First thoughts on The Defenders (Spoilers!)

by Aug 19, 2017Reviews of the Marvel Shows69 comments

This post will contain spoilers for the full show, stay away if you’re not done watching it! I’ll keep this relatively brief though, as this is not a definitive review. I’ll probably have more to say after I’ve at least had a chance to watch it again (I have a Defenders marathon scheduled with some friends tomorrow).

So… Wow. And not a good kind of wow, I’m afraid. Despite some excellent moments, scenes and characterizations, I would argue that this is the weakest show out of the Marvel/Netflix collaboration to date. And it mostly comes down to the plot.

But, let’s start at the beginning, and the beginning is actually very good. The early reviews of the first four episodes where somewhat mixed, and many pointed to the fact that it takes a while for the four heroes to get together as the biggest weakness of those early episodes. After having watched the whole show, I felt like their time apart, each pulling at one string of the bigger mystery, and their gradually moving into each other’s orbits was the best part of the show. And I very much enjoyed watching the first three episodes. Within the context of the story, it made sense that things would have to happen for these four character to have a reason to get together, and that this needed time. I thought Jessica’s bit was especially good, as I do like a bit of detective work, and I loved how Matt ended up in Jessica’s story through Foggy.

Their big fight/meeting at the end of episode three did its job, and was fun to watch, as was these characters feeling each other out during episode four, even though I’d argue that this is where the real pacing issues begin. That’s right, as the bigger story starts to pick up speed here, my feeling is that this is where the creators start phoning it in, relying too much on the chemistry between the characters to keep us hooked.

And that chemistry is there, definitely. I hope The Defenders gets a second season so that we can see these guys team up again, I just really hope they get to do so in a story that makes sense. And, I’ll say it, even the scenes they are in could, in many cases, have been much better written. I had actually expected more banter, more of them getting to know each other. I found the scene where Jessica tells the story of Matt’s father to be very moving, and the dynamic between those two is perhaps the best, but even with the five full episodes they had to devote to these characters existing in the same world, much less is actually accomplished than I had expected.

The team gets ready to fight Alexandra at the restaurant, as seen in episode four of Marvel's The Defenders

So, my big issue here has little to do with Matt/Daredevil, who I think has a strong outing. Sure, the fact that they’re trying to replay the emotional drama with him and Elektra from the end of season two at the end of this show (and having it feel even more out of key on account of Elektra’s transformation), is not my cup of tea, but for the most part, Charlie Cox gets to put in a fine performance. My big issue is the plot holes. Let’s make a list:

  • Why does the Hand need to destroy New York? I’m serious. Aside from wanting to cause mayhem, and because it’s their M.O. (they were apparently the bastards behind Pompeii and Chernobyl), why would they want to go the extra step beyond mining whatever is behind that wall that only Iron Fist can open? The destruction of New York beyond what is needed for their mining operation makes no sense. And, if it hadn’t been for their discovering that wall that they need Danny to open, wouldn’t they have been pretty much done after the first tremor?

  • How would the three month plan have been different? In the first episode, we see Alexandra and Madame Gao meet at the park to discuss their plans, and Gao says she’s got someone in the Mayor’s office. Alexandra, who has recently learned that she’s dying wants to speed things up. Gao points out that doing so will not be quiet, which is presumably why they have to go the plan B earthquake route. And, if I’m understanding this right, the point of the earthquake was to aid in the mining operation to get the substance that lets them live forever (at which point they come across that wall and suddenly realize they need an Iron Fist to get them all the way). But is Gao suggesting there was a less messy way of doing this that would have involved the mayor’s office? And if that was less messy, then it makes even less sense to speak of war and the destruction of New York.

  • Alexandra. Image episode one of Marvel's The Defenders.

  • Why is Alexandra dying a problem when they just tried to kill her themselves? When Elektra gradually grows a mind of her own, and decides to kill Alexandra, the remaining “fingers” of the Hand seem to have a problem with this, as she is needed for their front activities. If that’s the case, why did they conspire to have her killed something like the day before?

  • Why is Elektra suddenly so big on immortality? Elodie Yung is fantastic and I really dig her performance here, even tough I think she gets way too much air time in the context of this story. However, there are a lot of things about her that don’t quite make sense. First of all, the fact that she starts to “wake up” as early as the first time she comes across Matt really brings into question whether the Hand can do anything right. I know there’s supposed to be some “oh, but he was the one she loved” kind of magic going on here, but that kind of feels like a cop out.

    Once she does begin to find herself, she goes off on her own, and even visits Matt’s apartment. So, you definitely see her humanity coming back. Which is why it comes out of the blue when she decides to kill Alexandra and take over. I get that she’s starting to realize she’s being manipulated and thus would want revenge on a personal level. But the way she puts herself in the driver’s seat when it comes to the Hand’s big plan seems contrived to me, and not something that follows naturally from anything we’ve seen from her previously. I mean, I guess is shows that her dark side won, which Matt foolishly still decides to ignore, but it’s a plot twist that, while shocking and at least a little interesting, doesn’t feel earned.

  • Elektra wakes up. Image from the trailer for The Defenders.

  • And the big one: In what way was Elektra/The Black Sky essential to any of this? The Black Sky, as a concept, was introduced in season one of Daredevil, and has remained somewhat enigmatic ever since. Clearly, there can be more than one at a time, they seem to be a particular kind of endowed human (though everyone in the know appear to treat them as things rather than people), that can be trained and activated to become a very powerful fighter with what looks like superhuman strength.

    This is all well and good, and excellent reason to want to have one of these in your stable of ninjas. But, in a world where the weaponry and how battles are fought have moved on a bit since the Hand was formed, I don’t quite understand what’s so essential about having a “living weapon,” or why it would be so disastrous for it to fall into enemy hands (if that’s even a concern). More to the point, I don’t understand what having this living weapon has to do with the plan to mine more of that immortality substance from underneath New York City. I, too, would question Alexandra’s reasons for spending the last of their resources on resurrecting Elektra, unless she actually wants an ersatz daughter (my favorite explanation at this point, since it at least makes sense on some kind of twisted human level). The fact that no one else in the Hand leadership actually thought the Black Sky was essential to their plan should tell you everything. Is the Black Sky, at the end of the day, just a big red herring?

Two seasons of Daredevil and one season of Iron Fist building up to this mess of a resolution is just a damn shame. I can and still do enjoy spending time with these characters, but we should be able to expect more from this Marvel/Netflix collaboration. I at least hope we’re done with ninjas for a long time, because I’d much rather see these guys team up to address street-level threats (shoot me, but I actually cheered when Stick died).

I had other problems as well, with Foggy and Karen in particular. The way Foggy is written is, at times, so unsympathetic that I wonder if they are preparing fans to celebrate his possible death in an upcoming season. And for Karen to be so anti-Daredevil, given her stance on vigilantes (and his having saved her life more than once), doesn’t feel like it’s consistent with her earlier portrayals at all. It feels as if they’re using Foggy and Karen as mere plot devices to thwart Matt’s desire to put on the suit again, and build up this false notion that there is no way Matt would truly want to pursue a life outside of (and in addition to) Daredevil. Please, please let us see this put right in the third season of Daredevil. I just fear there’s so much groundwork to be done, they’ll run out of time, with Matt and Foggy’s relationship in particular.

Oh well, these were my thoughts after seeing the show once. If you guys felt this show brought everything you asked for and more, I’m not going to argue. In fact, I envy you. Maybe I’ll be more forgiving after a second viewing (this has actually tended to be the case for me for all of the Netflix shows). I’m just a bit frustrated by the missed opportunities. Comment away! Full spoilers allowed, obviously.


  1. Genesaur

    I’m totally cool with Stick dying. He’s hardly been a proper guiding force in Matt’s life since, maybe, his childhood. All it ever felt like was that he was misguiding Matt into a life he never wanted. And yeah, even back in Season 1, I felt like that whole Black Sky thing was a big red herring, but it especially did at the end of Season 2, when Nobu and his ninja are all, “Black Sky, we are here to serve you. Oh, you like this asshole? Well, I guess we can just kill you. Whatever.”

    I get the strong impression that Sigourney Weaver’s character was written very loosely with the intent of her massive star power making up for the fact that, so far (haven’t finished), she really is not a compelling villain.

    I’m very curious to see whether I’ll agree with you about Foggy, since he’s been a negative nelly about the DD life ever since he found out. Karen, on the other hand, has, up to this point, been very pro-vigilante. For her to support Matt sticking to a normal, lawyering life undermines nearly everything she did and said in Season 2, regarding Daredevil and especially the Punisher. Sure, she notes that crime has gone down and that she thinks Daredevil did some real good for the city, but if that’s all she gets for positivity, well… I ain’t a fan.

    Really, though, Foggy and Karen aren’t the only ones acting a bit out of character. Madame Gao has always acted in control, even when dealing with people she doesn’t control. Suddenly, she’s cowing in Alexandra’s presence like she’s some common underling. I felt insulted for her. I know that Sigourney Weaver is the new big bad for the show, but it’s extremely unconvincing when you have to job out one of the coolest existing villains to emphasize that point.

    I will surely have more to say as I continue the show.

  2. Tate

    Just some of my general thoughts both good and bad.

    Overall I liked it. It sits right in the middle as far as the quality of the other shows. Nowhere near as good as Jessica Jones or either season of Daredevil, but miles better and more entertaining than Cage or Fist.

    I agree the Hand was wasted in this and the plot totally falls apart. I don’t think they had any real idea when they started how the Defenders story would play out. I think the Daredevil show runners had a plan for The Hand and Elektra (flawed as it may have been) and then the Iron Fist people decided to co-op the Hand into his story and totally screwed it up. Then they were forced to incorporate all the nonsense from Iron Fist into the story for the Defenders.

    Elektra should have been a vessel for “The Beast”. You can’t tell me thats not what they were hinting at in both seasons of Daredevil with the Black Sky story, but for some reason they abandoned it. I was really hoping some sort of demon was about to appear when Danny opened “the door” and give them a big threat for the finale episode instead of everyone kung-fu fighting.

    Matt, Jessica, and Elektra carried the show on their shoulders. Luke and Danny were fun, but were outclassed by everyone else. The supporting cast was great overall. While I don’t celebrate his death, I knew Stick was going to die going in. His story was done and its was great story, but the sensei always has to die.

    Charlie delivered again as Matt and I think the show did right by the character. His arc was great. I think Foggy and Karen’s interactions with him made sense considering where things left off. I think all three are very conflicted which is why they are somewhat hypocritical.

    The ending put a smile on my face – “Get Maggie…” However, I know its a comic book show, but how the Hell did Matt and Elektra survive that? Thats gotta be explained in a way that doesn’t fell cheap or contrived. Look forward to seeing how they adapt other elements of Born Again.

    I may sound crazy here, but a part of me thinks the ending would have been stronger if Matt and Elektra were actually dead. Wait… what now !?! For all the wtf of the Hand plot, I thought those final moments between Matt and Elektra were perfect. Matt Murdock refuses to give up on her and asks Danny to watch over his city. That would have been ballsy on Marvel’s part to let Daredevil die, and like Urich’s death, show that there are real stakes and that they are not beholden to the comic stories. Then they could have really hammered it home by announcing that DD season 3 was not happening, that the announcements had all been misdirection. Foggy’s story continues in Jessica Jones and Karen’s and Fisk’s in The Punisher. Then the final shot of the Defenders would be Danny perched on a roof wearing a costume similar to Matt’s, but in the Iron Fist colors.

    Seriously how did they screw that up? Even without Matt actually being dead, how do they not debut Danny’s costume in that final moment? Biggest and dumbest missed opportunity in any of these shows.

    Matt’s courtroom scene and honesty with the disabled kid were both great moments.

    Its weird to cheer someone getting their arm severed.

    Elektra in Matt’s apartment and lying on his bed was a great scene.

    Also, its obvious they thought since they had Weaver’s star power, they didn’t need an actual character.

  3. Christine Hanefalk


    “However, I know its a comic book show, but how the Hell did Matt and Elektra survive that?”

    Do we know Elektra survived? She needs to be dead already or at least very much gone from the scene. Matt’s obsessive and extremely unhealthy love for her is compelling on some level, but she needs to go. I know you and I very much disagree here, but I feel she is holding Matt’s story back, and I’d rather interpret his staying behind as him being plain stubborn (“I know you’re in there!”) and borderline suicidal than the two of them actually being a good match, and him actually believing that deep down.

