Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume One Review

ww:e1 coverI really enjoyed this. I am a huge Wonder Woman fan and I’ve been waiting for Earth One ever since I first heard about it. The wait was pretty long but it is finally at an end. I had been eagerly waiting for Wonder Woman Earth One series and read volume 1 in one sitting, now I can’t wait for Volume 2. Volume 1 was far too short and that is something that left me a little disappointed.

There were a couple of things in the book that I really liked. I loved the artwork and the fact that Diana looked more proportionate for a change. I also loved that Yanick Paquette also juxtaposed some of the panels with artwork in the style of ancient Greek paintings. That was a nice touch.

Grant Morrison also made certain changes that were very welcome. I loved that Diana has a lover in Themyscira and since the island only has women in it, the lover is obviously a woman. I would have loved to see more of Diana’s interaction with Mala, sadly we didn’t explore that at all. That was a nice and fresh track and not something that we’ve seen before with Wonder Woman before and I would have loved to read more about it. Also, Steve Trevor is black in Earth One and while that was also a nice change, it didn’t really make much of a difference because the book isn’t about him, it stays focused on Diana and doesn’t waver in that regard. I also loved Etta Candy (I also love her in the new Wonder Woman series called The Legend of Wonder Woman, for those who haven’t read it, rectify that oversight immediately, it is perfect)

Morrison also didn’t introduce any of the other superheroes in this, he kept Diana front and centre and I was pleased with the exchanges between Hippolyta and Diana, they represent two opposing views, one wants to continue as they always have and another wants change. Diana wants to live her life independently of her mother and her influence, something a lot of us can empathise with.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1 is the perfect starting point for this iconic character and I can’t wait for the next volumes. I just hope that creative team stays the same. Wonder Woman: Earth One also works as a great introduction to this character. If you aren’t very familiar with Wonder Woman, this is a great book to start with.

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Penny Dreadful Season 3 Episode 1 Thoughts

Penny Dreadful Season 3 Poster

The post is spoilery, so for those who haven’t seen the episode yet, beware! You have been warned…

So Penny Dreadful is finally back with a third season. The first episode is out on YouTube for those who want an early peek, but be warned, you will have to wait till the 7th of May to watch episode 2. Now, let’s move on to thoughts and impressions.

Season 3 sees all our protagonists spread across the world, Ethan is in the US, being taken to his father, Sir Malcolm is headed to Ethan to help him out with someone who knows Ethan and wants to protect him, meanwhile, the Creature a.k.a. John Clare a.k.a Caliban reached the North Pole and then decided to come back home. Following the departure of all of her family, Vanessa had descended into deep depression but following a visit from Ferdinand Lyle, she sees a therapist and starts to come out of her self-imposed isolation.

This season also introduces to a few new faces. Shazad Latif is Dr. Jekyll, an old friend of Dr. Frankenstein, Patti LuPone makes a return as Dr. Seward, Vanessa’s therapist, Wes Studi as Kaetenay, someone from Ethan’s past and finally Christian Camargo as Dr. Alexander Sweet, someone who befriends Vanessa and is a zoologist.

The season premier sets up the big bad without much of a preamble, the vampires are making a comeback and they seem to be more vicious than the last time around. After the end of season 2, John Logan released the list of new characters joining the show and mentioned Dr. Jekyll but didn’t say anything about Dracula, though I suspected that we would be seeing him in this season and it feels so good to be proven right (allow me to gloat for a few minutes)

OK, now onto the episode itself. Penny Dreadful usually takes its time getting started. This season premier was a little different in the sense that it immediately introduces us to the various players, both new and old. The only team missing is that of Dorian and Lily and I’m sure they’ll make an appearance in the next episode.

Vanessa has turned from her faith, which was a very important part of her life but she also knows more about herself. And while she did close herself off, she is already clawing her way back into the light. Ethan is in a more serious predicament, first he was being taken to stand trial for all the killings he did while under the influence of the werewolf but while being transported, he is ‘rescued’ by a band of killers. They are taking him to his father who, by all accounts, is absolutely horrid. Dr. Frankenstein enlists the help of Dr. Jekyll to either make Lily more ‘tame’ or in the event of failure, to kill her.

This was a great premier for the reason I stated earlier, it wastes no time and setting up the main players of the season and confirms that indeed it is Dracula who will be the primary antagonist this season. We are still unclear about the role Dorian and Lily will play, for all we know, they may be antagonists as well.

