Daredevil Season 2 Premiere Recap: “Bang”

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By: Karen Valenzuela (@VictoriaNoir89)

After last season of Marvel’s Daredevil blew my mind with the coolest long-take fight scene ever, fantastic character development, a wonderfully nuanced villain, brilliant storytelling, etc., to say I was excited about season two is an understatement.

I have been tasked with recapping season two’s episodes now that they’re all up on Netflix. Not bingeing all of the episodes at once has been the worst struggle, but I am determined to watch one episode at a time to make these recaps legitimate. Each episode’s recap will go up throughout the coming weeks, so keep a look out for those!

“Bang” is probably the most appropriate title for this season’s premiere episode. Watching it is like getting punched in the gut by excellence. The adrenaline rarely stops. And, much to my surprise, they introduce The Punisher almost right away. It’s gutsy and brilliant and very different from the way they took a few episodes to properly introduce Fisk in season one.

The episode begins with a brilliant slow pan through Hell’s Kitchen, letting the setting convey to us that the city is dealing with a scorching heat wave. You can hear the tension and anger bubbling up, the yelling, arguing, screaming coming out of the windows about broken air conditioners and other nonsense.

Then we get a taste of what Matt Murdock’s been up to since we left him at the end of season one. He’s still doling out vigilante justice in his red jumpsuit with the devil horns mask. Right off the bat, we’re gifted a spine-tingling sequence with three hooded burglars who seem to have no problem shooting police officers and taking innocent hostages in their attempt to get away. Daredevil sweeps in to take them out one by one, and I don’t mean to sound like I revel in the gruesome, but the way he stops each one is completely inventive, like an aesthetic feast.

foggy matt

In comes my favorite character from season 1, Mr. Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. He and Matt’s friendly banter hasn’t slowed at all if this episode is any indication. The chemistry between Foggy (Elden Henson) and Matt (Charlie Cox), “Avocados at Law,” is one of the best parts of the series. Foggy is once again put in the position of concerned friend/brother, since he discovered Matt’s other identity as Daredevil towards the end of last season. He has to wipe blood from last night’s skirmish off of Matt’s neck before anyone else sees it while they walk to work. And, as I’m sure we’ve all had to do with close friends at some point in time, he tries to dissuade his buddy from the dangerous midnight vigilante job, for fear Avocados at Law will only be one avocado at law if something happens to Matt.

Once they get to work, Karen Page, the third member of their law team – the pit to their avocados, if you will – has been holding down the fort all morning. Calming the potential clients, running the show, even getting called a “bad ass” by a large, burly bald man that looks like he came right out of a stereotypically scary biker gang. We immediately see just how difficult things are for them financially. In fact, Nelson & Murdock is currently broke. And it’s not hard to see why that is, as they continually accept rhubarb pie and other favors instead of actual monetary payment from their impoverished, beaten-down clients. It’s sweet, definitely. Honorable, for sure. But it’s also a really bad business model. This might create strife between the threesome as the season progresses.

Which takes us straight into our first look at what this season’s big baddie is capable of. A meeting of an Irish mob is interrupted by thousands of bullets crashing into the room and mowing down each and every member. It’s sudden, it’s grisly, and it’s quick. One of the mob’s errand boys, Grotto, is barely spared, and he scampers off and finds Nelson & Murdoch (and Karen) at their usual nighttime unwinding spot. He tells them the gang was mowed down “by an army;” that it couldn’t have been a rival gang. Then he promptly collapses in a heap, as he’s been running around town this whole time while slowly bleeding out.

matt karen

When Nelson & Murdock look into Grotto’s case, they discover that this sort of hit on a crime syndicate has been done recently. Someone is targeting gangs and mobs. They’ve got “training, knowledge, and hardware to take out half the city.” And so the Avocados at Law split up to do some good old-fashioned gum-shoeing.

