I have to say one of the most fascinating things from Daredevil season 2 was the conflicting ideologies and growing relationship between Daredevil and Punisher. This isn’t the case of two heroes teaming up and being besties together. There were a lot of layers and complexity to this dynamic, which when unfolded throughout the season, made for a really interesting watch.
Okay be warned because I have finished Daredevil season 2 and will be talking mild spoilers!
Hell’s Kitchen is a terrible place. You either adapt to the city or you watch yourself be forced to adapt to the grueling and unkind place. The city birthed Daredevil, but not even the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen was enough to stop all the crime going down.
In comes Punisher. Punisher claims Daredevil is only a half measure, that he is actually willing to go far enough to stop the criminals once and for all. You have to consider his argument for a moment. If the criminals are acting on a completely different set of rules, how will Daredevil ever truly defeat them permanently?
Daredevil takes care of them for a while, until they learn to adapt and find another way. Now I’m not saying Punisher’s way is right either, but he has a point. In the face of injustice and complacency, men like Punisher will rise. Hell’s Kitchen created the force that is Punisher, a force who believes he is necessary to counter the chaos that runs through the city.
So we saw that at the beginning of Daredevil and Punisher’s relationship, Daredevil treated him like any other criminal (and they had one of many epic rooftop battles). However once he started internalising what Punisher was saying, that dynamic shifted. It was no longer hero vs villain, it was just man vs man. Two men in extreme conditions trying to figure out how to deal with a burning world.
At the end of the day they want the same thing, they just have different motivations and methods. The two extremities of their conflicting ideologies eventually balanced out, as by the end of the season we found their relationship had met a happy medium. And this was partly because of the other influences in their lives, Karen Page and Elektra.
Karen helped Frank see that blind vengeance isn’t justice. This isn’t to say that he will stop killing, but he’s channeling his anger in a different way; he isn’t out to flood the street with the blood of all the criminals anymore.
Elektra made Matt realise that morality isn’t as simple as black and white. That sometimes we have to make uncomfortable decisions to achieve our desired outcomes. Again this isn’t to say that Matt will now become some killer, but he will start considering that sometimes not everything can be done by completely following the rules.
And hence the conflicting ideologies met a somewhat happy middle. It was easy for Daredevil to connect with Punisher because he saw that Punisher was also a man who had been through a lot of pain and suffering, a man born from an unfortunate situation and thrown into an agonizing world like himself. And it was easy for Punisher to connect with “Red”, as he saw that Daredevil understood and could sympathise with his frustration.
Now the two of them are by no means best friends now, but there is a mutual respect there, as indicated by Punisher’s parting nod to Daredevil. But they are still on different ends of the spectrum, and that will always be an obstacle to them ever truly being the kind of heroes who go out and form a team together or something like that.
And it was this relationship that really made the season for me. Fisk left a void on the show that wasn’t fulfilled by ninjas, but at least we had the addition of this really interesting dynamic. Hopefully we see the Punisher/Daredevil relationship continue to grow in upcoming seasons!
Categories: Comic book tv shows