Daredevil: Bang

“Hell’s Kitchen is gonna explode.”

After an awe-inspiring first season, Marvel’s Daredevil has a lot to live up to: Stupendous balletic fight scenes. Fascinating meditations on religion, morality, and correct action. A “wounded-bird” hero and his complicated sidekicks. Not to mention the Big Bad, Wilson Fisk. Can the second season premiere keep up the momentum?

More or less. The opening scene, in which an unseen vigilante—or more than one—attacks and kills a bunch of Mid-Sized Bads in black masks, was a great way of introducing at least one of this season’s themes: what’s the difference between a vigilante and a sociopath? And what’s up with the “paramilitary organization” that apparently has a grudge against the Irish?

Savvy viewers know part of the answer: Matt Murdock’s Daredevil is…well, see above re: “wounded puppy.” His foe, or at least his foil, is the solitary man who can do the damage of twenty men: Jon Bernthal’s as-yet unnamed Punisher, who shoots to kill and aims to misbehave.

The parallels between the two are fascinating: I’m still not sure who was attacking the masked baddies. My best guess is that the Punisher was taking most of them down, with Daredevil struggling to catch up. After all, the Punisher does like to go for the kill. The execution of the Irish mobsters was insanely violent, and he killed people in a hospital! He hung people from meat hooks!

But even the cinematography showed us how the two echo each other: we don’t see the Punisher at all in the opening scenes; he is always just out of frame or in an ablative-absolute state of having-disappeared. In the final fight, Daredevil—shot by the Punisher—falls off a building and out of frame. He’s unseen, now, too, but in a more vulnerable way.

But this episode isn’t just setting up the rivalries of this season. As Foggy said to Matt, “This isn’t just about you anymore.” Foggy remains concerned about Matt’s nocturnal activities, vacillating between dabbing the blood on the back of his neck (aww!) and trying to convince him to stop.

Karen, on the other hand, seems to have developed quite a crush on Matt. The pool-shooting scene was erotic, but she’s clearly struggling with trust issues (and her own baggage, about which we’ve only gotten hints). When she said to Matt that she wasn’t sure “who was hustling who,” I couldn’t help but think how much both of them are “hustling” each other by not talking about their secrets.

Not that there’s much time for that. Nelson & Murdock is both broke and busy: getting paid in bananas (Matt) and pie (Foggy) does not bode well for the firm’s ability to stay solvent and intact. Both Foggy and Karen get a fair share of screen time, too: Foggy with the bikers (more funny than scary) and Karen with Grotto (very tense). I like those characters, so I hope they get some interesting arcs of their own. That’s my way of saying I want more info on Karen’s backstory.

So, does “Bang” live up to the high standards of Season One? Pretty much, although it felt more like a “Here’s where we are, here’s where we’re going” episode than a jaw-dropping 45 minutes. That’s okay, though—if we’re watching this, we’re probably watching more than one episode at once. Having seen the first three episodes as of writing this review, I can promise you this season is good.

Josie’s Bar:

• Foggy: “That’s the tragedy of you being blind. You’ve never seen me dance.”
Matt: “Oh, but I can cite the legends I heard in law school.”

• Matt: “Brett, you can trust us.”
Foggy: “We’re lawyers.”

• Did Charlie Cox’s American accent seem a bit…um…trans-Atlantic?

• If Matt could hear Grotto’s heartbeat and sense his gun, why couldn’t he tell he was bleeding?

Three out of four Irish mobsters wearing body armor to a private meeting in his own club. Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

Programming Note: JRS, JD, Logan and I will post our Daredevil reviews every other day. Please keep spoilers for future episodes out of the comments if you’re binging it more quickly!

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

7 comments:

sunbunny said...

Charlie Cox's accent seems to get worse with every episode, which I don't particularly care about but it's sort of funny. I still have two and a half episodes to go!! Ahhhhh!!!

Foggy was so awesome. He's a hero in his own right.

Michal Dvorak said...

I'm about half-way through the season and so far the biggest surprise for me is the Punisher. He's a problematic character and it's so easy to get him wrong, as all the previous cinematic attempts demonstrated. Also Jon Bernthal didn't feel like a good casting choice. But I'm very happy to be proven wrong. While this Punisher is not perfect, I think it's the best live-action portrayal of the character by far and he fits into Daredevil's world surprisingly well.

sonflower said...

According to Foggy, Matt is a "wounded duck", rather than a generic bird or a puppy. And he still doesn't have a good explanation for the injuries, yet (being blind probably rules out polo as an excuse). Given Karen's astuteness, her previous suspicions regarding Matt's questionable account(s) of injury acquisition, and her pit bull-esque inability to let the matter drop, I'm wondering if she connects the Matt-Daredevil dot-to-dot puzzle this season. Looking forward to Season 2 and the reviews!

Billie Doux said...

Since I know nothing about what is coming or the comic book stuff, Jon Bernthal's character is confusing me, so far. Although I can wait until they decide to tell me what's up.

Count me in with those curious about Karen's backstory. I was also happy that they addressed what was going on with their little law firm and what they were living on. (Pie and bananas.)

Terrific review, Josie. Love your bar.

Kakashi Sensei said...

Nice one! Ah, my expectations for Season 2 were sky-high, cause Season 1 blew me off the roof. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed (at first, but more about that in later comments, maybe).
The "crush"-thing worked really well for me (I also thought it was beuatifully shot)and in anticipation of a certain character that will appear later in the series (you know who if you've seen the trailer), it fits right into the general theme of S2, which is "what is a hero" and "what is it to be good?". Karen and Matt connected emotionally because they're both compassionate and, in slightly different ways, guilty.

Marianna said...

The opening scene with Foggy and Matt was amazing. I didn't realize how much I missed Foggy. I had to pause it to avoid spitting my drink. I especially liked Foggy's cover story for Matt is that he has a drinking problem.

I don't think the Punisher killed people in the hospital. He was going after the remaining Irish mobster, but on the way there he was purposely missing to scatter people.

"If Matt could hear Grotto’s heartbeat and sense his gun, why couldn’t he tell he was bleeding?" A heartbeat is a distinctive, well, beating sound. Matt heard Grotto tapping on the trigger. I can't imagine what bleeding would sound like.

Patrick said...

Josie, I'm nearly certain that Punisher wasn't involved in that inital takedown of the masked thugs. Every indication I got from the scene was that it was Daredevil each time. We saw his costumed arm take out the guy in the kitchen, we heard him tell the driver to call 911, and if Punisher had taken out the first guy he would have been shot, not beat up. :)