213 - "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen"


  • NathanNathan Winterfell, The North, Westeros
    edited March 2016
    Spoilers - Kinda goes without saying, but still :)

    I'm done. What a great season. This was probably a slightly stronger ending than the last, and I had a blast watching it.
    Actually, the only criticism for the season I have is that The Punisher just stole the show. It's not that the Elektra stuff was boring per se, it's just that I really got super invested in Frank. I can't wait to see the potential Punisher show.
    Sure, I think the reveal and conclusion of Blacksmith could have tied in better to the whole finale - but overall, Daredevil vs Ninja Central with Frank popping in like "Cheers love, the Cavalry's here!" was solid, and Elekra's "death" was a super sweet moment.
    Nobu "getting back up again" was kinda annoying, but Stick sticking it to him redeemed it. 
    Fake Clair Underwood (can't remember the exec. from Jessica Jones' name) turning up to hire Foggy was also cool. Maybe we'll see both in the Luke Cage show?
  • A side effect of binging is the events in the episodes blend together a bit, so I'll just put my final thoughts here.

    Daredevil is the goddamn Morgan of super heroes and it gets irritating as shit sometimes. This is, I think, why I and many others love The Punisher's entrance onto the scene. Granted I've always seen things more his way than Daredevil's, but the unwavering refusal to see the necessity of killing sometimes is just maddening. Even outnumbered 20:1 this idiot wouldn't kill even to save himself, which is ironic since that's counter-intuitive to his supposed ethos. Can't help Hell's Kitchen when you're dead, and being dead just because you wouldn't kill any of the group of 20 assholes trying to murder you is just intensely stupid. 

    The difference between Daredevil and The Punisher shouldn't be the willingness to kill at all, but the circumstances. Daredevil should absolutely kill, but only in self defense or in defense of others. He should give the chance to surrender/flee, whereas the Punisher's opening salvo may be a .308 to the forehead, and will kill the injured person on the ground begging for mercy without hesitation. That's still a very significant difference worthy of rooftop philosophical debate, and wouldn't make Daredevil look like an imbecile. 

    I eventually came to liking the Elektra plot okay, but goddamn that was a slog for a few episodes mid-season. They way they introduced/unfolded the plot line was terrible. They should have had all the back flash scenes with Murdock meeting her in the first episode or two, and made you wonder what that was all about while the The Punisher plot line took off. Then when she appears in his apartment you'll already know who it is and why Murdock is reacting the way he is. 

    Instead they start off with that and then go through the slog of the back story, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of The Punisher's plot line, which I found to be goddamn near intolerable. By episode 8 or 9 I was finally starting to come around to the character and plot, but they totally butchered the momentum they so perfectly crafted in the first 4-5 episodes. 

    Lastly, the deal with The Black Sky. So let me get this straight. Daredevil and Stick know that The Hand has some crazy ninja cult magic to resurrect the dead. They also know the extreme lengths they went to get Elektra, the most powerful weapon ever or whatever. So after she's dead these mental giants don't think to, oh I don't know, HIDE THE FUCKING BODY? Cremate her? ANYTHING but what they did? Even if they don't believe the Black Sky lore, they know this crazy super powerful ninja cult does, and they know they can resurrect the fucking dead. Soooo, what the shit? I hate when characters do really stupid shit just for lazy plot development reasons.

    Ultimately though I think the show nearly perfectly executed exactly what it set out to, and Jon Bernthal was absolutely perfect as Frank Castle, which is overwhelmingly why I so look forward to season 3.

  • TimKTimK Grand Rapids, MI
    Bernthal was great as The Punisher and definitely the highlight of the season for me.  The Hand, on the other hand, did little for me and kept making me think of the "Foot Clan" from ninja turtles.  Burned-face ninja guy = Shredder and Stick = Splinter.  The whole black sky thing was frustratingly vague.  Even when we figure out that Elektra is Black Sky, it's still not clear what The Hand want to do with her and for what purpose.

    I was also annoyed by Daredevil's stubborn refusal to kill anyone even when they are trying to cut of his head with a sword, and the battles with faceless ninja hordes started to get really repetitive by the end.  Apparently when Daredevil knocks you out, you stay knocked out indefinitely, or at least for the duration of the episode, which becomes increasingly laughable as the (living) body count rises to astronomical heights over the course of the season.

    It seemed like Daredevil intended to kill Shredder when he threw him off the building but retrieved his baton, allowing him to fall all the way to the street.  If this is supposed to be a turning point for him I think the impact was greatly diminished by the fact that it didn't actually kill him, or at least not permanently (although I guess Stick did?  Is this a highlander scenario where you need to chop off the head?) 

