“In its second season, Daredevil does something no other Marvel property has, to this point, done—it turns on its hero. At least during the first seven episodes of this return engagement from the Netflix-exclusive series, Daredevil (Charlie Cox), aka blind Hell’s Kitchen lawyer Matt Murdock, takes a moral stand against sadistic vigilantism that, in light of his own nocturnal crime-fighting activities, treads so closely into hypocritical territory that the show doesn’t seem to buy what its protagonist is selling.
Situating its story on the fine line separating noble activism from self-righteous homicide, it has Daredevil repeatedly profess his Catholic belief that only God has the right to take a life—and his concurrent law school-based view that, in His absence, juries should decide men’s ultimate fate. And then, it undercuts his convictions, time and again, by presenting outside-the-law lethality as a reasonable means for doing what the criminal justice system can’t, or won’t.
In that respect, then, Daredevil’s second season is, like its protagonist, at war with itself. It struggles to cast Daredevil’s refusal to kill his enemies as virtuous, even as it recognizes that, given their unrepentant villainy, perhaps they deserve no better than to be offed in the dead of night. Daredevil himself wrestles with such issues courtesy of the appearance of The Punisher (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal), aka Frank Castle, a war vet who arrives in NYC with intent to slaughter. Employing precise military tactics—and an armory of high-tech weaponry—the Punisher makes his introduction by gunning down an Irish underworld outfit and a biker gang.
Those massacres, in turn, attract the attention of Daredevil, who’s soon trading blows with the gruff, grim judge-jury-and-executioner on dark rooftops and in dank alleyways—as well as listening to the Punisher opine that they’re not so different, except for the fact that the Punisher’s bullet-to-the-head methods don’t allow paroled criminals to return to the streets to commit more crimes…”