I've fallen and I can't get up.
The first five-minutes of the second episode of DAREDEVIL season two picked up the morning after Matthew Murdock’s intense introduction to Frank Castle, aka the Punisher. The always surprising Foggy carries us from rooftop-to-rooftop searching for his blind buddy, only to find him barely conscious after taking a bullet to the forehead of his armored mask, shattering the protective plating and giving DD the concussion of a lifetime. Truth be told, I did not care for Foggy when I first met him at the beginning of Season 1. I felt the character was forced, contrived, and not the wingman I was expecting to accompany the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. What I perceived as poor performance, however, is exactly what sold me on Elden Hensen. Foggy is the sidekick we don’t expect, which makes it far cooler when he steps up to the plate and uses his best weapons–witty intellect and boisterous personality–to put a slimy villain in their place. Weapons he uses with gusto in episode two.
During Daredevil’s recovery from the thrashing, he begrudgingly receives the tough-love tongue lashing Foggy special, after which Matt suffers a side-effect of the blunt-force head trauma when he begins to suffer from painful audio hyper-sensitivity–relative to his already superhuman sense of hearing– and is suddenly struck deaf, incapable of hearing his own screams, leaving him stranded, sitting on his living room floor, staring into and listening to an absolute void. The sequence of shots in this scene was palpable, not to mention a cringing reminder of the blind vigilante’s own version of “kryptonite.” When I suspend my disbelief watching DAREDEVIL, I suppose I simply forget about the obvious chink in his armor: the fact he is as useless as microwaveable ice-cream if his hearing is compromised. All that training and sensory honing suddenly become “somebody that you used to know.”
All the while, and through the last fifteen-minutes of episode one, Karen puts her life on the line to protect Grotto–a former mafia goon turned whistle-blower–from the Punisher’s shotgun warpath through a hospital. One thing I love about Jon Bernthal’s choices with his character thus far is his refusal to run in any scene. While pursuing, his movements are true to Punisher style: swift, calculated, energy-conserving, vicious. His icy stare and grimace add to the moderately paced wake of mortal fear well. We’ve said it here before at Cinema High, Bernthal (THE WALKING DEAD, NUMB3RS, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET) does unhinged like a pro.
Soon, Grotto is safe within NYPD custody and prepping for a sting operation as part of a ballsy witness protection deal made with the DA’s office by Foggy and the law office of Nelson & Murdock. This is one of my favorite parts of season two of DAREDEVIL; since I recently finished Netflix’s other great superhero thriller drama, JESSICA JONES, we’re gifted with an easily overlooked crossover of District Attorney Samantha Reyes, played by the elegantly fatal beauty, Michelle Hurd (DEVIOUS MAIDS, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, THE GLADES.) She goes toe-to-toe with Foggy and backs down from the clumsy oaf, after he proves fierce loyalty can sometimes outweigh intimidation tactics.
Murdock eventually regains his hearing, and is able to leave his island of isolation on the living room floor just in time for another carefully laid romantic tension moment shared with Karen, whom is starting to become suspect of Matt’s chronic problem of “falling down stairs” that gives him such telltale violent scars.
The second episode ends with Grotto’s “deal” with the D.A. gets turned on its head after being revealed as a sting operation to lure out the Punisher, and is proven fruitless as the paramilitary killing machine saw the ambush coming a mile away (naturally). Daredevil does a little ambushing of his own with one of Frank’s own smoke-grenades and sporting a newly repaired face-mask, now with a thematic scar down the center of it. The two exchange a ferocious set of blows before both falling through a skylight and an unconscious DD being taken hostage. Cut to black off Foggy’s forlorn gaze.