  • edited March 2016
    I thought this season was entertaining, but a step down from last.

    Main issue is that they tried to cram way too many things into one season (which is funny, since the first two podcasts of this season Jim and A.Ron mention netflix trying to have too much filler). Between the punisher origin story, elektra, and the multiple villains, it was just too much.

    Especially since there were clear differences in terms of how dangerous each antagonist was. You had:

    - Reyes trying to cover up a bad sting
    - Blacksmith killing Punisher's family
    - Fisk running the jail
    - A death cult of immortal ninjas about to grab the being that would allow them to become super powerful

    When that last one enters the fray, pretty much all others seem ridiculous by comparison. And even though Matt doesn't find out about Black Sky until later, you'd think he'd realize that there was something supremely fucked up when Nobu was back from the dead.

    And this became obvious given how some major plots were either only glanced over or resolved awkwardly

    - Fisk doesn't want to personally kill one guy because he wants to stay on his best behavior, but is willing to openly plot murders and escapes? What's the difference and why would he need Punisher inside (outside jail it makes sense).

    - Blacksmith's guys die because they shoot their own boat full of explosives?

    - Claire doesn't want to keep quiet about the reanimated ninjas, so she just quits and leaves town?

    All of these are easy to forgive because the pace is fast enough that it never feels dumb, but I felt it would have been more satisfying if they slowed down and explored certain plots better.

    The whole Blacksmith/Reyes plot could have been much more interesting and felt like a wasted opportunity.

    Or take another one that I can't believe didn't lead anywhere. Claire sees reanimated ninjas and wants to tell the world about it. Foggy is right there and Karen is working at a newspaper. But instead of it going anywhere, Foggy and Karen spend the rest of the season annoyed at Matt . Massive wasted opportunity, especially since we are supposed to believe that Karen is good at investigative reporting.

    Finally, in a season that spent so much time discussing whether it was ok to kill bad guys, at no point does anyone point out that the whole argument is moot if the bad guys can come back from the dead.

    Oh, and the Karen/Electra/Matt love triangle gave me whiplash at times.

  • That was a quality season of tv right there. I was worried about them not having enough plot for the series, but I think every episode mattered and there wasn't a whole lot of filler. It had its flaws, but I'm glad watched it. I am really pumped for season 3. Hopefully more Punisher and less back flipping ninjas. Also, thank god Karen knows now. I kinda wish everyone knew, but maybe next season. 
  • edited March 2016
    Not sure if there's an audience overlap here, but I was so distracted by the guy behind Foggy during his lunch meeting with Jeri Hogarth. That's Pete Campbell schmoozing a client! (Okay I realize this is a symptom of never getting another season of Mad Men anymore, but still! The resemblance is uncanny. )  Also, the "What is it, to be a hero?" article is embarrassingly bad. I get that it's the age of listicles and disproportionate outrages in journalism these days, but if the New York Bulletin is in any way a serious media outlet as it's portrayed to be, that article would never make it to print.  Finally, Hell's Kitchen only covers 0.841 sq mile of Manhattan's 22.83 sq mi, with the population of 45,729 (source: wikipedia). It's really a small neighborhood. The name's cool and all but sometimes I do feel the scope is too small.

  • unreadunread Australia
    Another podcast I listen to (yes, I'm cheating on you guys) pointed out that the minigun the Punisher wielded in the promo photos never got used, even though there seemed to be a prime opportunity to do so with that herd of ninjas in the finale. Chekhov's minigun? Disappointing. It's even right there in the weapons cache Frank finds.

    Oh and this video points out all the comic references and easter eggs found in season 2 - interesting for someone like me who never read the Daredevil comics:

  • So, I just finished the season and one thing that I didn't quite understand was the Blacksmith role.  So, we're led to believe that the Blacksmith was Frank's old commander guy (the one that testified in court about how Frank saved his life and others and such) but then because of something that happened overseas, this guy comes back and becomes a drug lord?  And he wants to include Frank on his operation but Frank declines to the Blacksmith sets something else up in order to get Frank and his family killed?  Is that the gist of it or did I miss something?  And the way Karen figures out the identity is because she sees the photo of the them as soldiers and recognizes one of them as being dead at the harbor and then figures, ok, this guy must be the Blacksmith?  I just thought that storyline was a little anticlamatic with how it ended/revealed.  Although, I did enjoy Karen trying to tell Frank to not kill him and Frank was just like "this is who I am" and then a few moments later, he kills the guy.

    ghm3.    In reality, Daredevil and Stick should have cremated her to ensure that she's not resurrected somehow.  But I guess their logic was that The Hand was defeated and should have been scattered now that Nobu was actually dead (can't imagine him re-animated after Stick cut off his head).  So ultimately, I think they felt that The Hand was no longer an actual threat.

