In a borough of teen fluff superhero serials loaded with kitsch one-liners and hamfisted action sequences, Netflix’s Daredevil series stood out like the Avengers Tower in the New York skyline. It was a gritty, realistic take on a superhero that had the potential to get real gimmicky, real fast. It had tight, widely shot and well-edited action sequences and dialogue that didn’t make you want to cringe. It featured real people in real situations, despite some of them being augmented with super powers. It was strangely relatable, perhaps because a lot of it didn’t take place soaring above New York City, but right in its streets.
The close quarter feel of the show made it intimate and even uncomfortable at times, but always engaging and always intense. This is not to say that it didn’t have it’s fair share of problems, some of which were so glaring that as the second season ended, many fans were left with more questions than answers. Some of these plot holes are big, some are admittedly tiny nitpicks, and some will most likely be explained later, but in the meantime CBR explores Daredevil’s most gaping plot holes, and what they may mean for season 3.
15. HOW DOES MATT MURDOCK AFFORD ANYTHING?
So Foggy and Matt, “avocados at law”, have a seemingly struggling law practice, in the sense that half of season 1 and part of season 2 is devoted to dialogue about how they are going to “keep the lights on”, much less afford to pay Karen. They get a few cases (the biggest one being proving Frank Castle’s innocence in season 2), but we never actually see them win any of those cases. This begs the question: how the hell does Matt Murdock afford anything?
How does Daredevil pay for all his tech? He’s not a millionaire playboy philanthropist, so how does he afford to live alone in NYC (even in Hell’s Kitchen which, judging by most other metropolitan areas, is likely to become gentrified hipsterville), and fight crime to such an extent that he’s always calling in sick from everything and passing all the actual work onto Foggy?
14. BEN CLEARED OUT HIS OFFICE, THEN IT’S MAGICALLY ALL BACK
In season 1, Ben Urich, is a no-nonsense investigative journalist for The New York Bulletin. He works to expose the corruption of Union Allied Construction and, with the help of Karen Page (a former secretary of the company), Wilson Fisk. When his dedication to bringing Wilson Fisk down takes him and Karen to see Fisk’s mother, his boss decides he’s gone too far, and he’s forced to leave his job. Urich clears out his office and leaves his position at the Bulletin, potted plant in hand.
He’s later killed by Fisk himself when he stops giving a damn and publishes his story on his personal blog. Karen Page gets to use Urich’s old office during season 2 while working on the Frank Castle case, and everything is magically right where he left it. In order for Karen to have access to his old files and clippings, they have to be there, but it’s not like he’s a kid gone away to college and his parents left his room just as it was. We literally see him leave with boxes in hand, so how is it that all of his stuff is back right when Karen needs it?
13. THE DEAL WITH KAREN’S BROTHER
In season 1, we find out that Karen has a brother. She mentions him offhandedly to Matt, but that he’s not around anymore/has disappeared. Then in season 2, when Karen has gone to Ben’s old office, she finds a newspaper clipping describing a car crash in which a 16 year old boy named Kevin Page was killed. This is the only evidence we have that Karen’s brother didn’t “disappear”, but died and maybe she had something to do with it.
Karen’s past is mostly a mystery, but that she’s given so much to do in season 2 without getting more of her own backstory fleshed out seems oddly paradoxical, since the audience is supposed to care more about her character development. If it wasn’t a big deal, she would tell Matt the truth, but her withholding the information means there is either more to the story, or it’ll be forgotten.
12. THE SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE OF CLAIRE TEMPLE
Claire Temple was a big part of season 1, always there when Daredevil needed a quick stitch fix, looking all flustered and bewildered but taking care of business. Flash forward to season 2 where she’s almost never seen or mentioned, without any reason explaining her absence. When we do see her, she’s a bit haggard and cynical, as though conveying she’s “done with the superhero thing”.
Was it just because Daredevil had too many close calls and she was sick of spending her time away from bandaging the wounded bandaging more wounded? Was it because she had developed feelings for him and seeing him hurt all the time caused her too much pain? Besides Karen, she was the biggest female presence in season 1 that did the most competent work, but it seemed like when Elektra was present in season 2 there was no room for the indefatigable Claire Temple.