    I’ve liked Elektra as a character in these shows, while absolutely hating her as Matt’s supposed “one true love.” Their relationship will never make sense to me as anything more than two people who are very much drawn to each other for very obvious reasons but ultimately not meant to be. It actually didn’t really bother me that much here in the Defenders though since I’d pretty much resigned myself to this plot not making much sense with about three episodes to go, so really didn’t take it very seriously. Especially since she was going full super-villain at the moment.

    I need Daredevil back doing street level non-mystical shit in Hell’s Kitchen yesterday, and I need for Matt to not have this big underlying urge to escape that life, and his private life. They need to write his personal/civilian life as the yin to Daredevil’s yang, and stop ever so subtly promoting the idea that “Matt Murdock” is Daredevil’s straitjacket and nothing else. Daredevil is very important to him, and Karen and Foggy need to get that, but Matt/Daredevil in the comic has always managed both lives – or at least desired both lives – in every single run of the comic I’ve actually enjoyed reading.

    I also don’t think anything that happened with the Hand in Iron Fist is to blame for what happened here. The way I see it, it was just really bad plotting, and they need to own it. It was the Daredevil show that introduced the concept of the Black Sky, and the hole in the ground. I can’t think of anything that happened in Iron Fist that would have prevented them from doing something much more interesting than what we ended up with.

    “Matt’s courtroom scene and honesty with the disabled kid were both great moments.”

    Very much in agreement here. This scene (both really) will probably go on some “Best of…” post at some point. There were many little nuggets that I really enjoyed, and as mentioned, I think Matt’s arc worked really well overall. And I really don’t want to dwell on the negatives here, which is why I think my next post on The Defenders will be a list good stuff, and then I can just be done with it.

    And again, moments like this one is exactly why it bugs me when it’s suggested that “Matt” is not real. That moment was real. Matt would 100% be able to relate to what Aaron was going through. Something happened to Matt too that would forever affect him (heightened senses or not), and forever make him different in the eyes of most other people, with lowered expectations and all. These shows need to own that, and in this moment they did. Oh, and on a related matter, I chuckled out loud when Jessica says of Hogarth’s law firm: “I didn’t know they did diversity hires.” 😉

  4. Tate

    I don’t think they are necessarily good for one another. I just think its been a damn good story dealing with both their obsessions. They have leaned much heavier into their desire for one another than the comics ever did, with the Netflix Elektra actively trying to be a part of Matt’s life and Matt obsessively trying to save her and actually working with her early on. I’ve never been a fan of Matt and Elektra as love interests in the books, but I think they made it work like gangbusters in the shows.

    We actually both want the same conclusion, we just disagree on the journey. I just assume since Matt survived that Elektra did too, but I bet we won’t see her again for a very long time. I’d wager she is the one who left Matt with his mother and we are heading into Born Again inspired territory. With that I think you’ll sorta get what you want, in that totally losing those parts of his life as Matt Murdock that he’s taken for granted and pushed away will make him realize how important they are and he will fight to get them back.

    Unlike the comics where most every writer (as good as they’ve been) have given us Born Again 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and on and on. I think they are giving us one long version of Born Again spanning most of this series (however long it goes). Unfortunately for you we are on the downward spiral, so I don’t think Matt’s life will be back to “normal” any time soon, but I do think he’ll start fighting his way towards that in, hopefully, season 3.

    The makers of The Defenders had the responsibility to make it work better sure, and it wasn’t the makers of Iron Fist’s fault. I just think Iron Fist should’ve done its own thing instead of having this wonky version of The Hand thats doesn’t match the version seen in Daredevil. I don’t think they had a real plan for the Defenders until after DD se2 and they tried to mesh it all together going forward and it didn’t work.

    Hindsight and all, but what they should have done was put Elektra and the Hand on the back burner for a future season of Daredevil (like 5 or 6), let Iron Fist do its own thing, and then The Defenders could have had its own new villain that brought them all together and stood on its own.

  5. Nora

    Funny, this is exactly what I thought! I watched the first three episodes and enjoyed them immensely, then I had to go to work. In the evening, the remaining five, well….
    I liked many scenes, especially the courtroom scene in the beginning. But it went downhill after the Danny’s stupid decision to confront his enemies and to anounce that he plans to take them down. Who with half a braincell would do that?
    In the last five episodes there were no plot twists anymore so despite all the action it was a bit boring.
    I really hope we are done with the ninjas. Please please please let Elektra be dead as well.
    And I was also a bit disappointed about the conversation in the chinese restaurant. “How can a blind man fight like this?” – “Well sight is overrated.” And that’s it. I mean the obvious conclusion would be that Matt is pretending and I really hoped for a bit more substance in this discussion.
    But I have a theory why New York was in danger: once the sceleton was removed, New York would fall into an abyss because the sceleton stabilized the ground or something.

    My favorite setting for Daredevil is definitely him in a stable partnership with Foggy, working together in their storefront clinic and tackling cases in both personas. If Karen can’t come back as secretary maybe they can hire Becky.
    While I liked the last scene in the shelter, I was also a bit disappointed. That means that they skipped the most interesting parts of the born-again arc.

    Who is showrunner in season 3? Could we have Seven S. DeKnight back?

  6. Christine Hanefalk

    “Hindsight and all, but what they should have done was put Elektra and the Hand on the back burner for a future season of Daredevil (like 5 or 6), let Iron Fist do its own thing, and then The Defenders could have had its own new villain that brought them all together and stood on its own.”

    Agreed, as far as the Defenders is concerned. Why couldn’t they have had their own, new threat to deal with?

  7. Luzita

    Thanks for your thoughts, Christine. I agree with most of them. The Defenders was fairly disappointing, though I still enjoyed it, mostly due to my strong attachment to some of the characters, esp. Matt, Jessica, and Elektra. I think seeing everyone together really brought home how much the strength of these three characters is due to the terrific work of the actors who play them. I very much agree with Tate that they carried the show, and the supporting cast was mostly good too. Luke and Danny aren’t terrible but they just aren’t in the same class.

    I see Elektra’s development a bit differently than you. She said to Danny, “Alexandra talked, I listened.” I think she always had a mind of her own, but she didn’t have any memories or understand the situation so she went along with the script, watched and waited. When she met Matt some of her memories and feelings started coming back. When Alexandra told her she was of no use if she didn’t fulfill her role Alexandra doomed herself. Elektra became interested in “the substance” because she wanted freedom and power and liked the idea of having those things forever. What she said to Danny and Matt show she’s connected to her old self but she’s gone darker. Which is something that happens to those who are resurrected, going by what we saw in Iron Fist. Part of the old Elektra wanted to be good but now she’s completely amoral. Though she doesn’t appear to have all her memories back, judging by her saying that Matt let her die. She didn’t seem to remember that she sacrificed herself to save him and to defy her dark destiny. She still loves Matt, but expresses it in a quite nihilistic way. She gives up on living forever in favor of dying with Matt — maybe because she realizes it’s the only way they can be together. And Matt is willing to go along because he can’t stand losing her again, because he’s determined to be faithful to the end, and to bring forth a spark of light in her. He succeeds, if only for a moment. It is a tragic resolution but at the same time beautiful because it’s true to their character arcs.

    That’s my reading anyway, though it may be more than what the show runners intended.

    I think it’s likely Elektra did survive and will pop back into Matt’s life to offer help/chaos. I don’t read the comic but isn’t that her role in the comic?

  8. Christine Hanefalk

    “I think it’s likely Elektra did survive and will pop back into Matt’s life to offer help/chaos. I don’t read the comic but isn’t that her role in the comic?”

    That is her role in the comics, yes, but you can go years without seeing her, and Matt has also been “over” her for a really long time. His attachment to her here goes above and beyond anything we’ve seen since the Miller run in the eighties. I simply can’t take one more season of anything of them being a thing. And it actually quite bothers me that he would treat his own life with so little regard here. Truly tragic.

  9. Eric

    Do you guys feel that Madame Gao, in DDS1 was originally meant to be part of The Hand? I didn’t think so…I think she got shoehorned into Iron Fist as such, and the plot went a bit sideways.

    I actually liked Defenders for a lot of reasons, but will be happy to never see ninjas again; they were done -really- well in DDS2, but not since.


  10. Steve


    I’ve had to take some time to process my thoughts and your post before commenting. Overall, I’d give the Defenders a B+. There was much to enjoy, but just as much head-scratching.

    As you pointed out, there was never a reason why the Hand HAD to take NY down. In fact, when we first learn this is their nefarious plot, my immediate thought was, “Oooh, someone wants to take down an entire city…where have I heard that before?” Say hello to Ra’s al Ghul in “Batman Begins.” But at least Ra’s explained his reasons for doing it. Also…Pompeii, Chernobyl…but what the hell were they doing between AD 79 and 1986? It may seem trivial, but c’mon, if you’re going to tell me the Hand is responsible for two of the world’s natural and man-made disasters, there had better be something else in the intervening 1,907 years!

    I was bothered by Elektra coming to Matt’s apartment, getting all comfy cozy in his bed and remembering their good times…and then turning back on a dime to being Ms. Black Sky. I thought, at least for a while, that she went back to Alexandra and the others to undermine their efforts from inside, not to take them over. Why is it that Gao, Bakuto and Murakami so willingly gave in to her? Given their existence through the ages, did they think that the three of them together weren’t a match for Elektra/Black Sky?

    It’s probably a budgetary thing, but I wish we could get a glimpse of Matt using radar sense, echolocation, whatever is the best way to describe how he senses the world around him. I did like that they threw in a reference to the neon lights in the restaurant and outside his apartment.

    I liked Foggy’s haircut. He looked more like Foggy to me than the stringy long-haired guy in DD seasons 1 and 2.

    Why must Matt/DD be scruffy? For some reason the multi-day-o’clock-shadow bothers the hell out of me.

    What does it say when you like Coleen Wing more than you like Danny Rand?

    One little thing that made me smile was putting all the supporting characters in one room in the police station.

    I think in the end I would have also preferred a more street-level eight episodes, rather than getting involved in mystical stuff.

    Again, probably a B+ at best. Let’s see what the Punisher series and DD Season 3 brings us.

  11. Tate

    “And it actually quite bothers me that he would treat his own life with so little regard here.”

    To me that’s the character. He gives little regard to his own life every time he goes out to fight crime as a vigilante. He’s willing to put his life on the line every day. Here he’s willing to do it trying to save someone he loves, as unhealthy as that love is, and is unwilling to give up on them. If he’d escaped with the other three and left Elektra down there to die alone, it would have been completely out of character for him.

  12. geb

    Hmm. Mostly dissapointed people. This sounds like too much of a shame for something so strenuosly promoted as “the BIG coming together”” and having been so highly anticipated. I have not seen it yet but I don’t mind spoilers from folks who know what they’re talking about. (1/2 a braincell.. ha)

    Since it appears that there is more dissapointment in the air than there initially was from Fist S1.

    And it actually begins quite promising and till nearly half way? Pompeii? Something in between the 1,907 years, and certainly a newer threat to surely overshadow or at the very least match those levels of catastrophe.

    What shame if Sigourny’s level of talent was used just as a smoke screen to cover, “nothing?” a non-plot. Here it appears that some of the more solid prepatory advisory/reviewing heard was not heeded. If wishing to use Elektra, Stick, The Hand, Jessica, even Danny.. then they most definitely did not consult the original creators Miller, Bendis, Brubaker/Fraction to ensure a weeding out if they were intending these characters to form a different angle for a unique plot. Something that most certainly should have been done if it was not done.

    Oh well, at least there sounds like there are a few good things to at least make it watchable. And heads up, DD S3 shouldn’t take too long coming.

  13. geb

    Hi again. I said heck with it and went ahead and searched for some reviews on this season. I was just so curious.

    From the few, there was about 1 per 3 saying it was OK-not bad. Then 2 of 3 would express similar dissapointments as here with the last 4 to 5 episodes. Some mentioned that there was too much of Danny, or Danny viewed most as at the core of the time span in one way or another. And indeed, more than once The Hand was reffered to as a lame version of Hydra here, so more than likely Bru/Frac were not consulted on this one.

    From jigsaw puzzling, I was also kind of hit full in the face with the uncanny level of infatuation that Matt’s love for Elektra had reached and here was the prime example. Talking about insanity level. Tragic? Talk about unhealthy, yes, I see now how and why this irks you so Chris. I mean, when we consider that the woman is actually “Dead” in most all respects, no it’s not a correct state of mind that could or would die along with her. And you are right that it has been being pushed too far too long and now to the limit. Matt will be far better off with a very long vacation away from walking dead lovers as therapy.

