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Television

Daredevil: Season 2, Episode 1 - "Bang"

Elena Zhang

Daredevil's season two premiere doesn't start off with a bang so much as a sharp tap on the shoulder.


Daredevil

Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung, Stephen Rider, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 1 - "Bang"
Network: Netflix
Air date: 2016-03-18
Amazon

The anticipated second season of Netflix's original Marvel superhero show is finally here, and there’s a lot of hype to live up to. Last year, Daredevil gave us a glimpse of something truly unique and spectacular in a sea of superhero overload.

This year, Daredevil faces the challenge of not only creating a fresh storyline, but also dealing with a major behind-the-scenes overhaul. Gone is the original showrunner Steven DeKnight, who was replaced this season by Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez. Both Petrie and Ramirez wrote for the show during the first season; however, new direction could be cause for concern, especially when the first run was so effective.

So were the new bosses successful? It's hard to say from only the first episode, especially for a show format that is meant to binge-watched and assessed from an overarching standpoint. That being said, the season premiere felt tired and a little lackluster, barely giving the viewers anything enticing to lure them back for more.

We're introduced to the main "villain" of the season through a series of grisly crimes targeting a variety of gangs in Hell's Kitchen. I say "villain" because, although through general knowledge we know this man to be The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), so far he is acting exactly like a certain other masked vigilante we all know and love. Is there something wrong that he’s doing that sets him apart from our very own deviled hero? I suspect that’s the question the show will attempt to investigate throughout this season. While I enjoy the idea of a hero and villain as two sides of the same coin, the problem here is that this storyline seems like too much of a rehash from season one.

We had Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), a business mogul who had the same end goals as Daredevil (Charlie Cox), to save the crumbling city from itself. Of course, Fisk's methods were not quite above board, but the intentions were still noble, and Daredevil's struggle with the nuances of heroism and violence made for compelling television.

All signs point to the same struggle this season, with The Punisher drawing even more blatant similarities with Daredevil by actively gunning for criminals. Hopefully, there’s more complexity involved, and I'm willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt, given that we were hardly even introduced to the character yet and can only guess at his motives.

Charlie Cox is in fine form as Matt Murdock by day, vigilante by night. It does feel as though some of his mystique disappeared along with his do-it-yourself black costume. I’ve a harder time taking him seriously in red leather and horns, but this is a comic book character, and as such, some hokiness must inevitably bleed through in the otherwise realistically grim setting.

Returning to the show are Daredevil's sidekicks, Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy (Elden Henson), who have both somewhat evolved since we've last seen them. Foggy seems to have acclimated to the idea that his best friend runs around the city at night in a mask, although he still expresses concern over Matt's safety and the necessity of his violent methods. The friendship between Matt and Foggy continues to be the heart of the show, being the only genuine and honest relationship Matt has been able to sustain.

Matt and Karen, on the other hand, are unfortunately heading towards a chemistry-free romance, given the not-so-subtle flirting going on at the pool table. Besides the lack of sparks between the two leads, the unbalanced power dynamics doesn't really bode well with the burgeoning relationship. Matt continues to withhold vital information about who he really is from Karen and, while Karen probably wouldn't mind that he was her knight in shining armor, she should be bothered by the somewhat condescending attitude with which Matt treats her. At least there is no potential for a love triangle with Foggy, thank god for that, as Foggy appears completely over his crush and supportive of Matt's love interest.

Suffice it to say, Daredevil's second season didn't start off with a bang so much as a sharp tap on the shoulder. But Grotto (McCaleb Burnett) says that Nelson and Murdock put their faith in people, and so I will do the same, and put my faith in the devil of Hell's Kitchen.

Other Thoughts:

The action scenes are still gripping, and the confrontation between Daredevil and The Punisher proves that the fight choreography has not lost its creative spark.

I have to wonder if the second season's release was timed to arrive just after St. Patrick's Day, given that the first episode is centered on an Irish gang.

Did anyone else think it was extremely reckless for The Punisher to just be walking around the hospital shooting everyone without so much as a ski mask? Aren't there now dozens of witnesses who could identify him?

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