11. THE MATT/KAREN/ELEKTRA LOVE TRIANGLE
First Karen is with Foggy. Matt is with Elektra. Then Karen’s with Matt. Foggy is surprisingly ok with this turn of events, nevermind that you’d think he’d be slightly more upset that Karen is with Matt and that he’s Daredevil, which puts whoever he’s with romantically in danger. Elektra is a little pissed off but she’s busy doing mysterious things with Stick and only pops into the scene to muddy the emotional waters.
A romance is built between Matt and Karen over a few games of darts, culminating in a torrid kiss in the rain whereupon it just…gets dropped. Quite inexplicably, the Matt/Karen angle is abandoned, she comes to his apartment to find him waxing poetic about Elektra, and that’s pretty much the end of that. Meanwhile, he’s completely willing to give up the practice, his life in NYC, the Daredevil stuff, all of it, to run away with Elektra.
10. THE HAND IN GENERAL
The Hand is, as far as anyone can tell, a mystical criminal syndicate of ninjas that wants to…take over NYC? Dominate the world? Sell drugs to kids? The Hand was created by Frank Miller for Daredevil Vol 1 #174, as a way to flesh out Elektra’s character. It also helped introduce the character of Stick, and give Matt Murdock something to do. And while there is some information about the Hand in the MCU, little of it has made it into the Netflix series.
We have the draining of innocent teenagers’ blood, we have a giant gaping hole, and we have a bunch of ninjas clamoring for the Black Sky. The Black Sky, who turns out to be Elektra…because. The connection isn’t explained in any clear way, and all the build up to that revelation and her subsequent evil turn makes no sense, and thus carries no emotional weight.
9. WTF IS WITH THE BLACK SKY
The Black Sky is the ultimate weapon. The Black Sky is a small child locked up in a shipping container. The Black Sky actually turns out to be Elektra. If the Black Sky falls into the grasp of the Hand, well, it would be world-ending levels of doom. But we’re also told there are other Black Skies, so why is Elektra so special? Because she’s the most convenient?
These questions aren’t really explored, but the most glaring problem with Elektra being the Black Sky is why can’t she command them to stand down? Nobu explains the Black Sky is a powerful force that the Hand have served for years, but no one knows what powers it’ll unleash, and why that matters. All of this evokes about as much as a shrug from the audience as far as emotional investment and interest goes.
8. WTF IS WITH THE CHASTE
While the Chaste may be known to comic fans, it was given little more than a quick monologue by Stick in season 2. He explains to Matt that it began with a small child from a village massacred by the Hand, who killed everyone responsible for killing his mother. He studied martial arts growing up, and recruited other notable individuals to join his cause. The Chaste protects the world against the evil shadow of the Hand.
While that’s all very interesting, how do the Chaste recruit? Do they pay special attention to people with super powers? Do you have to be a great martial artist or can you just like to shoot things (a la Frank Castle)? Not enough explanation is given about the Chaste to fully understand what makes them great, and why any of their members could hope to defeat a group of ninjas who have become immortal.
7. THE HAND’S VAMPIRE BUFFET
The Hand has some ties to demon-worshiping and occult-y sorcery, so it’s not exactly surprising when Elektra and Daredevil stumble upon The Farm, a cavernous cellar where a half dozen teenagers are being drained of their blood. Exsanguinating humans is revealed to power the urn that the Black Sky gets placed into in the season finale, presumably to activate her powers. It’s revealed later that these teenagers were turned into a vampire buffet hive by choice, but the writers never explain why.
Do they show up at a creepy warehouse expecting candy and get fitted with tubes instead? When Daredevil and Elektra try to free them, they fight against them. When they finally get them to the hospital where Claire Temple works, one of them kills his own father before they seek to return to The Farm and continue fueling the urn. Kids these days.
6. NOBU’S STORY
Nobu was one of the first big bads of the Hand that the audience sees in season 1, collaborating with Wilson Fisk to buy up certain blocks in Hell’s Kitchen. Wilson Fisk agrees to Nobu’s terms as long as he takes care of Daredevil. When Daredevil tracks him down, their ensuing fight results in Nobu getting burned alive. In season 2, Elektra and Matt talk about his demise, presumably to remind people who Nobu is and make his sudden reappearance in season 2 that much more relevant.
