This article consists of nothing but Daredevil Season 2 spoilers. You don’t want want to read this if you haven’t seen the episodes yet. We have a completely spoiler free review for you to check out here in the meantime.
NOTE: Hit the dropdown menu at the top and/or bottom of the article to navigate directly to whichever episode you want.
Ready for something that is absolutely not a Daredevil Season 2 spoiler? Here it is. Just like the first one, this season is absolutely packed to the gills with crazy Marvel Universe goodness. Some of it is relatively obvious, but then there’s other stuff hidden in the margins that you might miss. Stuff that might clue you in to the future of these Marvel Netflix shows.
So, here’s how this works. I’m rounding up every single Marvel Comics reference on Daredevil Season 2. I’m good, but I’m not so good that there isn’t gonna be stuff I miss. And that’s where you come in. Read and enjoy my deep dive into roughly 50 years worth of Marvel history, but if you spot something that I didn’t, or if I’m flat out wrong about something, drop it in the comments or holler at me on Twitter. If it checks out, I’ll update this piece and give you a shout!
Now, I have to warn you. I will do my best to keep spoilers for future episodes out of the entries for current episodes, however, some of the stuff I write about might inadvertently spoil stuff for later in the series or future seasons. But also, if you’re posting in the comments, I can’t control what spoilers you might see from other people who are a few episodes ahead of you. So please read with caution down there if you aren’t all caught up yet. There’s no way for me to control what comments display for individual episodes, sadly!
Use the dropdown menu at the top and bottom of the article to navigate to whichever episodes you want, but don’t read ahead…unless you want spoilers. And from here on out, it’s all spoilers!
Alright hornheads, let’s do this…
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 1: “Bang”
“In the void left by Fisk’s removal, a new threat to Hell’s Kitchen emerges. Murdock and Foggy take on a client with a questionable past.”
– I’m opening with a little bit of a stretch, I confess. Opening with a heat wave is something of a theme from another Frank Miller work, famously deployed at the start of The Dark Knight Returns. And as I’ve pointed out ad infinitum in previous Daredevil articles (and will continue to do in this one!), it’s Frank Miller’s shadow that tends to loom the largest over this show.
– So Daredevil has some new threads, only lightly redesigned from what we saw at the end of season one. He’s using his batons more, but we’ll get to that in more detail in a future episode.
There’s one thing that club could do that this one hasn’t yet. Since it was often disguised as Matt Murdock’s cane, it had a hooked end. That could be “fired” like a grappling hook, and the club contained rope/wire that Daredevil could then swing from…like Batman or Spidey.
– We do get a fully functioning (or dysfunctional) Nelson & Murdock law firm this time, right down to them getting payments in food from clients who can’t afford to pay in cold, hard cash. My current unscientific analysis of this is that it’s something we saw foregrounded during the recent (and extraordinarily wonderful) run on the comics by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Paolo Rivera. Seriously, you need to read those. They’re not as dark as the show, but they’re some of the finest Daredevil comics ever produced.
– The chatty Irish gangster, Mr. Nesbitt, was created by Garth Ennis and Leandro Fernandez in the pages of The Punisher (volume 6) #8 in 2004. He didn’t meet his end at the hand of Frank Castle, though. It’s a long story, and part of Ennis’ notoriously colorful run as writer on The Punisher.
– Focusing on the Irish Mob here is a little bit of a reminder of the actual ethnic history of Hell’s Kitchen, which was settled by Irish immigrants and remained a working-class neighborhood until relatively recently. Matt Murdock’s Irish heritage places him nicely in that historical Hell’s Kitchen, as well. And really, we’ve had riffs on both the Mafia and the Yakuza on this show already, so it’s only fair that the Irish get their criminal licks in, as well.
But really, I know, you want to hear about the Punisher, so…
– The Punisher first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 back in 1974. He was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.
Punisher spent the early part of his existence as, if not a full-blown Spidey villain, certainly something of an antagonist. He was also nameless (other than, y’know “Punisher”) and his tragic backstory was only alluded to. Truth be told, he was kind of boring.
The character came into his own once he started squaring off with Daredevil during Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s legendary creative tenure, and there are moments of that which inform plenty of things we’ll see on this show. But he really rose to prominence in the mid-80s when he was given his own headlining slot in a mini-series, the excellent Circle of Blood by Steven Grant and Mike Zeck. He was soon headlining three series of his own and guest-starring in virtually every Marvel book in the early-90s.
– The violence during the Punisher’s execution of those goons is like something out of a Paul Verhoeven movie. Holy moley. But this (and we’ll see more of it as the episodes go on) also takes its cues from the over-the-top ridiculousness and gore of Garth Ennis’ tenure as Punisher writer, often with his Preacher creative partner Steve Dillon on art.
Also, did I hear that this place is the Byrne Club? It’s probably a coincidence, but John Byrne is one of the most celebrated Marvel artists of the ’70s and ’80s.
– We return to Josie’s Bar in this episode, a familiar haunt to Daredevil fans (we covered this in our season one viewing guide). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want a more authentic Josie’s experience while in NYC, go to Billymark’s West. Go there and spend lots of money on lots of cheap drinks before NYC replaces it with an artisinal vape shop or a luxury salon for cats or something similarly terrible.
Or you can go to the bar that they actually film in…that would be Brooklyn’s Turkey’s Nest Tavern. That’s if you feel like going to Brooklyn, something that the MTA makes increasingly difficult these days.
