Due to both insomnia and what Nietzsche would have called my "will to power," I managed to get through the entire second season of Daredevil last night. I'll admit it wasn't easy, but I had the combined sex appeal of Elodie Yung and Deborah Ann Woll to keep me going.
The Season in a Nutshell (Spoilers)
The Punisher is shooting up Hell's Kitchen, and Daredevil is trying to apprehend him. Eventually the Punisher is caught, and details about the murder of his family surface. Then, about halfway through the season, Elektra shows up, and we learn more about her character as both she and Daredevil try to foil The Hand's designs on Hell's Kitchen. The Punisher's trial and his eventual incarceration strain Matt's relationship with Karen and Foggy, and as the episodes progress he finds himself increasingly alienated from his small circle of acquaintances. The season ends with a big ninja fight on top of a building, and near the conclusion of this fight Elektra is killed by Nobu, the leader of The Hand's ninja army.
John Bernthal is a great Punisher. He makes previous movie incarnations of the characters look extremely bad. Yes, his backstory is too convoluted for its own good (drawing it out lessens the impact), but that scene with him in the prison is THE BALLS.
Elodie Yung is amazing as Elektra. She even talks the way I always imagined Elektra talking. Not only is she stunning, but she can also act. And while I think some of Elektra's motivations are difficult to understand in the later episodes, I really hope they bring back this character at a later date.
In my dreams they'd use her for the strangest, most faithful adaptation of Elektra: Assassin possible, though I know this will never happen.
Bringing the Kingpin back was another great move. Vincent D'Onofrio is still one of the best things about this show, and his performance in season two outshines anything he did in season one. He has this wonderful, tortured way of delivering his lines, and that scene between him and Matt in the prison is excellent.
The season really hits its stride about a third of the way in, and it's consistently good up until maybe the last episode. Yes, ninjas tend to look kind of ridiculous in open, well-lit rooms, but the action scenes in smaller, darker quarters all look good. The best fight scene is an early one, wherein Daredevil fights a biker gang down a flight of stairs.
I don't think the writers thought through the love triangle between Matt, Karen, and Elektra well enough. At times it's hard to understand why Karen is so pissed off, or why he doesn't just go ahead and bang Elektra.
Some of the dialogue in both the earlier and later episodes is somewhat embarrassing. By the last episode it falls firmly within the realm of comic books, and diminishes some of the "realism" built up in earlier episodes.
The low(er) budget of this show shows in certain scenes. The ninja fight at the end, for example, looks as if it could use a few more ninjas.
And as with the first season, the biggest problem with season two is that it fails to reach a truly satisfying conclusion. In the first season, the biggest issue was the fact that everyone knows the Kingpin's going to be back again, and his incarceration is something of a nonevent. In the second season, the biggest issue is this half-explained "Black Sky" business, and the fact that Elektra is embroiled in a vague crisis that's hard to care about, or even to understand. All of Daredevil's struggles with The Hand are never sufficiently concluded, and one gets the feeling that they're saving all the really good stuff for The Defenders, or Luke Cage, or the third season of Daredevil.
Luke Cage will be released in September. It seems like a long time, but then again there are a several major superhero movies between now and then. One of these, Captain America: Civil War, might even tie into what Netflix is doing.