Daredevil Season 2 dropped earlier this month, and if you're not lucky enough to get to binge watch it in a couple of days, you may just now be finishing up.
If you're done, read on. There will be spoilers ahead. If you're not, wait until that final episode is complete before continuing.
With that out of the way, there are a couple of key acknowledgements that need to be made about Daredevil Season 2. First of all, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is kind of a disaster this time around.
His pining for and stupidity over Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung) was reminiscent of why many viewers fell out of love with Dexter Morgan in his epically-botched final season.
This character, who does everything right, doesn't just start making mistakes. Those are forgivable. No, he completely alters his identity to be some idiot that you can't believe is smart enough to get out of the episode alive, let alone the season.
The way Murdock just falls off the face of the earth to his friends -- the way he jeopardizes the defense of his own client (Frank Castle aka The Punisher) -- is irritating beyond belief.
Thankfully, the series pulled back on that the closer it took viewers to the finale, but for a few episodes it was a pretty rough watch.
The turning point comes when Murdock realizes what he's actually up against, and that there may be some sanity in Castle's kill-or-be-killed view of warfare.
While Murdock doesn't quite violate his code by the end of Daredevil Season 2, he at least acknowledges that sometimes what he does is a "half-measure," as Castle calls it.
The second thing that Daredevil Season 2 did to come across as irritating was that ending. Not the climactic rooftop battle -- that was cool -- but the string of clichés that now-journalist Karen Page throws out at viewers in an irritating and poorly written voiceover to close the final episode. (Seriously, watch it on silent.)Now that those quibbles are out of the way, it's worth going back to Murdock and his complete shutdown as a heroic character somewhere around the midpoint of Daredevil Season 2.
The character was no doubt annoying, but he also set up what was one of the strongest points of the season, and that is the story of Frank Castle.
For the first time in Marvel's screen history, they finally played their most controversial character pitch-perfect.In retrospect, Thomas Jane was good casting for The Punisher, but his film fell short. Ray Stevenson's interpretation of the character was on par with Jane's, and his film, Punisher: War Zone, was a definite improvement, but there was still something "off" about it.
(And don't get this guy started on the Dolph Lundgren Punisher of the 1980s.)
In Daredevil Season 2, Jon Bernthal plays The Punisher exactly as he was meant to be played -- with a brutally pure sense of justice, and no moral qualms about his "mission."
It doesn't hurt that the writing is far superior to those previous film efforts either.
Because Murdock checks out and becomes a badly flawed character in the middle portion of the season, Castle is allowed to shine as a co-star of sorts.
The fascinating thing about Bernthal's interpretation is that all the sense of humanity projected on him by people like Karen and Foggy and Murdock is false.
He is inhuman, he knows it, and he is the only major character to see that reality for what it really is.
This is a character you could watch all day, and hopefully, Netflix will soon announce the details on when subscribers will be getting a Punisher series.
Until then, he's the best part of Daredevil Season 2, but viewers have to give up a little to get him.
What did you think of the Punisher and the season as a whole? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Daredevil Season 2 screen grab]