Anyway, back to the important fictional stuff…
– It’s interesting that they’ve chosen to make a character like “Grotto” such a central figure in this series. Grotto was really just a low level grunt, and an associate of Turk’s (and we’ll see more of Turk this year…more on him down below). But he coincidentally first appeared in the same issue that first introduced another central character for this season, Elektra. That would be 1981’s Daredevil #168, by (who else?) Frank Miller.
He never had these kinds of run-ins with the Punisher, Nelson & Murdock, or anything else, though. He was just someone else for DD to beat the living crap out of.
– You’ll hear the words “war zone” a lot in relation to how things look after Punisher has been around. Funny enough, his third solo title was called Punisher: War Zone. So was his third (and final) movie.
– Is the scene where Punisher has hung these goons on meathooks from a comic? It seems like the kind of outrageous violence that Garth Ennis would gleefully write, but I’m not sure if it’s from somewhere specific.
– Officer Brett Mahoney is back, but that isn’t much of a surprise. You may recognize him from some minor Marvel Comics, but also from Daredevil Season 1.
– There’s a crack about how The Punisher is “not fond of the Irish” considering the number he did on those gangsters. In the comics, it was once revealed that Punisher’s last name of Castle was actually a shortening/Americanization of Castiglione, a Sicilian name, so Frank’s distaste for Irish gangsters in particular could be a little bit of a play on the old Irish/Italian gang rivalries in NYC.
Or maybe I’m just reading into this too much.
– Turk is back! Turk is basically the bad penny who keeps turning up in Daredevil stories. He’s really great on this show, and you almost feel bad for him when he’s asking DD to let him go. That’s about in line with his portrayal in most comics. His line about how “we both know I’ll be back out by the end of the month” could be a sly reference to comics’ monthly publication schedule, and how Turk just always seemed to be around, no matter how many times he got his ass handed to him.
I really love Rob Morgan in this role.
– So, we finally have an actual Agents of SHIELD crossover on a Marvel Netflix show. It’s not what you expect, though. The Dogs of Hell appeared in Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 15. That was the one where Asgardian temptress Lorelei came to town to make all the menfolk sweat a little.
– Daredevil and Punisher have a proud history of rooftop fights, but we’ll talk more about one of their most famous ones in a future episode. Be patient! The Punisher did shoot Daredevil in one of their earliest encounters (Daredevil #183) but it was with a tranquilizer dart.
So now here’s what I’m drawing a blank on from this episode, and maybe you good folks can help me out. I’ve got nothing on the names Alameda or Jacinto, but if anyone has any ideas where they might fit, I’m all ears. Also, who are the Detectives working the Punisher crime scene? I’m out of ideas, there, as far as potential comic book connections go.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 2: “Dogs to a Gunfight”
“As Murdock recovers from an attack, Foggy and Karen fight to protect their new client from both the law and the Kitchen’s newest vigilante.”
– Mahoney’s joke about how the new vigilante is taking guys out “in a Death Wish way” is amusing. In case you’re, I dunno, under 30, Death Wish was a movie starring Charles Bronson, about a man who starts shooting street criminals after his family is attacked. Despite what I wrote earlier about Death Wish having an influence on the creation of the Punisher, I am an idiot. Tomer down in the comments kindly pointed out that Amazing Spider-Man #129 pre-dates the book that Death Wish was based on by several months!
– There’s something to be said about Daredevil losing his powers here, albeit temporarily. Superman gave up his powers in Superman II. Spider-Man lost his powers in Spider-Man 2. So here we are in Daredevil Season 2, Episode 2, and Matt is briefly without his enhanced senses after that run-in with the Punisher.
There were two instances during Frank Miller’s tenure (both during the Elektra era) where Matt’s senses either deserted him or went haywire. Once was in Daredevil #177, and the other in Daredevil #183. Neither appears to have much to do with what happened here, but it was pointed out to me by a nice anonymous person in the comments, and I figured it’s worth noting.
I’m kinda glad that they aren’t going down that road this time, because seriously, enough.
– Michelle Hurd is back as DA Samantha Reyes. You last saw her on Jessica Jones, though.
– Blake Tower first appeared in Daredevil #124, where he was created by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown. He’s always been one of Daredevil’s allies, although he’s kinda doing it on the sly on this show. At least for now.
– Karen is starting to allude to her mysterious past again with cracks like “what if I deserve it” and “drawing this stuff my way.” I would happily go into detail about this, but it may spoil future seasons of the show, and I’m not sure what’s really fair game here. But that all comes to a head in Daredevil: Born Again, a story that absolutely, 100% will make for an incredible season of Daredevil in the future. And a character from Born Again already spent some time with us on Jessica Jones Season 1, too.
– I’m not crazy, and the word “Killdozer” is totally mentioned in this episode after all. There’s a really minor Marvel armored character named Killdozer, and Marvel did a graphic novel adaptation of an old sci-fi prose novel, as well. Voice of Reason also reminded me of the band, too. I could kinda see Frank listening to Killdozer, now that I think about it.
Melvin Potter is back! He’s still promising “Betsy” that he won’t be doing anything illegal anymore. Now, I wrote several entries about Melvin and his possible future as the semi-villainous Gladiator in my notes for season one, but he quickly picks up his trademark circular blades this time, which is one more step towards his Gladiator-dom.
This might be a coincidence, but you can see that one of Frank’s Crates has 007 stenciled on it. You know, the guy with the license to kill. Frank, on the other hand, is unlicensed, but that doesn’t stop him!
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 3: “New York’s Finest”
“Trapped face-to-face with the Punisher, Daredevil wrestles with the morality of vigilante justice. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen work to save the firm.”
– Alright, can this be more spoiler-y than usual here for a minute or two?
