TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 2 Episode 2 "Dogs To A Gunfight"
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EPISODE 2: "Dogs To A Gunfight"
SYNOPSIS: As Murdock recovers from an attack, Foggy and Karen fight to protect their new client from both the law and the Kitchen's newest vigilante.
REVIEW: What has set Daredevil and Jessica Jones apart from the big screen Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter for that matter, is the fact that these heroes get wounded in the line of duty. Last season, we saw the recovery that Matt Murdock needed to resume his hero duties but it pales in comparison to what he has gone through over these first two episodes. In the closing moments of the first episode, The Punisher gets off a close range shot that knocks Matt off the roof and allows the new vigilante in Hell's Kitchen to escape. In the opening of this hour, Foggy frantically searches for his friend and finds Matt collapsed. Bringing him home, the two friends discuss the ramifications of Matt's continued stint as Daredevil but Matt professes that he is okay. Foggy forces Matt to stay and rest while he meets Karen to work on Grotto's witness protection.
Clearly, The Punisher is a worthy opponent for Matt who suffers repercussions from the shot to the head. Trying to take some aspirin, Matt feels throbbing pain and even loses his sense of hearing temporarily. It could be a concussion or worse but Matt is determined to stop this new vigilante before he kills anyone else. The impairment and stubborn nature of Matt Murdock looks like it is going to be a major obstacle for our hero this season. Matt even makes a visit to Melvin Potter to have his mask repaired. Melvin says it will take two days to rebuild the mask but offers to repair the broken one in the interim. The fact that Matt doesn't have extras lying around adds more to the realism this show builds in little ways. Daredevil instantly feels more tangible in these moments.
We also get some face time with Frank Castle as he acquires a police scanner for his death quest. Visiting a pawn shop, Castle requests the item and is on his way out when the store owner offers to sell him child porn. Castle clearly is a man with a moral compass as he locks the door to punish the shopkeep. While we don't see what happens, we do hear the sickening crack of a baseball bat on what could be the man's skull. Hey, I said Castle had morals but he also has a temper. We don't quite know within the MCU version of The Punisher what the reason for his murder spree is, but from the hints dropped by the District Attorney, this version is definitely being built as both a parallel to Daredevil as well as a moral opposite.
Foggy and Karen manage to hold their own opposite the D.A.. I enjoy how Elden Henson manages to project confidence as well as a naivete that helps make his character so likable. But, the duo seem to be in over their heads in this situation. The D.A. offers a deal for Grotto that requires wearing a wire to meet with a drug dealer and try to get evidence for them. Grotto is nervous, as are Karen and Foggy. Karen shares her fears with both Matt and Foggy in one of the weakest aspects of this season so far. Karen is troubled by her involvement with Wilson Fisk and now The Punisher but it almost seems like they are being brushed off by everyone else involved. Matt is singularly focused on stopping the new threat to his city and plans to do so by any means necessary.
In a twist, it turns out that the D.A. has set-up Grotto to be bait to catch The Punisher but things go awry as Frank Castle sees the trap coming a mile away. A shootout commences but Castle is caught off guard by Daredevil. The two proceed to have a rain-soaked battle on the rooftop as sniper bullets whiz by their heads. One catches Castle in the shoulder before the two plummet through the roof into the building below. As Castle prepares to strike, we see Matt once again lose control of his senses. Foggy rushes to see if his friend is okay as Grotto escapes, but the cops find that both The Punisher and Daredevil are gone. The episode ends there, abruptly, leaving doubt as to where the two may have gone to.
A stronger episode compared to the premiere, this hour still feels lacking in something. The fight sequence between Daredevil and Punisher was definitely a well shot scene that benefited from the rain and bullets streaming by, but it still lacked in the punch of some of the early fights from season one. So far, this season feels a bit unhinged as the focus is put on The Punisher as well as Matt's blind focus on taking him down. The weakness within our characters definitely helps build this season into a grittier and more realistic portrait of how a superhero/vigilante would operate, but I am still missing whether we are meant to look as The Punisher as an anti-hero or a full fledged bad guy.
MARVEL UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Nothing overt this episode.
NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: "New York's Finest" - Trapped face-to-face with the Punisher, Daredevil wrestles with the morality of vigilante justice. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen work to save the firm.