Spoilers from Episodes 5-8 of Daredevil Season Two below:
(Seriously, I warned you)
Episode Five: "Kinbaku"
All right the middle portion of season two kicks off with some major changes and shifts taking place. There's a lot to take in, but the idea to do the rare jump back in time.
This show has done a great job using effective time jumps. They don't rely on them, and they fully commit when they do them. We go back 10 years to see the origins of Matt and Elektra. Kinbaku is a plot building/tone setting episode for sure.
I remember being surprised by how cold Matt was to Elektra, but this is before they revealed a chunk of their back story. They showed a tough side to Matt by how he -- temporarily -- held his ground with Elektra.
In my cell phone notes I wrote: "Karen digging like Bernstein for Punisher info." That's a solid All the President's Men reference and I think you get the picture.
The scene between Matt and Karen at the restaurant reminded me a lot of OIiver and Felicity's first time out in public away from work together. It had that tense, awkward feel and the show played off of that by putting the two in a setting that more fit their personalities/relationship.
At the end of episode five I was ready for a break and do something else for a bit, but nope. The ending roped me in and I immediately needed to know how episode six was going to go.
Elektra zipping open the bag and you see the outline of Daredevil's mask. I wasn't expecting it just yet but it sucked me in. These two were about to get into some shit together and I was ready to see how Elodie Yung's Elektra was going to be.
Episode Six: "Regrets Only"
Matt has really been neglecting his friendship with Foggy, and some shit finally starts to go down between the two. In a scene, in which Matt is defending the Punisher in an argument with Foggy, Foggy calls Matt out and questions his true intentions:
"You trying to protect a man or a vigilante?"
This is a very interesting episode for one reason, in my opinion, and that's that Daredevil's biggest battle isn't in the streets at night, but as Matt Murdock trying to hold his personal and professional life together.
Episode Six also features the moment I had been anticipating for a while, Matt is becoming less sympathetic for the time being. He's not even trying to lie. He's treating Foggy and Karen like idiots. It's drawing a very strong line between the two Avocados at Law.
Matt is trying to juggle a lot; Karen, Punisher, Foggy, work struggles, a potentially corrupt District Attorney, the Yakuza and the fact that Elektra is back in the picture taking him on missions and shit.
We get a little more Frank again, which is very satisfying. Frank and Karen are connecting after the group gets tabbed to lead his defense.
I don't want this to sound like I'm calling him a character actor, because I'm not at all, but Jon Bernthal is scary good at playing the insane -- yet still sane somehow -- guy who is just trying to hang onto and fight for his people and the better times.
He misses his family, but he also misses their memory. Karen helps him remember and we're going somewhere.
Bernthal's vengeful voice is spot on. He commands ... I don't know what exactly, but he just commands the room when he goes deep. He has impressive control over his eyes, facial movements and voice. It makes for a intimidating physical and psychological presence.
I'm having trouble trying to find a gripe with this episode. I guess my only one would be that this was a clear plot-building, weight-bearing episode, but it was needed. Director Andy Goddard and writer Sneha Koorse did a great job at throwing another land mine in the offices of Nelson and Murdock, threw another distraction at Matt with Elektra and gave viewers a different angle of Frank Castle.
There is some fantastic cinematography in a scene with Elektra searching a office for what her and DD came for, in a scene which had a pretty cool ninja, Jame Bond espionage feel to it.
They're looking for something Elektra is referring to as the ledger, and the mix of different angles, frames, facial expression, but specifically, the way Matt lifts and sets down his walking stick in perfect coordination with Elektra's frantic hands is nuts.
There is a nice fight scene through windows that are almost foggy, with flashing lights going off in the dark room. Good stuff. Got a lot accomplished, to be honest.
Episode Seven: "Semper Fidelis"
Daredevil fights so angry. Anakin Skywalker Clone Wars angry, but not Hayden Christensen and it's Charlie Cox and it's good. He takes the fight to the bad guys right off the bat. No sneaking around; Welcome to Suplex City.
There is much more personal life drama blowing up in Matt's face. His relationship with Karen is like an episode long and it's already falling a part. It feels forced, and I think that feeling was done on purpose.
Elektra and Matt do some more digging while he fucks up and misses more of Frank's trial while Foggy and Karen battle a sketchy District Attorney all on their lonesome.
A really impressive scene ended this episode. After Matt and Elektra find this freaking hole to the center of the earth in an abandoned warehouse, Matt takes her flashlight and drops it down the hole to gauge how deep it goes.
Episode ends, it never hits. Mystery and intrigue ensue.
Episode Eight: "Guilty as Sin"
THE FLASHLIGHT HITS. /raucous applause ensues
The flashlight honeymoon doesn't last long -- oh, and DD estimated the hole was 40 stories -- as Ninjas close in. Daredevil can't track them by heartbeat and Elektra calmly tells him in the heat of the moment to focus on their swords.
Interesting stuff. Cool fight scene goes on and Elektra is about to kill someone.
Matt yells at her to stop, she locks eyes and takes one to the side. It puts Matt in an interesting inner predicament. He distracted Elektra with his belief system, and by actually yelling out at her while she's fighting.
Seriously, what the shit. That's like Kevin Love yelling in LeBron's ears when he goes to the charity stripe.
We get a new -- but familiar character -- friendly spoiler reminder for those just trying to have a brief affair with spoilers
Stick! That old dude from the vignettes near the end of the first season. Old dude is a badass and can swing a mean crossbow. He helps save Elektra in sick , while Matt is clearly falling for her again. More shit goes down with Karen. That ill-fated relationship quicker than it started.
I understand what it did for the show, but I don't think it needed it. A line was already drawn through Foggy and Matt; Matt already had a stick history with Elektra and the Punisher and Karen had a connection building very early. Whatever, it's over now and we're moving onward and upward, apparently.
Frank Castle takes the stand in his own trial as a last-ditch effort. Foggy is kind of killing it in the last two episodes. He's calling Matt out on his shit and running the "trial of the century" by himself. Foggy does call on Matt to question Frank while he's on the stage.
It's an important scene. Foggy pretty much hates Matt at this point, he can't look at him without clinching his fist or biting his lips, but he still knows that Matt's strengths match up with his weaknesses, and vice versa.
A sketchy cop gets to Frank in predictable fashion and he throws Foggy and Karen's hard work out the window.
Massive spoiler zone
The classic divide between Elektra and Matt comes to life on the small screen. While Matt is defending himself -- after taking an arrow -- he realizes the kid he's fighting is just that, a kid. While he is backing off, Elektra slices his throat in front of him.
This is following source material. This is following what fans know and love about these characters and their stories, and to top it all off, it's being done with precision and attention to detail at such an alarming rate that Grant "Dad Tech" Stoye is decrying the movie universe and anointing Marvel Netflix king.
I'M A GOOD GUY, ANOTHER SPOILER WARNING
Boom another massive spoiler.
Yeah, that sketchy cop in the trail?
He leads Frank on an ominous trip down a prison hallway. Tells the guards he's on orders from the warden. He leads Frank to the end of the hallway where he completely uncuffs him.
At this point, I'm nervous. It's a tense scene. I'm thinking we're about to see an assassination attempt.
We see a fuck ton of 45-plates going up and down on the bench press
Frank's curious eyes
Fisk mic drops out. Dude's got Castle in his pocket. Using Frank's dead family to cash in on some favors.