The nun who is tending to “Matty” in the dreamlike opening at St. Agnes is almost certainly going to turn out to be Matt Murdock’s mother. Whether she’s still at St. Agnes or not is another story, but I’d bet good money (actually, I will do no such thing…I’m writer with very little money and I’m an extraordinarily bad gambler) that Father Lantom totally knows what’s going on.
– Also…and this isn’t a comic book reference or anything, but I need to get it off my chest. Can we please have a moratorium on “good morning sunshine” as a funny/ironic greeting for people who wake up in bad situations? That’s some hack-ass nonsense and Daredevil should be better than this.
– Daredevil waking up chained up with the Punisher looming over him is more than a little reminiscent of “The Choice” from 2001’s The Punisher #3 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. That’s where we end up with the whole “gun taped to Matt’s hand” thing.
See? I told you there would be lots of Ennis/Dillon Punisher stuff on this show! We wrote a little more about “The Choice” (and other cool DD/Punisher stories) right here.
– For the first time in the history of this show, Charlie Cox’s accent slips a little when he’s getting aggravated with Frank Castle.
– Remember what I said earlier about Castle being an Americanization of Castiglione? Of course Frank Castle is a Catholic!
– Frank’s comparison of a soldier’s mentality to that of someone who wears a mask is actually a fairly apt takedown of the secret identity trope in superhero mythology. As of now, Daredevil and Ant-Man are really the only characters in this version of the Marvel Universe who maintain traditional interpretations of a secret identity (although Spider-Man is about to change that once he comes on the scene in Captain America: Civil War). (thanks to the lycanthropic Lawrence Talbot for keeping me honest here)
– It’s not clear quite how serious Frank is about killing that old man on the roof and how much of the gun-cocking is for Matt’s benefit. Even in the earliest days of the character, Punisher was borderline obsessed with not harming innocents, even pain-in-the-ass interlopers like Spider-Man.
The old guy he’s talking with served in Vietnam, and Punisher was originally conceived as a Vietnam veteran, before Marvel’s sliding timeline moved him into more recent wars.
Some of Jon Bernthal’s mannerisms in this scene, and maybe even his close cropped cut on the sides is faintly reminiscent of another misguided gun happy NYC icon, Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. We have more on that classic movie right here if you’re in the mood.
– It seems that Claire Temple has “pissed someone off” at her current job. This will help facilitate her move out of Hell’s Kitchen and into Harlem, where we’ll probably see a lot more of her on the upcoming Luke Cage series.
Just as a side note, how completely wonderful is Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson in these hospital scenes?
– The Dogs of Hell are (of course) listening to all-time classic Motorhead song, “The Ace of Spades” (Lemmy, we all thought you were immortal). Any chance that when we finally get to meet Bullseye on this show, he’ll be a former Dogs of Hell member? Nah, probably not.
Look, folks, cut me some slack. I’m hard up to see some Bullseye action, so I’m looking for anything that can get me through, so I’m even seeing Bullseye in an otherwise routine song playing in the background.
– And, of course, the epic fight scene that tops this episode off is a kind of homage to the spectacular hallway fight from season 1 episode 2. This one is certainly longer, but I can’t help but feel it’s a little too self-conscious in its attempt to “out badass” that one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool…but it feels less organic than that one.
Also, for all Matt’s talk about not killing anyone, there’s simply no way that a couple of these guys who are getting knocked down flights of stairs here aren’t sustaining lethal injuries.
– I’m sure I don’t have to point out what this x-ray of Frank Castle’s head looks like…right?
I didn’t find anything on any of the names that Karen mentions to Blake Tower, and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Marvel connections there. But if you know something I don’t, throw ’em in the comments or give me a shout on Twitter!
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 4: “Penny and Dime”
“Karen uncovers shocking facts about the Punisher, who finds himself hunted by a powerful force in Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil ponders his next moves.”
– This episode wastes no time in introducing Finn Cooley. Finn was created by Garth Ennis (there’s that name again!) and Leandro Fernandez in 2004. He was introduced (and dispatched) in the same Punisher story that introduced Nesbitt. Finn sticks around a little bit longer, though.
The Finn of the comics was a little more, ummmm…distinctive looking. More on that in a minute, though.
Can I just point out how happy I am to see Tony Curran return as a villain again? He was nothing less than wonderful as Datak Tarr on Defiance, so this was a pleasant surprise. I really miss this guy.
– You don’t take Punisher’s dog from him. You just don’t do it. Poor, terrified doggie.
– The Punisher making his mobile HQ a van has plenty of precedent from the comics. He used to drive around a mobile command center known as his “battle van.” What we get in this episode is a pretty low-key version of it, but it’s definitely a piece of his comic book history.
– Now that Melvin is getting paranoid about stuff like the Punisher running around, he’s starting to build his own armor, too. Here’s another look at what he usually looks like on the page…
(ummmm…he’s the one on the left)
I do wonder who his “old contacts” are who are looking for outfits and gear, though.
Also, you can totally spot Stilt-Man’s armor and legs in the background of his workshop again, just like we did in season one.
– George Bachs talks about “suits” who came to visit Frank Castle while he was comatose. I have to wonder if any of these might have been SHIELD agents.
– It turns out that Frank Castle is a Navy Cross recipient. That’s the second highest honor a soldier can receive, so that should give you an idea of what a supreme and selfless badass Frank was during his time in the military. There are plenty of notable real world Navy Cross recipients, but one in particular (who also happened to be a Marine) stands out: World War II hero John Basilone. Stick with me for a second, and I promise I’ll bring this back to something superhero related in a minute.
