When Daredevil premiered in 2015, it distinguished itself as a much more violent MCU production than audiences had ever seen. While unique, it wasn’t out of place given the show’s crime drama nature vs. the splashier, more fantastical MCU of the Avengers franchise. Over the course of two seasons, Daredevil’s been heavy-handed to say the least when depicting the bloody nature that makes sense in the life of a vigilante going after powerful crime lords and their armies almost singlehandedly. The show doesn’t shrink from showing the audience what that kind of lifestyle looks like — operatic gore features in nearly every episode, whether it’s Wilson Fisk’s bloody, cherubic cheeks as he beats his abusive father to death or Matt’s gruesome discovery at The Farm. Cleaning up Hell’s Kitchen is nasty business, and Daredevil makes sure we know just how bad it gets.
Because we’re sick, sick weirdos, we decided to make a list of the bloodiest moments on Daredevil. What follows are 15 times we had to choke back nausea, gasp in horror or squint and shout, “DA-YUM!” We found it pretty interesting that not all of them are actually the result of violent confrontations, but simply of victims of the powerful crime syndicates that threaten Matt Murdock’s neighborhood.
15. FISK BRAINS RUSSIAN DUDE (IN THE BLOOD, SEASON 1)
Urban dictionary defines the verb “brain” as “to hit really hard in the head.” It doesn’t specify what the weapon should be, but as Wilson Fisk demonstrates here, a car door will do nicely. This horrific execution of an embarrassing peer served to cement Wilson Fisk’s place in the irredeemable psycho column.
The assault itself is largely unseen, but the grotesque sound effects make it impossible not to recognize precisely and undeniably that someone is getting their head smashed to a literal pulp. The attack goes on longer than it probably needs to, but that only makes it more effective at driving home its point; Wilson Fisk is angry, powerful and most of all, batshit crazy. Proceed with extreme caution.
14. FRANK IS TORTURED BY COOLEY (PENNY AND DIME, SEASON 2)
The first few episodes of Daredevil Season Two are spent showing us what a formidable adversary the Punisher really is. He cuts a swath of destruction across Hell’s Kitchen, and leaves a wave of retaliatory violence in his wake.
When he and Daredevil finally stop fighting long enough to argue about their mutual philosophies, Murdoch is unable to sway Castle from his single-minded mission. But Finn Cooley manages to do what the police and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen fail to, and captures Frank Castle for murdering his compatriots in the season premiere. And Cooley doesn’t pull any punches when it’s time to get down to business. One particularly stomach-turning moment? Cooley grabs some power tools and we get a close-up of just what happens when you drill a hole through someone’s foot.
13. MOB MASSACRE (BANG, SEASON 2)
For those precious few Daredevil fans unaware of “The Punisher’s” promised arrival in Season Two, the Irish Mob Massacre in “Bang” served as quite the introduction. Frank Castle arrives in Hell’s Kitchen and begins his season-long journey to avenge the death of his family by gunning down a pub full of Irish mobsters.
It’s a shooting reminiscent of Boondock Saints or a Guy Ritchie movie, not a Marvel show. Blood explodes from the throats of mobsters caught in Castle’s deadly crosshairs, and by the end of the two-minute confrontation only one has managed to survive. The message is simple: the Punisher takes no prisoners and few can hope to escape his particular brand of vigilante justice. Matt Murdock might have a no-kill rule, but Frank Castle uses other people’s rules for target practice.
12. FRANK KILLS DUTTON & INMATES (SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN, SEASON 2)
After shocking his defense team by sabotaging his own trial, it’s revealed in “Seven Minutes in Heaven” that Wilson Fisk, having already regained some measure of influence within prison, made an offer to Frank Castle before the latter was to appear on the witness stand. Frank accepted and got himself sent to prison where Fisk offered him the chance to kill Dutton, one of the criminals responsible for the shootout that killed his family.
The entire thing turns out to be a set-up designed to eliminate one of Fisk’s primary rivals, while simultaneously neutralizing Frank. He got half his wish: Castle kills Dutton, but when the other inmates present attempt to fulfill the other half, Castle isn’t so easily taken out. He brutally defends himself against eight assailants, ending each of their lives in turn either with his bare hands or with the shiv Fisk gave him for the original hit.