    Well that’s about all but, now I have to see it sooner than later.

  14. Mike C

    Great post as usual Christine!

    Overall, I would give the Defenders a solid B. Not as good as DD S1/2 or Jessica Jones; however, better than Luke Cage or Iron Fist.

    My top positives:
    1) The chemistry between four characters. I thought there was some great dialogue between the characters and I thought the Defenders helped to fix Danny though he still has a ways to go.

    2) I thought Matt’s fighting ability greatly increased in The Defenders. The fight in the alley and the first fight with Elektra showed some of the more acrobatic elements of his fighting style that we have all been accustomed to.

    3) I am really excited for Season 3 of Daredevil. The ending of the Defenders made me smile and if this is a setup to a “Born Again” type approach then count me in!

    As for the negatives, mine align pretty much with yours Christine, the plot really fell apart at the end and I agree that something more street level would have been good. Similar to something that has been in the new Defenders comic run would have been nice. Really enjoying that book at the moment, especially the artwork.

    Where I would disagree would be that Matt has continually shown complete disregard for his life, especially if someone he cares about is in danger. (Didn’t he fight the Hulk once?)I agree with Tate had he left with the others and left Elektra to die that would have been completely out of character for him. Also Matt believes that everyone can be redeemed. Couple that with the fact that he is known to be make some pretty poor decisions and can be rather self-destructive the ending made perfect sense to me. If he could save Elektra and bring her back to the light, even if that meant he might die. In Matt’s mind, that would be worth it.

    Also, I disagree that Matt is “over” Elektra in the comics. There have been numerous moments in the 90’s, Bendi’s run, Waid’s run and Soule’s current run that show that he still has strong feelings for her and that he is still attached to her. Frankly, I always saw it as a missed opportunity as Daredevil/Elektra should be the Batman/Catwoman of the Marvel Universe. I am hoping a writer can come along and do something interesting with their relationship especially considering Karen is dead and they are not going to put him back with Natasha. To me, those are the women that Matt has truly loved and I would have been happy with him being with anyone of them.

    So we will see where things go from here!

    • Christine Hanefalk

      Regarding Elektra, I should note that I haven’t read the DD comic in a year (though I liked the earlier story she appeared in, that was at the beginning of Soule’s run). I’ve got a stack of comics I need to plow through, and I’ll probably get to that soon, but this is how severe my Daredevil depression has been. Anyway, when I say that Matt is “over” her, I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t have feelings for her, that there isn’t some attachment there, not to mention attraction. One of the more memorable moments for me from the Bendis room is when Matt and Elektra meet on a roof top and Matt thinks back to college. What I’m talking about is whether Elektra is someone Matt is actively pursuing a relationship with, and unless I’ve missed something big over the last year, I’ve never felt that’s been the case (post college). To me, it seems that Matt in the comics can actually distinguish between “having strong feelings for” and “is this relationship a good idea?”.

      My issues with Elektra on the Netflix show is that, while Elektra has never been more intersting, she’s also never (to me) made less sense as a serious love interest. That’s not to say that he can’t genuinely lover her, but that I think he should be considerably more put off by her dark side than she appears to be. And that’s what bugs me. I choose to to interpret some of this obsession to save her as just that: Matt has an insatiable need to save people from danger, including cases where the greatest danger to that person is themselves. It seems reasonable that a person who chooses to be a superhero might have a bit of a savior complex. That’s not to discredit that Matt genuinely feels strongly for her, and I think she brings out and encourages something in him that other people make him feel conflicted about. But I think the feeling that “only I can save her” might also be absolutely intoxicating to someone like Matt. With Defenders though, I think Matt might actually be ready to let her go (if she even survives), knowing that he did his best to save both her soul and her life. That it might allow him to move on. I at least hope so.

      @Eric: Regarding the Black Sky and Iron Fist, before the Hand ran into that wall with the mysterious inscriptions (long after the Black Sky had been resurrected), they didn’t realize they needed an Iron Fist at all, so she’s still a red herring. I think my favorite way of thinking about it now (so that it makes sense) is that the Black Sky has more religious than practical significance. The Hand has been worshipping this “weapon” for centuries, and just see her as a lucky charm maybe?

  15. Genesaur

    I also noticed the uptick in Matt’s apparent skill level, starting with the roof parkour scene in episode (2? 3?) I loved how fluid and spinny he was, up there, though for me, how different it was from previous series really didn’t set in until I watched Mr. Sunday Movies’ recent video covering easter eggs and stuff from The Defenders.

    I agree that his fighting style has gradually become more acrobatic, and thus more like the comics. This could be caused by a new team for the new show, or that the Marvel Netflix stunt crews have overall grown more tight and sophisticated. I guess we’ll see in Daredevil Season 3, but I expect the combat sophistication to escalate from here, especially if we finally get Bullseye, as most seem to speculate.

    In any case, even during his hiatus from vigilantism, it’s clear that Mr. Murdock has not been slacking off on his training.

    I have seen people (jokingly or otherwise) suggest that DD suddenly got more acrobatic in combat when he got his red suit, to which I say… man, before the intro sequence in Season 1 episode 1, he does a crazy cool flip kick to knock out Turk. It’s what they’ve been going for since the beginning.

  16. Eric

    Re: Black Sky

    It does seem weird that Alexandra would use the last of the substance to create the Black Sky, but honestly, I thought that was done in order to secure the Iron Fist (and that, to open the door to get access to the dragon bones, with the subsequent effect of collapsing New York).

    That’s how I read it; it made sense to me that way.

    I don’t want to see ninjas again, though. 🙂


  17. Luzita

    “And it actually quite bothers me that he would treat his own life with so little regard here.”

    “To me that’s the character.”

    I agree with both of these comments. Matt’s behavior does show a terrible lack of self-regard, but I think that’s an established part of his character.

    When I said I think Elektra will pop back into Matt’s life, I didn’t mean immediately. I suspect she will be away for a while. So you should be safe, Christine.

    I feel differently from you about Elektra. I loved her relationship with Matt in DDS2. Not that their love wasn’t messed up in many respects but it was fun and sizzling, while also deep and moving. However, the resurrected Elektra is different. She no longer seems capable of genuine love. Though it’s possible, as Tate suggested, that she came through in the end. The last we saw, she was apologizing for the pain she’d caused Matt. Her focus had finally turned outward, toward him. Maybe she worked to save him after all, and that’s how he got out alive. Not that that would change that she’s a very dark character now, but she might have experienced a moment of the old love.

    I agree that the whole Black Sky thing makes no sense. The only possible explanation is the one you suggested, that it was really all about Alexandra wanting a kind of daughter. The other members of the Hand did say that the Black Sky thing was Alexandra’s prophecy. But after all this, the nature of the Black Sky still hasn’t been explained. What makes certain people “special” such that they have the potential to become the Black Sky? Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the feeling the show runners haven’t actually worked it out.

    One of many plot holes. I did enjoy the series regardless but not as much as I’d hoped.

  18. Genesaur


    I 100% agree about the Beast. I assumed that Alexandra or Elektra would be a vessel for the Beast. Like, we wouldn’t see a big, expensive, CGI actual Beast, just someone get possessed by the evilness. I was certain that it was the entire point of the giant bottomless pit they found in Season 2, and it bothered me greatly to learn otherwise from this and other reviews.

    Any idiot knows Matt can’t die; they greenlit DD Season 2 way before the Defenders premiere.

    And of course I’m all about Iron Fist getting a costume. For all his big talk and fawning over Daredevil’s cool shit, there is no reason not to pull that trigger.

  19. Mike C

    Thanks for the clarification, I’m in complete agreement that Matt isn’t actively pursuing a relationship with Elektra in the comics and nothing in recent issues have suggested at all that he is; however, he still has the strong feelings for her. We just had a different definition of what “over” meant.Though I think Matt can be hit or miss when it comes to being able to decide what is a “good relationship”. For example, I am not sure Milla (given the circumstances) was a good idea.

    Also, and this probably due to me being a huge Star Wars fan; however, I find that Matt willing to die to bring out the light in Elektra to be really compelling. I read a review that described the interaction between Matt/Elektra as being very much like Luke/Vader in ROTJ. Prior to discovering Daredevil, Luke Skywalker was my favorite character in all of fiction and the ending of ROTJ maybe my favorite part of any of the films. I also think that Matt has a major savoir complex both in the comics and perhaps even more so in the Netflix series. Fits nicely with his Catholicism. I agree that Matt may now be ready to let go.

    Lastly, sorry to here that you haven’t found the desire to keep up with the current run. It’s had it ups and downs (the artwork at times leaves something to be desired); however, I have found myself enjoying it overall though I would like to see the classic red costume come back soon.

  20. Elizabeth

    @Genesaur: I also loved the parkour scene in DD season 1 (episode 12?) of Matt following the drug mule across the rooftops of NY to Madame Gao’s hideout by tracking the classical music playing in the car that picked her up. That was the scene that made me cheer out loud because he finally matched my mental picture of Daredevil, diving and spinning. Seeing him do a bit of it in the Defenders made me happy. Having him play cat and mouse with Jessica was especially fun. (Although how did she get away? Did she hop up to a windowsill and then back down after he passed? They left it ambiguous.)

    I have other thoughts about the show as a whole that I will add separately, but wanted to build off of your comment first.

  21. Christine Hanefalk

    General thought regarding Matt’s decision to stay behind: It seems to me (from seeing this debated elsewhere as well) that there’s quite a bit of disagreement between people regarding whether he’s staying (primarily) to save NYC or to save Elektra. It’s the futility of the latter I take issue with. I have no problem with the notion that he’d stay behind to save New York. To be fair (and if I’m being honest with myself), I even get that with Elektra down there, there was no way he was going to leave her (hate to admit this, ha ha), but I guess I wish that whole scene/ending of show had played out differently. It’s also not ideal to end with a fake-out death, for several reasons.

    “And I was also a bit disappointed about the conversation in the chinese restaurant. “How can a blind man fight like this?” – “Well sight is overrated.” And that’s it. I mean the obvious conclusion would be that Matt is pretending and I really hoped for a bit more substance in this discussion.”

    I actually quite liked that they didn’t make more of this, and thought “sight is overrated” was a pretty funny line, even though that should obviously open up for more questions, not end the conversation. I do agree they might initially assume he’s faking the blindness since that seems more plausible (even given how implausible their own powers are), but I’m also convinced that it would actually be really hard for Matt to fake full sightedness (something he doesn’t even attempt here) for any amount of time in situations where he’s looking to spend a significant amount of time with someone. I know that Daredevil in the comics has kept his blindness hidden from many characters (including Spider-Man) for years, before some of them have found out, but I find myself having to apply comic book logic to explain why this is possible. To clarify, I’m not talking about very casual encounters, but relationships where characters spend a lot of time together, go on stakeouts together etc. In The Defenders, there’s also the fact that Matt 1) did all his fighting with the top half of his face covered, and 2) then uncovers his eyes that don’t quite focus properly.

    “But I have a theory why New York was in danger: once the sceleton was removed, New York would fall into an abyss because the sceleton stabilized the ground or something.”

    You’re right and I actually missed the bit where they explained this in the show the first time I saw it. I rewatched the show on Sunday. However, this opens up for all kinds of new questions. If the Hand themselves don’t do anything to support the ground while excavating the skeleton, how can they make sure it doesn’t start collapsing before they get all of it out? You also have to wonder how big the damage could be. When they talk about it in the last (or was it second to last?) episode, they make it sound more like a localized settling of the affected ground that would cause a lot of death than as the complete destruction of New York we got a sense of earlier in the show.

  22. Nora

    Well, after the second viewing I liked the defenders much better. There are some things and scenes I really appreciate.
    For example, when Cole was killed, they did not show the murder, but his mothers grief, on me it had a lot more impact this way. There were not random killings. All fights served a purpose.
    And I really liked the scene when Matt noticed that something is off about the echos bouncing of the piano and found an excuse to play so that he could explore this further.
    There ware some plot-driven adjustments in the powers (for example when Jessica followed Matt I find it unlikely that he did not hear her before jumping on a building), and Jessica holding the whole elevator cabin with one hand was a bit much in most scenes the powers were handled consistently.
    But I am still disappointed that all defenders showed so little curiosity about each others powers and limits. After all, they just met and did not have enough time to figure this out by themselves.
    By the way, Geb, now that I understand your comments, they are funny and insightful, thank you!

  23. Christine Hanefalk

    @Nora: “And I really liked the scene when Matt noticed that something is off about the echos bouncing of the piano and found an excuse to play so that he could explore this further.”

