Daredevil: New York's Finest

Punisher: "You know the one thing that you just can't see? You know you're one bad day away from being me."

This episode was an interesting study of the invisible line a hero must walk, with Daredevil and the Punisher as two sides of a very tarnished coin.

In essence this was all about Frank and Matt's nice conversation about vigilantism and morality. Of course when I say nice, I mean antagonistic and heated. Frank is almost single minded, and apparently incapable of seeing reason. But he is also clearly not a villain. He has no interest in killing Matt, and in the last episode when he had the chance, he didn't fire on those cops either. That shows that his interests are directed solely on those he considers filthy scum. Like Grotto, who ended up being captured and killed anyway, despite Foggy and Karen's attempts to save him.

That moment where Punisher forces Matt to choose between killing Frank and ending his reign of terror, and killing Grotto who killed two people in cold blood, with a gun taped to his hand, was tense. I didn't believe for a moment that Matt would shoot either of them, but there didn't seem to be a good solution. But for me the more interesting display of character came in the next moment, where Matt is trying to save Grotto and the Punisher just shrugs and goes about what he intended to do all along, blow up the biker gang's bar.

It set up another insane hand to hand fight, with Matt slowly descending a staircase full of bikers armed with knives and bad intentions. While visually stunning, it did lack the raw tension of the hallway fight from season one. Maybe it was the lighting, or the way Matt was limited by the gun taped to his hand. Don't get me wrong, it was great, but not quite as great as that first fight. What made it cool for me was that chain, and how Matt used it to be a bad ass.

Unfortunately, while Matt did learn some stuff about Frank, like his first name and the fact that he is ex-military and probably lost someone, that was about it. It looks like Karen might be the one to uncover who the Punisher really is. I'm a little worried about how she continually pushes the boundaries of her job, like how she basically threatened/blackmailed/convinced Mr. Tower into giving her the Punisher file. Having her skirting the edge of morality so often makes me wonder where her opinion will land when she finally does figure out who Daredevil is.

The rest of the action took place in a hospital with Foggy and Claire. My favorite moment was a lovely counterpoint to Matt, when Foggy used his words to diffuse a difficult situation instead of his fists (which would've probably been ineffective). I liked how Foggy and Claire bonded, and she reassured Foggy that Daredevil is needed. Mostly though, the scenes with Foggy and Claire showed us the fallout of the Punisher's reign of terror, the physical aftermath of his actions.


I loved the opening imagery of the nun taking care of a child Matt, calling him Matty. The clean water turning to blood, and the bloody crucifix. Then the unreliable camera angle that fooled us briefly into believing Matt was lying down just like his dream counterpart.

Claire mentioned Luke Cage indirectly, and we finally get to see what happened to Claire's job after Jessica basically kidnapped her to save Luke.

Blake Tower is a pretty important figure in Marvel comics history (dating back to 1975), specifically relating to New York City and the District Attorney's office.


Punisher: "I think you're a half measure. I think you're a man who can't finish the job. I think that you're a coward."

Foggy: "You got face tattoos, friend. That's like telegraphing, 'I know what prison meatloaf tastes like.'"

Punisher: "Only I do the one thing that you can't. You hit 'em, and they get back up. I hit 'em, and they stay down!"

There might be a few nits I could pick about this one, but honestly it was a solid episode that gave us a lot of important character building for both the Punisher and Daredevil.

4 out of 4 Epic hand to hand to chain battles in stairwells

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.


Kakashi Sensei said...

There were many lovely moments in this episode and I must say, I particularly enjoyed Matt's powerless moments on the roof. He is getting too cocky.

That said, I found some of the writing sub par (esp. compared to Season 1). Some of the lines are outright cheesy. Also, I think we do not need it hammered in that this Season is about the "what makes a hero"-question and about what makes Daredevil "good" and Punisher "bad". The dialogue was a bit too "educational" in that sense. I want more subtlety.

The staircase fight-scene was great, but indeed not as great as the Free-the-kid-from-the-Russians one we got in Season 1.

I absolutely love that Karen is made a character who walks the fine line between good and bad, with toes in both territories.

But ... not enough Claire.

Billie Doux said...

I thought it was interesting, how hard Matt and Frank tried to convince the other that their particular approach to vigilantism was the correct one. Frank in particular infantilized Matt, referring to him running around like a kid in pajamas. It was like Matt was arguing with the part of himself that really does want to kill the bad guys. And duh. :)

Karen is fascinating. I want her to find out about Matt this season.

Marianna said...

4 out of 4 Epic hand to hand to chain battles in stairwells indeed!

As always my favorite part of the episode was Foggy, but I also loved Karen and her solid outside-the-box thinking.