By Rodney Turner
One of the drawbacks to operating a blog like this is that media has to be consumed in a hurry and this weekend was no exception. The second season of the Netflix series Daredevil dropped on Friday and, like much of geekdom, just about every device I own was used to binge watch the series. I going to attempt to avoid major spoilers but let this function as your SPOILER ALERT.
For the casual viewer, if you liked season one of Daredevil, you’ll enjoy the second season. If you are a little more discerning in your superhero serials, you may find it to be lackluster. This season’s strength is also its weakness. Everything you loved about season one is right here. There were more than a few times in my viewing that I wondered if the writer decided to follow Abrams’ vision for writing The Force Awakens: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, what leads to a successful version of an almost forty year old franchise is not what works for one that is barely a year old. Season two has many of the same story beats as the initial season and it shows. Where the beats of the first season were fresh, they are tired by the second season and this brings the whole series down a little. Daredevil’s three acts seem to rush along to a finale that is at once predictable and feels hastily constructed. Overall, while it was a good watch, it was a poor follow-up to a stellar first year of the Netflix and Marvel team-up.
The first four episodes introduce Frank Castle (AKA The Punisher) as a way to reacquaint the viewer with a trademark Daredevil trait: the constant inner turmoil he feels. The height of this conflict is seen in episode number three, arguably the best episode of the season. Daredevil is captured by The Punisher and the two men argue over their methods toward the same end in a scene that is reminiscent of The Dark Knight. Daredevil refuses to kill while The Punisher eliminates his targets with military precision. While this discussion takes up a majority of the episode, the theme is hastily dropped in favor of a brutal homage to the season one hallway fight.
The real meat of the series ends right there. The act two People versus Frank Castle storyline is relegated to a B-plot and we have the introduction of Elektra and some standard ninja action. Elektra is presented as a generic femme fatale whose presence is not as a character but as a means to propel the cheesy Hand storyline that takes up the A-plot of the latter two-thirds of the season. There was a hint of chemistry between the actors but it wasn’t as skillfully handled as it could have been.
Season two has the same flaw as many superhero sequels, they try to do too much with the time they are given. With the season only consisting of thirteen episodes, none of the plot threads come to a satisfying conclusion. It was an entertaining series but lacking much of the substance that made Daredevil season one and Jessica Jones must watch series.