    Ha ha, I much prefer the idea that it was a hunch* than that he could actually detect something off about the piano (other than, maybe, the smell of something?). There is too much magic “we don’t need to explain it” BS for my taste going on when it comes to Matt (even though it averages out to something I can sort of live with). Except when it comes to smell, they always underuse that sense (as they do in the comic). So I’m thinking that maybe there was a whiff of “photocopy smell,” or an unusual type of ink coming from an unexpected location (especially since the architect didn’t have an office). That’s the one I’m going with. 😉 At least Matt did seem genuinely suprised at what he found in the piano (yes, the daughter was there, but he wasn’t facing her when he noticed something off underneath that key.)

    *) Edit: I actually had to rewatch this scene and Matt starts paying attention to the piano right after the daughter mentions that her father would sit at the piano a lot, but never play it. I’d bet that’s what piques his interest in “looking” more closely at it.

  24. Nora

    Well I still like the idea that sound has something to do with it. When an hollow object that should resonate is filled with something that should not be there the rebouncing sound becomes higher, softer and shorter. This is a trick I use every day as a physician when I try to determine whether somebody has fluid in his lungs. But it can also be a whiff of ink, at least when it is quite fresh and still smellable.
    In season 1 Matt explained that his sensory input is a combination of all sensory modes and I really like this idea. The brain is a funny thing after all and in most cases we are not good at pinpointing from which sensory source some information stems. For example, when elderly people complain of dizziness, it is rarely a problem with the equlibrium sense, it is usually diminished proprioception due to aging nerve fibres, a problem with using the soundscape due to hearing impairment, a not so clear view of the horizon due to cataract and so on.

  25. Christine Hanefalk

    @Nora: Oh, I totally think that most of what Matt “sees” is sound, as only echoes/sound (of the different sources of information he mentioned in season one) really has the capacity to carry the kind of specific object/space information that can fill in for vision. So, I’m totally very much “pro sound.”

    My only issue here is that him picking up an echo of something that subtle would make more sense to me if he were walking towards the piano or making some kind of active sound (rather than sitting still), Though, I suppose, the sound of them talking might do?

    For bigger objects, walls etc I’m totally fine with him just being tuned into the ambient sound field, and that being enough. There’s a really interesting paper from late 1998, I believe, (Ashmead et al) about how blind people hear walls due to spectral variations in the sound field, specifically in the lower sound frequencies, that I think could explain a lot of what he does, especially since normal humans have pretty bad hearing below, say, 50-100 Hz. Someone who has very good hearing in this frequency range might get a lot out of the background noise.

  26. Christine Hanefalk

    “For example, when elderly people complain of dizziness, it is rarely a problem with the equlibrium sense, it is usually diminished proprioception due to aging nerve fibres, a problem with using the soundscape due to hearing impairment, a not so clear view of the horizon due to cataract and so on.”

    This is really cool, thanks for sharing. Yeah, I generally think the supramodal aspects of the senses are so cool. I remember a few years ago when I was coming home from work, and walked into my living room. It was late in the fall and dark outside (the blessings of living in Sweden!) and I had a busted light bulb. So I go to turn on a floor lamp, with music playing in my ears through my earbuds, and my instinct was to pull them out so that I could see better. I caught myself immediately, especially being a senses/neuroscience nerd, and I still remember this moment very vividly. I guess the room was dim enough, that my not being able to “hear” the room actually made some marginal difference to my ability to see it as clearly as I could without music playing in my ears. 🙂

  27. geb

    Hi folks. I’m trying to arrange finding some friend(s) who ha$/have a netflix account and convince them to get together so that I can see this sooner than usual (we have quite a few here with “OUR children don’t read comcs” syndrome) for BluRay feel,s iffy.

    Wow.. havn’t even seen it yet.. “and he’s chimin’ in already.. watup with that geb?”. Could it be that the most frustrating works can conversely make them just as interesting via their controversy for ananysis?

    For sure, a lot of assuming below for am flying blind here and?.. oh yes, thanks beforehand to all for such accurate and deteailed recaps and opinions.. you’ve all made it possible for me to still get involved.

    And I agree with all you who are magically disenchanted with the mystical direction they decided to go with and are wishing for upcoming realism for they are, afterall, our “street-level” heroes.. (and it has been sated on a few occasions that a “handle with extra care” tag should preclude any works dealing with Mysticism/Mind-Gaming) and.. oh yeah before I forget again..

    to mention a big bravo to Chris for calling the shot from “Digging Into The Defenders” that Jessica will discover Matt through Foggy. Crongratulations and it’s these kind of insights and similar surprises that are why I would swear by and love your site so much. So, it got me thinking too.

    Wondering about some of the problems people here (and others) have with The Defenders and, from the recaps, trying to figure out some of the whys it hit a dead end, it feels that it’s inability to deliver begins to appear all that more unwarranted. For instance, where the inconsistencies regarding Alexandra are pointed out, I was thinking..

    could they have hinted her mandate to reel back the deadline maybe have had to do with the time left her for living, since what they were after is a life-span enhancer that could’ve acted as a cure? Or again, that her power indeed was on greater enough (hence her being the leader) a level that she alone would’ve been able to control a Black Sky, explaining the (perhaps shrouded) reluctance on the part of the other members against Elektra’s resurrection and initially conspiring to eliminate her but realizing that she would be the lesser of the two evils (along with her vitrina becoming vital that late date) forcing them to abandon the assasination plot?

    I do not yet know the exact timeline of events conerning this or other pertenant scenes so perhaps it couldn’t work without a slightlly(?) altered framework most likely, and for for leading up and into a S2, For example, so as to not still fall short in satisfying a good/evil conflict explanation for killing Alexandra out of redemption but then taking the reigns of the same dark sided establishment herself. Which may have worked if a further developed personal agenda had been cultivated for Elektra. The adopted daughter explanation works (well for anyone who has, and more so if had, children) though, yes, in an unatural context, but also Elektra’s betrayal could’ve been expanded to relay a fortification of just how ruthless a Black Sky could be.

    But, these scenarios (like many other alternatives) are just so dot-connectively simple and could’ve been introduced with a mere few, most basic additional interactive shots and/or flashbacks (did they rewind to show quality time with her ex-child?) outlayed still within the 8 epidode format (if that was a main concern), that they actually make it even all that more frustrating that the plot wasn’t attended to properly.

    Simple resolutions? Could even the duesy, “just excactly why is a Black Sky even remotely essential?” have been dealt with, and easily enough thought I after Chris reffered to her as a “living weapon” and since they wind up at the vortex to K’un “L’un? Here, Danny’s backstory was not even slightly exploited to connect the two mysticisms? The Hand’s Black Sky to the Heavenly Cities’ Living Weapons, creating a preconcieved reason (the immortality found both under NY and the in fruit of K’un L’un?) for a conflict of interests and over this sphere of interest? Further dissapointing unforgivability? Sorry guys, but just hold on a few more sec’s.

    As with all that I’ve relayed, I am at this point just making asssumptions but, they apparently did not consult, enough anyway, for there seems to be no hint for what a 2nd season may expand into.

    “That way The Defenders would have wound up with a new villain, a new, their own, threat to deal with”. Best solution agreed, and this they had in the misused Alexandra and, although connected to The Hand, had they interconnected the mysticisms involving the Living Weapons or in a similar way then, from there it would have been easy to reroute both.. by, say, having

    (a cured) Alexandra resorting, perhaps unwillingly through an alliance with say Fisk, to an all along, unwanted but intented backup post-plan that solidly connects her to the preffered street crime fighting versions of The Defenders, and even to the other series’ at times but sparingly (Weaver=very expensive anyway), while simultaneously..

    having the fed-up with versions (for our preffered sereis’) of Elektra prewritten on her way along a different path and taking all the funky mystical abracadabra with her and, listen, into her own series of stories, “Elektra:Assassin” and such, (since she is and most like will remain a favorite for much of the fan base) and used accordingly for these cases to make them work successfully ($).

    So, perhaps we could have had our cake and at least tasted a spoonful or two of what’s to really come.

    Thanks again to everyone for their comprehensible schematics and.. oh yeah, bearing with blind guys, and thanks again for the space.

  28. Nora

    @ Christine: “My only issue here is that him picking up an echo of something that subtle would make more sense to me if he were walking towards the piano or making some kind of active sound (rather than sitting still), Though, I suppose, the sound of them talking might do?”

    You hit a nerve 🙂
    I do hope we see Matt use active sound to discover his surroundings in season 3 more often. But compared to other stunts (hearing a regular conversation through several skysprapers) it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to hear that the piano is stuffed with papers?
    As I understood the scene Matt was not sure at first, that’t why he went there and played and thus produced sound to confirm his suspicion.
    But overall the senses handling was a big improvement in Defenders compared to DD Season 2. Matt actually used his sense of touch (when he tried to bandage himself), in my opionion also a very underused sense in the comics and in the series.

  29. Christine Hanefalk

    @Nora: “But overall the senses handling was a big improvement in Defenders compared to DD Season 2. Matt actually used his sense of touch (when he tried to bandage himself), in my opionion also a very underused sense in the comics and in the series.”

    This! Yeah, I thought it was much better overall. And the thing about touch is weird, it’s almost as if they’re afraid people might notice he’s (gasp!) blind or something, ha ha. 😉 I mean, there’s a big difference between having to feel for things to know where they are and benefiting from some “exploratory” touching to get a better feel for an object’s finer details, texture etc. Or, as in that scene you’re referring to where the different things in the box might be quite easy to discern for someone who sees with 20/20 color vision, but realistically less so for someone who, well, doesn’t.

    I was a bit taken aback in season two where he stitches up Elektra, to be honest. I have an easier time imagining that he might do this to himself, but wouldn’t he have to do an unsanitary amount of poking around inside the wound to stitch up someone else? I’m not saying he wouldn’t have a decent idea of where the cut it, but it seems like a really delicate task.

  30. geb

    Well, no luck as of yet in finding a co-Defenders watcher, but I’m still keeping up with the reviews and putting my hopes into spoilers. I understand just a bit more about the sequence of events but, where I forgot to mention earlier heck, I won’t be surprised if most of my guessing for a better show were already included so, I’ll wait till I see it in full.

    Also just saw that above and let me say that Chris and her site with all the sharp members like you Nora are a blessing for my perception in getting the jist so much quicker. If not for your initial, so complete, total breakdown of the first 4 shows in such comprhensible format, ha, I’d have taken like at least 5 views to I dig up even 1/2 of the inconsitencies and truly finer moments you shared in your post so, likewise thank you very much and know you’ve made me quite glad(er) I joined.

    (and I love how you all know when, just how hard, and aren’t afraid to really dump on fallacy)

    How about Loukas? Hm, his wife has the kids on vacation up in Rhodes and is one of the lucky still working stiffs in Greece. He MUST have a Netflix account.. Xing fingers. If not? Then.. Yiasonas? Nikos? Pavlos! Someones got to have it, darn it.. I can’t rest.

  31. geb

    hey I guess most of us must be included in or maybe even account for a large portion of the small fraction of Defender’s viewers who have watched all 4 previous shows. Apparently there’s a lot to be learned from such statistical surveys that can help guide even the most in tuned in creators.

    Great little informative article. Thanks for finding and bringing it here Luzita. I would, my good lady, wish to recommend a further research or discussion with those in the know before and if ever making any decisions concerning life’s more serious aspects, of which an examples doesn’t come immediately to mind at once, based on statistics in general.

    I don’t mean to sound paranoid or create any unwarranted dilemmas and it’s just a proposal, no warnings, but perhaps I need not mention that numbers can quite easily be toyed with to serve other than evident purposes (elections?).

    After enough time passes these TV shows from like, HBO and such, make their way into the National networks. This article has a basis for I personally tried sitting through “Lost” for as many episodes as I could endure before realizing I was never going to grasp even the least bits of its plot. It got to the point where the people moving their lips were just making sounds that I was receiving similarly to those made by animals, where you know something is meant but you have turn into a sparrow or a dog or a crow if your to understand, so boringly stupefied it left me.. but it wouldn’t surprise me someone replies that you must catch it from the start or from a right segment then it’s worth the, how so many”?” seasons run.

