foggy

The Supporting Cast

Foggy is still a problem. It may seem cruel to single out one actor in a large ensemble, but Elden Henson was woefully miscast back in season one and he remains woefully miscast now. He could be a fine actor in the right role, but he feels hopelessly lost at sea as the loyal, witty, and dapper Foggy Nelson, one of the great “sidekick” characters in all of Marvel Comics. The friendship between Matt and Foggy is one of the most defining aspects of the Daredevil mythos, the only tether our hero has to the ordinary world, and Henson simply can’t wrap his mouth around his dialogue. His chemistry with Matt is nonexistent. The threat of their friendship ending, which should feel like the end of the goddamn world, doesn’t register at all and this is a huge problem.

Also a huge problem: season one stupidly killed off investigative journalist Ben Urich and Vondie Curtis-Hall is painfully missed here, especially since a key subplot could have benefited from his presence. Urich is one of the Marvel universe’s great ordinary people, a fully realized character who knows how to navigate an insane world. Dispatching him so early is going to haunt the MCU for as long as it exists.

Thankfully, Deborah Ann Woll‘s Karen Page rises to the occasion. Matt and Foggy’s whip-smart paralegal was fine in season one, but she’s nothing short of great in season two, proving herself to be an invaluable member of the ensemble. She’s so good that she makes Foggy scenes watchable. She’s so good that we can understand why Matt would be torn between her and the the seductive, elusive Elektra. One of the show’s great masterstrokes is making her the eyes through which we discover Frank Castle. Through her, we can witness his torment and through her, we can question his descent into violence. Daredevil fans know that Karen has a large role to play in one of the character’s most infamous storylines, “Born Again,” which means we may be in for some serious heartbreak. There is no way this show doesn’t eventually go there and there’s no way Woll won’t just shatter us.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the entire season is the all-too-brief return of Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Wilson Fisk, who has been biding his time behind bars and transforming every prisoner and guard into his personal henchmen. His role is brief this time around, but it allows this season to deeply connect to what came before – the consequences of Daredevil’s previous adventures will soon come to bite him in the butt. Plus, D’Onofrio is still tremendous, playing the “Kingpin” as an overgrown child for whom every audible sentence is chore. It’s such a weird, masterful performance and I can’t wait for him to return in a larger capacity.

daredevil

The Larger Marvel Cinematic Universe

Hardcore Marvel nerds may be disappointed by the lack of connective tissue on display in Daredevil season two. Other than a quick reference to Jessica Jones and an appearance by Carrie Anne Moss‘s Jeri Hogarth, this season might as well take place in its own pocket universe. Heck, if the “Battle of NY” article wasn’t still framed and hanging in Ben Urich’s office, it would be easy to forget that the Avengers are across the planet, accidentally destroying Sokovia.

But while the season doesn’t offer up too many Easter eggs, it does expand the Netflix corner of the MCU in some pretty wacky directions. The focus on the war between The Chaste and The Hand is the show’s biggest left turn into mysticism yet, suggesting that Daredevil’s “realistic” approach isn’t going to last too long. This is the season where characters were being brought back to life through strange magic and our heroes decimated countless ninjas. There’s no turning back now.

Much of this seems to be laying the ground work for the upcoming Iron Fist series…and maybe, possibly, The Defenders. If you’ll indulge my desperate need to shout about Political Correctness and Social Justice for a moment, it is frustrating that every Asian character encountered in this season was a ninja or a mystical warrior, each of whom was defeated by a team of mostly white heroes (Elektra is ethnically ambiguous, after all). The fact that Iron Fist himself will be played by the impossibly white Finn Jones suggests that the MCU needs to play close attention to the racial make-up of its heroes and villains. Does anyone want a Defenders series that consists of three white people and a black guy beating the stuffing out of evil Asian stereotypes?

Daredevil Season 2

The Hand, the Kingpin, and the Road Ahead

So…where do we go from here?

Daredevil, Stick, Elektra, and the Punisher all play a part in dealing a major blow to The Hand, but they’re still around in the final moments of the episode, plotting to bring the deceased Elektra back from the dead. There’s no way Elektra doesn’t come back and there’s no way she’s not leading an army of ninjas when we see her again.

As for the Punisher, it would be cool for him to keep on popping up in Daredevil’s world, but Bernthal is too good to be a regular guest star. Is it time to start hoping for him to get a spin-off series? After all, one of the last things we see him do is fetch a hidden CD with the name “Micro” on it, which is certainly a reference to “Microchip,” his regular arms dealer from the comics. I’m personally fond of Mark Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s run with the character, which was told almost entirely thorough the POV of the cops and criminals who get in his way and the vengeful female soldier whom he takes on as a protege. That angle would certainly keep things fresh and allow for multiple characters to co-exist alongside the character.

Perhaps most important is the continuing rise of Wilson Fisk, who is set to return more powerful than ever. Could next season see the Kingpin of crime get out of jail and begin his mission of revenge against Matt and Foggy? More importantly, could season three bring us “Born Again”? Maybe. I’d put money on it.

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