Season Two, Episode Thirteen — “A Cold Day In Hell’s Kitchen”

© Copyright 2016, Netflix. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Netflix. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. The end has come. Not just for Daredevil, but for my patience. The first season, flawed in places though it may have been, was a rager of a success — so much so, in fact, that the abrupt inclusion of a second season of Daredevil in the midst of Marvel and Netflix’s Defenders Initiative was, for the lack of a better word, inevitable. And it arrived. Boy, howdy. Did it arrive.

There’s a fear I’m beginning to harbor concerning these otherwise top-notch shows, and that fear is that in their tremendous success (paired with Netflix and Marvel’s deep pockets), the quality of these shows are going to dramatically dip in favor of kicking out as many of these things as Marvel possibly can. With the overall quality of this second season, or rather, the inherent lack of it, I know that fear is justified. What’s more, the success of Jessica Jones makes a sequel season for Krysten Ritter’s show only a certainty — that means that Netflix will have found something significant for Jessica to do after the events of Brian Bendis’ Alias before Marvel ever could, which is a bewildering thing to consider in itself. But back to Daredevil.

So Frank Castle never meant a damn thing to Daredevil, not in any substantive manner, anyway: his last minute sniper save at the tail-end of this finale episode — in his iconic duster jacket and a psychotic skull painted across his chest, to boot — was a pathetic grasp at bringing the entirety of this half-baked season full circle. And the show knows it’s flirting with disaster: look at the opening chit-chat Matt and Elektra have on the ledge of a building, doom just one erred step away. Matt and Elektra don’t have much time to discuss the future, or even plan for what’s coming next. “Giving up is easy,” Matt insists. And that’s what kept me going throughout this entire season, sophomoric as it may have been. Because giving up on a show with so much potential would be easy. But it would also be wrong.

WHAT WORKED: I dunno if this “Foggy Nelson/Jeri Hogarth” team-up is gonna work (and it looks like we’re gonna haveta wait a year or so to find out anyway), but it sure was delightful to see Elden Henson all slickered up for his big Manhattan luncheon. That’s always been one of the strongest suits of Daredevil; keep the core of every character at the forefront, and let situations affect them in surprising ways. It’s a rule that this season kept true in most cases — Frank Castle’s stay in prison, Matt’s chit-chat with The Kingpin, and Elektra’s twist of fate in that airplane hangar sequence, for example. And no matter what, Foggy remains Foggy. Jeri: “How does Hogarth, Chao, Benowitz and Nelson’ sound?” Foggy: “Like a mouthful. Er — a good mouthful.” Oh, him.

WHAT DIDN’T: Holy smokes, does this episode move quickly. Detective Brett gets his ass kicked, Karen gets kidnapped (along with everyone else Matt has ever saved) — what do these two things have in common, aside from taking place entirely offscreen? The Hand, of course, though the only reason we would ever know that is putting up with a rather hastily put-together sequence between Daredevil and Brett conversing on a fire escape. You had thirteen episodes to work towards a climax, Show. You don’t squish it all in during the final hour. Bad form. (What’s more, I got a Dark Knight vibe with The Hand’s procurement of all these random people Matt’s saved, only not in a good way.)

Welp. Elektra’s death would have been a surprising thing had this episode not telegraphed it to us with that lousy “me and you vs. the world, baby” stairwell speech Matt gave Ms. Natchios just moments earlier. (Hey, I was pretty convinced Daredevil was gonna save that kill for Bullseye in a later season, but what the hell do I know?) What level of schmaltz is required for patently obvious foreshadowing, you ask? Watch that stairwell sequence again. The answer is “that much.”

BEST LINE(s): Gotta pass this time around, which is a shame, given this is the last episode of Daredevil for the foreseeable future. The setup was lousy, the stakes didn’t matter, and the dialogue? Shiiit.

BEST MOMENT: Again, no dice. Daredevil went down swinging, but it did go down. Every gripe I had with the first act of this season (Episodes One through Four) came back with a vengeance with this finale. It’s like the show was playing “superhero cliche tic-tac-toe” against our expectations: whenever the episode veered too close to predictability, our training with these Netflix shows is to expect the unexpected. And then the episode provided us with the painfully expected. (It’s worst offense? That Frank Castle sniper’s nest hat-tip towards the very end. Let’s play out Frank’s night: he spraypaints a skull on his chest, goes to the one area of Hell’s Kitchen where he’s needed most, shoots some ninjas, then burns his house to the ground? On second thought, let’s not do that. Blech.)

SEASON’S MVP: Eh… Wilson Fisk. Yeah, I know he was barely in this thing, and yes I’m perfectly aware that this season definitely didn’t need him. And sure, you can also convince me that Fisk’s presence was the major contributing factor that kept the Punisher/Elektra subplots from ever converging. (His place could have easily been swapped out by Nobu, no problem.) But Vincent D’Onofrio is such an engaging heavy, not just for this series, but for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. (Can I be selfish and request that The Kingpin be Peter Parker’s nemesis in the next Spider-Man movie?)

© Copyright 2016, Netflix. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Netflix. All Rights Reserved.


– Poor Elodie Yung, in her silly, arm-less outfit. She looked like she was absolutely freezing on that rooftop at the beginning of this episode.

– Hey! Jeri Hogarth! I wonder who’ll be the first to blink in the “Hey, I Know A Vigilante Too” contest between her and Foggy.

– Spot that headline in Karen’s Bulletin office: “Harlem Terror”? Here. Have a screengrab.

– I dunno what’s more ridiculous — that Frank spraypainted that skull on his flak jacket without a stencil, or that his empty-ass house hasn’t been sold off by the bank yet.

– Speaking of ridiculous, Karen get pegged by The Hand, zip-tied and tossed into a bus filled with at least two dozen people, and the one person she sits next to is… Turk Barrett? Sure, Show. Suuure.

– “They have nothing now.” Was Elektra talking about The Hand, or Netflix’s third season plans for Daredevil?

– I’m sure that “Micro” disc inside Frank’s angrily-punched picture frame has some sort of significance, but I really, really can’t be bothered to Google it. Smarten up for the next go-around, Daredevil. You’re losing me.

4.5 out of 10

Season Two Score: 6.5 out of 10

Before: “The Man in the Box”, “.380”, “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel”, here.