Daredevil’s second season comes to a close with “A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen.” The show starts with Nobu caressing the stone box we keep seeing the Hand with, while a woman with red hair reports to him. They have plans afoot to regain the Black Sky, no matter what Elektra or Daredevil want. Whatever they are plotting doesn’t sound like it’s going to be good for anyone.
Back at Matt’s place, he’s having a really odd discussion with Stick. On the one hand, Matt’s tending Stick’s wounds and discussing ways to take down the Hand, Stick’s enemies. On the other, Stick is tied to a chair and Matt’s not letting him free. Considering Stick was doing his level best to kill Elektra, I don’t blame Matt for being careful. Matt’s wandering around in costume sans mask and gloves, which isn’t bright, but better than the places he’s been doing it in public lately. Despite his own enhanced senses and Nobu coming back from the dead, Matt steadfastly refuses to buy into any of the mythology about Black Sky or the Hand. Make your “willfully blind” joke here.
Up on the roof, Matt and Elektra discuss what to do next. Now he’s in a more public place without his mask on. I don’t know if he’s given up on the secret identity idea, the actor (Charlie Cox) wanted more time with his face on screen, or the writers did it for effect, but it seems really foolish to me. Matt tries to reassure Elektra that she’s not fated to become some terrible weapon. He’s a bit naive, in my view, sure that if they expose the Hand and do away with their secrecy, they will all run away. It’s a nice idea, I’ll give him that. That scene ends with Matt and Elektra holding hands, one of the few times they’ve really showed affection in the modern time frame .
Remember Foggy’s job offer? His prospective employer talks about all his potential perks, like a corner office, his own assistant, and a great salary among other things. They are looking for lawyers who think outside the box. Foggy asks if she means vigilantes, and she counters with “people with complexities.” She knows what she’s talking about, too. Foggy’s interviewer is Jeri Hogarth, from the Jessica Jones series. I’m not sure how Jeri still has her law license after that show, but maybe we’ll hear about it later.
After a brief scene of a very frustrated Karen in her newspaper office (I’m still wondering how in these bad times for papers, Ellison hired her with no previous experience and she never seems to write anything), Daredevil brings Elektra to another of his few allies. Melvin Potter, the man who made Daredevil’s armored costume. Potter fits Elektra for her own protective gear, but he’s not done. To thank Daredevil for protecting the people of Hell’s Kitchen, Potter give him a present: an improved version of his billy club, with many different functions. This model is much closer to the comic book version. A smirking Elektra wonders where hers is. There is also some background scenery teasing at Potter’s comic book incarnation.
The season’s other big secondary character hasn’t been forgotten. Frank Castle returns home, shoving through a snowdrift of mail behind the front door. Even if the family’s deaths were hushed up, shouldn’t someone be wondering where they are? Castle might be a loner, but I doubt his wife and kids both were. Castle sits at the table and does a damn fine job conveying he’s remembering his family with out intrusive ghost images or flashbacks. He studies a newspaper story about his own supposed death, and takes some inspiration from it. He returns to what I believe is the hidden workshop of the colonel’s from last episode, and starts making some preparations comics fans will really enjoy. Instead of background music while he works, he turns on police scanners.
Back at Matt’s place, Elektra brings the still-tied Stick a sandwich. I wonder how she thought he was going to eat it? She taunts him about them making their own decisions. Stick insists they are making a mistake. Their terse conference is interrupted when Matt gets a call from Foggy. Their mutual friend Sgt. Brett Mahoney has been beaten on, and Foggy warns they were asking about “you, and I don’t mean Matt Murdock.” Matt agrees to help and takes off. In a way he’s sort of proving Stick’s point about not having any ties being a better way to fight this war.
Daredevil and Mahoney meet up. Mahoney is clearly frustrated. He warns that the police have a decent file on Daredevil, and another one on everyone he’s saved. Maybe they were trying to figure out who he is. Mahoney wouldn’t give up police information, even on someone he has mixed feelings about like Daredevil, but the people who attacked him used some very good leverage on him. Daredevil is worried by this news and runs off. He makes a lot of hasty exits this episode.
We get to see what the Hand has been up to. They have a school bus full of hostages they’ve picked carefully. To no great surprise, Karen is one of them. Daredevil gets to her place and is enraged when she’s not only not there, but there’s clearly been a fight in her apartment. On the bus, Karen makes a friend, kind of, while another hostage is used as an object lesson. Administering the lesson is the redhead from the opening scene. As far as I know, we’ve never seen her before, but she sure pops up here a lot. Karen and her new friend come up with a way to possibly summon help.
Up on a rooftop, Daredevil is desperately trying to use his senses to find Karen. He’s clearly frantically worried, and Elektra reassures him, then helps him. How she knows a way to help him refine his senses, I’m really not sure. Maybe something she learned from Stick?
There’s a lot I’m really not sure about with the hostage takers. Why are these acting like “normal” thugs with ski masks and guns, as opposed to the Hand’s usually more ninja-like look? Why are they yelling at their American captives in Japanese? And what kind of incompetent training did they get to not properly frisk their prisoners?