11. MATT V. NOBU (SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, SEASON 1)
Seeking vengeance for Mrs. Cardenas (killed by a junkie thanks to Fisk), Murdoch winds up in an abandoned warehouse looking for the crime boss. Unfortunately, he discovers Nobu instead, and the two highly skilled fighters battle it out for supremacy. As fights go, it’s not spectacularly bloody… until the end.
Nobu employs a Shoge hook on a chain, and after impaling Matt in the side with it, proceeds to drag him around the room. The trail of blood Matt leaves behind speaks for itself, and even when he manages to burn Nobu alive at the end of their confrontation, knowing what must be happening to Matt’s insides makes the victory a little less sweet. Thank goodness he graduates to body armor soon after…
10. MATT DISCOVERS THE FARM (SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN, SEASON 2)
The fight between Daredevil and Nobu in “Seven Minutes in Heaven” pales in comparison to their Season One matchup. However, this entry isn’t really about Matt and Nobu’s confrontation, but more about where it happens. “The Farm,” as the Hand refers to it, is a system by which blood is drained from a handful of young people and used to feed an unknown entity.
Matt is horrified to discover the zombie-like prisoners hooked up to massive IVs. But just to make sure there are no questions about what’s going on, Matt actually slices open one of the tubes and the amount of blood that spurts out is Tarentino-esque. Daredevil upped its depravity game with this revelation, proving that there’s much more to Matt Murdoch’s enemies than control of the New York crime scene.
9. STICK SAVES THE DAY (GUILTY AS SIN, SEASON 2)
In “Guilty as Sin,” Matt and Elektra find themselves overpowered by ninjas at the mouth of a mysterious, gaping hole deep underground New York City. Luckily, in the nick of time, Stick drops in to save both their sorry butts by taking on the remaining ninjas himself. He’s Stick and they’re extras, so he takes care of all of them without breaking a sweat.
Like many of the fights that don’t involve Fisk, Russians, the Irish or common thugs, this altercation doesn’t feature a lot of gratuitous bloodshed — until the very end, that is. While Elektra’s all poisoned and writhing in pain and Matt’s dazed and confused, Stick guts the remaining assassins, spearing one on a sword and then dropping him down the hole like he’s pushing meat off a skewer. But not before swiping the guy’s hand first. You know, to make a point.
8. POLICE SHOOTOUT (DAREDEVIL, SEASON 1)
Wilson Fisk was partially known for not being, well… known. To that end, he employed a large network of criminals and informants, including, but not limited do, newspaper editors, city officials and dirty cops. In the Season One finale, “Daredevil,” it’s those dirty cops that get tapped to raid a warehouse protecting former Fisk employee, Detective Carl Hoffman.
Right before they were all about to start digging into a bag of subs, gunfire breaks out and all of Hoffman’s guards are killed. We only actually see a few of them get shot, and then the camera spends the rest of the shootout resting on a close-up of Hoffman’s face as it gets sprayed with the blood of his friends. We wonder how much got into his mouth…
7. MATT BEATS SWEENEY (KINBAKU, SEASON 2)
When Matt meets Elektra in college, he discovers a like-minded girlfriend who likes to beat people up as much as he does. Well, maybe a little more. Okay, a lot more. All right, she really likes to kill people, and this is where she and Matt have their first fight.
After hearing what happened to his father at the hands of Roscoe Sweeney, Elektra kidnaps the mobster and presents him to Matt on a silver platter. And at first, Matt’s into it. Goaded into a violent rage by the man who murdered his father, Matt dumps a few buckets of fists onto Sweeney’s face until the man is physically disfigured by the end of it. It’s this disfigurement and the blood stained skin shining cherry red in the dim lighting that brings Matt to his senses and reaffirms that the Daredevil was not then, and will never be, a killer.
6. STICK IS TORTURED (THE DARK END OF THE TUNNEL SEASON 2)
This scene makes it on this list because it’s the one and only time on Daredevil that someone’s gotten the jump on Stick. And even though he’s a cold, prickly, hard-hearted sumbitch, he’s still kind of the closest thing Matt and Elektra have to a father, so it’s sad watching him writhe in pain, blood literally pouring down his face as he still attempts to whisper instructions to Matt a few floors away.
