Last year, Daredevil smashed into the hearts of fans with bone-cracking intensity. This pitch perfect, character driven action fest put to rest any lingering phantom pains from the 2003 Ben Affleck vehicle. This year, Daredevil is back with a second season, looking to outdo the first in every way. And it succeeds on most counts. The acting seems a little more solid from all three returning main characters, the action scenes are more brutal and explosive than in the first season, and there just seem to be more great individual moments in season 2 overall, especially considering the brilliant additions of Elektra and the Punisher, played by Elodie Yung and Jon Bernthal, respectively. This article is written in celebration of those moments and the return of the Man Without Fear. So turn off your police scanners, pour yourself a martini with a nasty grey olive, and pull up a chair to count down the 10 best scenes in Daredevil season 2! Fair warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
1. Foggy Meets With Hogarth – Episode 13
That’s right, a scene from the last episode first. Go ahead and call your mommy if you can’t handle it, because it’s gonna be that kind of article. Some might say that season 2 of Daredevil fell prey to the same problems that seem to plague the world-building second outings for members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As with Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, there may have been times where season 2 of Daredevil sacrificed the needs of the immediate story in favor of setting up the future of the franchise, especially with the six or so epilogues at the end of Episode 13. One place where this world-building really worked however, was when Foggy met with Jessica Jones‘ Jeri Hogarth in what was essentially the closing of his season 2 story-line (poor Elden Henson didn’t have a whole lot to do for the latter part of the season; he was the Thor). First of all, it’s just great watching Carrie-Anne Moss do anything. Aside from that, though, is the direction in which this one scene cleverly pulls Marvel’s Netflix series. Sure, Rosario Dawson‘s Claire Temple popped up in Jessica Jones, but making Foggy a partner at the same law firm as Hogarth (who was the attorney for Heroes for Hire in the comics) sets up the framework for what will eventually be The Defenders. This scene is just packed with kinetic potential.
2. Daredevil and Elektra Fight Ninjas – Episode 8
Despite the fact that “Daredevil and Elektra Fight Ninjas” could be a scene from about 1/3 of the episodes in season 2, this scene at the beginning of episode 8 is special for a couple reasons. It’s the first scene where we really see Daredevil fighting a swarm of ninjas, which has been a long time coming for fans of the comics. It is also the beginning of the end for Daredevil’s code of ethics. By the end of the season, he’s still not okay with killing people himself, but he’s not necessarily opposed to it if someone else does it, but he’ll do it if it’s Nobu, because he’s maybe immortal. His code gets pretty foggy pretty quickly in the next couple of episodes, but this scene is just pure, unadulterated ninja fightin’ and it’s glorious. Not to mention that at the end of it, Stick makes his return to Daredevil’s already complicated life, and who doesn’t love that salty old bastard?
3. The Prison Fight – Episode 9
Daredevil has had a lot of incredible fight scenes. A lot. They have been brutal and intense in a way that no other franchise in the MCU can match. This scene with the Punisher outpaces any of those scenes by leaps and bounds. Shanking people, gouging eyes out, and slashing throats open, Frank Castle disembowels traditional superhero “grittiness” and makes a scarf with its intestines. Many of the Punisher’s fights are disturbing in a way Daredevil’s can’t match and this scene is the apex of that. In addition to the brutality of this fight, it adds to the larger social commentary that Marvel is great at letting add depth to their properties. The subtext of season 2 may not be as expansive as Daredevil Season 1: Age of Gentrification, but it does examine our acceptance of a deeply flawed justice system that places no emphasis on rehabilitation, but seems only to breed and foster even more hardened criminals. This is what leads Daredevil to kind of maybe being okay with killing people.
4. Daredevil Offers His Life to Elektra – Episode 12
This is Daredevil at his best. When Elektra finds out that she’s the Black Sky and that she could take her position at the head of The Hand, Daredevil walks his throat into her sword and tells her to go ahead and kill him because “[He is] the enemy of The Hand.” The situation is clear to him. There’s no ambiguity. He opposes The Hand and if she is going to be a part of that cult, then she will have to kill him. This unwavering integrity is the crux of Daredevil. He stands for what he stands for, even if it’s not easy, even if it may cost him his life; he won’t go against his code of ethics to take the easy way out. He cares so much about Elektra that he offers his life to make crystal clear the two paths before her.
5. Daredevil and Karen Page Kiss – Episode 4
Sure, Charlie Cox and Elodie Yung have a lot of chemistry. They work really well together. Yeah, yeah, that’s great. But what fans have really been waiting for, since the very first episode of Daredevil season 1, is for Matt Murdock and Karen Page to get together. For almost seventeen episodes, the tension and attraction between them has been palpable and fans have been waiting for Murdock to make a move with this woman whose tenacity and desire for truth and justice rival his own. This scene perfectly captures what it is to fall for someone and act on it for the first time. Everything else falls away, the traffic, the noise, the rain. Murdock focuses on a single raindrop as it lands and rolls down Page’s arm. He’s breathing her in, intently aware of every aspect of her. The scene does a great job of building the anticipation of sharing a kiss that you’ve waited too long for and in doing so creates a kind of nostalgia for all first kisses past. Besides, how can you watch this show and not fall in love with Deborah Ann Woll at least a little bit?
