Marvel’s Daredevil: Dogs to a Gunfight (Season 2 Episode 2)

Karen and Foggy defend Grotto, who just wants to live. The Punisher gets introduced officially. Matt learns he might not be the best vigilante in town anymore.

On Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Episode 2, “Dogs to a Gunfight,” Matt begins to realize he might have his work cut out for him fighting against this new villain, dubbed the Punisher. The new client of Nelson & Murdock, Grotto, has a spotlight on him, both from the cops and from the Punisher himself. Suffering from the shot from the Punisher, Matt loses his footing in a battle against the warrior-like villain vigilante. On a more romantic front, Matt and Karen push onward, both towards a goal they’re not sure of yet, as both of their characterization grows independently of one another. The Punisher takes advantage of a subdued Matt, leaving his life hanging in the balance once again.

Foggy and Matt’s Constant Debate

Foggy scrambles in the wake of Matt’s life hanging in the balance. Foggy’s panic is understandable, the wild desperation of trying to find a loved one, all obstacles surmountable if it means getting that person back. Even though he has to be dragged from the roof to Matt’s apartment, despite not being fully clear on how exactly Foggy did that without anyone noticing, his frustrations with Matt seem to be mounting, the clear indication of a fracturing between them. Just as in season one, Matt believes him to be the only person capable of stopping the new villain, the god-like figure getting in the way of him realizing he’s just a person, also getting in the way of appreciating Matt as a character. Foggy’s declarative statement of letting the NYPD and everyone else do their own jobs hits Matt’s issue on the nose, which is that he simply can’t let anyone do anything because he believes himself to be the only answer.

A Different Kind of Vigilante

Meanwhile, Karen’s composure remains, despite her claiming to be terrified to Grotto. Karen’s resilience is another clear indication of a future development, a story line that promises to be embellished upon; the carving out of Karen’s true characterization that began at the end of season one continues. As Brett comments, the idea of hero becomes construed; despite the new villain taking out mobs, there is a fear of him, even when he is doing just as Daredevil is, despite it being to a different degree. The acknowledgment that vigilantes like Daredevil will encourage others seems like the overarching theme of the season, threatening to drown out the goodness that Daredevil intends to provide, simply because he can’t take off his mask.

Matt’s Sensing He Might Be Losing His Senses

Matt is facing some issues of his own. The bullet that took him out seems to have left some problems in its wake, which seems not at all surprising, but the scene itself is what makes it a terrifying idea to accept. The audience has grown used to Matt’s reflexes, the ability to be able to see in his own way and hear beyond anything anyone’s ever known. But, with that gone, the silent screaming of Matt Murdock evokes the feeling of hopelessness, that for the first time he is truly impaired. Despite being blind before, he has always had his other senses to act as his help and to be his guide; he is now utterly alone and incapable. The acting by Charlie Cox in this scene in particular is phenomenal, reflecting on the purely raw understanding that this man, who believes himself to be the only one who can save Hell’s Kitchen, is now unable to do so, risking the city and his friends in the process.

Introducing the Punisher

The DA is adamant on Grotto, purposefully trying to push out Nelson & Murdock, which luckily Foggy is able to resist with tremendous courage and wit. Despite Grotto’s unease at reentering his old world understandable, the DA manages to leverage him by using the information on the new villain as a means to an end; their implication that if he doesn’t help them, the new villain will get to him. The DA dubs him with his new nickname – the Punisher.

And for the first time, the audience meets him. Drinking coffee, the Punisher is picking up police equipment, and subsequently covering his tracks, proving how talented and clever he really is. But the shop owner he’s visiting makes a critical mistake and the Punisher reveals something about himself. When the shop owner indicates he’s a creep pedophile, the Punisher deals him the justice he may never receive from police because no one will ever know. The Punisher, however, does know and so does deal his justice. And the question becomes: is it wrong? Is it any more wrong than the kind of justice Matt attempts to deliver? The people who slip through the justice system’s cracks, as has proven happens in the first season of Daredevil as well as in real life itself, don’t seem to slip by the Punisher. He’s judge, jury, and executioner, doing the last step because Daredevil won’t. The Punisher isn’t the copycat of Daredevil; he’s the answer to him.

Karen’s guilt in always being in the cross-hairs, of both Fisk and now the Punisher, ignites her feelings of guilt and what justice she feels she deserves after killing Wesley. Karen’s guilt as a carryover from last season proves the intelligence of the writing, and the character building of Karen herself. The small instances that reveal something about characters proves their worth, rather than spelling it out.

A Vigilante is a Vigilante

And just like that, Matt’s back. His and Karen’s relationship blossoms, despite Karen attempting to rail against the lies that he has been telling her, as she is aware that they are in existence, if nothing else. The fracturing of opinions and justice is brought to the surface, as Matt defends the idea of his self-righteous alter ego and as Karen declares that, by opening the door to one vigilante, the city let in others. A woman of survival herself, pushed to the limit, her belief that the Punisher could be anyone is an understandable assumption, especially when he is taking out specific mobs, rather than killing people sporadically. The Punisher’s sense of justice is examined again, but this time to Matt, whose helmet, inspected by Melvin, seems to be a warning shot rather than luck. The Punisher wasn’t trying to kill Matt because he doesn’t have a target; he isn’t a mob boss, or anyone else in the category of Punisher killings. They are just like one another, despite that not being what Matt wants to hear.

The Spook in the Shadows

As Matt attempts to find the Punisher’s hideaway, the Punisher takes out his next targets. The number one quality in the episodes, revealing the Punisher and his crimes, is the art of being unseen; rather than witnessing all his atrocities, the camera focuses on another character, relaying the true fright of him. The Punisher acting as a boogeyman-like figure inspires a different level of fear, one that could inspire justice if it meant that people would be afraid to do crime if it meant that figure was coming for them. It is the same fear that people get from Daredevil, other than that they know they won’t come out of an interaction with the Punisher alive.

The Punisher Outmatches The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen

Grotto acting as bait signals the Punisher’s imminent arrival, and with him, comes a certain kind of destruction no one, including the DA Reyes, was prepared for. A tactical man, able to smell a trap, the Punisher reveals to be something far smarter than Daredevil, with more expertise in a field of combat and with a lot less self-importance. He has a job and he executes it, regardless of what the spiritual ramifications might mean the way Matt does. As the Punisher goes to take out Grotto, he mutters a “shit” and a fight between Daredevil and he ensues. In his astute way, the Punisher is able to sense Matt’s weakness to noise and how that could potentially paralyze him, seeming purposeful in his intent to just disarm Matt rather than kill him, as Melvin admitted when seeing the Daredevil helmet. He walks towards him and the last we see of the exchange between the two vigilantes is the Punisher’s bloodied, determined face walking towards him. It promises something more, and how he deals with Matt will determine just who the Punisher is.


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What did you think of Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Episode 2? Will the Punisher definitively show himself? Is Matt going to finally realize that he and the Punisher are one and the same? Is Foggy going to give up on Matt, because this seems to be too much? Poor Foggy. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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