Patti LuPone, who was so acclaimed in the previous season as the Cut-Witch, returns this season as Dr. Seward and I am glad that the writers addressed that the characters look similar in a way that makes sense and is somewhat plausible.

Now, onto the Dracula, I suspect that it is Dr. Alexander Sweet. Of course, I may be completely wrong but allow me to explain; he has a strange accent, immediately approaches Vanessa and she too has a reaction to him, she is drawn to him even if she can’t see it now and when we finally hear Dracula’s voice at the end of the episode, they sound similar. In the trailers, we see that Vanessa spends some time with him and it would make sense for Dracula to use this approach because the previous ones failed so spectacularly. Also, with Ethan leaving her and Sir Malcolm away, it also leaves her emotionally vulnerable and in need of companionship. What better way for him to insinuate himself into her life than someone who she can lean on and perhaps seek friendship with. I don’t see him as a romantic competition for Ethan, no love triangles here.

Also, on a side note, we met Renfield! I don’t know why this made me happy but it did. Season 1 set up a lot of red herrings, it gave us vampires and a character who could have been Renfield but we didn’t know for sure. Well there are no uncertainties this time. His positions also allows him to spy on Vanessa and I have a feeling that he’s going to wreak havoc till he’s caught.

Now, what bothered me a little bit was the part where Dr. Jekyll spoke about ‘taming’ Lily, making her easier to handle and while I know that currently Lily is very dangerous, I find the idea of taming her, more than a little unpleasant. It almost seems to suggest the loss of free will and agency. Victor is in love with her or thinks he is but the idea of ‘saving’ her has everything to do with what Victor wants which is troublesome. His entire relationship with Lily was weird and that doesn’t seem to have changed. But I am intrigued to see it play out and also see if Mr. Hyde makes an appearance.

Penny Dreadful season 3 is off to a very promising start and I am looking forward to seeing more of Vanessa and the rest of the crew and see them face off against Dracula and his horde of minions.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 Episode 17 Thoughts (Daisy)

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 11.48.36 AMSo, I love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that is because of the amazing characters on the show. I love pretty much all of them. I Love May, Jemma, Fitz, Coulson and Mack, Bobbi, Hunter, Joey and Slingshot a.k.a Yo-Yo, I like Lincoln and while I didn’t in the beginning, I am starting to like him more as this season progresses. But Daisy Johnson is my favourite character on the show, she is one of the primary reasons I watch AoS.

With the release of the stills for 3×18, we knew that Daisy would switch sides with Hive so that dampened the impact in the current episode. Hive got to Daisy and now basically has her under his control (the similarities to Kilgrave and Jessica are staggering) Now, I will attempt to order my thoughts into some semblance of coherence to talk about what happened to Daisy and what it could possibly mean. Here goes.

It makes sense for Hive to get to Daisy, for one, no one would suspect her and two, it also served the purpose of getting under Coulson’s skin. Think about it, we spent all of last week agonizing over who would betray the team, it was no coincidence that Lincoln seemed like the obvious choice. The writers always referred to his ‘dark past’ and when he did come clean to Daisy in the previous episode, one could claim that maybe he wasn’t being completely honest, after all, his big reveal felt a little tame after all of the build up. Literally no one thought that it would be Daisy which in a way was pretty smart.

In addition, we know that Hive retains the memories of his previous hosts, so he has all of Ward’s memories, he knows that Ward, in his own twisted way, loved Skye and he also knew just how important she is to Coulson. He remembers how Coulson literally crushed his chest (that must have seriously hurt) and what better way to get back at Coulson than to steal the one person who makes him vulnerable, Daisy. She regards Coulson as her father and he sees her as a daughter. It’s not just coincidence that makes Hive go after her, it’s a calculated move to throw Coulson off his game and also get Skye on his team (this is more Ward than Hive)

All through the show, Daisy has been one of the most decent people and as the show progressed, she only became better, always fighting for the underdog and trying to save lives (both human and Inhuman) It would be interesting to see this DarkDaisy play out for a while just because this is a side of Daisy that we simply haven’t seen. In the season 2 episode Who You Really Are, regarding Daisy’s power, Sif says that she has the power to destroy continents. That’s her potential but throughout season 3, the use of those powers has been very tame. This is the writer’s way of giving the audience a glimpse of what her power is really like when she’s not holding herself back (if she does really let go) It could also serve as a reminder that the only thing that kept from slipping to the dark side was that she and Coulson have a very deep bond (also May is like the mother she always wanted but never had) It would have been very easy for her to go Ward’s way, all she had to do was meet the wrong person, someone like Garrett and it would have been a very different arc for her. But her being with Coulson and also her own personal sense of honour and integrity kept her from ever walking down that dark path. One can imagine Coulson’s helplessness with regard to what happened to Daisy but that helplessness will soon be followed by resolve to get her back to her true self and her team, the people who care about and have cared about her ever since she got on that Bus. (Go Fitz and Simmons, find a cure for all that mind control sand-dust thingy)