You may know Basilone’s name from HBO’s The Pacific. If you’re looking for any kind of additional Marvel connection there, I feel there was more than a hint of Basilone’s “I’m more use as a soldier fighting the actual war than staying stateside as a propaganda tool” narrative in Steve Rogers’ story in Captain America: The First Avenger. By the way, thanks to Bricketh for reminding me that Bernthal also had a role in The Pacific, as Basilone’s best friend!
The series is taking a similar approach to Frank’s origin story as Jessica Jones did to hers. They’re alluding to it and teasing it out throughout the season. It doesn’t look like we’re going to have to watch Frank Castle’s family die in order to know that they did, and that’s just fine.
– Remember when I pointed out above that the Finn Cooley of the comics had some, ummm…distinguishing features? This is what I meant:
I don’t think Finn is coming back, by the way, but the fact that he took a blast to the face from Frank Castle seems like it’s kind of a reference to what Finn’s comic book counterpart ended up looking like.
– Frank and Matt have their little heart to heart in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. That place is incredible, and you should totally take a walk through it some time, as some of New York’s most famous (and infamous) figures are buried there. You might even spot me visiting some relatives (none of whom are famous or infamous, so don’t worry about that).
If this were Cypress Hills cemetery, I’d say that the show is setting up the Danny Ketch version of Ghost Rider, but it isn’t, and probably wouldn’t be anyway. But wouldn’t that be cool?
The shot of DD looming over the cemetery like that reminds me of this Daredevil cover by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, too…
If you want more on Elektra, well, I feel it’s more appropriate to save that for the next episode…
As usual, if I missed anything for this one, drop it in the comments or hit me on Twitter, and I’ll make the updates as soon as I can.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 5: “Kinbaku”
“A former lover arrives in Hell’s Kitchen and turns Murdock’s world upside down. Karen digs for truth about the Punisher.”
– Alright, we’re just gonna go ahead and call this one the Elektra episode, since this is her proper introduction.
Elektra first appeared in 1981’s Daredevil #168 by Frank Miller, the same issue that introduced us to the somewhat less influential in the history of comics Grotto. Elektra became a rather transgressive, even subversive character shortly after her original stint in these Frank Miller comics, but that’s an entire article in itself, and something that we’ll have live on the site (and linked here) soon enough.
The origins of her relationship with Matt are a little different than the comics, but that’s not terribly important.
The joyride in the red sportscar, though, is straight out of the after-the-fact origin story expansion Daredevil: The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. That was the same comic that brought us Matt’s ninja-esque proto-DD suit in season one.
– Matt overhears one of the party guests saying “I like the way that The Jets are playing this year.” That’s how you know this is a flashback, because the Jets do nothing but give me agita.
– Sorry to disappoint everyone, Foggy is reading The New York Bulletin in this episode. There’s still no sign of The Daily Bugle yet, despite the fact that Spider-Man and his supporting cast are now available to Marvel Studios. I know, I know…it’s not really important. I’m just impatient, that’s all.
But later in the episode, when Karen visits the Bulletin‘s offices, you can see some framed headlines on the walls. There’s the expected “Battle of New York” front page referencing The Avengers, and a follow up about the new Stark Tower. But you can also spot one that says “Cybertek Settles.” Cybertek is the company that created notorious cyborg, Deathlok, and we’ve seen them show up on Agents of SHIELD. So that’s two Agents of SHIELD references this season…three if we choose to believe that the “suits” visiting Frank in the hospital were SHIELD agents, although that’s kind of just in my imagination.
UPDATE courtesy of Tyler Parrish in the comments! One of the headlines in the archives reads “Broadway Bimbos Busted,” a potential reference to the brothel that a pre-supervillain Typhoid Mary worked at. I’m investigatin this one further, too…
– “It’s not like our boy was out collecting for the Red Cross.” There’s a great line in the original Dirty Harry that mirrors what Foggy says pretty closely, and it’s pretty awesome. Check it out here.
– I know it’s almost certainly coincidental, but the infiltration of the fictional Yakatomi Building and the cat-and-mouse game that follows just can’t help but remind me a tiny bit of Die Hard (which takes place in the fictional Nakatomi Plaza).
– This season does a good job of not over-sexualizing Elektra, without sacrificing the seductive elements of her character. But that awkward and incredibly unsexy sex scene in the boxing ring at Fogwell’s Gym seems like it comes out of the very worst parts of Frank Miller’s subconscious. So bad that it’s giggle-inducing, which isn’t something I associate with any of the Marvel Netflix projects.
– We’re all familiar enough with fictional evil corporation Roxxon from various Marvel Studios thingies and the comics that I don’t have to go into too much detail here, right? RIGHT?!?
But the fact that Asano Robotics is a Japanese arm of Roxxon is, I believe, something new. It’s also the second Asano Robotics mention we’ve had on this show. The first came during season one, episode seven, when one of their logos was visible on a shipping crate in the background:
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 6: “Regrets Only”
“A lethal foe returns with a vengeance, Foggy and Murdock risk the firm to ensure justice, and Karen sees a different side of the Punisher.”
– I believe this is the first time we’ve explicitly seen Matt’s batons convert into his cane, and I’m way more excited than I probably need to be about it. That’s right out of the comics. I’ll have more detail on this in a bit.
So, you have to stick with me on this one. When Matt and Elektra are creeping around where they shouldn’t, you can see a monitor bank, which is monitoring…the 13th floor elevators in the building. Now, having a monitor bank that specifically says “13th floor elevators” tells me something, because those three words don’t have to appear in that order. What does it tell me?
