Marvel's Daredevil Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Daredevil 2.13: A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

Marvel's Daredevil 2.13: A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

Written By:
Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez
Directed By:
Peter Hoar

Here at the end of Daredevil's second season, I'm struck by how similar the finale plays to season one's finale episode. There's a big showdown with the season's villain, and an event within the finale fundamentally changes who Matt Murdock is. The key difference is that season one's finale had a clearer vision and purpose driving the narrative: Matt has to change from the Masked Man to become Daredevil in order to stop Wilson Fisk. Season two has no such transformation. Matt sets out with Elektra's help to fight off the growing threat of the Hand, which is the singular plot that dominates the episode.

 


 

The episode arguably depends too much on that threat of the Hand, and all of the various motivations initiated by them in order to regain possession of their Black Sky weapon. What Elektra is meant to do as the Black Sky, and how she fits into the Hand's overall plans are painfully left unclear. That question does drive the first couple of acts in the episode, as Elektra ponders what she can do to escape her "destiny" left as of yet unfulfilled as the Black Sky. Matt repeatedly tells her that the Black Sky is myth created and perpetuated by men who want to dominate and/or control her. She alone is in charge of her own self and actions, though it seems hard for the show to fully commit to that argument given the extensive flashbacks in previous episodes presenting Elektra's training under Stick as preparation for her as the Black Sky.

 

The truth is, Matt and Elektra need each other, as they cannot take out an army of ninjas by their lonesome. So really, the argument about whether Elektra should just embrace her destiny as the designated Black Sky weapon is pointless. Plus, Matt has to hurry about the whole thing because Nobu and his minions in the Hand have somehow kidnapped every person Daredevil seems to have had contact with over the length of the series (though it really only boils down to Karen and Turk) as bait to lure the both of them to the slaughter.

 


 

Like the mass kidnapping going smaller to focus on if Karen and Turk can escape their predicament, this season finale basically boils down to a battle between the good guys (Matt and Elektra) and the bad guys (the army of ninjas). There's no nuance or in-depth exploration of the complex issues that have been playing throughout the season. Matt seems to forget in a wholesale way the fact that Elektra is an amoral killer who was basically out to destroy everything that he had built in his life up until this point. His issues with secrecy and managing his dual identity led to the breakup with Karen and a painful separation from best friend Foggy. Her association and mission objective from Stick drove a wedge between Matt and his mentor/father figure. All of that is forgotten in the haze of worrying about whether they will see each other again if they don't die from the battle with the Hand. That conversation doesn't really track, if it ever was going to happen. How would Matt and Elektra truly disappear, especially since they know that the Hand is everywhere and has infiltrated everything?

 

Anyway, the fight becomes the centerpiece sequence of the episode, yet it doesn't have the same kind of epic feeling that was elicited from the hallway fight in season one or the stairwell fight from earlier this season. The whole thing is awkward, and segmented, filmed in a way where I couldn't tell who was where and what hits landed. In effect, the director of this episode filmed the final fight of the season in such a way that I couldn't feel the impact of the various blows. Matt and Elektra get in a few good shots, knock Nobu down a few times, and could have finished him off early, except Nobu takes a brief opportunity to stab Elektra in the heart. Most likely, he was aiming to kill Matt (as he has stated multiple times before), but Elektra just got in the way, and so the fight stops so that Matt can properly say goodbye to Elektra. Then he basically kicks Nobu off the roof, which doesn't kill him (to the surprise of no one), only for Stick to finally finish him off by decapitating him.

 


 

As with the end of season one, where Daredevil smoothly dispatches a beaten Wilson Fisk, there's a ruthless efficiency to all of this. The denouement of the season occurs afterwards, wrapping up the various arcs that have been playing throughout the season. Frank Castle burns and destroys his house, letting go of everything from his past, and fully embraces his Punisher moniker, complete with spray-painted skull t-shirt. That's his entire piece of action in the finale, aside from lending a shooting assist to Matt during the final battle. Karen goes back to writing for the Bulletin, penning an awkward, rambling piece about what it means to be a hero in Hell's Kitchen. Foggy gets a job offer from Jeri Hogarth's firm, amping up the possibility that he may run into Jessica Jones at some point in the future. The biggest events are naturally saved for Matt and Elektra. Matt finally reveals to Karen that he's Daredevil. We leave the season with the Hand unearthing Elektra from her coffin, and placing her in the stone egg sarcophagus with the idea of resurrecting her in order for her to fulfill her Black Sky destiny. It's all rather ho-hum, which has been in keeping with the quality of the latter half of this season.



Our Grade:
C
The Good:
  • At least the various plot threads reach something of a conclusion
The Bad:
  • The overall narrative never quite comes together for the big finale
  • There is a lack of nuance to character motivations
  • The fight sequences lack the impact of previous engagements

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Marvel's Daredevil by - 6/13/2016 12:00 PM290 views

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