The second season of the Marvel TV show "Daredevil" is now on Netflix, continuing the story of Matt Murdock/Daredevil and his adventures of a vigilante in Hell's Kitchen. This season starts off with a new villain in Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle, AKA the Punisher, a ruthless, violent assailant who instantly brings murder to the streets of Hell's Kitchen. As well as Daredevil and his friends, Foggy and Karen, trying to put a stop to Castle, an old romantic interest named Elektra Natchios returns into Matt's life to warn him about a secret organization named "The Hand" and their plans to wipe out New York.
The thing that surprised me the most about this season is how it started. The first episode almost immediately introduces us to the Punisher, something I was very welcoming of since I though the first few episodes would be nothing but build up to seeing him halfway through the season. The first four episodes of this season are focused mostly on Daredevil going up against the Punisher and every minute of it was gripping. The fights between them were well filmed and well choreographed, but there comes a point when they sit down and talk with one another and you get a great look at their differing ideologies. Daredevil is put to a big test early on in the season and it makes the character of the Punisher all the more interesting as well as sympathetic. More is learned about his past as the season progresses and you see a human side of him, one that makes you feel genuinely sorry for him and you get an understanding of why he does certain things, all of this being conveyed perfectly by Jon Benthal's emotional, yet also brutal performance.
After these series of events with Frank Castle, he doesn't necessarily take a backseat for the main story, but he more or less gets used as a subplot while we're introduced to Elektra and her mission. Elodie Yung is brought in to play the role of Elektra and I thought she was great in the role as a very seductive character that has a very dark, violent side to her, but she's also very sympathetic and you actually buy the chemistry she has with Murdock.
As far as the recurring characters are concerned, I liked the directions taken with them. Matt Murdock is every bit as interesting and relatable as he was in the first season and I was also impressed with the bigger roles given to both Foggy Nelson and Karen Page. Karen plays a big role in understanding Frank Castle as a person and the connection they share is very heartwarming at times. Karen even steps up as a reporter, taking over Ben Urich's role after his departure in season 1. It is a bit convenient as to how she magically just becomes a reporter with no experience in the field, but we live in a world where businessmen with no political background can be strong contenders for President of the Unites States, so it is what it is. As with Foggy, I think the writers did a better job of making him the every-man of the show, being the most grounded character in the story as well as one of the more developed ones. In the first season, Foggy really didn't do a whole lot other than whining about Matt being Daredevil, but both his character and performance were stepped up in this season.
As far as the main story goes, I think the show, for the most part, did a very good job of juggling the two stories involving Castle and Elektra, respectively. Each episode in handling these two plots felt cohesive most of the time, but there are unfortunately times when I feel they could've connected to one another more as opposed to feeling like two separate stories that don't really connect until the very end of the season. The plot involving the Hand might have even benefited from being held off into next season so as to possible make season 2 more Punisher oriented, but with what we got, I was mostly satisfied with how the story played out.
I also feel the need to mention that this season is much more violent than the previous season, and that's saying something. If this show actually got an official rating, it would easily be R-rated for the violence alone. Some might see it as gratuitous and overdone simply for the sake of being violent, but I personally liked it since it fit into the Punisher's motivations as well as providing a level of grit that most MCU properties shy away from.
Finally, one of the things I liked about this season that may bother others is that there are quite a few unanswered questions once the season ends. It definitely got me hooked for season 3, but there are undeniably people who want all of the answers given to them immediately and those people will be left disappointed with how this season plays out. That's not something that applied to me, but the lack of real resolution for some aspects is something to be aware for certain people.
In short, I loved this season of "Daredevil" and I liked it even more than the first season. The old characters all stepped up and added more to the story, Elektra and Punisher were great new additions, and the level of darkness and grit carries over so as to make yet another grounded, unique addition to the MCU. This season had all of the pacing and story elements I wanted and I really hope season 3 is able to go full throttle and be even better than season 2. Unfortunately, that's a year away, but the build up and anticipation can be part of the experience and that's how I feel with this "Daredevil" series thus far.