That somebody is a fan of this really cool band from the ’60s…
Now, I’m sure there’s a more rational explanation here, mostly about how the 13 is considered unlucky and for awhile, many buildings didn’t have a 13th floor, which ties into the mystical weirdness that Elektra is looking to steal here, but c’mon, is there any other site out there giving you some quality garage-psych with your weekend dose of Daredevil nerdery? No. No there is not. Crank this up when you need a break in between episodes.
– And with one line, “who said I was Yakuza” we know that The Hand are in town again to make everybody’s lives miserable. Well, not our lives. OUR lives are going to be awesome, because it means there is going to be so much killer ninja action for the rest of this season!
Earlier in the party, Elektra said hello to “Mr. Hiroshi.” This is almost certainly Lord Hiroshi, who was the leader of a faction of The Hand for some time.
Anybody have any idea if Mr. Roth, the Public Defender, is supposed to be anybody from the comics? Probably not, but I’ve got nothing. You know the drill. Drop it in the comments or yell at me on Twitter.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 7: “Semper Fidelis”
“Murdock and Foggy take on the DA in the trial of the century, but their client refuses to play along. Murdock struggles to balance his dual identities.”
– I can’t even begin to count the times that Punisher has been in prison in the Marvel Universe, so I’m not going to bother. It happens a fucking lot, though.
– You hear the jurors mention both Bernie Goetz and Son of Sam, two famous maniacs with guns from New York City history.
The “Son of Sam” killer was David Berkowitz, who killed six people and wounded seven others, all by gun, between 1976 and 1977. He heard voices of demons who told him to kill and wrote letters bragging about his crimes. Spike Lee made a pretty good movie set around this called Summer of Sam, which is totally worth checking out.
Bernie Goetz was less nefarious, but not necessarily a great dude, either. He shot four guys on the subway when they attempted to mug him. Self defense is one thing, but firing shots on a subway car is something else. Coincidentally, one of the would-be muggers shares a name with a superhero, Barry Allen. The Goetz incident happened in 1984, when NYC was a ridiculously unsafe hellhole, and it’s an era that helped spawn the “grim n’ gritty” era of comics, of which Frank Miller’s Daredevil is a piece, and it coincides nicely with the rise of Punisher’s popularity.
– This episode marks the first time we really get some proper Nelson & Murdock courtroom drama. I can almost imagine an alternate universe where Daredevil airs, not on Netflix, but on ABC or a similar broadcast network. Perhaps Earth-2 Daredevil (wait, wrong universe, sorry) has the same cast and reasonably similar production values.
Ah, but that theoretical show isn’t a cinematic, binge-watch affair. Instead, it’s a network procedural, heavy on the courtroom drama, and comparatively light on the superheroics. I bet it would still be pretty cool, but not as cool as what we have here. Anyway, that was a weird digression, wasn’t it?
But the idea of two idealistic lawyers fighting in a seemingly unwinnable case recalls another recent Netflix success story, Making a Murderer. That’s probably a coincidence, though. Foggy Nelson is exceptionally good in these scenes, though.
– When DD and Elektra are in the railyard, you can see in the background that the Empire State Building is lit up blue and orange. Since this was shot in late summer/fall of 2015, those lights are in honor of our National League Champion New York Mets. For the record (and this is official, you can look it up), Spider-Man is a Mets fan, and I’m inclined to believe that perennial underdog (and the guy who fights for unwinnable cases in general) Matt Murdock is probably a Mets fan, too.
– This weird conspiracy surrounding the death of the Castle family isn’t from any comic book that I’ve read. If anybody knows something I don’t, well, you know what to do!
– This episode gives us our first reference to Elektra’s Dad (believe it or not), with Foggy pointing out that she’s “a diplomat’s daughter.” Also, the stuff about how Elektra nearly got Matt expelled is kind of analagous to their tumultuous relationship in the comics, too.
– This episode is the first time in the whole series where we really see how all three sides of Matt’s life intersect. We’ve had his personal vs. superhero stuff before, but we’ve never had the personal vs. professional vs. superhero element all converge like this. And in classic Marvel Comics fashion, none of them are working properly for him at the moment. It’s really great stuff.
– Alright, everyone…place your bets on what’s in the hole!
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 8: “Guilty as Sin”
“As the firm’s trial spins out of control, a figure from Matt’s past returns to deliver shocking revelations about the future of Hell’s Kitchen.”
– Well, this episode is now pretty safely “The Hand” episode of Daredevil, ain’t it? The Hand were first introduced in 1981’s Daredevil #174 by (who else?) Frank Miller. Since then, they’ve become the go-to ninja army of choice for Marvel. Elektra’s history is almost inextricably tied to that of The Hand, as well.
The Hand ninjas who were fighting with DD and Elektra around the big hole in the ground, though, well…those are probably undead ones. There’s all this talk about the exploration of immortality, and maybe that’s what the mysterious “Black Sky” from season one was all about. See? In the space of just a couple of episodes, two mysteries from season one have been re-opened (the other being Asano Robotics).
I was half expecting the young ninja who gets his throat cut to end up vanishing in a puff of smoke and pile of ash or something. They’re bound to give us this at some point. I’m also waiting to see if Nobu from season one was indeed intended as this show’s Kirigi stand-in, or if we still have time to meet him in the future.
Now, since this episode also brings back our favorite blind asshole, Stick, it makes sense that he’s the one to explain to the audience what the hell is going on. This gives us the first official mention of The Chaste, the order that Stick belongs to who are here to keep the Hand from getting out of control.
Remember how there was a big, scary guy that we saw Stick talking to at the end of season one, episode seven? Yeah, that was another member of The Chaste. So of Stick’s Chaste crew, we’ve now met Stick, Stone, and (I guess) Elektra. And maybe whoever was driving Stick’s car in this one counts, too. I dunno.