    (Oh heck, why not.. if anyone is case studying me then I’ll do my best to oblige)

    The Nat. networks create the most infuriating of situation. Anything worth watching will begin at, maybe a bit before if ones lucky but, most likely well after midnight. And they violate the EU Leg. wich permits up to 12 min/hr of advertisements by twice+ that, close to 1/2 hr of commercials (and goddamn it they mostly accompany them with covers of anglophone classics from my youth to sell.. oh, tampons or such scat.. how debasing). So enter the title,ending credits with song and previously and coming ups, good God you’re left with barely 1/4 hr of program, if lucky. And after bedtime the smaller companies that cannot afford primetime awaken and are granted extra repetions so it’s the same old same old same etc, over and over and. Help!

    One of the few I couldn’t help staying up for was “Fringe”, after they restructured from villain of the week to arc format, and because of the cast especially Anna.. But they would at will without warning rearrange the time and/or programming (irk me to nth) and I would end up going to bed past 4 sometimes.

    Another I was trying my hardest to get into was “Game Of Thrones?” I believe (there are so many similar ones) which held my attention when an actor I really liked, whose surname escapes me here but, Rufus something was portraying king I think (he was the antagonist alongside Kiddman who wanted the gifted girl in one supernatural thriller) until he was, killed”?” I believe. I think it’s the same show where I enjoyed the Noble midget, especially when he won over the 3 times his height maiden as wife. But it just couldn’t hold me. I recall a really handsome young bloke, sans beard, with longish curly blonde locks and thinking now there’s a British specimen. Here’s where Finn sprouted from right? And Jessica”?”, though I don’t recall her then.

    House Of Cards leading to Daredevil does make sense since political legislative bodies and the justice department share a common playground, so people who enjoy legal drama would easily wind up from HOC to DD.

    This survey would be interesting to follow in its growth and sorry for ranting and thanks again for it.

  32. Luzita

    Geb, glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, we all apparently belong to that small class of people that watch all the shows.

    Sorry you have so many problems watching TV in your EU country. Here in the U.S. there are also too many commercials, esp. late at night. That’s why I rarely watch live TV anymore. I record the shows and fast-forward through the commercials.

  33. Broomstick

    “Why does the Hand need to destroy New York?”

    It doesn’t. I got the impression that the bones of the dragon are somehow holding up the ground above – basically, Manhattan island – and that if you remove the dragon bones the resulting unsupported void would collapse inward, taking the island with it. Does this make sense? Um… well, collapsing mines can cause ground subsidence above. There are videos on YouTube of what happened when a salt mine under a lake in Louisiana collapsed. It really is quite destructive. Add in comic book physics and yeah, arguably removing all the dragon bones leads to New York collapsing. Let’s just ignore that mining should also require you to shore up the ceiling as you go along, which should prevent the collapse entirely, but maybe the Hand is a bunch of cheapskates unwilling to fork over for modern mining methods.

    “Why is Alexandra dying a problem when they just tried to kill her themselves?” And “Why is Elektra suddenly so big on immortality?”

    In Ironfirst they make a point that those the Hand resurrects from death come back a bit wrong, and come back even more wrong every subsequent time. I wish they’d played that up more, if that was at least partly the intent here, because the Fingers would all have been resurrected dozens, probably hundreds of times. They’re called psychopaths, but this could have been shown more if that’s direction the creators were going. And that might also account for Elektra’s behavior IF, again, it had been played up and shown more.

    I think the Black Sky business was perhaps Alexandra’s obsession and part of her wrongness, but the mere fact I wrap that statement up in so many qualifiers shows that even if it was, the narrative didn’t succeed in conveying that.

    Some more points from me:

    – I, too, am glad Stick is dead. He was an asshole in the comics, and an asshole in the TV show. He only ever used Matt (and Elektra) for his own ends and didn’t give a damn about either of them except as they would further his goals and plans. I like the actor and respect his portrayal of an asshole, but I am really glad Stick is dead. I just hope he stays dead (this being the comics and all).

    – I think Foggy and Karen are both conflicted about Matt being Daredevil. For Foggy, he and Matt have been close as brothers for years, Foggy is basically worried about a “family” member. As for Karen – it’s one thing to be in favor of the guy risking his life for you when he’s a stranger or nearly so, quite another when it’s a loved one putting himself in danger of death for you. The closer you are to the person the harder it can be to watch them take risks. As they are secondary characters in an already crowded storyline this just can’t be explored in the time given. I’d like to see this explored and resolved in season three of Daredevil (hopefully with Matt reconciling his two lives so neither drowns out the other – Matt Murdock winding up doing a lot of legal work for superheroes would be one line that could take).

    – I like the chemistry of these four interacting. There is the potential for friendship here, but none of them are team players. They are four lone wolves who all happen to have some goals in common here. There are indeed some good nuggets there.

    The treatment of blindness and Matt’s unique form of it: Matt is played as blind and his radar sense isn’t magically better than sight. When he and Jessica are following each other there’s a moment when Matt almost collides with a woman walking towards him, presumably because he’s so focused in on following Jessica he’s not paying much attention to the people around him. It turns out that white cane really does provide a useful function on a crowded sidewalk. We also get to see Matt interacting with people who know both that he’s blind and that he has enhanced senses, with a back-and-forth between Matt needing them to describe visual information and the other three starting to look to Matt to provide them with information on he senses. That sort of interaction, where’s he’s truly free to be himself, is the *real* Matt Murdock, where he’s not “playing” more blind than he actually is, nor is he trying to pretend he can see, and one reason I could foresee future friendships between him and the other three, because he doesn’t have to hide in front of them. To me, that’s part of his “I’m glad I found you” line. Matt has found a few more people who he can really be himself around. Between that and his demonstrated ability to fight the other three aren’t seeing him as the helpless crippled guy but someone who can work on their level, which is contrasted with Misty Knight warning him she’s about to lock him in a room with two people with superpowers. Matt isn’t fazed by that at all and Misty probably can’t figure out why that is, but I’m positive neither Luke nor Jessica think Matt is a helpless pushover. Matt could certainly hurt Jessica and outmaneuver her in a fight, and he’s smart enough to know both that he can’t hurt Luke physically and be able to come up with another way to win if he had to. I think more might have been made of Matt wearing the costume not only for concealment of his identity but also because he’s not bullet proof and doesn’t have Jessica’s improved healing – in this iteration it’s for Matt’s protection as well as secret identity. I kind of hope next time Luke or Jessica mock him for it he brings that up.

    Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if Matt helps Danny get a protective costume? Because “knife/bullet proof clothing” would be a logical reason for wearing a costume in the Marvel TV universe. Not so pressing for Luke or Jessica, but for Danny and Matt it makes a lot of sense.

    Overall – look, I couldn’t finish Ironfist. It’s still the bottom of these series for me. I’m glad they did this in only 8 episodes because frankly that’s all the storyline could do. Padding it out to 20 or more episodes would have just made it a bogged down mess (which some folks already think it was). I enjoyed the outing and have already re-watched parts of it, I hope they get another season of it…

    …. but can we be done with the freakin’ ninjas for a few years? Please?

  34. geb

    Hey yes, its good to know that Marv/Net are actually researching, thanks again Luzita.. and to everybody who knows that Greece is and has been going through the toughest of times. Don’t worry, I won’t draw you a picture, maybe some time when it’s called for.

    I have been satisfied with the Netflix/Marvel shows that I’ve seen so far. From good to really great. So is why I am really eager to see this one.

    I am foregoing the regular TV programming (to save my sanity) and looking into alternatives, definitely.

  35. Eric

    @Christine I’m watching it again, and yeah, bringing about the Black Sky really does seem to have some sort of almost religious significance to Alexandra. Practically speaking, Black Sky is what brought the Iron Fist to the Hand (that’s what I was focusing on before) but listening to Alexandra speak of her, it’s beyond mere practicality. Considering how coming back from the dead messes with one’s head (apparently) I’m more than ok with that.


  36. Nora

    After re-watching the Defenders again, I must say that now I am a lot less concerned about Daredevil season 3 than I was about the Defenders after Daredevil season 2.

    The main reasons I was annoyed with DDS2 were:
    – Kingpin was reduced to a a violent bully and lost all his depth
    – the plot was unneccessary convoluted and in my opinion completely overpaced
    – Ninjas
    – unnecessary open plot points
    – Matt and Foggy constantly fighting (I really need them to be friends)
    – unnecessary violence so that all the subtlety was lost

    In Defenders all these aspects were overcorrected into the other extreme.

    – the villain: In DDS1 the strength of the kingpin (in my opinion) was, that he had depth, he was cultivated but had his weaknesses, he courted Vanessa shyly but then there was the car door. In DDS2 there was only the car door. In Defenders they completely forgot the car door. Alexandra would have been a more convincing villain if she would have done something really gross at some point. It does not have to comprise physical violence, but should show her detachment from humanity. Like the scene in Iron fist where Harold Meachum killed Kyle because he wantend plain vanilla ice cream.

    – In DDS2 I lost track why Elektra wanted to kill Stick and then Stick wanted to kill her and then they refrained from killing at all or something and the whole Blacksmith mess was just cheap. In Defenders at some point I just waited when the big showdown in the hole would actually start because the plot steered to this point without any distractions. But there were some nice entertaining scenes on the way.

    – Ninjas: As I understood it, Charlie Cox was not happy with Ninjas and Dragons as well but this story line is closed now. There are still some interesting open plot threads. For example Kingpin has to hunt down Lelands son. He swore to to so in DDS1. No more mystical stuff and then I am happy.

    – open plot points: Now they don’t have to prepare the Defenders any more so they can concentrate on writing a consistend plot for the season itself. I still think a lot of DDS2 and Iron Fist was wasted with preparation of the Defenders.

    – Matt and Foggy fighting: I really hope they are done now. Matt and Foggy practicing law together is some kind of homebase for me and their deep friendship is one of the main reasons I am so attracted to the character. I really hope for more flashback-scenes like DDS1 Episode 10.

    – violence: For me the level of violence in DDS1 was just perfect. In DDS2 the random killings numbed me at some point. Defenders was rather harmless compared to DDS1 but I really liked that all fights served a purpose and that Ramirez reintroduced some subtle scenes. Like when the record broke and Alexandra knew that her time was over. In DDS1 episode 6 was my favorite (in the warehouse with Vladimir), no open violence but a psychological chase. And the creepiest scene in my opinion was when Marlene said “get the saw”.

    – Senses handling: Overall, well done in Defenders. I episode 8 Matt actually knocked on a wall in order to find out what is behind it 😀

    So, I am confident Marco Ramirez has the ability to write a better season when they return to the streetlevel problems.

    For Defenders season 2 I would like them to explore IGH (was this the name of the company that paid for Jessicas hospital bills?). Was the truck the Jones’ car crashed into by any chance the truck transporting the chemicals that blinded Matt so Jessica was exposed to the same substance?

  37. geb

    More great insights and explanitory possibilities. Thanks again for indirectly feeding my johnny come lately desire to participate folks.

    Yes, it seems most of us justifiably are waving goodbye to the ninja and mysticism (perhaps even whispering good ridance and do forget write, for a long while).

    The distaste expressed by some of us with Fist S1 (and some with Cage S1) aligns with the reasoning given here that there was an already too character crowded plot line to deal with some of our more pressing concerns and with Foggy’s and Karen’s position development being a good example but, even further encompassing is this in regards to the general underdevelopment here and more so in the previous (lesser) shows, which is further supported by Nora’s followting observation explaining that a lot of DDS2 and IFS1 was wasted with ill timed preparation for The Defenders (result-Fisk reduced to bully (as Karen/Fog were 2ndary here) in a mixed up over paced plot with open points. Harold/s murder over plain vanilla in a sense coming down in the end to his being worse than The Hand – both in and out of line with Alexandra’s villanous hierarchy due to unsupported narrative in not knowing exactly how each of the Hand’s Fingers has been “gifted” and for how long).

    And yes, that’s the most sensible forethought yet, about Matt’s reason for protection also extending to Danny’s need for a siute up. This is so logical for when Danny’s appears in any further Defenders show’s and when and if he is to team up with the indestructible Cage in a Heroes For Hire, since it seems he cannot always rely on the fist.

    This also could go quite a ways in improving Fist S2 and the possible Cage+Fist series’ with a much needed believability/captivating injection boost. This may work and possibly more so if integrated along with the ninja aspects that were suggested to diverge through following Elektra out of DD/street-level hero series’ and converge into these similary mystical themed shows. Although, even with Elektra being a popular enough character especially when handled well, her appearances would still be in vain if the whole mysticism angle was not completely overhauled.

    i agree and sympathize with those disinterested in FistS!, for their reasons given are rational and regard the lame use of the ninja and incomprehensible presentation of the mystical aspects of the show (unlike the immature write offs commented on youtube and such sites that felt mostly like the rationale of the bloodthirsty TV/movie mob), but I also agree that it offered elements not found in the former shows, most of which like pacing, low-profile viollence, a complete ending and others were pointed to here already.

    i mention this again because, even though a passable attempt was made, if they are going to pursue these type of shows they then no doubt need to get on the ball and do far better. Either that or they are going to just exclude them altogether, which if the 2nd case then they probably should. The thing being though is that there is quite a bit in the Marvel catalogue along these or very similar themes.