  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    edited March 2016
    Small complaint and seems like an editing issue, but weird timing on that nod from Frank. Matt had already gone back to fighting and it's like Frank was just executing programming.

    And yeah @Demic, Karen's article was a little cringeworthy. That whole subplot was a little weird. It worked for me story-wise, and I bought that the editor would see something in her and let her work the story. Also liked that editor character a lot, and hope he stays on. But man, I kept imagining how pissed her co-workers would be. "WTF man, this new girl gets the BIG office, comes and goes all the time, goes missing for days, and THIS is the article she turns in!"

    Did I miss something about the time span this season? It started off in the middle of a heat wave, so I assume that was summer. Then somewhere near the end, her editor tells her the Castle story, which is now a profile, is due "on Sunday." That's why she goes to see Frank's old Marine Colonel. One or two episodes later she's at the office and it's Christmas Eve. Is this the same story?

  • I've got to get to work, but one quick musing: One certain way to get me to laugh is to have someone running with a sword out and extended, much like a child running with scissors. It turns out that when the person running with the sword is dressed in a ninja costume it becomes exponentially more funny.

    Great episode, great season. Maybe not as technically good as the first, but I accept the ramp up in balls out action to make up the difference. I say it was a definite success. Also, I'm so glad they let Karen in on Matt's secret. I was really concerned that we were going to go into season 3 with that still unresolved and that particular thread was getting very tiresome.

  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    I really wish Karen would have just figured it out. I was sure that she was going to know after he freed her and the rest of the hostages. 
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    @chrisk Yea that would have been cool. I thought when she was thinking about what to write after he told her to give her entire story that she was piecing together the inconsistencies with Matt she hadn't put into context before. I actually thought she had called him to the office and was super excited for a minute.
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    Also, I worry about Foggy working for Trinity. Not necessarily a great gig if you've seen Jessica Jones.
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    Travis said:

    I've got to get to work, but one quick musing: One certain way to get me to laugh is to have someone running with a sword out and extended, much like a child running with scissors. It turns out that when the person running with the sword is dressed in a ninja costume it becomes exponentially more funny.

    Ninjas are never cool in stuff like this. Between them and the goofy devil suit I miss Matt's awesome blind fold/black shirt look going around punching gangsters.
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited March 2016

    Agreed! I know it's supposed to look all cool, but (and maybe it is because they were extras and not actual ninjas) when they were doing the whole running with their arm overhead on the sword's hilt thing they looked lopsided and awkward. I literally looked at my wife and laughed and said "ninjas run funny." The dude running with the sword out was the best though. I know they were trying to make them formidable and not like complete morons, but it would have been so amazing if that dude had tripped and impaled himself.

  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    edited April 2016
    Finale thoughts:
    *Man, the Punisher really just came in at the last for pretty much a cameo. It was like they realized at the last moment that he was a pretty big part of the season and had him come to kill some ninjas.

    *As bad as Karen's story sounded at the beginning, it wore me down to my feelings as Matt walked home and I didn't mind it so much. This show has never been subtle. And this was pretty much what you expect from a show like this.

    *Karen should have found out on her own. I am glad she knows, but it could have been easily fixed. Her path has crossed with Daredevil enough times that some easy detective work would have done the trick.

    *Also, her telling Mahoney (who I kind of like that he is the Commissioner Gordon for Daredevil since they are already aping so many Batman tropes anyway) that "Daredevil" saved them--is that the first time he has been called Daredevil and not The Devil of Hell's Kitchen? Weird that she'd come out of the gate with that.

    *The Elektra stuff started to finally click with me once she started to realize her importance--it was a cool transition to see. The actress is gorgeous, likeable, and does the best she can with it. Its just too bad those three mid-season episodes gave me almost a Pavlovian reaction to seeing her on-screen.

    *Cool to see Punisher grab that disc labeled "Micro". For non-comic readers, Micro is the handle of a buddy of Frank's who supplies him with ammo/guns/technology to continue his vigilante'ism.

