S2, Ep. 3 “New York’s Finest”
Director: Marc Jobst
Writer: Mark Verheiden
From the flashback opening with a caring nun to the ending with broken bodies, fire and sirens wailing, this one episode holds everything we love about Marvel’s Daredevil.
Everyone in this episode argues passionately for truth, mercy, justice and hope. The dialogue in this one episode alone should be nominated for an emmy. From the fleeing scumbag Grotto calling Foggy a donut of a lawyer to the Punisher giving some military bro man-charm to an older vet, I found myself in sheer awe.
I am also amazed at the moral beauty and pain delivered in this episode.
We get the very best of the arguments for and against vigilante actions. Motives are passionately questioned in a rooftop showdown between two good men –one a soldier and the other a lawyer. We see clearly that violence is not the answer in Daredevil.
If the question is “Does hurting people stop crime?” No, not really. It is ineffective because the soul is the problem, not the weaponry.
If the question is “Does the law stop crime?” the answer is also no. It is what we use to define it, to contain those who violate the community.
But if the question is “What must we do when the law fails?” then the answer gets more direct, we must fight: Foggy fights using the legal code, Karen fights with facts and investigation, Daredevil fights with his fists and the Punisher? He fights with bullets.
Why? Because he’s tired.
Punisher [to DD]: You hit ‘em and they get back up. I hit ‘em and they stay down!
Daredevil’s argument, that there is redemption and second-chances, is spot-on. But when he asserts that Frank is insane and tells him this to his face, I’m sort of with Frank for cold-cocking Matt.
Frank Castle is passionate, hard, and yes ma’am, he is violating the law to kill thugs who have been killing innocents. He’s a desperate man. He’s an angry man. He drinks way too much coffee from a thermos that came from the 70’s, but an insane man? Nope.
I have never seen Mr. Bernthal before this stand-out performance as the Punisher. He has done something the late Heath Ledger accomplished: he’s exceeded all expectations. His mug-shot face and passion is the new definition of this iconic character. I’ve watched ahead, and you will not be disappointed in Frank’s motivation, nor in his self-awareness. He’s the poster child for the NRA, for sure, but he’s more than that, and… well, you’ll see, pilgrim. You’ll see.
Fans may note that the Punisher, like Kingpin, was originally a Spider-Man villain, but was wonderfully co-opted by Frank Miller for use in his run of Daredevil in the 80’s. With this series, I think we rightly revise his origin to fit into Hell’s Kitchen. It is just too perfect.
One last thing: the stairwell fight scene at the end of this episode ranks right up there with the hallway fight scene in Season 1. A small amount of CGI was used [unless tow chains can be used like bullwhips, repeatedly] but I regard that as a minor quibble for a level-by-level smackdown that is so well-choreographed, it will make any Kung-Fu film aficionado hit rewind and call his buds over to watch. Once again, the stunt men of Daredevil deliver.
You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CvkiPS5Ks
When Daredevil walks out, leaving the a dozen or so of the “Dogs of Hell” laid out and the “Angel of Death” [Punisher] for the cops, you just know you’ve just watched something that wasn’t just good, it was better than you ever hoped for.
And the x-ray of Castle’s skull as a foreshadowing of his costume?
Rating [Out of 4 Donuts/ Flavor for Enjoyment]: 4 Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Icing Donuts. [The Yummy Best]