It’s really, really cool, but also very sad. Luckily, even after his captors shove bamboo up his fingernails (if that didn’t make every muscle in your body tense up in pain, we’re going to need you to Tweet us what does), he’s still able to pitch in when Matty finally makes it there to rescue his teacher.
5. FINN COOLEY GETS AN ICE PICK (PENNY AND DIME, SEASON 2)
Irish wakes are known to be pretty decent parties, so it’s actually not surprising that an ice pick would be handy at one. Finn Cooley arrives in America from the motherland, just in time to see his son get a pretty crummy send-off at the hands of his clearly inept lieutenant (Seamus) in the U.S.
So, after listening to Seamus condescend about how death is a part of their business, Finn grabs an ice pick and sticks it right in the man’s eye. But that’s not where it ends. Nope, Finn decides it’s time for a real speech, and he doesn’t stop digging around in Seamus’ head with that ice pick until the troops watching are rallied. Like John Healy, this is Cooley’s second time on this list, for the same episode. The lesson here? Don’t mess around with gingers.
4. MATT TAKES A LITTLE TOUR (CUT MAN, SEASON 1)
This scene in “Cut Man” is the closest we see Matt Murdoch to getting all torture-y. While he might be too good a Catholic to intentionally kill anyone, that doesn’t mean he’s not above getting them real close so an interrogation can take place. After capturing a Russian mobster who was nosing around Claire Temple’s apartment, Matt and the nurse drag him to the roof and question him about the whereabouts of a kidnapped boy from the previous episode.
The man predictably refuses to talk, despite having already received a decently bloody beating at the hands of the soon-to-be-nicknamed Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Luckily, Claire’s a nurse, so she knows just where it hurts, and she coaches Matt into stick a knife right behind the man’s left eye. We watch as Matt digs around in there for about three seconds before the Russian cracks and the boy is saved.
3. HEALY IN THE BOWLING ALLEY (RABBIT IN A SNOWSTORM, SEASON 1)
John Healey isn’t a man of half-measures, this we know for certain. What appears to be a mild-mannered (no one in comics is ever really mild-mannered) gentleman in the market for some late-night bowling, turns out to be a ruthless assassin who takes on three men with his bare hands and wins. He would’ve used a gun, but the one he got from Turk Barrett jammed, despite assurances it wouldn’t.
No matter! Who needs a gun when you’ve got a whole bowling alley full of weapons? Not John Healy — he sticks the arm of his intended target, a Russian by the name of Prohaszka, into the ball return and snaps it at the elbow. The unflinching look we get at the resulting bone protrusion is jaw-dropping and, frankly, far more upsetting than the eventual death-blow, a bowling ball braining.
2. FISK KILLS HIS FATHER (SHADOWS IN THE GLASS, SEASON 1)
One of the things that makes Wilson Fisk such a wonderful villain is his three-dimensional nature. He doesn’t want to light the world on fire for the sake of watching it burn. He comes from a place of real pain and victimization, and “Shadows in the Glass” gave us a front-row seat to all of it.
While listening to his father beat his mother to a pulp yet again, Fisk can no longer just stare at the wall and imagine his way out. Instead, he picks up a hammer and buries it in the back of his father’s head over and over until his own face is covered in blood. Once the shock of what her son is doing wears off, Marlene stops him, takes stock, and coldly whispers, “Get the saw.” It’s a moment that’s simultaneously harrowing and triumphant — a perfect representation of the man Wilson Fisk becomes.
1. HEALY STABS HIMSELF TO DEATH (RABBIT IN A SNOWSTORM, SEASON 1)
John Healy makes it on this list twice for the same episode. It’s pretty hard to imagine the carnage he would’ve managed to create had he stuck around for any more. But, alas, his second entry is his own suicide, so unless someone put him in that jug the Hand has hidden underground, we’ll never know.
After having finally been forced by Matt to give up Wilson Fisk’s name, Healy resigns himself to the fact that even if he escapes this particular altercation alive, Fisk will find him and kill him eventually. So, he impales his own head on a spike. This is a scene you would’ve cringed at in Hostel, so it says a lot about Daredevil that they broke it out in episode three. It also says a lot about Fisk that Healy was so terrified of his boss’ reach that he didn’t wait to find a nice, painless gun.
Which scene do you think was the bloodiest on Daredevil? Be sure to tell us which in the comments!