S2, Ep. 2 “Dogs to a Gunfight”
Director: Phil Abraham
Writers: Marco Ramirez & Douglas Petrie
After the glory of the first episode, we are treated with the downside of Matt’s activities: besides the actual physical bruises, and the angry cross-examination by his best friend [always good when you are suffering], Matt finds he has lost his powerful hearing and gone deaf from the Punisher’s headshot. Thankfully, it is a temporary suffering only to be lifted so he can hear Karen when she comes by to share her terror and uncertainty – not only of the Punisher, but of Daredevil. Laying out some old-fashioned guilt-by-association for Daredevil, whom she does not realize she is talking to, natch.
One of the joys that rescue this episode is Franklin Nelson’s taking on District Attorney Reyes, using his knowledge of law and of Federal agencies to stop her in her tracks. Actress Michele Hurd is well-cast in the role, contrasting sharply the kind-faced, boyish cuteness of “Foggy” Nelson who refuses to be intimidated. The way he turns the tables with Karen politely laughing into her hand as he calls the Feds raises this episode up a half-donut.
Then there are the obligatory scenes of Castle taking out the scum – the low-life pawn shop scum who didn’t know when to shut up and the chop shop scum, who cares more about cleaning out a bloody rig than the body taken from it. We see that Frank Castle does have a code of ethics; they are battlefield hard. These glimpses of Jon Bernthal as the Punisher are just enough to establish his ruthless dedication. When Sgt. Brett Mahoney says he’s a vigilante but “not in a Daredevil way. In a Death Wish way.” he’s reaching back to the 70’s for clarification, and we old school boys love it.
Now there are some sloppy points: the wire for Grotto is not only obvious – his complaint is justified – but suicidal. Furthermore, how he mistook the silhouette of an officer in tactical gear and leg pouches for his contact simply defies description.
Still, the reveal of the Punisher standing on a water tower, patiently waiting for his target to make a run for it is golden. His rooftop fight with Daredevil as S.W.A.T. team bullets create a rain shower from a punctured water tower is the stuff superhero film noir is made of. Daredevil’s capture by the Punisher due to the return of his momentary deafness does not come off as too pat or cheap; he’s just had his head clocked a few times and fell 20 feet through a window with his opponent. As Foggy races to see what has become of Matt, he spots his special billy club, but has to ignore it lest he draw suspicion to himself.
Foggy’s last worried look through the skylight to the smear of blood reminds us that his greatest fears are being realized in the worst possible way: he’s helpless to stop his friend or even save his client. He is powerless to do more than watch the drama being played out, between Grotto and Reyes, between the Punisher and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
Of course you watched the next episode immediately, didn’t you?
Rating [Out of 4 Donuts/ Flavor for Enjoyment]: 2.5 Glazed Classics. Tasty and Well-Received with a few flakes.