    Two reasons I would present a case in favor of pursuing these, would be that first, it apppears that many who were dissatisfied with IFS1 alternately found The Defenders (which contained quite a bit of Danny) to deliver more in terms of watchability and quality. Second, would be the fact that it has been proven that lower tier characters can work and quite well, as was done with the Brubaker/Fraction run on our controversial buddy here, Iron Fist. After reading the Immortal run I dare say that these guys did for Fist what Miller had done for Daredevil and Batman, Moore for batman, and again Daredevil by Bendis.

    I think you guys can guess at my confusion, and my dillema that has established. Although I too have faith in Ramirez, still i wonder if,..

    although where they went wrong concerning these aspects we can at this point only speculate, should I still maintain that there was some upper level strife? For it was stated that Miller clearly expressed interest in participating, as I am sure would be the case with the other original creators. How Netfix/Marvel actually has handled it is to me unknown and perhaps they actually, or maybe to a point, did consult these experts. What doesn’t make sense is that in being very experienced creators who have already crossed the mistakes path repeatedly, I do not see how their contribution could in any way detract from the to live action transition, not to mention the on the contrary obvious.

    (Just some basic generalization in mock support: There’s a day because of night. Is there a present without a past, and depending on the answer can a future exist? If no then of course not, we know this much to be true. There is a yes because of the possibility for a no. Is there a no without a yes, and if so would that be a no-no or a no-so(yes)? More of mind-pluck types to laugh at while upon the fine line: Can there be an everything without a nothing and/or vice-versa? If so, where is this nothing to be found? Included within the everything would logic dictate? But exactly just where in everything is nothing positioned, being nothing to begin with? Which is larger, all or zero? All is infinite where as zero has been determined to exist as a real number also. So we can actually count zero with, our invisible finger? Oops, this getting too long, just hopiing if maybe someday saved by zero, just for fun. Ha, TBC?)

    We will probaly learn more about the proceedures and decisions eventually but, in the end it’s great to hear mostly positive things about this latest show, and that it delivers more than intially feared. Thank you every everybody so much for keeping me on the merry go round.

  38. Le

    I promised to watch with my OH and so have only just finished watching, but for once I was able to resist binge-watching simply because I wasn’t as hooked as I’d hoped. Overall I was quite disappointed by the offering. My OH actually really liked it, but he’s so far only seen Iron Fist and a few eps of Daredevil S.1, and so has little to compare to- and I also had to therefore watch without audio-description which I loved having on during Daredevil/ JJs.
    My favourite aspects of Daredevil and Jessica Jones were the banter between the ‘off-duty’ characters- especially the early days of Nelson and Murdoch- and Jessica’s PI work. And the lawyering too. My least favourite aspects of the shows were the mystical elements and the surfeit of ninjas- one reason I didn’t like Iron Fist as much as the other shows. Even got to the point where I was sighing loudly every time someone mentioned K’un-Lun..;-) I found the Defenders both quite slow to watch, and also rushed. The fight scenes for the most part bored me- I felt they dragged on far too long though the choreography was nice for the most part, and the actual dialogue and banter between the main characters was given a lot less airspace and time than I’d have liked. None of it really felt entirely ‘right’ to me. Claire changes all the time, and though I loved her character in most of the shows she seems to have ended up being the conscience of everyone else, Likewise Luke for the most part.. Jessica and Matt came off better, I thought- but there was surprisingly little catching up- no mention of Luke’s discovery re: Reva (unless I blinked and missed it?) Which seemed unfair to Jess, and no real acknowledgement of all the various ‘love’ triangles that had existed between the characters in the past, or any of their other encounters. Foggy and Karen were just not nice- or in character (not even mentioning Foggy’s hair..) and was getting confused re: the chronology as Hogarth seemed remarkably unscathed from her experiences in JJs and was beginning to think I’d dreamed it all. I need to watch again, but I don’t feel that eager. I’d rather go back and rewatch Jessica Jones s. 1 or Daredevil for the umpteenth time. All the stuff with the Hand irritated me- much prefer a real life, street-level villain, and really worried that they’ll mess up Daredevil s. 3 now- which would be extremely sad. Also, in Daredevil Charlie Cox’s hair seemed to have a very subtle auburn tint in certain lights- and I hoped they’d made him at least do a bit of a colour rinse to cause this (might have been lighting) but this was totally absent in the Defenders and he was brunette through and through. I was having real ‘Worlds Collide’ issues when Trish started talking to Karen, and other characters crossed over- and didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped having these worlds merge. I’d like DD and JJ to get together again for an adventure- because their worlds seem compatible- but please Marvel, keep it Street-level this time, eh?! My favourite Defenders moment was probably when Daredevil turned up in costume for the first time, because it was so incongruous having a full blown ‘Superhero’ in the midst of all these people in mufti… actually made me lol… Also seemed weird having no mention of Frank or Melvin or certain other people… arrrgh. Sorry for the meander…

  39. Le

    Oh yeah- I assumed with the piano that Matt had just put two and two together re: the architect spending a lot of time sitting at the piano, and knowing that there’s a handy ‘stash’ space inside clicks that it would make a fine hiding place (provided there were no pianists in the house.) The piano and the grandfather clock were two places I used to hide stuff as a kid 😉
    As my current obsession- in the absence of any new Marvel offerings- is belatedly- very belatedly, Dexter- which I’ve gradually come to love unnaturally-much, I’ve been drawing a lot of mental comparisons between Matt and Elektra’s relationship with that of Dexter and Lumen. It’s one where they can be free to be themselves- and therefore liberating in a way that few other relationships can ever be. I reckon that Matt would do pretty much anything to get that feeling back- and must mourn its loss almost more than Elektra herself. Actually- I’m finding Dexter/ Marvel parallels everywhere. Aside from the regularly acknowledged ‘Dexter is actually a superhero’ thing, that is. Go the Gingers! 🙂

  40. Daniel

    Thanks for your thoughts Christine! The Defenders had the same problem as the second season of Daredevil for me and that is the Hand plot. It just has never made sense. At least the giant hole in the ground actually got addressed and dealt with, but it just added more questions. The big one that I had was why was it such a big deal for the Hand leaders to go back to Kun Lun when they apparently already had? I mean Elektra was already there and killed all the monks. So why did they need the dragon bones from under New York when they could apparently waltz back to Kun Lun where the people were already immortal? Did their banishment mean that they needed more of the immortal substance to return somehow? Just didn’t make much sense.

    I was sorry to see Stick go just because I loved Scott Glenn’s take on the character. I thought he was very charismatic and funny. But I honestly called it before the show even aired. I think a big part of this show was wrapping up the Hand stuff and Stick really doesn’t have a character arc outside of fighting the Hand. So it was logical that they would kill him off.

    The character interactions was the highlight. I generally liked the growing bromance between Luke and Danny, and the growing respect and friendship that Matt and Jessica developed. But I too did expect more relationship building and banter then we actually got.

    I do have to say that I hated Karen in this show!! The fact that Collen supported Danny, and Claire and Misty supported Luke, and Malcolm and Trish supported Jessica and accepted who they were made the fact that Karen and Foggy didn’t grow to accept Matt was heartbreaking! Foggy was a little better, and the scene where he gave Matt the suit in the police station and hugged him was great. He seemed to get it more. He wanted Matt to have a normal life, he wanted the best for his friend, but I think he was starting to realize and respect that Matt at his core was Daredevil. Karen just never seemed to take even that half step forward. I cheered when Matt “looked” her in the eye and said “This is my life”. But then her comment to Foggy later about why would Matt throw away his “actual” life made me want to shout at the TV. And when Foggy said he hoped Matt would get it out of his system by saving New York and then come back to them as Matt pointed out that Foggy really didn’t get it either. It just really sucked that they couldn’t accept Matt for who he was and cheer him for all the good he was doing, especially when all the other supporting characters did it for their respected hero friend. I could understand that they were tired of being pulled into the craziness and wanted the best for Matt, but constantly putting him down and not supporting him for being what he was called to be is just being a shitty friend. And the fact that it was referred to as “doing it again” like it was him falling back into drugs just made me cringe. Although I guess the danger and the adrenaline rush is kind of Matt’s drug. But when its obvious that it is such an interracial part of Matt’s life, and he has to do it to be whole, and he is providing a necessary service and saving lives, at some point Foggy and Karen should accept that and support him and be proud that their friend has found his calling and is doing something positive with it. I really hope they can resolve these issues in season three. If they don’t Karen and Foggy are going to run the risk of being irrelevant broken records. In my opinion Karen already was in this show. I can only assume that she was still rattled by seeing the path that Frank took and is worried that Matt will do the same?

    As far as Elektra. I am assuming that by the end of the show her darker side and lust for action and violence had completely taken over and she wanted nothing more then to keep the adrenaline high going for all time. It was kind of sad to see this complex character be reduced to a more stereotypical comic book villain though. But Simi-understandable. But I was hoping for more of an explanation on what a Black Sky actually was or did, and by that I mean any explanation at all. Matt staying behind is very in character for him in my opinion. He has an unhealthy need to take responsibility for others actions and save them. It is unrealistic for Matt to believe that he could save Elektra in the end, but it was very much who Matt is. He still loves her and I think a part of him always will. Which made the last sacrifice to save her, however dumb a move, so moving. And I do think it was done pretty well. But I do agree with you Christine that Matt doesn’t really see an actual relationship with her as a possibility anymore and he will probably move on in Season three. But that doesn’t mean he still wont always have feelings for her and always try to save her if he thinks he can. I would not be surprised if she comes back at some point down the road though, in much the same capacity that she serves in the comics now, as an occasional past fling to stir things up. But I think the active attempt to be with her or “save” her will be mostly behind him at that point.

    This show did make me crave more Heroes for Hire/Daughters of the Dragon type crossovers down the line. And just a general openness to occasional appearances from the four heroes to cross over into each others shows. At this point it would make logical sense for it to happen and it would avoid awkward plot points created by the fact that Claire was the only connective tissue between all the shows.

    The last scene with Matt on the bed and the end tables making a type of cross being pulled straight from the comic page was a nice touch. Bring on Bullseye!

    And just a last couple of questions to throw out there. Who was Karen talking to on the phone in the police station after the power flickered in New York? And do you think Gao will make a return?

  41. Elizabeth

    @Daniel: Your take on Foggy and Karen matched mine and was my biggest problem with the Defenders. I felt like they were treating him like a drug addict (as evidenced by the quote you used and several other comments throughout the season) which frustrated me. I can see being worried about him getting hurt, but not actively trying to stop him from being who he was. The fact that they didn’t understand how important that part of himself was to his wellbeing meant that they didn’t know him at all. To add insult to injury, he was trying to avoid being Daredevil (because of Elektra’s death, not their influence) and they were still holding him at arms length (as evidenced by Karen saying that they were figuring out who they are during the diner scene and Foggy seemingly getting together with Matt for the first time in a while at the bar) meant that they weren’t even supportive of his attempt to do what they wanted. I had hoped that his coming clean to Karen about being Daredevil (rather than an alcoholic or having an affair, which she had suspected) would have brought them closer but instead she seemed to have run away from it, despite her previous assurances that he could tell her anything and she would support him.

    The final shot caused me to let out a squee of joy, especially paired with someone being sent to get Maggie. I look forward to season 3 of DD to see what they do with this. I hope they have Fr. Lantham(?) in it. I’m not looking forward to Bullseye, as I think he can be overdone; but even if he is the main baddie I can’t wait to see it.

