“Bang” picks up from the end of the first season with a criminal vacuum now existing in Hell’s Kitchen since Wilson Fisk AKA The Kingpin has been arrested. Everyone and their grandmother is trying to snatch up their own piece of the pie. Matt Murdoch AKA Daredevil (I feel like the show is still referring to him as The Devil, but screw it, Daredevil is easier) is trying to maintain some kind of working peace in the unease, but difficulties abound. A new player is one the scene and it’s picking off biker gangs and the Irish Mob, but that is likely just the start.
The method to Netflix’s Marvel shows up to this point- with Daredevil Season One and Jessica Jones, has been fairly systematic, at least in regards to how it handles a villain. You spend three or four episodes, mention the baddie offhandedly, reference his baddieness, and then, boom, fourth episode has the baddie reveal and you bask in the awesome. Daredevil Season 2, however, decides to dispense with the pleasantries and instead jumps right into it.
There’s a kind of stark brilliance in declaring the (for lack of a better word) villain, even though Jon Bernthal is- in all likelihood- not the big bad of the season. For now, we can enjoy existing with this showdown between Daredevil and The Punisher (he hasn’t been explicitly called that yet, but we know). In the little we see of Jon Bernthal in this opener, he has a commanding presence. You believe without a shadow of a doubt that this a man who could royally mess you up. The show successfully gives you the sense that characters you love are in actual mortal danger from this man and that even as they are driving away, they are still not safe. This is all Bernthal. The way he carries himself, his gravitas, it all lends itself to the effect that this is a dangerous man. Tertiary characters mistake Bernthal for a full army and you get why. For all intents and purposes, he is an army compressed into one terrifying man whose motives are yet to be made clear (although most of the audience probably already has a good guess).
Every fight scene in Daredevil has to be shined under the light of the sequence in “Cut Man” and rightly so. The fight choreography in that scene was superb. The one from end of “Bang” is no different. While it was not nearly as good as “Cut Man”, this is still a pulse-beating one nonetheless. It’s quick and deadly, and when it ends, it does so brutally.
In the more pedestrian parts of the show, Foggy (Elden Hensen) continues having a bromance with Murdoch, despite his rampant misgivings about his late night extracurriculars; and Nelson and Murdoch: Attorneys at Law have gained a reputation for being a champion of the downtrodden, which apparently doesn’t pay very well considering they’re on the verge of bankruptcy and are being paid in bananas and delicious looking pies.
Foggy and Matt’s little walks down the street bantering at each other is a highlight of the show when Matt is out of the costume. More of that, please.
Beyond that, the non-Daredevil parts of Daredevil are exceedingly boring, most of that including Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll. She’s a fine actress, but duller than a bag of bricks. Again, she’s likable, but most things involving her are a snore, which is up to and including her incessant flirtation with Matt. For most of the time, she has nothing to do and when she actually does, she’s one of the least interesting parts, which also applies to her on the show as a whole. At one point she tells a character that she is his only hope for survival and that is honestly enough to fill you with dread. It’s like Laurel from Arrow coming to rescue you: no, thank you.
To counter-balance this, I’m simply waiting for Elodie Yung to show up as Elektra to improve the female presence on this show.