    *The ninja stuff was so beyond boring. I was incredibly done with them. Also, for such amazing assassins it sure took a bunch of arrows from a half-dozen ninjas to take down 2 unaware cops. I have a hard time understanding why such a bad ass like Stick had a difficult time taking this clan down.

    *It was cool seeing Hogarth. Those crossover bits in the MCU are always
    fun. And Foggy finally seems happy, or at the very least hopeful.

    *I kept waiting for an explanation about why being the Black Sky was important. No one seems to know or care. The show just labeled it as important and we are supposed to follow that. I was anticipating Elektra's eyes glazing over black and her turning into this absolute ridiculous killing machine who was murking out innocents left and right at the Hand's orders. But nope.

    *Its nice to see that there are some repercussions for Nelson & Murdock. If things went back to the status quo then I'd have had some real problems. Especially considering that Matt barely even remembers he has a law firm to begin with.

    Season thoughts:
    *I actually think we needed more stuff like Matt's walk home at the end of the finale--moments that reminded the viewer why Matt loves Hell's Kitchen. They go on and on and on about the fight for Hell's Kitchen but we are never show why. And having simple scenes of Matt "seeing" kids playing or moments at the grocer would have helped with that.

    *Those middle Elektra episodes were really hard to get through. There had to be some other way to structure them. I always found the use of flashbacks in this series very effective. I think they could have interspersed her training in-- like another poster mentioned.We learn pretty quickly how off-the-rails she is about murder, so what is the harm in showing her training. Just hold back on Scott Glen for a reveal that he was her instructor until they needed that.

    *I don't foresee this changing, but the structure of each episode ending on a binge-drawing cliffhanger got very tiresome. I wish some episodes just functioned as their own thing. OR if they really were wanting the season to be viewed in a binge fashion (which they clearly were) the episodes needed to be MUCH more finely plotted. Nix the unnecessary exposition--show flashbacks to keep each episode popping.

    *Punisher stuff was cool, but even that stumbled here and there. I think everyone on the production team thought that rooftop conversation between Frank and Matt was going to have much more weight than it did. Instead it just kind of reiterated comic ideas and tropes we've heard before and told in much more subtle or nuanced ways. I'll have to go back and rewatch it, but it'd have been awesome to have Frank mention some story to Matt in a way that Mike from Breaking Bad told Walt about the half-measures. It'd have been a perfect opportunity.

    *Punisher's plot fizzled as well towards the end. Clancy Brown is an absolutely amazing actor and I knew there was something more planned for him, but they just didn't give him any time to shine, and instead used it as a TWIST that no one seemed to really care about. It'd have been a bit better if Frank visited him after escaping prison and they had a character moment to talk. It would have added weight to the whole thing. Instead the finale to Frank's story just landed awkwardly.

    *For all the talk about killing/not killing criminals, it was like the writers just shrugged their shoulders when they realized that part of the season would deal with people being resurrected. I don't recall them doing this...but at least a few lines about, "Does it even count as killing if they just get up and kill, hurt, or rape innocents again?" It'd have been perfect mission-statement for Matt's never-ending fight against crime, but its not even touched.

    *SO glad to see Fisk return. This was how to perfectly utilize him--a character hiding in the shadows, but still pulling strings. And the scene between Fisk and Matt in jail was amazingly realized. It's exactly like a scene from their relationship in the comics. Tense beyond belief--because of the emotion of both actors and their characters. This was where the show really shines, and I wish we had more of it. Sure its a bit silly that Fisk pretty much had the power to take over the prison but needed Frank to kill a handful of guys, but I'd buy it.

    *If I never see another ninja it will be too soon. This show shines when it tackles gritty, ground-level heroics. As soon as you bring Ninjas into New York City, rejuvenating coffins, and mysticism--I completely lose interest. I figure Elektra will return--but hopefully we can stick to the street-level stuff going forward.

    *Question: So if Frank didn't kill Reyes in her office--who did?

    *The guy playing Turk--the dude Daredevil always beats up and was in the truck with Karen--is perfect casting. He is a recurring low-level criminal in the comic.

