TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil Season 2 Finale "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen"
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EPISODE 13: "A Cold Day In Hell's Kitchen"
SYNOPSIS: In the season finale, Daredevil is backed into the ultimate showdown for his own life — and the future of Hell's Kitchen.
REVIEW: After thirteen episodes that introduced two new Marvel Comics characters and delved deeper into the mystical and supernatural elements of the world of Daredevil, the second season of Daredevil comes down to this episode that fails to deliver an ending as big or powerful as the previous episodes had prepared us for. Instead, the season closes out on a bit of a bland note while still managing to tease big things for the third season. We have new directions for all of our main characters as well as a couple of potential villains for Matt Murdock to face off against. In a nutshell, this was a good season that stumbled in places but still managed to deliver a season of action that still holds up against the big screen outings from Marvel Studios.
In a nutshell, this finale pits Daredevil and Elektra against The Hand as they try to stop Nobu once and for all. Foggy has gotten a job offer from Jery Hogarth while Karen is still trying to find a way to become a journalist but struggles with her emotional connection to Frank Castle and his plight. Matt and Elektra outfit themselves with some new gear thanks to Melvin Potter. Potter also gives Daredevil his iconic billy club which is designed to serve as nunchaku, a grappling hook, and other weapons. Daredevil is actually speechless at the gift which is a nice nod to it's importance in the pages of Marvel Comics. Matt and Elektra are prepared to stop Nobu once and for all when they learn of The Hand's secret plan to stop Daredevil.
When you imagine a failsafe or master plan, you typically expect something more elaborate than just kidnapping everyone tied to Daredevil, but that is The Hand's clever plan. Matt, distraught at the capture of Karen, decides that he must rescue his friends while Elektra is determined to stop Nobu and The Hand. We get some nice fight scenes and an intimate moment between the two as they prepare for their potential death at the hands of Nobu's men which drives home why these two characters should be together. They manage to rescue everyone which affords Karen and Daredevil to share a moment, something they have not done since early in the first season. He sends Karen to safety while the showdown with Nobu takes place on the roof. It is interesting to think that both BATMAN V SUPERMAN and Daredevil ended in similar ways, but I digress.
The final fight with Nobu is a highlight of the season. Back and forth, intense, and well choreographed, we see Daredevil at the height of his skills. But, Nobu still gets the upper hand (pun intended) and thrusts his sword only to be blocked by Elektra who is skewered by the blade. She dies in Matt's arms which sends him into a rage while Nobu walks away, realizing that Black Sky is dead. Matt begins fighting the ninjas furiously and gunshots ring out in assistance. We see it is none other than Frank Castle who is now wearing his trademark Punisher logo emblazoned on a bulletproof vest he found in Schoonover's stash. Through the episode, we saw Castle preparing weapons and gear which led me to expect more involvement from him in the finale, but this was a nice and subtle way to show New York and our heroes that The Punisher is here to stay.
With the path cleared, Matt takes off after Nobu and uses his billy club to launch The Hand leader off the roof and to his death. But, as we have seen all season, Nobu isn't dead and he stands back up. Only this time, Stick is waiting to cut his head off and end the war for good. Battle won, everything seems to be back to normal. Stick and Matt bury Elektra and ponder the future while Foggy heads to his new career. Frank Castle sets his family home on fire and departs for destinations unknown and Karen begins her story for the newspaper about what it means to be a hero. The episode concludes with Matt finding Karen and showing her his mask, finally telling her that he is Daredevil. The episode ends there with a fade out and what seems like little fanfare. That is until we see the mysterious sarcophagus of The Hand. As they say it is ready, we see that Elektra's lifeless body is inside.
As far as finales go, I feel very strongly that this episode failed to stick the landing. Yeah, I am okay with killing off Elektra and the potential for her to return as a villain next season. Many opinions on the season have claimed that Elodie Yung's portrayal of Elektra was too whiny and needy, but I found that it fit well into this version of the Marvel Universe. If she comes back evil, that will open lots of narrative doors and could link to both Iron Fist and potentially DOCTOR STRANGE. Overall, this season seemed to have way too many subplots that left characters doing nothing for long periods of time. Elden Henson was once again a highlight of the show but was relegated to only a couple of scenes far too many times this season. His act of closing out their tab at Josie's was a powerful scene and he deserved more this season. Karen Page has developed into something of a surrogate for the too soon killed Ben Urich but I began to find Deborah Ann Woll to be repetitive and annoying this year. How the hell does she get to be so involved with the law firm and then somehow becomes a journalist all by accident? It seems her backstory is developing to something but I am not sure what yet.
The best element of this season was by far The Punisher. Jon Bernthal absolutely crushed it as Frank Castle and more than deserves to get his own series out of this. He was perfectly cast and they utilized the Netflix forum to use just the right amount of violence without overdoing it. His shared scenes with Charlie Cox elevated their showdowns as one of the best superhero battles on big screens or small ones. Cox, per usual, knocked it out of the park as Daredevil although I found his time this season as Matt Murdock was not alloted enough time to really explore his misgivings about his two dueling identities. Reflecting back on the entire season, I think the highlights manage to balance with the low ones which leads me to give the season the same score I gave it last year. Here's hoping that we get to see Bullseye in season three along with more Wilson Fisk and a little more Elektra.
MARVEL UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Carrie Ann Moss reprises her role as Jery Hogarth from Marvel's Jessica Jones.
NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: There are currently no official plans for a third season of Daredevil, but Marvel's Luke Cage premieres later this year.