Though it’s not specifically stated the Hand brought him back to life, based on the manner of his death, it’s a much more likely scenario than that he survived the fire. His sudden and unexpected presence is meant to convey the immortal properties of the Hand, but is wasted on a character like Nobu, who died rather spectacularly, and is resurrected rather un-spectacularly.
5. THE BLACKSMITH
In a twist that surprised exactly no one, Frank Castle’s former platoon commander, Colonel Schoonover turns out to be the man behind the drug deal that killed Frank’s family. It’s never explained why he turned to drug trafficking after returning from Iraq, or what exactly his involvement was in the shootout between a sting operation and the drug dealers that resulted in Frank’s family being mowed down. He goes from being the character witness at Frank’s trial where Matt and the gang are defending him, to being a surprise villain in the final act of the season.
The Blacksmith has, so far, murdered everyone tied with the drug-deal-gone-south and blamed it on the Punisher, presumably to keep the Punisher from ever finding out his secret, which is an odd move, considering the Punisher would have wanted them dead anyway. He’s not even that upset about going to prison for it.
4. FRANK CASTLE’S GYPPED FAMILY BACKSTORY
In previous incarnations of the Punisher’s backstory, his family is killed in a random act of violence. It’s a horribly brutal, incredibly unfair case of “wrong place wrong time”, which burns in the belly of Frank Castle with such a fiery vengeance that his thirst for revenge can never be satisfied until every criminal ever is dead. It’s this bitter anguish that shapes Frank Castle into the Punisher, and molds the trajectory of his story.
In season 2, finding out his family is killed by his former unit, removes it as a random act of chance, and therefore, when he unceremoniously puts a bullet through The Blacksmith’s head, almost concludes his plotline. The Punisher is not a superhero that fights for the innocent to rid the world of evil doers (which is where the Batman comparison diverges); he fights for himself, for revenge, and for entirely selfishly guided amoral reasons.
3. THE PUNISHER’S WEAKSAUCE DEUS EX MACHINA
The Punisher spent a lot of the time in season 2 spraying bullets with no real finesse or precision. When he did use precision, it was with a sniper rifle. When he goes after his former superior officer who turns out to be The Blacksmith, he finds a cache of weapons. After their standoff, he pops up in a deus ex machina move to help Daredevil and Elektra take on the final members of the Hand.
Now, whereas season 2 promos showed the Punisher with a mini gun mowing down foes, here the audience is treated to him…popping off ninjas with a sniper rifle. He just found a giant cache of high powered weapons, and he still opts for a sniper rifle. Not only that, but he’s finally accepted the “Punisher” name, so this would have been a great moment to see him embodying that with all his lethal fury.
2. WILSON FISK’S HOSTILE PRISON TAKEOVER
In the final episode of season 1, Wilson Fisk AKA The Kingpin has had his lush pad raided and he’s been hauled off to maximum security prison. A luxurious spa-like retreat for white collar crime a la Martha Stewart this is not. There are all sorts of unscrupulous characters in this prison, of all levels of dangerous. Being the crafty, intellectually gifted criminal mastermind he is, he’s quickly making friends behind bars granting him all sorts of favors.
Now it’s true, on the outside, he was kind of a big deal and owned half the city, so commanding people to do things came with the territory. Somehow, though, he’s able to launch a hostile takeover of this maximum security prison with all of his assets frozen. He’s throwing money around like it came from a Monopoly game and yet it’s never explained how this is possible.
1. THE ACTUAL GIANT HOLE
The Hand is no stranger to underground subterfuge, considering they utilize the subway tunnels and sewer systems to move about NYC like cast members underneath Disneyland, popping up mysteriously and then disappearing. Yet somehow all of these orchestral maneuvers in the dark don’t explain the GIANT FREAKING HOLE they’ve dug in an abandoned warehouse.
Actually, it’s not exactly certain the Hand dug it, but as Elektra and Daredevil fought off some of their crew ineffectively defending the warehouse, it’s presumed that they did. And, given their demonic influence, it could very well be a gaping gateway to some sort of Hellmouth. It could be the main hub of Hand HQ. Or they’re digging to China. The fact is, no one knows because it’s never brought up again. In all likelihood, it will tie into something to do with The Defenders next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Do you think any of these will be answered in The Defenders and The Punisher series? Let us know in the comments section!
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