  42. Daniel

    @Elizabeth: Yeah I completely agree. It really kind of bothered me that all the other Defenders had friends and loved ones, that while they were hesitant about it, grew to accept them for who they were and understood that fighting the good fight was something that they had to do. Matt just didn’t have that. And even though he was doing the same thing as the other Defenders we were led to believe through Karen and Foggy that Matt was somehow doing something dirty and wrong. It just didn’t sit well with me. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that Matt is the only one trying to live a double life with a secret identity, and if Matt is outed it could destroy his civilian job and have negative blowback on both Karen and Foggy. From that perspective I can kind of get it. But the fact that Foggy and Karen just completely dismiss a huge part of what makes Matt himself, and even worse condemn it as something akin to a drug addiction, is just shameful and damaging to them as characters. Just from a purely narrative sense, if Karen and Foggy don’t move past this way of thinking they are going to become irrelevant to the overall plot and the only point they will serve is as a constant berater of Matt and as cannon fodder for one of Matt’s enemies. There were a couple scenes between Matt and Foggy that I did kind of like and it seemed like, while he really wanted Matt to give it up, he was moving toward the notion of acceptance. I have some faith for his character and his relationship with Matt. But Karen really needs to do an about face. I am hoping that her conversation with Trish and the shock of believing she has lost Matt will start to change her thinking.

  43. Daniel

    Oh and I wanted to chime in on the conversation about the piano and what Le said. Remember that Frank told Karen that his son used to hide cookies in the bench of his home’s piano. She might have relayed that story to Matt, and when the daughter said her father spent a lot of time just sitting at the piano it might have reminded Matt of that story and he went to investigate. Then he heard the hammer ruffling the paper when he played it.

  44. geb

    Can’t communicate otherwise so… Happy Reunion!

  45. Elizabeth

    @Daniel: That was how I interpreted the piano scene as well. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had taken piano lessons as a kid in the orphanage. It isn’t something I remember hearing about him in the comics and I think it is a nice touch.

  46. Mike C

    @Elizabeth @Daniel: I agree with you both that relative to how the other supporting cast treated their respective Defenders, Karen and Foggy were disappointing; however, I give Foggy way more of pass then I do Karen.

    1) While he still was not as supportive as could be and was hoping that by giving him the suit and letting finish this up things would end, he never seemed as angry as he was in DD S1/S2. Part of me hopes that this is him going through the emotions and he will begin to come around even more by DD S3. To me, DD S1/S2 there is no way Foggy would have shown up to give him is suit.

    2) They had the more established friendship and Matt did lie to him. This is made worse by the fact that if Matt’s identity were ever to get out that Foggy could be disbarred and even arrested given his involvement with Matt.

    So while Foggy isn’t where we would like him to be, my hope is that things are at least beginning to trend in the right direction based on how they approach season 3.

    Now for me Karen’s attitude is completely inexcusable. Matt saved her life, she has shown a soft spot for Frank Castle and she herself killed someone (plus the “dark past” we have yet to uncover) yet she is turning away from Matt makes no sense and is in some ways hypocritical. I talked before about how much I didn’t really care for Guardian Devil; however, the one part of it that I absolutely loved was the flashback scene when Matt and Karen were talking about when he would stop being DD and how Matt said it would be when they have a baby and Karen told him to never stop because she wouldn’t want to bring a child into a world where Matt isn’t fighting to keep it safe. I do find that to be a defining moment for her character. Even if you want to go the route that she is taking Ben Ulrich’s role in the series, he throughout the comics has done everything in his power to help support and protect Matt because he respects what he does tremendously. Matt fights for the common man and he is just a man himself.

    As for season 3, I see the return to the street level stuff as seen in season 1 with Fisk a the forefront with perhaps the introduction of Bullseye as well as perhaps bringing Nuke in as well. Will be curious how they interpret Bullseye for the show because I can certainly see that being a challenge and could be done poorly.

  47. geb

    Just thinking it interesting that this controversial (good? so-so? bad?) series review has generated so many responses.

    I don’t wish to and hope that I don’t tire anyone with my assumptions but being stuck, darn it.. I can’t help wondering so about some of the things regarding these series’ that just don’t really click. Weaknesses exposed from wiithin their plots yes but more so their telltale bread crumbs left marking a relatively clear path for tracing backwards to the..

    seeds of the problems. From where I stand I wouldn’t blame, rather even agree, if I were to be accused of being another uniformed peon in the grander facuallity of this particular history. As you know, having stated so more than once, weighing heaviest on my curiosity is the “Root Of All Evil” dillema concerning the mysticism (and related stuff) sprouting up even here in the transposition from comics to live series’.

    Was it, all things considered, unavoidable? Most obvious and pressing of points would be the use of Stick, The Hand, and with these centrally following the cherry, Elektra, topping it all off. Like but more so than all of the other great original creators relied upon for these shows, Miller’s case is outstanding here, for it is mostly his work that 3 (even 31/2?) of these shows block-built around. Considering the creative teams’ need to present a definining newer angle while also maintaining as much of the canon as possible, it’s not so surprising that some blemishes (ok, tar stains) from the comics creeped unseen, like roots beneath a tree, into the shows. My gudammy question is, were these ill recieved elements indeed avoidable had they been better executed here or, maybe instead, from within the initial canon or, in worst case scenario, was their transfer inevitable due to perhaps premeditated sabbotage on the part of..

    the original creator? So many and varying recounts of what transpired back when Miller elevated MWF from 2nd to 1st teir status and later, that trying to find some light to shed may be just a clutching at straws. It has, though, been mutually confirmed by both, that Shooter (creator of Val Armorr back in ’65 and with foresight into this character being of mixed, at 15 yrs of age?) was very supportive and gave Miller free reign with what he wanted to do and, likewise in return, because of having every faith in his creativity. The problem seemed to arise when Elektra’s popularity dictated reappearances, something the creator was apparently, and perhaps even vehemently, against. We need not question his genius for it is testimonial in nearly..

    all that his legacy has left. How is it then that if Elektra was concieved as a one off appearance, which is seemingly the popular belief, the creator, regardless of her success, was so unwilling to reuse her and further adamantly stipulated that if so agreed then she would see no future use by Marvel again (or perhaps not without his permission).. unless.. he intended to have her emmigrate into his own playground of tales from the beginning, thus nullifying the aforementioned popular belief, and presenting an explanation that, to me at least, makes any real sense in that it additionally could also explain why..

    he chose, through perhaps feelings of dissappointment or even maybe betrayal and anger (definitely the case later), her reappearance to channel via that now familiar canonical “road to ruin”.. instead of opting for, say, the use of a twin or a look-alike having had originally been killed by Bullseye.. just as, sheesh, could have been the case with the worlds greatest lover playing the deadly game of lacross. No genius level configuring required here. Had he chosen this or a similar route then I’d surely maintain that we all may have found ourselves today in a far better state of mind regarding Stick, The Hand and perhaps even mysticism (in a relative way), due to the extra, much needed attention that they would have wholeheartedly recieved. Would a creator of such caliber have been aware of all options and more importantly what the future would hold for each (as did some other pasts)?

    We can only assume either way.

    Could I be wrong? Of course. Was his work on MWF tops? Undoubtedly. Is Matt our No.1? No reply necessary. Is he Miller’s creation? Bleep-blip-bleep, negatory Dr. Smith. Although, like MWF, he’s used them best, niether did he create Bullseye or Fisk (who could have just as well been Owlsey sans the flight, claws etc). Does not every artist wish to create his own brainchild though, is what I mean to get at. A creme du’la creme surpassing the records meant to be broken? If we compared all of his originals, which creation would you vote as carrying the most weight? Oops.. I forgot. Gallop fixed, full stop. For it matters not after being spayed or nuetered. It just proves that the owner won’t give the time to walk it regularly with a leash etc., all along rationalizing this is correct. Or if not, then leave it chained for the rest of its days. So my point in reality being rendered pointless, here I lose to canon. Pity.

    Insider Scoop: “Wow.. Elektra’s stuck the biggest thorn in geb’s main vien, huh.. what REALLY up with that geb?” Confession time.. call in Pater Lathomus. geb: “Father forgive me, for I am in love with a comic’s character”. Lathom: “Who, Jessica Rabbit? Worry not my child, for I too find her case especially hard on me, and with Turner’s voice.. sigh.. if you’llexcuse me now, i must, ahem, pray”.

    No, in all seriousness now, the fact is that..
    If Black Beauty and Big Red had children, then they would be of blood in the exact same mixture as are my one, but of course in a mirrored genetic chain.
    So yes, her’s can become quite a highly personal, extremely touchy and, at times, very unfunny matter (as is Matt’s for some, myself included).
    So, there you have it.. “The Mystery Of Hollow Greek”.. Solved and thus, case closed. Knowing that above all, scincerity is what people (women esp.) appreciate most, thanks to all for the understanding of the why her ill handling and resulting undesirable states at times drives me so furiously insane. So, I watch a bit of Jessica to regain my peace of mind.

    Where were we? Oh yes.

    (needless to mention, no judgement/accusations are being/should be made. Not by the inadequately informed, particularly at top rate creators. Its paralogical/immature to blame Miller if willingly not giving some of his later Daredevil or Elektra runs his all, or Moore if after his treatment by DC refusing to bring more Watchmen or get involved in the ill con/re-cieved live adaptation. Enough of that done by/between those concerned, and then some. like blaming Shooter for New Dimension’s failure knowing its budget was reduced to nill after script preps were still in the works)

    To ease our minds somewhat and feeling that an explanation would be appropriate, one reason I pursued this certain case in elements involving inconsitencies is that along with it being an apparent issue from the nealy beginning and steadily growing as the shows progressed, it looks as if it has rippened to an indigestible magnitude within this latest offering.
    Plus, having followed its development and watching this infliction blossoming to full fruition I was influenced, especially after being fueled by most folks’ overall disnchantment here with this latest development, which domino effected me and spilt oil on my fire to respond with a penny or three. Ok, admittedly a whole dollar’s worth.

    Another reason would be that, in line with my opening remark, I thought it oddly interesting enough that along with the best of creativity we were also exposed to the distastful elements in their worst form, hand in hand. Furthermore, that these negatives showing their true colours here in this show prevented me from not truly feeling the similarities to and drawing (great/worst) parallels between past comics canon and these seiries’, again, with this one the particular example considering all of the hope expressed for a Born Again based future development.. and while at it, in addition, also to its relativity to the actual real life, behind the scenes said history itself.

    Of interest to note is that these origins date to a time when Shooter was fighting to develop a creator friendly environment with higher pay even if tough he only achieved partly via bonus analogous to certain quotas met, but also along with at least partial ownership of creation, while at the same time elevating Marvels economic situation out of the red, so as to have him voted JCI’s(?) among the top NYers of the year and later writing the unbelievable year long Secret Wars. Resulting in? His being fired shortly thereafter.

    Bottom line? I feel it sensible that if Marvel was intending to go this route with their property then they were responsible to, in congruency to putting aside all past bad blood, seriously activate whatever necessary restructuring of material required to bring it to and have it embraced by the widest live viewing publc. They may not be alone in carrying all of the blame however, for this must be shared with Netflix IF contracting with such (smaller) an entity and in turn not meeting their obligation in fully providing the necessary $upport to ensure a successful outcome.

    (as always, large scale yet unowned sacrifices by the few for their $hort term gain equates to many forms of long term loss for the other many)

    Well, I hope that this was at least a semi-interesting read on.. ha.. what may have happened, and that I didn’t once again make you all stoop to pick your ears up. If so, I hope I am to be forgiven for wanting to shuttle the comments to an even 50 (though some may have beaten me to it by now), which I feel this review ironically deserves. Thank you all for bearing me out once again. As always, be well, and see you soon.

  48. Callistemon

    Thanks for such a great review. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments too.
    I have many of the same criticisms. I’m a bit sick of all the mysticism, particularly as there are so many holes in the logic (I still don’t get the whole Black Sky thing). I really hope that the final Born Again-esque scene indicates the return of Fisk in DD season 3. I got really frustrated with season 2, not only because of the Hand, but also because the Punisher took up so much airtime.

    I think I’m one of the few people who actually liked Iron Fist. Why? It was hilarious because it was so absurd. The absurdity and humour helped cover up the holes in logic, whereas DD and the Defenders were a lot more serious and the holes and inconsistencies were therefore more problematic.

    I agree that Jessica and Matt were standout characters in the Defenders, particularly when they were together. I’d love to see a JJDD series. Jessica had some killer lines, bringing some of her much-needed black humour into the series (I particularly liked the line about everyone else knowing martial arts).

    I didn’t buy Alexandra as a villain. I mean, I know that she’s unwell, but she just didn’t seem strong enough in both body and spirit. It’s a shame because I was quite excited about Weaver’s role when it was first announced.