– Elektra is a character who has had a complicated relationship with death throughout her history.
– The incomprable Clancy Brown is here as Colonel Schoonover. Jameson Steed helpfully pointed out that Schoonover appeared in the early issues of Punisher: War Journal by Carl Potts and Jim Lee in 1989, and he’s a bit of a footnote to the whole thing. But now that I know what issues these are from (and there have been other helpful suggestions courtesy of Shawn Thompson and others!), I’m going to do some quick reading to try and flesh this out some more.
– I’m not familiar with this tale of heroism that the Colonel relates on the stand. Is this something from some Punisher origin story book that I haven’t read? I’m not (as of this writing, at least) all that familiar with Punisher: Born for example. Please enlighten me, internet!
– The Punisher is always such a stoic character, and I’ve never seen him behave like he does in the courtroom here. Even the ultra-violent Garth Ennis written stuff, Punisher is deadpan, and never lets his anger get the better of him. He’s certainly always played low-key on screen, too. Jon Bernthal is quite brilliant here.
– Frank’s walk through the prison with everyone letting him know that they know who he is and that he’s stuck with them is reminiscent of the opening of excellent Punisher story, Circle of Blood. There’s also a hint of Rorschach’s prison days in Watchmen.
– As an aside, it would appear that no season of one of these Marvel Netflix shows is complete without a vile surgery scene.
– One other side note, I know the big stairwell fight in episode three was supposed to be the “showcase” action moment for this season, and it was cool, but it was a little bit “look what we can do!” The fight with Matt and the ninja in his apartment I felt was at least as effective and less gimmicky.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 9: “Seven Minutes in Heaven”
“Castle gets an offer he can’t refuse. Foggy and Murdock question the future of their firm, but Karen won’t give up so easily.”
Since there aren’t a ton of specific Marvel references in this episode, I’m not going chronologically, I’m just grouping things as they make sense to me, just to make things read a little better. Hopefully. You never can tell with me.
Welcome back to the Wilson Fisk show! Oh man, I didn’t realize how much we were missing Vincent D’Onofrio until he showed up. Kingpin always did look best in white, didn’t he? It’s fun that we get another few minutes of “fill in the blanks” for Fisk after the end of last season, and it’s also a nice contrast between how Castle was received at the prison compared to Fisk.
I wonder if we’ll get to actually see Vanessa again this season, or if she’s off the table. Despite being in jail, Fisk certainly isn’t “ruined” by any stretch of the imagination, and seems to be in control of his situation. While I’m sure he hates Daredevil plenty, we’re probably not in Born Again “I’m going to ruin your life and the lives of everyone you care about” territory…yet. I promise, one of these days I will stop referring to Born Again at every opportunity.
Wilson has spent plenty of time in the can in the comics, but none of the names here ring any bells. Certainly not Dutton. I’ll look for some more specific examples for updates soon, too.
I also absolutely love Fisk’s fighting style here. I was really let down by the big Daredevil/Kingpin punch-up at the end of Season One. The whole thing felt a little canned, and didn’t quite fit the tone of the rest of the series. Having him wail on Frank with that clubbing/free-swinging style was pretty cool. It’s all about that size advantage.
Speaking of size, we had some impressions of how strong Fisk is supposed to be in the first season, but holy moley, did you see how much he was putting up on that bench?!? That’s one of the things with Fisk. He’s a big guy, but it’s not fat, it’s solid muscle. Showing him benching what must have been about 500 lbs was a nice way to illustrate that.
– Fisk’s lawyer is an interesting case, though. He’s Benjamin Donovan. Donovan was created by Steve Englehart and Billy Graham in the pages of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire in 1973. The Ben Donovan of the comics was a much bigger, almost super strong guy, though.
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again when the Luke Cage series hits on September 30th.
– I can’t find any references to a villain/drug dealer named “the Blacksmith” but feel free to correct me. There was a minor character called Blacksmith in Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s underrated Avengers Initiative comic, but he was a Skrull, and that’s probably not what they’re going for here. ’90s Avengers relic, Rage, aka Elvin Haliday also briefly went by the name of Blacksmith, but again…that’s not where we’re going, either.
– It’s not a Daredevil story until Nelson & Murdock split up!
– Does anyone recognize the weird blood vat thingy that the Hand is working on down in the Roxxon warehouse? I’m drawing a blank.
However, Alan Villegas helpfully pointed out in the comments that the Japanese characters on the vat stand for “rebirth” or “resurrection.”
But who cares? We’re getting undead ninjas! And Peter Shinkoda is back as Nobu! You know what that means? He’s totally Kirigi after all!!! Or maybe not. I feel like I’ve been chasing Kirigi around these articles since season one.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 10: “The Man in the Box”
“Murdock and Foggy get caught in the crossfire of Punisher’s revenge. Karen and Murdock dig for the truth in very different ways.”
The title of this episode shares a name with a big hit by Alice in Chains. The tune, “Man in the Box” is supposedly about censorship, but it’s general themes seem to run nicely with this episode. For one thing, there’s that whole misery/suffering thing that “St. Matthew” here sure loves doing to himself so much.
But the repeated line about eyes being sewn shut could refer to everyone’s refusal to see what’s in front of them, notably DA Reyes (RIP) trying to cover her tracks as the Castle cover-up gets deeper and deeper. By all means, dig into this for further meaning at your convenience, too.
