Dammit, I am loving this second season of Daredevil. Each episode just keeps getting better than the last, but I honestly don’t know how anything will be able to top “New York’s Finest”. Okay, there are still ten episodes left, so it’s very possible, but come on! This episode was incredible, and I refuse to hear anyone say otherwise. (spoilers ahead!)
A lot was going on in “New York’s Finest”. This is the episode where we get to see the iconic image of Daredevil chained up on a roof with the Punisher keeping watch over him. We’re not exactly sure at first WHY the Punisher is keeping his enemy imprisoned, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to hurt him… badly. Throughout the episode, he spouts off several quotes that prove how intolerant he is of crime, and what he’s willing to do to ensure that villains are permanently kept off the street. One of my favorite quotes, which we heard in the trailer, was “You hit them and they get back up, I hit them and they stay down!” If anything can sum up the Punisher and Daredevil’s conflicting ideals, it’s that line.
Needless to say, Jon Bernthal is killing it with his performance so far. This is the Punisher I’ve wanted to see for years. Thomas Jane was too soft in his rendition, and Ray Stevenson was too campy in his. Bernthal is brutal, but he also has the tiniest sliver of goodness deep within him, no matter how much he tries to hide it. It seems like he actually respects Daredevil (or “Red” as he likes to call him) despite beating the crap out of him during each of their encounters. Daredevil might actually have the tiniest bit of respect for him as well since he’s ultimately trying to rid the world of evil, albeit in a more brutal manner. The two reveal a little more about themselves over the course of the episode, sharing their thoughts on each other’s vigilantism and what is considered “too much” and “too little”. We learn more about the Punisher and how he has ties to the military, which could be an indicator for his instability. But Daredevil finds out that you should never say such a thing to a man carrying an arsenal.
There’s one scene where a man comes up to the roof to find out where all the noise is coming from, and the Punisher (revealing his name to be Frank) attempts to shoo him away by saying he’s just trying to find a quiet place to have a smoke. Frank tells Daredevil beforehand that if he makes any noise, he’ll execute the innocent man. The thing about Frank is that, at this point, you don’t know if he’ll carry through with the threat, or if he’s just trying to intimidate Daredevil. You see him actually cock his gun and aim it at the man’s head, but deep down, you know that Frank wouldn’t execute an innocent civilian who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what I love to see – I want to watch a character so complex that he could surprise you with any move he makes.
The episode switches gears and follows Foggy as he ventures to the local hospital to find the missing Matt Murdock. Look who shows up! Good ol’ Claire Temple! Rosario Dawson‘s character is always welcome in my books, and I think it’s obvious by now that she’ll be a central character in all the Netflix Marvel shows (she even makes a passing reference to Luke Cage in this episode!). Foggy asks Claire about whether she’s seen Matt lately or if she knows if he’s in any other hospital in New York. She’s reluctant to help him, until Foggy diffuses a situation between two rivaling gang members who almost carve each other up in the Emergency Room. While this scene demonstrated Foggy’s more bad-ass side, it felt a bit out of place in this episode. I would’ve rather skipped this entire scene or at least pushed it to a later date.
The episode changes settings again as we follow Karen Page in her mission to stop shady District Attorney Reyes from interfering with Nelson & Murdock’s case. Karen gets her hands on classified documents that could also reveal a little more about the Punisher and his motives. The last shot of Karen in this episode shows her holding up an X-Ray of a skull with a bullet hole. What could this possibly mean?
The climax of the Daredevil/Punisher plot is simply beautiful. Frank duct-tapes a gun to Daredevil’s hand, and then brings Grotto up to the roof. He forces Grotto to tell the truth about how he killed an old lady during a botched hit. The Punisher tells Daredevil that he’s going to execute Grotto unless Daredevil shoots and kills Frank. Daredevil instead shoots his chains and escapes, knocking Frank out in the process. Unfortunately, the Punisher has already caught the attention of the Dogs of Hell by blowing up their bikes outside of their hangout. The thugs make their way to the rooftop while Daredevil tries to escape with the Punisher.
Then, sh*t goes down.
Remember the famous hallway fight scene from Season 1? Imagine that same thing, only five times better. The last 10-15 minutes of the episode feature Daredevil fighting his way through a hallway and down a staircase, all while having a chain hanging from one hand, and an empty gun taped to his other. It’s a work of art. I was so happy that we got another glorious fight scene this season, but I would’ve loved it even more if the Punisher was conscious and able to fight alongside Matt. Oh, well. It’s a tiny issue. Watching Daredevil use a chain to fight through a horde of biker dudes is oh so satisfying. It also makes me wonder if this is a possible nod to an upcoming Ghost Rider Netflix show (make it happen, Disney/Marvel!).
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode of Daredevil. Now it looks like the tables have turned as Daredevil has Frank under his imprisonment, but I think it’s obvious that Frank will escape by next episode. Let’s hope it’s a hell of an escape!
Final Grade: A
+ I loved the development of the Punisher and his relationship to Daredevil.
+ That hallway/staircase scene was amazing.
+ Claire is back!
– That whole scene with Foggy talking down the thugs in the hospital seemed a bit out of place in the episode.
– The episode overall felt very cluttered with various plots going on at once.
– Not exactly a con, but I was hoping that the Punisher would’ve teamed up with Daredevil to take down the Dogs of Hell in the hallway fight scene; I guess we’ll be waiting a while to see them join forces.
– What was going on with that weird X-Ray that Karen found?
What did you think of the third episode of Daredevil‘s second season? Was that hallway/staircase fight scene as epic as you hoped? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!