    My least favourite part of the Defenders was the relationship between Matt and Foggy and Karen. With Foggy and Matt in particular, I just think that their relationship as written in s01 and the first half of s02 was too strong to maintain the kind of animosity we see in the Defenders. Also, I agree with you that it seems inconsistent for Karen to be so bitter towards Matt. I would have thought she of all people would understand. Not only that, but I’d have thought as an obsessed investigator, Karen would use Daredevil as an information source (what better source on the ground, huh?).

    Like you, I really hope in season 3, there will be a balance between Matt Murdock the attorney and Daredevil. I think that was the strength of season 1. And hey, I wouldn’t mind another strong female character or two in there as well – maybe Dakota North or Kirsten McDuffie.

  49. Donald Reif

    Marco Ramirez’s remarks to Entertainment Weekly seem to suggest that Matt’s decision to stay behind in the pit was about Matt getting closure, getting proof that he and Elektra are incompatible, or something like that…

    Personally, while I do think the ending has left the door open for Elektra to come back later on, I don’t want her back in Daredevil season 3, or at minimum, her role should be significantly reduced if she does show up in DDS3. This is because Matt needs to have a life separate from Elektra, who has driven his plot for the past 17 episodes he’s been in. And Matt needs new characters and storylines. Plus I don’t think Matt would be able to find a balance between Matt Murdock and Daredevil with Elektra around because she’s always been one to tip the scales more towards Daredevil.

  50. Thomas W

    A couple thoughts on the article and discussion as a whole:

    1. I was actually very happy with Cage S1. I thought that they did a good job of establishing Luke as a person and not as an arbitrary “hero”, especially in contrast with Matt, who very much has a savior complex and a need to make the world around him better, both of which Cage lacks. I liked the pacing, and while the science (and Diamondback) were a little hokey, I thought that that neatly evoked the hokiness of Luke’s 1970s run.

    2. As for Defenders S1, I liked that they shortened it to only 8 episodes, as Fist S1 and Jessica S1 both suffered greatly from a seemingly-arbitrary season lengths, with awkward, filler episodes inserted to make the run last 13 episodes. There’s no reason for that in a show that releases all at once and has no weekly production run.

    3. I actually thought that Karen’s position-shift on vigilantes was a very human reaction. She saw the necessity for the Punisher, but that’s always what Frank was to her: the Punisher. As she got to know Frank better, she actually did try to steer him away from his vigilantism because it was bad for him personally, no matter how much good it did the community. Here, she’s doing the same thing with Matt. She knows that Daredevil was, at least at one time, necessary, but with people like Luke Cage, the Punisher, and Spider-Man (not shown, but he should be showing up in New York around this point) appearing, Daredevil in particular is becoming less necessary, and she’s worried about her friend’s safety.

    4. On Matt knowing to play the piano: I agree with you, Christine, that Matt reading the room using ambient noise makes a lot more sense than his knowing that piano has something in it just by the noise of them talking not echoing off of it correctly. Indeed, after the daughter draws his attention to it, Matt STILL has to go to the piano and make it do things to notice what is off about it. It isn’t very clear, since Matt doesn’t broadcast his intentions at the best of times and his visual clues are not ones that sighted people are likely to notice, but after paying close attention to the scene, I actually think that it plays very honestly.

    All that said, you are right that the threat of “destroying New York” was vastly up-played early in the season, and that there are some plot holes (such as how doing this slower would have been less destructive, or if being less destructive is something they care about, why do they boast of having destroyed several cities in the past), and I do think that the characters’ interactions and Sigourney Weaver’s star power were intended to cover several of these, which is disappointing. I still think it was better than Fist S1, though (and no, I don’t think that Gao and here connection to K’un-Lun were originally intended to connect to the Hand at all, as that weirdly overbalances the Fisk cartel: two small-time Russian hoods, one Wall Street embezzler, and two different members of a single ancient immortality cult bent on world domination).

  51. Donald Reif

    “But it went downhill after the Danny’s stupid decision to confront his enemies and to anounce that he plans to take them down. Who with half a braincell would do that?”

    Well, Danny thought it was a tactical decision to walk in and announce that he was effectively declaring war on the Hand. And I can understand why: he’s just lost two leads in the span of a week or so, given how Elektra killed the Chaste member in Cambodia he was trying to get information out of, and Luke rudely interrupted Danny’s attempt to get information out of Cole.

  52. Nora

    I agree, but telling the enemy that you plan to attack them as soon as you have figured out a strategy gives them plenty of time to hide evidence and to take preventive measures. Danny did not ask a single question, so he he did not even try to collect information.

  53. Donald Reif

    I have another question to posit here: how do you want Matt to let Karen and Foggy know that he’s alive? I would personally like Matt to let them know that he’s alive and well the moment he has recovered enough to get access to a phone or walk out of the convent.

  54. Nora

    I would like Matt to contact Karen and Foggy as soon as possible. And I do hope there is no amnesia-storyline 🙂

  55. Donald Reif

    I say that mostly because I would rather not be subject to more of a superhero deciding “I must protect my loved ones by separating myself from them”. That shouldn’t play out any more.

    I would imagine that Matt will move on from Elektra to finally have an honest relationship with Karen. Though obviously, Matt’s feelings for Elektra are a big elephant in the room, and will have to be discussed, since for him to get back together with Karen, he needs to make very clear that he is not in love with Elektra anymore. (And it’s very likely Matt and Karen will have to restart their relationship from scratch, given their first attempt at a relationship was based on false impressions of the other person.) The fact that Matt is almost literally coming back from the dead could help with that, and besides, Karen has yet to come clean to Matt about Wesley. We should also see finally a friendship between Matt, Karen and Foggy that’s built on honest and not on anyone keeping secrets from each other. Because that’s another trope I want to see retired: secret keeping for the sake of drama.

  56. Martha

    “Matt’s courtroom scene and honesty with the disabled kid were both great moments.”

    I totally agree about Matt’s scene with young Aaron. Matt is exactly the right person to speak to him about what lies ahead for him. I like that Matt did not give him the usual pep talk, but instead managed to be supportive, without sugar-coating what Aaron is facing. Well done by both the writers and the actors.

    I have to disagree, however, about the courtroom scene. (Disclaimer: most courtroom scenes on TV or in the movies make me want to scream and throw things at the screen). Anyone who has actually tried a case would call this courtroom scene a mess (to use the technical legal term). Matt may have graduated summa cum laude from law school, but he has no clue how to get a document admitted into evidence. He argues the case instead of questioning the witness (a common occurrence on TV and in the movies). And the parting shot at opposing counsel and the smirk on Matt’s face as he walks back to counsel table are totally unprofessional.

    I was disappointed (but not surprised, unfortunately) that both this series and Daredevil mostly got it wrong when it came to the lawyering. (Don’t get me started on the Punisher trial!)

  57. Nora

    I would like to get you started on the Punisher trial :-).
    Paying attention to the detail like professionals acting professionally, no strange decision to act out of character only to serve the story and no random up- and down-scaling of powers is what separates good and sloppy writing for me.
    Was the first season more convincing?

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  60. Martha

    @Nora: I totally agree about attention to detail and what makes good writing. For the most part, I think the creators and writers of the two seasons of Daredevil attempted to get things right – and succeeded, more often than not. I suspect that health care professionals may roll their eyes at the idea of Claire treating Matt’s injuries by herself, without the resources of a hospital. But we got all those scenes with Matt and Claire, so I can forgive that!

    Looking back at season one, the courtroom scenes in the Healy trial aren’t too bad. Foggy’s opening statement is more like a final argument, but that’s something that happens in real courtrooms, too. Matt’s final argument didn’t make me cringe. It sounds more like a sermon at times, but that’s just “Matt being Matt.” The scene where the jury reports being deadlocked left out a lot that would happen in that situation in a real trial. There would have been lots more discussion of what to do, and I can understand why it was left out. The end result – sending the jury back to deliberate some more – is probably what would have happened in a real case. Interestingly, the “Allen charge” mentioned by Foggy is a real thing in the law. It’s a jury instruction given in some states (but not New York) when the jury says they’re deadlocked and the judge decides to tell them to keep trying to reach a verdict. I suspect the writers thought it would make Foggy sound like a lawyer to have him mention it.

    I haven’t really scrutinized Nelson & Murdock’s legal work outside the courtroom. But I can definitely relate to the scene near the end of season one, where the trio are sitting around a desk going through seemingly-endless stacks of documents. Been there, done that.

  61. Nora

    @ Martha thank you very much for your answer 🙂
    As a healthcare-professional: the medical parts of the first season of Daredevil were actually ok. Claire treated the tension-pneumothorax the way a professional would have with the same equipment. The only scenes that made me cringe was Matt stiching up his father and Claire and touching their wounds without washing his hands first. And Vladimir couldn’t possibly have survived Matts CPR after a hypovolemic cardiac shock.

    The second season was a real drop in performance. For example when the zombie-kids were brought in and Claire acted as the physician in charge and started treating them without registering them, well, you couldn’t even order a simple blood test without registration. These parts didn’t make any sense from the medical or organizational point of view. I think the whole scene was from my perspective written like the punisher trial: some layperson wrote a scene like what they thought other laypersons would expect.

  62. Donald Reif

    Thankfully, it looks like one of the new staff writers Erik Oleson has brought on for Daredevil Season 3 has a legal degree and has passed the bar in a couple of states. So the writing on the law stuff will probably be a bit more improved for season 3.

  63. Callistemon

    @Nora, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist, a librarian, or an academic (my three professions) portrayed realistically on screen. And for good reason. Who wants to see an academic marking papers, a librarian cataloging a book, or an artist negotiating a contract for an outsourced acrylic welding job.

  64. Martha

    Good news about the new writer with legal training. @Callistemon, I’m not interested in seeing the day-to-day drudgery of practicing law, either. But a courtroom scene can be dramatic and entertaining and still get the legal parts right. I’ll settle for courtroom scenes that don’t make me cringe and lawyers who (mostly) talk and act like lawyers.

  65. Nora

    @Martha and Callistemon: me too, I don’t insist on every detail but if the general direction should be realistic. The punisher-trial almost ruined the whole second season for me.

  66. Donald Reif

    And for Karen to be so anti-Daredevil, given her stance on vigilantes (and his having saved her life more than once), doesn’t feel like it’s consistent with her earlier portrayals at all.

    Coming back almost a year later to this, but I get the feeling that Karen’s viewpoints do seem to make perfect sense here: she’s concerned about Matt’s choices (especially since he slips that he thinks an enemy that used to work with Fisk may know his real identity), she still needs time and space to process things given the massive fallout from season 2, and much more. I think her shift in opinion would’ve come off a lot more reasonably if we had some context for the shift, such as a flashback to Matt telling her his big secret (although I do realize The Defenders was not the place to be exploring this, and hopefully they’ll backtrack in Daredevil season 3 to give us this flashback). Unfortunately, due to the structuring of the plot, the limited episode count, and the need to juggle so many leads and supporting cast, there wasn’t much time for Matt’s relationships with Karen and Foggy to take big steps in the rebuilding process (clearly they’re saving the big reconciliation stuff for Daredevil season 3 as well).

    Another thing that made this weird on Karen’s end is the idea that she would stay in the police station and on the sidelines, rather than insist on being involved in the thick of the action like she would be if this was Fisk that Matt was going up against. Karen’s not the only supporting character affected by this: it also seems kinda weird for Trish, as a trained krav maga practitioner, to be on the sidelines when she would’ve made more sense as Misty and Colleen’s backup in Midland Circle instead of Claire (though maybe being kept on the sidlelines here could in part be impetus behind Trish’s quest to gain powers of her own in Jessica Jones season 2).

    Same goes for Claire, who’s biggest contribution in The Defenders was getting Luke and Danny introduced to one another. Which kinda highlights the big problem with Claire: she’s kinda become unnecessary in everything that’s happened since Daredevil season 2. Much of her time with Luke in Luke Cage season 1, to me, was probably so that Luke had someone to talk to about his backstory. In Iron Fist season 1, she really only served to provide the occasional assist to Danny and Colleen in fight scenes, as well as stitch up Radovan in episode 6, and Danny after his escape from Bakuto’s compound (did Claire really need to go to China with Danny and Colleen?). And in The Defenders, Claire was just another person in a large crowd of side characters. It treated Claire as little more than Luke’s girlfriend, and not as someone who’d crossed paths with all four Defenders over the two and a half years of prior shows; hell, it didn’t even acknowledge that Claire had had a relationship with Matt until a conversation with Foggy in the epilogue of the last episode (I would’ve liked it if we’d gotten to actually see the scene of Claire checking Matt over for injuries when he, Jessica and Luke are brought in following Danny’s capture, instead of it happening offscreen).


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