– Of course Frank and Wilson Fisk are housed in Cell Block D. Legendary super prison Alcatraz held its worst inmates in Cell Block D. But, well…don’t be surprised if Matt ends up there one day himself. Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark had a Daredevil story called “The Devil in Cell Block D” (we wrote a little bit more about that one here) and, well, yeah. It’s pretty much what you think it is.
– Speaking of which…remember what I said above about Fisk not quite being at the Born Again (I did it again…sigh) point of “fuck this Matt Murdock guy so hard that his ancestors feel it, I swear” craziness? Well, we may have taken a nice step towards that here with Fisk losing his shit like that.
By the way, Matt signs that form with his right hand. I’m calling bullshit, because like lots of great boxers (and also like this writer!), Matt Murdock is a southpaw.
God, this show is just wasting my time if they’re not going to bother getting basic details like that right! Why do I even bother?!? (I’m joking, calm down)
– The Blacksmith’s actions (if not the Blacksmith himself) with all of these narcotics will probably have some kind of impact on the Luke Cage series. Whenever you’re talking about people moving such ridiculous quantities of hard drugs, you have to figure that Luke Cage is going to have to step in to protect his neighborhood.
– It’s funny when Karen Page mentions that Frank Castle “has his own internal code.” Reyes’ reaction, and even Karen’s own headshake, are kind of an acknowledgment of how unsustainably real world bugnuts the Punisher’s mission would actually be.
Deborah Ann Woll has been brilliant this season, but I have to say, Karen’s little crusade to uncover the truth about Frank is starting to irk me. Not because I don’t think Karen Page is a smart/strong enough character to handle it or anything like that. But because it just sorta feels like her connection to the New York Bulletin is kind of a “square peg/round hole” situation.
It’s like the writers realized how badly they screwed up by killing Ben Urich last year. What’s happening right now really screams for the Urich character, and making Karen his stand-in here just…it’s not quite right. It’s only really a crime, I guess, because we sort of know which character this stuff was really written for, but he’s playing a harp and hanging out on a cloud these days, so, yeah.
– You can now add a “Foggy in peril!” chip to your bingo card. I’m surprised it’s taken us this long to get a “Foggy Nelson in mortal danger” scene. The better to give Matt existential crises about.
– I got really excited about Jacques Duchamp, thinking that maybe he was Moon Knight’s buddy. Then I remembered that’s Jean-Paul Duchamp, and there’s probably no relation. Then again, Moon Knight is so perfectly suited to this universe that I have to figure he’s inevitable. Unless my fellow hornheads out here have any idea who he’s supposed to be, I’m out of ideas. Maybe he’s Jean-Paul’s brother?
Hold the phone! Loran Nagle thinks that perhaps the mysterious Jacques might actually be Jacques Duquesne, known as the Swordsman, the guy who helped train Hawkeye. Is it possible that the subtitles betrayed us here?
Hey, at least we know where Elektra got her sai now, though, so that’s cool.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 11: “.380”
“The Punisher’s war continues, and so does the body count in Hell’s Kitchen. Murdock tries to finish what the DA started.”
So this is one of those episodes that makes me wonder if all of these Marvel Netflix shows really need to be a solid thirteen installments every time. There’s a fair share of action, and more of Jon Bernthal being brilliant, but an awful lot of time is spent getting Claire Temple out of her current job. Of course, that’s in service of getting her up to Harlem to hang out with Luke Cage in September but it’s still a little off.
– But if we just focus on the Punisher stuff this time around, it’s another story. This is the closest we get to a straight up Punisher episode.
It’s kind of amusing that Frank is in the car zoning out to “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It’s a happy tune with fairly optimistic lyrics, although some of them hint at a redemption that surely isn’t coming for Frank, “shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be.”
– The scene in the diner when those two goons come for him, though, well…George Lucas and Han Solo post-1997 could learn a thing or two from Frank here. You always shoot first. Always.
– I thought maybe the second goon with the serious Frank-inflicted facial damage would turn out to be a backdoor origin story for Jigsaw or something but, whoops. Bang.
– Frank heading down to the waterfront to pick goons off one at a time reminded me a little of a scene in the somewhat unfairly maligned Punisher movie that starred Dolph Lundgren. I genuinely like that flick. I wrote much more about it right here.
– Also, aside from the general wonderfulness of ninjas scaling the side of a building with practical effects, and Daredevil fighting ninjas in general, we also get something we haven’t seen on this show yet: a midair rescue. And not just any midair rescue. We just don’t see enough of Daredevil actually swinging on things on this show.
This one definitely seemed light on the Marvel stuff, so let me know what I missed!
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 12: “The Dark at the End of the…”
“Daredevil goes underground to save an old friend. Karen follows a dangerous lead. The law firm of Nelson & Murdock may have reached its final chapter.”
– I got so used to the constant flashbacks in season one that this one, especially coming so late in the series, genuinely threw me for a loop. After the ones we had during Elektra’s intro, it was back to business as usual, and now here we get young Elektra…who is a thorough badass, by the way.
During her brutal training sequence, she does that weird little backflip, kick/stomp maneuver that we’ve seen Matt do a few times this season. That’s a nice touch, and it’s clearly something that came from Stick’s training, not something he came up with on his own.
– It is impossible for me to see ninjas underground and not think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And with the Hand being so prevalent in this final third of the season, it’s best to remind everybody once again that Frank Miller’s Daredevil comics were massive inspirations to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird when they created the TMNT. I mean, it’s all right there, the Foot Clan? The fact that Raph basically looks like a turtle version of Elektra albeit an unsexy one? Stick/Splinter?
So yeah, subterranean ninjas = TMNT reference for me. I’m not ashamed of this.