6. Punisher’s Cemetery Monologue – Episode 4
No one cried during this scene. There was no crying. No, none at all. Shut up, YOU’RE crying! What an intense, touching scene and what a great performance by Jon Bernthal. Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson all did fine jobs as the Punisher, but none of them came anywhere close to getting inside the character like Bernthal has. This iteration of the Punisher is the first one that makes sense as a living, breathing person and Bernthal introduces us to him in gut-wrenching detail. When a scene can make you appreciate what you have and feel like an idiot for taking it for granted even for a minute, you know you’ve got something good.
7. Daredevil Meets with Wilson Fisk – Episode 10
What a fantastic surprise was Vincent D’Onofrio popping up in season 2 of Daredevil? His character work is still unsurpassed in the entirety of the MCU and watching him interact with Daredevil and the Punisher was a highlight of this season. It was also nice to see Fisk go against Murdock, not as his superhero alter ego, but as his mild mannered self. This scene starts out with a bit of a chess match as Murdock tries to get information about Castle’s escape and throw Fisk off balance, while Fisk plays innocent, even passive-aggressively saying that New York is out of his hands now, implying that Murdock is to blame for the downward spiral of Hell’s Kitchen. Ultimately, Murdock threatens Fisk’s love, Vanessa, and Fisk explodes, revealing that he is in fact running things in the prison and gaining power. This realization further erodes Murdock’s faith in what he’s doing and his nonlethal methods.
8. The Punisher Kills The Blacksmith – Episode 12
This is the moment where Frank Castle really becomes the Punisher. Sure, he’s been ruthlessly killing people all season, but aside from a mostly aimless mission to find out what happened to his family, he was lost, just waiting to die, really. This is when he chooses to become the Punisher. Karen Page is there to give him the choice to rise up from the level of killers and become a hero, telling him that if he kills The Blacksmith, he’ll become the monster that everyone says he is and that he’ll be dead to her. He doesn’t even hesitate to respond, “I’m already dead” and set about literally killing The Blacksmith and symbolically killing Frank Castle. His transformation is complete. In the cemetery scene mentioned in a previous entry, the Punisher says that when he came home from the war his house was just as he left it, like it had been waiting for him. Since his family was killed, he hadn’t been back to his house and once again it was waiting for him, untouched. After his transformation, he returns to burn the house down. It needn’t wait any longer, because Frank Castle is never coming home from war.
9. The One-Shot Fight Scene – Episode 3
One-shot scenes have become increasingly popular as a more sophisticated audience can appreciate, not only the end product of what goes up on the screen, but also the technical aspect of how it got there. Reminiscent of the famous fight scene from the Korean film Oldboy, one of the most memorable scenes from the first season of Daredevil was a one-shot scene in which an injured Daredevil stumbles into the lair of the Russian mob to rescue a kidnapped little boy. As the performers play out the wonderfully choreographed sequence, the camera moves in and out around them allowing the stuntmen and actors to swap in and out seamlessly as the characters knock each other into and out of rooms. This season, seeking to outdo itself, Daredevil creates an even more impressive sequence as Daredevil, fresh from being chained up by the Punisher (which will be mentioned again in a minute), has to fight through an entire biker gang to escape a building with a chain still hanging from one arm and a gun taped to the other like he’s playing a demented fratboy drinking game of Edward .357-Hands. The expert camera work tracks him in and out of an elevator and down a flight of stairs, smashing lights and whipping bikers with the chain as he goes. It is truly an incredible sequence. Perhaps not as impressive as the one-shot scene from the first season of True Detective, but that bar may be set impossibly high.
10. Daredevil Chained Up By The Punisher – Episode 3
When it was first announced that the Punisher would be a part of season 2, some fans (in particular, the one writing this very article) immediately began hoping that their favorite scene from the comics would be included in the show. The scene where the Punisher ties Daredevil up on a rooftop and gives him the impossible choice of either killing the Punisher or allowing him to kill someone else, is one of the most intense comic book scenes of all time. Not only was the scene included in the show, but it became an entire episode. Even though this scene is chopped up and revisited throughout the episode, it still counts as one scene. This is where Daredevil and the Punisher really get to argue their philosophies and some of the best character work of the series is done. The Punisher expresses how ridiculous Daredevil’s self-imposed boundaries are in a world that has none. Daredevil explains the sanctity of human life, how there is always hope for people to make better decisions and how no one has the ability to judge another worthy of life or death. The scene comes to a climax at the end when the Punisher brings out a criminal and gives Daredevil his impossible choice. When Daredevil asks “What kind of choice is that?” the Punisher responds with a line lifted straight from the comic book, “The kind I make every time I pull the trigger.”
What do you think of this list? Are there other scenes that belong on here instead?