Credit: Patrick Harbron/Netflix

At the risk of repeating myself again and again for the rest of the series, I still feel compelled to note that “Penny and Dime” is easily the second season’s best episode yet. There was so much to love here — the Punisher’s plan to take down the Irish mob, more baton action from Daredevil, romance, and barely any Foggy!

Things were clearly off to a good start once the episode began to morph into a John Wick remake starring Frank Castle. Once again, he’s dealing with the Irish mob, which has just gone through some radical restructuring. By that I mean that Finn restructured an ice pick straight into the old boss’ gut and broke off the handle. The gangster wants back the money that the Punisher stole during the season premiere’s massive shootout, and he’s willing to hurt a dog to do so.

But that’s a mistake, because no one should ever mess with Frank Castle’s dog. Proving his reputation as a figure straddling the line between good and evil, the Punisher borrows a scheme straight out of the recent movie villain playbook by allowing himself to be captured, but Loki, Khan, and Silva never had the balls to bury a razor blade in their wrist for later use. That kind of move earns some major respect in my book.

Kind of a random question, but did somebody ask Matt what those sticks were on his belt? And did Matt go, “Oh my God. I completely forgot I had these! These things rule! I love my sticks!” Because that’s how it felt to watch Daredevil bang up a bunch of Irish mobsters with his signature batons. Now outfitted with a new(?) costume, Matt tracks down Castle just in time for a badass team-up, and it really didn’t disappoint. They even had this cute little dynamic where Daredevil stops the Punisher from bludgeoning a dude with a hammer. You know, BFF stuff!

As someone who wasn’t totally in love with the weighty conversation between these guys in the previous episode, “Penny and Dime” fixed a lot of what bothered me. Frank and Matt talk about specific moments in the past that changed who they are, and there are real emotions there. Big props to Jon Bernthal. This is the first hour where I feel like the character and the writing has been elevated to a level that was worthy of him, and because of that, the conversation in the cemetery was one of the major moments of the series thus far.

And that’s a great feeling to have leading into the one-two punch of Matt and Karen’s big smooch — which was way sexier than I thought this series was capable of — and the appearance of Elektra. By most accounts from people who have seen the rest of the series, Elektra is the breakout character of the season, so to have her introduction coming off of the strong (and likely temporary) exit of the Punisher, it puts this season in a great place heading into hour five.

Other thoughts:

— Can we retire the Irish mob from pop culture for a few years? It feels like a relic of late-’90s and early-2000s crime movies, and the guys here aren’t exactly breaking new ground. I half expected Finn to break out into “Danny Boy” as he drilled through Castle’s feet, which, as it happens, was incredibly gross!

— About the new suit from Melvin: Is it a redesign? I mean, the mask hasn’t changed greatly, but the bigger question here is “Why is this show so dark that I can’t tell?” Are they afraid to show the suit in full light? If Matt just took a 10-second breather under a spotlight next episode, I’d really appreciate it.

— The way that Elodie Yung says “Matthew” is already the fifth-best part of the show.

Episode Recaps

Daredevil (TV series)

Matt Murdock, the blind superhero, gets his own television show via Netflix.

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