– Does anybody have any ideas who Maya Rosewood’s redheaded character is supposed to be? Thomas Moore (via Twitter) hit me up thinking she might be an early version of Typhoid Mary, but there’s nothing at all to back that up. But she did just seem to come out of nowhere, didn’t she? That would kind of make sense.
– In more concrete news, Laurence Mason as credited as “Star” in this episode. Star is a member of Stick’s The Chaste. We actually got a lot of them this year, didn’t we?
– But after all this time to learn that Elektra is the Black Sky? Well…that sure was a surprise. But it’s a reasonable in-story explanation for one of Elektra’s many, many destinies. She has spent considerable time in the Marvel Universe as the leader of the Hand. We’re not going to worry about how much of that time was while she was actually a Skrull impostor or anything like that because, dear reader, that way lies madness.
Daredevil Season 2 Episode 13: “A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen”
“In the season finale, Daredevil is backed into the ultimate showdown for his own life — and the future of Hell’s Kitchen.”
Well. That was satisfying, wasn’t it?
– So, for one thing, we get the most satisfying connection to Jessica Jones (yes, there were namedrops, but those don’t really count) thus far. An actual appearance by Jeri Hogarth as she recruits Foggy is pretty awesome. This means that Foggy could very well be dealing with Alias Investigations. Given how well he handled himself in tough situations this year, I think he can stand up to Ms. Jones’ withering wit.
– I love that we got a little more time with Turk Barrett before the end of the season. And the fact that Daredevil actually ends up saving Turk is another illustration of their complicated relationship and long history. Turk’s never been evil, he’s just a lousy, small-time crook.
– So Daredevil’s now fully-functional/comic accurate billy club is unsurprisingly designed by Melvin Potter. But in the comics, guess who designed it? Oh, that’s right, the guy who had a hand in virtually everything you love about Marvel Studios, Jack Kirby.
See, Daredevil didn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as his other Marvel counterparts in the ’60s. He had a not-great costume to start with, and despite the blindness and the radar sense, he didn’t have something as neat as Captain America’s mighty shield or Spidey’s webshooters. Enter Mr. Jack Kirby and the billy club, to give DD some cool accessories.
NOTE: This next image isn’t by Jack Kirby, it’s by Bill Everett, and it appeared in 1964’s Daredevil #1…but the club was Jack’s idea, as legend has it.
And then what do they do? They give us the billy club/nunchucks/wire swinging thing. “Surely,” I said to myself, “there will be no swinging from the wire, though.” I love being wrong about stuff like that. I feel strangely vindicated by all of this. I’m really, really happy.
But if you think that’s the nerdiest thing I’m going to admit to in this, well, think again.
– It’s cool that Punisher gets his costume, right? We can all agree on that. But it’s the way that skull logo comes to be that really is making me exceptionally happy this time around. Why? I’m glad you asked!
So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie. Frank Castle doesn’t wear a skull in that movie (but he does have these cool knives with skull handles). But the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie, which was based on an earlier draft of the script, showed Frank spray-painting a white skull onto a black bullet-proof vest near the climax of the movie. I don’t know if this was an intentional nod to that or not, but it’s still pretty cool.
– Frank digs out that old disc that says “MICRO” on it. That’s a reference to Microchip, a tech guy who spent years assisting Frank in his war on crime. It looks like Frank has decided he can use a little help, so we should get to meet Micro in future installments.
Shane Dobbs also kindly pointed out that this isn’t the first mention of Micro in the MCU or the MCTVU or whatever. Agents of SHIELD brought him up in season 2 episode 7 as a hacktivist that Daisy/Skye knew of. Hell, we even noted it in our review at the time!
– Nobu getting chucked off the roof like that is another thing that reminds me of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, notably how Shredder croaks at the end of the incomparably great 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
– Tom Potts pointed out something kinda cool…Nobu’s decapitation comes at the hands of someone in a brown trenchcoat (and that’s where the sword gets hidden afterwards). Considering this season also had Clancy Brown in it, someone wanted to have an amusing Highlander in-joke in there, and Stick seems to be the guy to deliver it. And c’mon, that’s the only way to stop an immortal, right?!?
I’ve been trying to make Nobu our Kirigi stand-in since last year, but clearly Nobu is just Nobu and not Kirigi. And now he’s headless and probably not coming back. But if he comes back again he’s totally Kirigi. I don’t know what to believe anymore. But Nobu also kind of substituted for another character here…
– While there was no sign of Bullseye, Nobu took over one of that character’s primary functions when he kills Elektra. I was fully expecting her to survive this season, until Matt’s little “I’ll follow you anywhere” speech, at which point, I knew she was toast. Still, really powerful stuff, couched in a spectacular rooftop ninja battle, and you guys know I love me some rooftop ninja battles.
Also, it’s good to see this show has been following along with the Frank Miller tradition of “puncture wounds managing to get through everything except that final layer of clothing” (thanks @MTylerJones!) We saw it when Elektra stabbed Stick’s driver, for example. And then, of course, there’s Elektra’s death scene.
– Elektra’s burial gown looks more like her traditional comic book outfit than anything she wore in the course of the season. And make no mistake, she will be back, more ruthless than ever, and commanding an army of Hand ninjas, because everything is wonderful.
And remember what we said above about the Japanese characters on the vat standing for “resurrection?” Well, it’s safe to say that Elektra will be back for Daredevil season 3.
I’m exhausted now, but I’ll be back to update this more throughout the weekend with stuff I missed. Keep ’em coming down in the comments and/or directly at me on Twitter, and we’ll make this the most comprehensive, nerdiest article imaginable!