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The second season of the American web television series Daredevil, which is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, follows Matt Murdock / Daredevil, a blind lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night, crossing paths with the deadly Frank Castle / Punisher along with the return of an old girlfriend–Elektra Natchios. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise. The season is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez serving as showrunners, and series creator Drew Goddard acting as consultant.
Charlie Cox stars as Murdock, while Jon Bernthal and Élodie Yung are introduced as Castle and Natchios. Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D'Onofrio also return from the first season, with Stephen Rider joining them. The season was ordered in April 2015 after the successful release of the first, with Petrie and Ramirez replacing the season one showrunner Steven S. DeKnight. Production on the season began in July 2015 and continued through December, with the season focusing on the nature of heroism through comparison of Murdock to Castle and Natchios, and showing how the latter two affect Murdock's life.
The first two episodes of the season premiered in Paris on March 7, 2016, with the full season of 13 episodes released on Netflix on March 18. Critics praised the introduction of Castle and Natchios, as well as Bernthal's performance in particular, the season's action, and storylines. However, many missed the presence of Vondie Curtis-Hall's Ben Urich from season one, and D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk during the first half of season two. The series was renewed for a third season in July 2016.
Episode #1: "Bang"
Following the downfall of Wilson Fisk and the Russian mafia, and the disappearance of the Chinese and Yakuza, various gangs attempt to take control of Hell's Kitchen, including the Irish Mob and Cartels. When a group of Irish are gunned down by an apparent "army", the sole survivor, Elliot "Grotto" Grote, seeks out the firm of Nelson and Murdock for protection. Karen Page, Nelson and Murdock's assistant—who is struggling to manage their financial troubles given that the firm's clientele often cannot afford legal fees—takes the wounded Grotto to the hospital, while Foggy Nelson learns from the Dogs of Hell biker gang that a group of their own was murdered by the same "army" as the Irish. Matt Murdock, as his secret vigilante persona Daredevil, investigates the cartels, who he learns had all of their high-power weapons stolen by a single man. At the hospital, Grotto and Page are attacked by this man and barely escape alive. Daredevil confronts the new vigilante in the rooftops near the hospital, and is shot in the head at point blank range.
#2 "Dogs to a Gunfight"
Nelson finds Murdock the next morning. Though his body armor saved his life, Murdock's head and heightened senses are damaged and impaired, and Nelson insists that he rest and recover. Nelson attempts to get Grotto into witness protection, but since all of his mob contacts were murdered, District Attorney Samantha Reyes only agrees if Grotto wears a wire to a meeting with a high-level drug lord. After his senses improve, Murdock asks his armorer, Melvin Potter, for a new, improved mask, before investigating the hideout where the Irish were murdered. Realizing that they had a now missing dog, Murdock tracks it to a nearby apartment, where the other vigilante—nicknamed "The Punisher" by the DA's office—had been listening to the DA's operation with Grotto on a police radio. When the Punisher attacks the operation, Nelson and Page realize that Reyes had always meant it as a trap. Police snipers fire at the Punisher as Daredevil arrives and attacks him. Grotto escapes in the chaos, while Murdock is injured and loses consciousness.
#3 "New York's Finest"
Daredevil wakes up as the Punisher's captive, and pleads with him to stop killing, feeling that there is goodness within anyone, and that no criminal is beyond redemption. The Punisher insists that what he does is necessary, that by murdering criminals he stops them from doing wrong ever again, while Daredevil merely delays the inevitable by injuring them. Their debate culminates in Punisher bringing out Grotto, whom he caught stealing a car in an attempt to flee the city, and strapping a gun with a single bullet to Daredevil's hand, offering him the choice of killing Grotto, killing the Punisher before he kills Grotto, or doing nothing and living with the fact that his actions caused someone's death anyway. Daredevil shoots the chains holding him and breaks free, but in doing so gives the Punisher time to fatally shoot Grotto. As the dying Grotto asks why Daredevil allowed him to die, the Punisher attacks a nearby Dogs of Hell group. Daredevil manages to knock the Punisher unconscious, and then fights his way through the angry gang members to safety.
