Samuel Brace with the top 7 Daredevil season 2 moments (spoilers follow, naturally)…
Daredevil’s second season was fantastic. Some aspects worked better than others. Elektra’s/The Hands storyline was nowhere near as engaging as Frank’s (illustrated by this Punisher heavy list) but this was compelling, well crafted television with some truly standout moments to savour. Here are seven of them.
Daredevil’s Rooftop Choice
Daredevil, chained and bound the roof by Punisher, forced to make a choice between letting Frank kill a murderer or shooting Frank dead to save the man’s life was truly excellent television. Taking place early on this season it was the first moment to enter the list and kept its place the entire time. The visual of the whole ordeal, the writing and performance were all perfectly on key. Matt’s response to the ultimatum, “What kind of choice is that” encapsulating his hopelessness wonderfully. This scene was a wonderful set up to the most important theme of the season — how far to go in order to stop the bad guys. It kept on getting better, with Matt eventually shooting himself free and Frank killing the man anyway. Frank luring the bikers out in an attempt to turkey shoot them was also a great insight into his meticulous planning and efficiency. This moment kicked off things in fine fashion.
Hallway fight scene sequel
In an attempt to top one of the best fight scenes in television history, the now infamous hallway fight from season one, they upped… well just about everything about it to create an incredibly elaborate scene where Matt takes on a gang of bikers through hallways, staircases and stairwells. It was brutal, exhausting and hell of a lot fun to watch. It only seems less than because you know what they were trying to do but it’s a truly special moment. Matt whipping the lights out with chains was one of the standout images of the season. This would last the test of time and be the best fight sequence in the season, the only scene coming close was Frank’s butchery in the prison. More on that later.
Punisher Torture Scene
“Do I look nervous to you?”
Frank being caught by the Irish mob, taking down a few before he fell, the scene of his torture and interrogation was fantastic and the most violent sequence in the show so far, really pushing the limits of what you think a superhero show can be. The drill to the foot, then pulling the blade out from his arm to slit a man’s throat, and then one a handed shot-gun blast to a flanking enemy was glorious. Finished off just right with another blast to the face of his downed opponent. It was visceral violence at its best, all the more affective knowing what we do about Frank and his mission. At this point he still didn’t find the exact men that murdered his family, or the reason why but this was a big moment for his character and for us as an audience, seeing what kind of man he truly is. Oh, and don’t forget the dog and Frank’s soft spot for it, gotta love a psychopathic animal lover.
Frank’s “One Batch, Two Batch” Graveyard Monologue
This was gut wrenching stuff. Broken and battered, Matt setting Frank down against a grave and allowing him to explain his story and meaning behind the rhyme he recites before he pulls the trigger was harrowing. Jon Bernthal is phenomenal here and in the role in general. Being a huge fan of his since his tour de force performance as Shane in The Walking Dead, and the much underrated Mob City, having him portray Frank was a real treat and boy has he delivered. Frank explaining how he came home from war, reuniting with his daughter, being too tired to read her favourite book to her and then having her taken away from him the next moment was tough to hear and beautifully acted. Bernthal should be a bigger star than he is. Hopefully this and a perhaps a Punisher spin-off series can help him reach the highest of highs. He has a very rare quality as an actor, a man so masculine and tough, yet tender and fragile all at once. This moment allowed him to display these qualities perfectly. Signing off with the line, “I think I’m done, Red”. Wow.
Frank vs The Inmates
After having been lured into prison by a returning Wilson Fisk, Frank makes a deal to take out Wilson’s rival for the prison throne, Dutton, and in the process getting any information he can from the man about what happened to his family. Slicing the throat of one of his men, Frank then learns that the shootout wasn’t just a gang war but a police sting operation gone bad. Telling Dutton he will never stop his crusade, Frank dispatches him only to be betrayed by Fisk, trapped in a prison block with a bunch of very angry inmates out for his blood. No problem for Frank however. The Punisher, in the most brutal sequence in the shows history, runs through the men, ripping them to pieces with shanks, shivs, everything and anything, even his bare hands. If there was every any doubt at what Jon Bernthal’s Punisher was capable of it was now cast aside forever. He truly is a one man wrecking machine, each kill more brutal than the last, leaving Frank covered from head to toe in the blood of his victims. Yes, this man is a quasi-hero, yes, we do empathise with his crusade, but he is an unequivocal psychopath. What a sequence! We can all look forward to more of this in a Netflix Punisher series I am sure.
Fisk Frees Frank
With his rival’s death, Fisk has assumed total control over the prison and its guards. Paying a visit to Frank, who is chained like an animal, the man that was supposed to die, Fisk poses another deal. He will free Frank from prison, allowing him to continue his assault on the criminal world. His justice will work out well for Fisk, who, as he mentions, is playing the long game, hoping that when he is eventually released, all he has to do is mop up Frank scraps. This was a fantastic exchange between the two men. Two hulking brutes exchanging words and a few blows, obviously respecting each other’s strengths. Frank agrees, still desperate for revenge — and now with more to go on — warning Fisk that the next time they meet only one will be left standing. This coming together of two fan favourites worked immensely well, setting up perfectly a future storyline for a Punisher solo series where the two can go at it with New York as their playground. Frank owes this man gratitude, but he doesn’t like him, Fisk is everything Frank is fighting against and will relish the chance to take him down. I can’t wait!
Frank Find His Justice
Frank coming face to face with the man he deems responsible for his family’s death, his senior officer in the marines who has now become a drug lord. Frank, not interested in a long conversation, or going into all the ins and outs of what happened, the what, the why or the where, just shoots him in the head, getting his revenge. The beauty of this scene was how it conveyed Franks feeling afterward. Obviously all that he’s done wasn’t going to bring his family back, it was never going to make him feel better. He knows this and now all he’s left with is an unquenchable anger. He’s too far gone now. Luckily he stumbles upon his vanquished foe’s secret weapons locker, filled with all kinds of goodies and his soon to be infamous vest — his crusade is now just beginning, because really, what else is there left for him to do. This is an excellent end to this Punisher origin arc, and capped a great performance from Bernthal, his eyes telling the story of a thousand words.
Matt and Karen’s conversation over whose brand of justice is more effective, Daredevil’s or Punisher’s, and is there even much of a difference.
Franks outburst at the court hearing was a fantastic tirade, including the line, “You want it, you got it! I am the Punisher!” Great stuff.
Elektra’s death, an important and necessary moment for the show and for Matt. Too bad she is seemingly going to be resurrected.