Foggy Nelson goes full bad ass and heads for the hideout of the Dogs of Hell biker gang, a name Matt overheard at the scene of the Irish mob massacre. After Foggy just barely talks his way out of getting a major beating, one of the gang members softens a little when he’s reminded that Nelson & Murdock helped one of their members awhile back. The biker tells him they underwent a massacre themselves. A bunch of their members were mowed down in a similar fashion to what happened to the Irish, by an “army.”

Matt beats the crap out of a couple of arms buyers and their dealer to get information on where this “army” has been getting their weapons. He gets an address for a warehouse out of the dealer and crosses town to check the place out. What he finds there is seriously unsettling and gruesome; there are bodies hanging on hooks amidst giant slabs of cattle meat. Matt finds one of the victims still alive and pulls him off of the hook (shivers!!). Just before the man dies, he tells our hero that this isn’t an army…it’s one man. DUN DUN!!!

Meanwhile, Karen has been tasked with watching over Grotto in the hospital. He wakes up and tries to get out of there, afraid he’ll be found by whomever was responsible from the massacre he narrowly escaped a few hours earlier. His first mistake comes when he calls Karen “doll.” And his next mistake comes when he tells her, “You ain’t got the balls for what’s comin’.” Grotto, did you even watch season one? Karen doesn’t need balls to handle what’s coming, you small, stupid man. Seems his words were prophetic, though, because after we discover one man’s been doing all of this, we see said one man arrive at the hospital where Karen is protecting Grotto.

There’s nothing slow about his reveal. He walks right into the place with a massive shotgun hanging out of his coat. His entrance isn’t subtle. He knocks out a security guard, steals the ammo from his pistol, and whips the shotgun into his hands in a matter of seconds, all without losing his stride. Karen hears the commotion and peeks out of the door to see The Punisher swing around the corner with the shotgun at the ready. And what’s that about not having the balls, Grotto? Because she grabs the Irish mobster and yanks him out of there, in spite of having some crazy fool shooting at her with a shotgun as they make their escape.

The thing that’s really unsettling and fantastic about Jon Bernthal’s performance as The Punisher/Frank Castle is how calmly he walks through the halls of this hospital, shooting a shotgun without caring about anyone else around him. He doesn’t run after them, he doesn’t even hurry his step…He just strides along after them, taking a shot whenever he has it. Just when you think they’ve gotten away, a sniper bullet crashes through the window of their getaway car, then another…And we see that The Punisher’s on the roof with a sniper rifle, with Grotto in his crosshairs. He obviously planned for this, and it’s eerie how good he is at this whole assassination thing.

But his plans go awry when Daredevil shows up to stop him. The fight scene between the two is just so well done, from Daredevil’s quick punches and attacks from above to The Punisher’s ability to give it right back. The way the fight ends is jarring. It’s so sudden, even Daredevil seems surprised to find a gun pointed at his head. “Bang,” The Punisher says with a smirk, and he shoots without even blinking. There’s no fair play, no respect, just a quick shot. It smacks Daredevil right in the forehead and sends him spinning over the railing and out of sight.

This episode had some brilliant build-up, with witnesses hounding on the fact that this has to be an army doing all of this, until we discover it’s just one man. Excellent writing. By the time we get to watch Daredevil fight The Punisher, it’s electrifying. Plus, Karen is getting into the action in a big way already, and I’m not just talking about getting shot at by the main villain. Y’all see that pool cue action? Miss Page is making the moves on Matt Murdock, and it is not subtle. I sort of want to fist bump her and tell her she can do better at the same time.

Stick around, nerds. There are 12 more episodes and I’m half nervous/half excited because I’m sure I ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Catch all 13 episodes of season two of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix now, and stay tuned for my recap of episode two: “Dogs to a Gunfight”.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


    One Comment

  1. Rick DeOrioMarch 24th, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I absolutely loved season 2. I binge watched it because of my messed up back. Love the introduction of new “heroes.” Just as good or better than the first season!

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