Now, this is the part that I am less happy with, Daisy’s lack of agency. When she went to Afterlife and then fought May because she thought S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked her mother and tried to kill her, she made her own decisions, she was wrong but they were still her decisions. With Hive taking control of her, she is no longer in control of herself, we know this because she never would have done the things she did like using Lincoln’s anger issues against him. Daisy’s a deeply empathetic person and she would never hurt anyone like that, least of all someone who confided in her about his weakness. These actions are just not her. So yes, while seeing a dark aspect of Daisy will be fun, I am disappointed that it had to come at the cost of her agency.

The next few episodes, the rest of the team will race against time to find a cure and get to Daisy before it’s too late. We know that she will be horrified by her actions, especially if she seriously hurts Fitz but I think that will spur her to take down Hive. I think the recent events will also temper her hero-complex and she will rely on her S.H.I.E.L.D. team and work together to bring Hive down.

The last few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sure look like they are shaping up be dark and very emotionally intense. Strap on your seat belts, looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride…

Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima Review

91KFSWjSzWL I am usually very wary of delving back into worlds that I’ve already read about in a previous series, but I ignored that when I read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and loved it and I loved and really enjoyed the Seven Realms series and so decided to give Flamecaster a go.

First off, Flamecaster is every bit as awesome as the Seven Realms series, I loved the characters and the setting. It is fast-paced with plenty of stuff going on and inter-connected narratives. The main difference between this and the previous series is that this features more points of view. I mat be wrong but as far as I remember, the previous series only featured POVs of Raisa and Han. There may be a case of insta-love but I’ll get to that later. There was also a despicable antagonist and signs of another threat on the horizon.

While most the Seven Realms series took place in the Fells and Oden’s Ford, Flamecaster was set in the kingdom of Arden. It is ruled by the cruel king Gerard Montaigne and they have a zealous state religion called the Church of Malthus which brands mages as demons and shuns magic. The kingdom is in constant turmoil because of their ongoing war with the Fells and the toll that it’s taking on the people.

Part of the reason why I was excited to read this was the possibility of meeting of Han and Raisa and while we did meet Han, Raisa is only mentioned. We also learn that they have 3 children but sadly their eldest daughter is killed in an ambush causing much heartbreak and anguish to the family. I have a feeling that we’ll see a lot more of Raisa in the next installment.

There are a number of important characters in Flamecaster, Ash (Han and Raisa’s son), Jenna (a mysterious orphan from Delphi with a strange mark on her neck), Lila (a smuggler who’s only loyal to herself) and finally Destin Karn (a lieutenant in the Blackbirds). They each have their own narratives and their paths, while they start out separately, eventually converge in the capital city of Ardenscourt. This was one of the rare instances where I liked all the main characters.

Ash is Han and Raisa’s middle child who leaves his home looking for revenge against a man who has caused his family so much pain. I liked Han, he knew what he wanted and how to get it. He was also cautious and patient, biding his time to get to his target. But being a healer at heart, he was also kind and compassionate. He was equally adept at administering poison and healing a serious injury. (for some reason I keep thinking of him as Han)

Jenna was a mine-worker in Delphi and early losses turn her against the King. She becomes an explosives expert and helps the rebels (called Patriots here) to sabotage the coal mines and also cause unrest. But she also a strange magemark on her neck which marks her as different and puts her on Celestine’s, queen of the Northern Islands, radar. Her life turns upside down when Celestine promises Montaigne an army in exchange for her. Jenna is fierce. resourceful and spontaneous but a hard life has made her wary of trusting people. Even when the odds are stacked against her, she still fights and doesn’t give up. She opens up to Han because they each see the loss and pain that the other has suffered and how lonely they both are. She isn’t a mage but she never let that stop her from fighting back. I loved her spirit.

