Netflix’s Daredevil, as dictated by the character’s history, leans on two genres and the tropes within them to pad out the hour. This is a crime show and occasionally a law drama, which is fitting because Matt Murdock is both a crime fighter and a lawyer.
The problem arises when one is much more compelling than the the other. Does anyone in the world care about the intricacies of Reyes’ attempt at a mayoral campaign? Or the details of Frank Castle’s plea bargain? In a word, no. But how about Matt and Elektra pulling off a heist during a black-tie gala? Or a fight with the Yakuza? Yes, one million times yes.
“Regrets Only” was a tug of war between Daredevil‘s two halves. While the superhero half soared — largely thanks to the increasingly awesome Elodie Yung and her Elektra — the lawyering dragged on and on.
But let’s not be so negative. I think at this juncture — the almost-halfway point of the second season — it’s clear enough that Daredevil has fixed many of its problems from season 1. Mainly, the show has found ways to keep Matt interesting and posing new challenges for him, emotional challenges. Even as he gets new powers all of a sudden — safe cracking and electromagnetic sensitivity! — he’s still vulnerable when it comes to Elektra and Karen.
The conflict that the two women have created for Matt is perhaps the most engaging part of this second season. With Daredevil already established as an identity after the first season, Matt’s struggle becomes deciding how to reconcile that persona with the flesh-and-blood person he still is. Can he go from fighting the Yazuka and stealthily sneaking into corrupt corporate offices to a nice Indian dinner with the woman who works in his office? Elektra’s arrival has put Matt in an difficult position because he’s going to have to face the absurdity of those contradictions. If he wants some consistency in his life, maybe Elektra is the right woman for him, and I love how the show isn’t afraid to dig into that question and not (yet) make one woman or the other the obvious choice.
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There’s clearly something toxic about Matt’s relationship with Elektra, but frankly their eccentricities kind of match up. As long as she curbs her more homicidal tendencies, maybe those crazy kids can make it work. And as much as I like Karen, isn’t it a little obvious to date the assistant, Matt? I’m not taking sides (yet). Just saying.
- Boy, the Yakuza sure do love motorcycles and dressing alike, huh? There are certain aspects of this show that make me think the writers just wondered aloud, “What do Yakuza members do in the movies? Wear skinny ties and ride Ducatis? Brilliant! Let’s do that.”
- And for a second there, I was proud of the Yazuka for branching and bringing on a female thug, but once she was paired off with Elektra, I was disappointed. Did the Yakuza bring a woman just so Elektra had someone to fight?
- The frosted glass fight scene was a creative high point for the fights in this season. More of this, please!
- How did Elektra’s driver get past the police at the hospital? Matt, Foggy, and Karen had a really tough time, and they’re lawyers.