    *Overall I was hoping for more from this season. A lot of the melodramatics between Karen and Foggy were just not well-written or plotted. They could have tightened this season incredibly by reducing the number of episodes to 10. There'd have been less filler and the season could have moved at a brisk pace, making every scene matter as opposed to what we ended up with. They'd have saved production money and made a better season overall. Not nearly as strong as the first, in my opinion. But even that is a tricky thing to state, because there are moments of absolute greatness, like Frank's prison-fight, the Kingpin/Matt confrontation, the Elektra flashbacks, the hallway/stairwell fight in episode 3. So, uneven is probably the best way to describe all of this season I suppose. Not bad whatsoever--but I don't know if I'd really classify it is a good either.
  • edited April 2016
    I much prefer Matt telling Karen over Karen figuring it out herself. For one, we've already seen a version of the follow up argument when Foggy found out Matt was Daredevil. And Matt telling her himself is pretty significant; unless I'm mistaken, she's the only person he's willing told. Him telling her is a demonstration of trust that puts them squarely on the path to the inevitable Matt/Karen relationship, which I am a big fan of. Matt and Karen was one of the top Marvel couples back in the day.

    One sad realization I had after finishing the season was that Deborah Ann Woll can't be cast as a better/bigger character in the MCU. DAW as Captain Marvel? Or Crystal in the Inhumans (although those characters will probably be English)? Sign me up.
  • I really hope they don't do the Born Again story for season 3, but they seem to have foreshadowed it. Do literally anything else in Season 3, and maybe Born Again in Season 4. 
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    Thats fair, I didn't think about the aspect of it being a retread of the Foggy/Matt conversation. I was just thinking of giving Karen more agency in the situation.
  • fidozfidoz Houston
    My kid just spent ten minutes punching me with his eyes closed to emulate Daredevil. 
  • fidozfidoz Houston
    Has anyone else notice the inordinate number of water towers in Hell's Kitchen?
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    fidoz said:

    Has anyone else notice the inordinate number of water towers in Hell's Kitchen?

    Considering how much booze everyone drinks in Hell's Kitchen, its necessary to keep everyone somewhat coherent.
  • edited April 2016
    I knew the final view of the Punisher, having just shot his gun to save the protagonist, was familiar, but I couldn't figure out where from until it suddenly hit me: Steve Buscemi from Billy Madison ("Man, I'm glad I called THAT guy!"). Definitely not the vibe I'd have gone for :)
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    edited April 2016
    Regarding Karen's sympathy for Frank and her backstory about her brother, I thought it was hinted that Karen had killed someone as vengeance for her brother's mysterious accident. She had asked Wesley, "Do you really think this is the first time I've shot someone?" Unless she had shot someone else onscreen, and I have forgotten. Of course, her sympathy for Frank could be the shared loss of a family member, but I think there's more to it. Admittedly, I don't care much for her. I thought she was callous for not feeling guilty for getting Ben Urich's job, when she was indirectly responsible for his murder. As for her painfully amateurish "Hero" piece, that's what happens when you hire a journalist when you have no idea if they can write. Eh, comic book logic.

    I thought S2 ended up kind of a mess in the final act. Ninjas initially sounded cool, but soon they were a faceless army with diminishing returns. Nobu was a fierce antagonist in S1, but neither he nor The Hand inspired much fear in the last couple of episodes. I didn't understand what Stick was doing, where The Chaste was, or what the whole Blacksmith / Kandahar conspiracy was. Why did they bury Elektra when they knew that The Hand will try to resurrect her? Did Matt forget about the kid who was supposed to be Black Sky that Stick killed in S1? I wish they would define Matt's power just a little. He can determine the contents of Frank's artillery cases when he's chained up at a distance and the negative space of the rail car, but his sense of the ninjas is dependent on heartbeats or breathing? I had a lot more questions when I watched it a couple of weeks ago, but I don't really care now.

    I really enjoyed Elektra in her first few episodes, but I felt the story got too muddy when they tried to juggle the various stories of the Punisher, Elektra, the Hand, Stick, Karen, Foggy, and Matt / Daredevil. Matt got lost in the narrative the most, and it's not interesting when he's just reacting to things instead of driving the plot, and he's just pinging back and forth between everyone. Nothing underscored this more than when Matt went to see Fisk. That was Matt, being active -- great. Too bad it backfired on him, but it was an electric scene with emotional weight elevated by the history between Matt and Fisk. The finale could have used some of that energy and focus.

    FWIW, I thought Frank recognized Matt as Daredevil in court when Matt said, "Frank." I also thought Fisk was at least suspicious when he rubbed his jaw. Then again, I also thought that surely Karen recognized Matt when Daredevil was lollygagging all up in her face, but perhaps she was simply reacting to him saving her a second time and paying special attention to her. Who knows, Woll's reactions are never understated, to put it mildly.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Yup, I'm with you.  My mis-read of Karen's recognition has me wary that the writers aren't dealing from the top of the deck 100% of the time.  
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