Now for that insta-love problem I mentioned earlier. In hindsight, it makes more sense considering that Ash and Jenna were in a strange city surrounded by a pit of vipers. They could only count on themselves and both had suffered so much loss. It made sense that they would gravitate towards each other since they were both so alike. Knowing Chima, they are both in for a tough time where their relationship is concerned. There will be plenty of miscommunication and misunderstanding headed their way. All I ask is that she avoid love triangles, I cannot tell you just how sick I am of those.

Then there was Lila, a smuggler and yet it is never clear where her loyalties lie. She says the correct things but somehow they ring false. On the surface, she is helping King Montaigne by procuring collars to control mages and help win the fight against Queen Raisa, but it is also clear that there is more to her than meets the eye. She is cunning and proficient with a blade, capable of protecting herself. She was also single minded about her own mission and refused to let Ash muck it up for her.

Finally there is Destin Karn. We always know that he’s working for the wrong side and yet he remains a sympathetic figure. Unlike the others that he works with, he’s not cruel and doesn’t believe in mindless killing. He has to deal with a cruel and abusive father who belittles and humiliates him at every turn. Even with Destin, it is clear that there is more to him, he seems to have a mission of his own. He is also a formidable mage and a compelling character. It is clear that he has some ties with the Northern Islands’ emissary but it’s not apparent what that might be.

Oh and did I mention that there’s even a dragon that gets thrown into the mix? Yep and while it isn’t full grown yet, it still manages to do a decent amount of damage. Can’t wait to see more of him!

Another thing I loved about Flamecaster was just how awesome and capable the women were. They were absolutely amazing even saving the male characters a couple of times. They were level-headed, cautious and driven, letting nothing get in the way of their objective. They never needed rescuing and often came up with solutions. It is also worth noting that neither one of the two main female characters had any magical abilities (not in the way the mages did) and could still hold their own.

Flamecaster sets up a number of players wonderfully, they are compelling and complex characters who’s motives aren’t immediately clear. It also presents us with a possible antagonist in the form of Queen Celestine who seems keen on capturing Jenna but who’s true plan remains to be seen. I suspect that she’s gearing up for a war with the rest of the Seven Realms. I suspect that that might cause the Fells and Arden to unite to thwart her. By all we’ve seen in Flamecaster and heard about Celestine, she seems like a formidable opponent who would be both ruthless and cunning on the field. Not to mention that she probably has an army of mages and quite possibly dragons at her disposal. I can’t wait to read the next book but sadly, so far there is absolutely no news about the sequel… Looks like we’re in for a long wait…

P.S. – I am so excited to see Raisa in the next installment, all grown up and now a powerful queen in her own right. I just hope that she remains that way and doesn’t die because that would be a low blow and unnecessary.. So please Ms. Chima, let Raisa be safe…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3B Theories

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 11.48.36 AM

We’re nearing the middle of Season 3B and so far while things have been moving along, they have been moving slowly. We got a look at the future last week which tied in what we saw at the beginning of episode 11, Bouncing Back; the ship in space with blood floating around in zero gravity, we see a necklace with a cross and last week, we saw that there might be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent on board.

Now, Daisy saw someone die on the ship, we don’t know who it because neither does she. Next week, things get heated up with the entry of the much-anticipated Secret Warriors. If you watch the preview for the next episode, Coulson says that someone on the TEAM isn’t who they say they are. Now, I think there are a number of things happening here and also the preview also shows us things out of chronological order.

I’ve seen the preview a few times (yes, I do this when I get obsessed with a show, also the case with Supergirl) but I think Daisy assembles the Secret Warriors and together they manage to rescue the rest of the team fairly early into the episode. The trouble starts when they reach S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters. I don’t know why Daisy’s photo is up on the monitor along with the rest of the Inhumans, considering that Coulson knew her long before she transitioned and even that was partly because she was trying to save him and stop Hydra.

The rest of them are the unknowns, yes, even Lincoln. We actually saw that Elena was trying to stop the cartels and the corrupt police officers and didn’t even know that S.H.I.E.L.D existed. Joey had only recently transitioned when we met him and he was terrified. Therefore, I think that eliminates both of them. Which leaves us with Lincoln, the only true unknown on the team.

In the previous episode James alludes to Lincoln’s dark past, who then proceeds to tell Daisy what James was talking about but I don’t think that that was the entire truth, I think he’s not being completely honest. Also, he told Daisy that he would never hurt her and that kind of a declaration is almost always followed by hurting the person you claimed you’d never hurt. His loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D is also questionable.

