This episode certainly starts with a bang, as we continue from our previous installment with Yakuza goons barging their way into Elektra’s apartment. Luckily, the scarlet-clad ninja has brought along Matt’s costume, and the two get down to ass-kicking business. One of the high points of Daredevil has always been the show’s choreography when it comes to fight scenes, and what better avenue to put these on display then bringing ninjas into the mix. The fight between Matt, Elektra, and the Yakuza is a good one to be sure, especially considering it’s not cloaked in shadow so you can actually see all the beautiful punches as they connect. I think strength of this second season is to show just how confident Matt has become in his role as Daredevil, with getting the drop on the crooks by literally dropping from the ceiling right on top of them. It shows a progression in the character that, while present in the first season, adds more to a vigilante who must struggle with more moral quandaries rather than physical ones at this point in his career.
Swinging back around to the plots of this episode, it’s clear that the progression of this season will be vastly different from the first season in that our focus will be split in half with the Punisher on one side and Elektra on the other. I’m a bit perplexed as to how they could have necessarily “fixed” this within the season, and I’m by no means saying it’s bad, but they’re such stark contrasts of one another that in a sense it can be a tad distracting. I absolutely, positively love the idea of this season not only incorporating fighting with the Punisher both physically and ideologically, but creating a season that focuses on the “Trial of Frank Castle” made me giddy at the possibilities. It seemed perfect for the Matt and crew in that it was a fantastic blend of both the extracurricular activities of Daredevil and the courtroom hijinks of Murdock and Nelson LLP.
What we get, however, isn’t quite as clear-cut, as the attention of the masked vigilante Daredevil is mostly set squarely on Elektra, and Matt is even dragged into attempting to bust into a high society do in order to get the scoop on Roxxon. Honestly, this may be more of a qualm with the character than it is with the story structure and it’s funny because again, neither plot is bad. Daredevil is a strange duck in that fact that while he is having problems as an attorney, he may also be struggling with fighting supernatural zombie ninjas attempting to kill his assassin girlfriend and blind mentor. Clearly, the Punisher storyline is on a whole different level than the Elektra/Ninja escapades, but the latter still works. Yet even though both arcs are interesting in different ways, they almost seem like they taint one another and fit together as well as oil and water. Perhaps an entire season focusing on Elektra and her reintegration into Matt’s life would have made for a better story, but again everything is still serviceable, just a tad on the strange side.
Anyway, as I had mentioned above, Matt and Elektra have crashed their way into a Roxxon formal party, attempting to discover the secret company ledger to get more dirt on their shady dealings. To be fair, it’s a great platform for Murdock and his ex, harkening back to the early days of their fiery relationship. Taking what he’s learned on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen and applying them to the men’s bathroom (ok that sounds strange without context), Murdock is able to knock out a Roxxon higher up with access to the info they need, along with his bodyguards. Sneaking deeper into Roxxon tower, the two manage to find what they’re looking for, with Matt’s help behind a guarded wall.
Managing to escape the clutches of the Roxxon guards by pretending to be a drunk, romantic couple trying to get some alone time away from the party, they’re let off the hook! This made for a clever little escape on their part that seemed right up their alley and of course which allowed them to start cracking into the ledger they discovered. After pouring through the pages, they begin to realize that while Roxxon’s dealings in drug, crime, and other ne’er-do-well activities is presented in bright, clear-as-day text, other sentences seem to be written in code. What could Roxxon be up to? Well this is given a tad bit of clarification when the head of what was thought to be the Yakuza reveals that he was never in fact with the crime organization, but with something far older and more dangerous.
Meanwhile, we return to the case of the Punisher, as Matt and crew attempt to argue their way into becoming his defense team for the upcoming trial. Bernthal’s Punisher remains the tight lipped, stoic mass murderer he’s been since the beginning, but eventually succumbs to their pleas and takes them on as attorneys. Surprisingly, the team manages to talk Reyes into allowing for a plea bargain in which if Frank pleads guilty, he won’t get the death penalty, and will also get a somewhat reduced sentence. In typical Punisher fashion though, Frank isn’t having any of that and spins himself into a rage, cursing out Reyes and declaring himself “Not Guilty.” The Trial of the Punisher begins.
Again, somewhat of a mish-mash of an episode, with a lot to like but some snags along the way, and some aspects clearly outshining others. You simply can’t deny Bernthal’s performance as Castle here, though — that role is his forever.
Rating: ★★★ Good
The Collider Offices of Nelson and Murdock
-The diner scene between Matt and Elektra is absolutely fantastic, displaying their relationship in the spotlight as they banter with one another about the rules of their upcoming venture.
-Matt’s powers are a bit difficult to understand here. I can understand heightened hearing, sense of touch, smell, etc but how on earth did he know that the papers were in a particular drawer? Did he hear them? Seems a tad strange.
-The Hand! To be fair, we all knew it was only a matter of time considering their importance in the life of Daredevil but it’s still great to see them start seeping into the series even more.
-How are Nelson and Murdock not the most famous attorneys in the world at this point? First bringing down Wilson Fisk and now defending Frank Castle. I’ll make them a cake to take my case!
-Elektra: “You can’t mask that ass, I’d know it anywhere.”
– Foggy: “And how do I know what ‘proscenium’ means? Because I did theater in summer camp!”
-Karen: “He’ll be surrounded by criminals, people out for his blood.”
Punisher: “Sounds like a party.”