#4 "Penny and Dime"
Finn Cooley, a high-profile member of the Irish mafia whose son was killed by the Punisher, arrives in New York seeking revenge, and tracks the dog Punisher took to his apartment, where he realizes who the Punisher is. Page begins investigating the Punisher herself, using files slipped to her by assistant DA Blake Tower. She learns that he is Frank Castle, once a husband and father who was hospitalized with a bullet in his head. Barely surviving, Castle escaped an apparent cover up of some kind, potentially of Reyes's doing. The Irish confront Castle at a family carousel and take him hostage. Cooley violently tortures him, until Castle escapes and brutally murders Cooley and several of the other Irish. Daredevil finds them and stops Castle from murdering anyone else, helping him escape. Castle tells Daredevil about his family, who were murdered, before allowing himself to be arrested, with Daredevil giving credit for his capture to Sergeant Brett Mahoney in hopes of restoring the public's faith in the police rather than in vigilante justice.
Ten years ago, Murdock met Elektra Natchios, the bored daughter of a wealthy Greek ambassador. The two bonded over their shared thrill-seeking nature and skills, with Murdock eventually revealing his abilities and the nature of his father's death at the hands of Roscoe Sweeney. When Natchios manipulated Murdock into confronting Sweeney, hoping to have Murdock kill him, Murdock refused to do so, and Natchios left. In the present day, Natchios returns to New York asking for Murdock's help with the Japanese arm of the Roxxon Energy Corporation, with whom her late father had dealings. Murdock refuses, but spies on her business meeting with the company, where she plants a bug in their system. Murdock later confronts Natchios about Sweeney, and she claims that she knows Murdock's true nature, which she believes is the same as hers. To prove it, she has manipulated him once again, revealing that she has his Daredevil costume for him as what appears to be remnants of the Yakuza track the bug to her apartment.
#6 "Regrets Only"
Murdock and Natchios defeat the Yakuza assailants. Natchios believes that the Yakuza are up to something big in New York, and Murdock reluctantly agrees to continue helping her when she promises to leave the city once they are done. Murdock, Nelson, and Page are visited by the public defender on the Punisher case, who reveals that Reyes intends to link Castle to other Dogs of Hell murders outside of New York, making the death penalty an option. Murdock and Page convince Nelson that they should be helping Castle themselves, to protect him from Reyes and learn what really happened to him and his family. While Murdock and Natchios attend a Roxxon gala and steal a valuable Yakuza ledger, Page reveals to Castle what she has learned of his past, eventually earning his cooperation. However, in front of Reyes and the judge, Castle refuses a plea deal that would give him life in prison and instead pleads not guilty. An angered Reyes has the trial fast tracked, with The People v. Frank Castle set to begin within a week.
#7 "Semper Fidelis"
Because of his dealings with Natchios, Murdock is late for Castle's trial, and Nelson steps in for the opening statement. Unable to use a PTSD defense from Castle's time at war—Castle believes it would be disrespectful to real PTSD-suffering war veterans—Nelson instead focuses on Castle's family being failed by the justice system. Murdock works with Page in preparing to cross-examine the chief medical examiner, who likely doctored the Castle family death certificates for Reyes, but before he can do so in court the man confesses; he had been tortured the night before into revealing the truth. Murdock realizes that Natchios had overheard him and Page and attempted to 'help', and reveals his involvement with her to Nelson. With the examiner's testimony now invalid, Nelson's relationship with Murdock fractures. Murdock confronts Natchios, who agrees to stay away from the trial, before joining her in searching an abandoned building site from which the Yakuza ledger revealed shipments of dirt. Inside they find a giant hole.
#8 "Guilty as Sin"
Murdock and Natchios are attacked by ninjas, and have to be saved by Murdock's old mentor Stick. They escape back to Murdock's apartment, where Stick reveals to Murdock that Natchios works for him (and has done since before she first met Murdock, which was on a mission to recruit him for Stick) as he fights a war for the Chaste against the ancient group the Hand, for which the Japanese Roxxon arm and the Yakuza are fronts. Murdock offers to take Natchios back and help her defeat the Hand if she renounces Stick and his murderous ways; she agrees. In court, Nelson begins to sway the jury in Castle's favor, but Castle takes the stand and purposefully wrecks his own defense. Page and Nelson blame Murdock for losing the trial. Natchios and Murdock share a close moment before they are attacked by a lone ninja. Murdock subdues him and discovers that he is only a teenager, before Natchios impulsively slits his throat, to Murdock's horror. Castle enters prison, and is led by a guard to a meeting with Fisk.
