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Well, it’s finally over. And as finales go, I think that topped last year’s slightly underwhelming punch-up, even if Nobu and his ninjas were never quite as compelling an antagonist as Fisk.
But first, the others: as predicted, Frank did indeed turn up to help Matt in the final battle, though perfunctory barely covers his role in the fight, which is a shame. Foggy gets kicked up to the big time, joining Jeri Hogarth’s firm (didn’t see that coming!) presumably so the supporting cast can all be in one place in time for The Defenders miniseries. And Karen gets a job as a reporter, though her expose on city government corruption got busted down to, er, a profile of The Punisher? So much for that Pulitzer, I guess.
But the fun stuff here was all about Matt and Elektra finally taking on The Hand and succeeding despite some genuinely hopeless odds. Weirdly, the promise of The Hand’s resurrection abilities meant that both Daredevil and Elektra felt vulnerable in this fight. During their breather, trapped like rats in a stairwell between two groups of advancing ninjas, it did genuinely feel like neither of them was going to make it, and I appreciate that level of character jeopardy in a fight.
Of course, the Hand’s plan – to undo Daredevil’s work by killing everyone he saved – felt driven by thematic ideas rather than any logical extension of the story. Karen being captured off-screen felt weirdly unsatisfying too, given how far she’s come in looking after herself this series. Back to damsel in distress role, so soon?
It’s hard not to watch this episode and note that Matt’s no-killing stance is increasingly tenuous. He’s been fine to inflict injuries that could cripple a man, and likewise beat people into virtual comas – but chucking a guy off a building does sort of cross the line between non-lethal self-defense and outright murder. Even if that man is a ninja with resurrection powers. Still, Stick ensured that he wasn’t going to be coming back to cause trouble again, and I’m down with anything that shows Stick in action (as you’ve probably learned from these reviews).
Elektra’s death was mildly surprising to me, given that I expected them to bring in Bullseye to kill her, but she does get impaled on her own sai like in the comics. That’s in Daredevil #181 by (you guessed it) Frank Miller. And like in the comics, it does seem as though The Hand will be bringing her back to life to work for them – but that’s probably season three territory. Her funeral was nice, though, even if those ninjas aren’t going to let her rest in peace.
I did enjoy the end-of-an-era feeling between Matt, Karen and Foggy as they all wrapped up Nelson & Murdock, and it does seem as though Matt has essentially chosen to be Daredevil full-time now, which completes an arc that’s been running since the start of the season. It’s gonna be hard to do any lawyering when he doesn’t have a firm to work for, at any rate.
As for Frank, he burns down his family’s house, breaking all links with his past – but not before he grabs a CD labelled “micro”. Any Punisher fan worth their salt will immediately be thinking of Microchip, the Punisher’s sometime ally who provides him with weapons and assistance. He first appeared in 1987’s The Punisher #4. More Defenders setup? Or hints at a possible solo Punisher series? Either way, what’s on that CD? His address?
And finally, it’s impossible not to talk about the very last scene of Matt giving Karen the good news that he is Daredevil. Long overdue, but also a bad idea for anyone who knows the comics, because Karen selling out Matt in a moment of weakness has caused him a lot of trouble over the years. You can read that story (written by Frank Miller. Again) in 1986’s Daredevil #227.
Ultimately, this ending felt like it could’ve spent a little more time wrapping up the season’s themes and ideas – it never quite all tied up as neatly as I was hoping it might, as evidenced by the almost total lack of the Punisher in the finale. And it feels like there are a lot of unanswered questions. Like what was that giant hole for, what were the brainwashed teenagers doing, and how did this season apparently take place over a long enough time span to encompass both a heatwave and big freeze. Maybe we’ll find out in The Defenders. Maybe it’ll take a third season of Daredevil. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.