping Matt Murdock’s shadow, they also have him talking two gang members out of a knife fight in an emergency room.  Which was supposed to be heroic, but was just eye-roll inducing.  And of course our hero, Matt “The Devil Of Hell’s Kitchen” Murdock.  All this season showed was that he was a better vigilante than a lawyer or friend.  I’m sure on at least some level this was done intentionally to make things all the more tragic for him, but it didn’t do much to endear him to the audience.

And what of the newcomers?  I, like most, especially comic readers, was very excited to hear that Elektra and the Punisher would be coming to the small screen.  Both have long histories with Daredevil, particularly Elektra thanks to Frank Miller’s classic Daredevil run.  I was expecting a lot and thought the casting of Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle was especially brilliant.  But it never delivered.

I just never connected with either of them.  Elektra’s storyline and everything to do with The Hand was just tedious.  At no point did Elektra come off as anything but unlikeable and brought out the absolute worse in Matt.  After all they had been through, his little “let’s run away together if we survive this” speech just had me thinking “really?  How often this season have you told her to stay away from you and now you are going to spend the rest of your days together?  And this is so just being done to set up her death (with no Bullseye anywhere to be seen) it is just ridiculous.”

The Punisher had a bit more potential.  After three or four episodes I was digging him and this season.  But I think that changed around the time he purposely threw his case in the courtroom.  While it did set up some of the more interesting parts of the season (more on that shortly), it just seemed to drag on and on and on.  And the whole Blacksmith story arc was predictable and boring.  Not to mention Frank spends a good chunk of the season in a hospital bed.  I get that it was a more realistic portrayal of the Punisher and not him as an unstoppable, Rambo-esque cliched killing machine, but he just seemed to be missing something.  And not just the skull vest which he finally donned in the last episode ala DD taking all of season one to get into the red suit.

One of the weakest aspects of the season was the dual storylines.  Ryan mentioned that he thought it felt like they took two shorter seasons and jammed them together.  I agree.  Too bad they didn’t spend some time and actually intertwine them together somewhat.  The majority of the time the storyline would jump from one to the other at Matt’s expense based on a phone call.  *ring, ring*  “Matty, it’s Elektra, I’m going to break into The Hand strong hold, care to join me?”  “Sorry guys, I know we got this big trial, but I gotta take care of something.”… *ring, ring* “Matt, it’s Karen.  Where are you?  Castle is about to take the stand, Foggy needs you right now!”  “Elektra, I gotta run, lawyer stuff, you know how it is.  Stay out of my life until the finale when I’ll profess my love again.  Toodles.”

For all its strengths, I did think that the thirteen episode run for Daredevil season one (and similarly Jessica Jones) was just a tad long.  I really think I would have been happy with eleven episodes.  In season two’s case?  How about six?  I would have been fine with just pulling all the Punisher stuff into one shorter season.  Maybe take that and flesh it out some more and give it nine to eleven episodes.  But adding all the Elektra stuff and the non-sensical Hand stuff…forget it.  I was supposed to love this and instead I am suffering through the second half of a long season.

One last negative thing and if you are still reading I’ll finish on a high note and let you get back to reading all of Tom’s awesome posts here on the redesigned and looking fine Gabbing Geek.  Was there any need for this season to be so gruesome?  I know we are dealing with the Punisher here, but it just seemed to be way over the top.  People getting power tools through body parts, shot gun blasts to the face at close range, pistol whipping a guy to the point that a flap of skin on his face is hanging off.  All in very clear view of the camera.  It all seemed over the top.  (And yes, this from the guy who watches people get torn apart by zombies pretty much every week.)

I said I would end on a high note, and here it is.  The return of Wilson Fisk was fantastic.  From the aftermath of the finale of season one, to his rise to power in the prison.  His “deal” with Castle to take out his prison rival.  His conversation with Matt Murdock as they exchanged niceties and drank tea.  And of course the piquing of Fisk’s curiosity which can only be a set up for a potential “Born Again” adaptation in a yet to be announced season three.  (Or perhaps as an aspect of the Defenders storyline?)

A disappointing season for me.  I give it 6 out of 10 unfulfilled potentials.  At least no one mentioned a Martha.

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