#9 "Seven Minutes in Heaven"
Fisk offers Castle a chance at Dutton, the "kingpin" of Ryker's Island prison whom Fisk believes organised the deal-gone-wrong which lead to the deaths of Castle's family. Fisk admits that this will allow Fisk to take control of the prison himself. Castle attacks Dutton, who reveals that he organised the deal for a drug dealer called 'the Blacksmith'. Fisk then betrays Castle by releasing Dutton's supporters on him, but Castle slaughters them all. Realizing that Castle could be an asset against Fisk's competitors while the latter is imprisoned, Fisk arranges for Castle to escape the prison. Nelson and Murdock agree to part ways, while Page continues her personal investigation of Castle. She confirms with the now former-chief medical examiner that in addition to the Castle family there was another victim of the massacre, an undercover cop; the deal and subsequent massacre were part of a sting operation. Murdock investigates a Hand facility called the Farm, where he is confronted by Nobu Yoshioka, whom he had previously killed.
#10 "The Man in the Box"
Daredevil asks Mahoney to send the several children being used as apparent human incubators for a mix of chemicals at the Farm to nurse Claire Temple to receive hospital treatment. Learning of Castle's escape, Reyes has Nelson, Murdock, and Page meet at her office. She confirms that her office had organised the sting on the Blacksmith's deal with the Irish, Cartel, and Dogs of Hell, and explains that she chose not to clear the area so as not to tip off the criminals, leading to the deaths of the undercover cop and Castle's family when the deal went south. Now, she believes that Castle is targeting her daughter, and pleads for help in bringing him in. However, Reyes is gunned down in front of them by an unidentified shooter. Murdock visits Fisk in prison and confirms his suspicions, that Fisk is running it and orchestrated Castle's release. Natchios kills an assassin sent by Stick, and Castle saves Page from a similar attack to the one on Reyes. At the hospital, the children awake as Daredevil prepares to defend the building from the Hand.
Daredevil saves Temple from the Hand, but the children willingly leave with the ninjas and drain themselves of their blood to feed the chemicals into an ancient device. Some of the Hand died during the fight, and an attempted autopsy on one of them shows the scars of a prior autopsy. The hospital board chooses to cover this up, compelling Temple to quit. Page and Castle are confronted by the Blacksmith's men, and Castle violently beats his location out of them before murdering them. He then leaves the horrified Page. Daredevil confronts Tower, who reveals the one lead the DA's office has on the Blacksmith: a competitor working out of Chinatown. Daredevil goes there to find Madame Gao, an old ally of Fisk's, who sends him to the pier. Castle attacks a boat there, used to smuggle drugs, and attempts to kill a man claiming to be the Blacksmith; Daredevil stops him, but the Blacksmith's men arrive and attack the boat, and Castle escapes in the chaos. Learning that Natchios survived the hit, Stick prepares to fight her himself.
#12 "The Dark at the End of the Tunnel"
Stick regrets never being able to "tame" Natchios, who always had an affinity for murder, and is trying to rectify that mistake. Daredevil stops the two from killing each other, but the Hand arrive and kidnap Stick. The police believe that Castle is dead, and Page reluctantly agrees; rather than dropping her investigation into Castle, which she was going to write an expose on for the New York Bulletin, Page decides to write a profile to show the public that there was more to Castle than just the Punisher. She interviews Castle's Marine commander Ray Schoonover, but realizes that he is the Blacksmith. Castle arrives, and murders Schoonover despite Page's pleas. Daredevil and Natchios find Stick, with Natchios still bent on killing him. However, they are confronted by Yoshioka, who reveals that Natchios' killer instincts are because she is the Black Sky, a mythical weapon worshiped by the Hand. Natchios considers accepting the Hand's fealty, but Daredevil convinces her to choose her own destiny, and she instead helps Stick escape.
#13 "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen"
Nelson joins the lawyer firm of Jeri Hogarth. With Stick safe at Murdock's apartment, the Hand raids a police station for information on people Daredevil has helped. They take hostages, including Page and criminal Turk Barrett. Because Barrett is on house arrest, police officers tracking him report the situation before they are killed by the Hand. Murdock and Natchios use this call to find the hostages, and free them. They are then confronted by a horde of Hand ninjas, led by Yoshioka. Natchios sacrifices herself to save Murdock, and he defeats the rest of the Hand with help of Castle, who looks to move on from his past and accept the Punisher mantle. Stick returns to finish off Yoshioka, beheading him. Murdock and Stick mourn Natchios, with Murdock stating that his love for her was worth it, and accepting that Stick's philosophy of cutting off emotional ties is flawed. He arranges a meeting with Page, and reveals to her that he is Daredevil. The Hand later exhume Natchios' body, and place her in the ancient device.
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