The cops show up in response to Karen and her friend’s efforts. Unfortunately, they die in a hail of arrows. But one of them manages to call for backup, and Daredevil hears the call. He and Elektra run to the scene, where they argue about what to do. Matt wants to save the hostages. Elektra wants to take out Nobu. Daredevil mocks her and leaves her behind, saying he has work to do.
Inside, things are just starting to get really desperate for the hostages when Daredevil bursts in and drops the guards. He shoos everyone out, giving them directions to the exit. Oddly, he has time for a sort of semi-caress with Karen before the next wave of ninjas shows up. I guess the cloning machine was resetting? The fight rages on and then Elektra shows up with a smile and a shrug and says, “I got bored.”
On the street, the cops arrive, led, naturally, by Mahoney. We’ll ignore the fact that with his arm in a sling, he’d be off street duty. The hostages rush out and he gets off a great line on seeing Karen. Foggy, too, shows up, and Karen says this fight might be the end of vigilantes in New York. As an aside, the way people keep saying that makes me think that more than just Daredevil and Punisher are out there. I wonder if they are laying ground for more characters to show up?
In the building, Daredevil and Elektra battle their way to some kind of mechanical room and catch their breath. They’re both exhausted, and who could blame them? These ninjas come in zombie-like hordes. They are surrounded, and decide to make their stand up on the roof. Then they make the fatal mistake that action heroes haven’t learned the rule about yet- they make plans for after the battle. Does that ever go well?
They have a massive battle on the roof. Things are getting a bit more comic book like, and I think that’s a good thing. I love the bit where the Hand fires off their arrows at the heroes, and Daredevil swats them aside with his new toy. They are doing ok, especially considering the numbers against them, but that can’t last, of course. Nobu finally shows up, proclaiming that, “No one escapes destiny.”
The next bit of the fight is the usual great stunt and fighting work, but some of it really doesn’t make sense. There are a few times the Hand’s soldiers are just watching the fight. I half expected them to break out some popcorn. It’s a knock-down, nasty, brutal battle with some predictable results. The heroes get some help when ninjas start dropping. Across the street, with his BFG, the Punisher thins the odds a bit. He is a lot closer to his comic book look, and is seen by the crowd below. Karen at the very least recognizes him. We get the rematch between Daredevil and Nobu, while what happens to Elektra is a slight variation of one of her famous comic book scenes with Bullseye, but more heroic for her. Nobu damn near gets away, but someone is there to deal with him, in a way that called to mind Highlander, especially just afterward.
There are some wrap up scenes that range from satisfying to cathartic to sad. Matt and Stick make a depressing visit. They talk for a bit and then Stick makes it sound like they are living together now. Well, God knows they could both use some family.
Foggy and Karen meet up for a drink. They both talk about moving on, and what they’ve left behind. Foggy does something that is eloquently symbolic, and even the sullen Josie looks a bit saddened. It’s a really well done scene, maybe one of the best of the series.
Karen goes back to work and can’t get the story down. She gets a sort of pep-talk from Ellison, and a lot of the next few scenes happen with her voiceover in the background. It’s another great scene, or series of them. Castle makes his own gesture about moving on, which is nowhere near as understated as Foggy’s. No surprise there. He does grab something that hints at his own upcoming series, grabbing an item that clearly has something to do with one of Punisher’s few recurring allies from the comics. As this happens, and people prepare for Christmas, Matt walks the streets. Finally, the voiceover ends and he goes to the old Nelson and Murdock offices. He has a long overdue talk with Karen and shows her something that stuns her.
There’s a final scene that shows all is not as wrapped up as it seems. The Hand don’t take no for an answer, or accept setbacks. They’ve done something that lays the groundwork for some more interesting stories in the future. Daredevil Season Three has already been announced. Not only that, but Jon Bernthal did such a great job as the Punisher, that Netflix has added him as a fifth character in their Marvel line. The future looks really interesting for the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What I liked: I’ll make my obligatory mention of the great fight scenes, which continue to impress. I think every actor this season did a great job with their parts. I really like Foggy. The crossover of sorts with Jessica Jones was nicely done and made a lot of sense. I think it’s great that Daredevil’s club and Punisher’s look are veering more toward the comic book versions. I prefer it when the shows and movies respect the source material. I never really liked Elektra much, but they did manage to make me feel sorry for her, which is impressive. Matt’s final scene with Karen– it’s about time! I like that they didn’t go the easy route of returning to the status quo with Matt and Foggy.
What I didn’t: The end fight had some problems, as I mentioned above. I’m not sure I really understand why Matt is so accepting of Stick now. I guess Potter didn’t do as well with the other armor he made. And seriously, what about the GIANT HOLE they found under the building? It seemed like such a big thing, and then everyone more or less forgot about it.
I thought season two was damn good. They could have done it with either just Elektra or just Punisher, but they made it work. I’m thrilled at both the third season of Daredevil and the Punisher’s series. And also excited by the trailers released for Luke Cage and Iron Fist. More is coming, and I’m glad of it.
I’ll give this episode a 4 out of 5, and the season a 4.5 out of 5. Netflix is doing right by Marvel.