When he and Daisy learn that their entire team has been taken hostage, he’s very quick to point out that Daisy should call in the Secret Warriors, there is absolutely no hesitation on his part. I think he’s the Trojan horse. S.H.I.E.L.D, by which I mean Coulson and May trust him and Daisy clearly does, so that makes him the perfect person. And just in case he wasn’t on Hive’s side from the start, you may recall that in Spacetime, he was in the same room as Hive after Giyera injured him, is it not possible that Hive used his sand-dust thingy to mind control him the way he does with Giyera and the other Inhumans that Hydra brought him. I think it makes perfect sense that he’s going to be the mole.

On a side note, I am looking forward to seeing Hive and S.H.I.E.L.D in the same room. I think that confrontation is a long time and if the previous episode was any indication, Hive not only has access to his hosts’ memories, he also taps into their emotions. There are so many possibilities. Also, can we please have some Daisy and Hive/Ward interaction (and please let her not fall prey to his mind-control tricks)

Maybe, the end of the season will see a return of Grant Ward. I know that Coulson killed him and Hive can only possess a dead body. But what if Fitz and Simmons figure out a way to keep Ward alive and somehow drive out Hive. This is firmly in the realm of science-fiction and really out there as far theories go, but I just thought about putting it out there. Another way to stop him might be to let Andrew/Lash out to hunt him. But even that isn’t foolproof because Lash will go after any inhuman who crosses his path (except maybe Daisy, he could have killed her on a number of occasions but never went after her, I wonder why)

The other reason why I think that this season will see the return of Grant Ward is because I have a feeling that the end of the season will resolve the whole Hive thing. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D doesn’t drag out plots needlessly (if anything there are times where I’d hoped that they’d given more time to certain arcs like Jaiying’s for instance) And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Brett Dalton signed on for the next season? I think that the Grant Ward who comes back may be a different one from the one we know and some of us hate.

The other reason why I think why we might have a return of Grant Ward is because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D already lost Adrianna Palicki and Nick Blood’s Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter respectively to Marvel’s Most Wanted, two very popular characters, I don’t think AoS can afford to lose another character especially one who has been with us since the beginning of the show. That’s also the reason why I think the rest of the team will be safe and none of them will end up dying, the core team at least.

Anyway, that’s all I can come up with for now, I’ll make additions as and when other things occur to me. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think…

Daredevil Season 2 – Characters

Daredevil Season 2 PosterWhat I love best about these new shows is the importance placed upon good character development and Daredevil certainly doesn’t disappoint in that department. Its assortment of flawed, conflicted characters is what is at the heart of the show and what makes it so engaging.

Matt Murdoch, aka Daredevil, played brilliantly by Charlie Cox, goes through some really tough situations this time around. On the one hand it is admirable because he is willing to put his life on the line to protect Hell’s Kitchen, but in this season, there is also an air of recklessness to him. His arrogance with regard to Daredevil is visible and his lack of regard for those dependent on Matt Murdoch is frustrating.

If you really think about, Matt is a very shitty friend. He lied to Foggy and continues to lie to Karen, while claiming to care about them both. He is also never around, every time Karen or Foggy tried to reach out to him when they were in trouble, he never answered their calls. He ignores his responsibilities at the firm, if not for Foggy, the firm would have collapsed a long time ago. Even his reaction to the Punisher didn’t ring true. All that talk about not killing, I guess he forgot that not very long ago, he was all set on killing Fisk and stopped at the last minute.

When it comes to the women in his life, it’s a wonder that any of them stick around for long. He claims to love Karen but never tells her the truth about himself. Before Karen, there was Claire and she was smart about it and refused to deal with all his baggage. Elektra, on the other hand, had a mission and during the course of the mission, fell in love with him. I don’t think Matt leaves himself open for that kind of relationship, even when he says that Elektra got through his defenses, that’s not completely true. They all just get a glimpse of the person he really is.

Elden Henson as Foggy NelsonFoggy Nelson, played by Elden Henson is probably the most likeable character on the show. With Foggy, there is also no baggage, what you see is what you get. In season 1, he seemed a little unsure of himself, but season 2 saw him become more confident and come into his own. He’s great at his job and it was frustrating to see him short-changed because of Matt’s preoccupation. Season 2 saw Foggy step out of Matt’s shadow and be better for it. The friendship that he shared with Matt was one of my favourite things in the previous season but Foggy deserved better and I’m glad that he stood up for himself.

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen PageKaren Page is my favourite character on the show, and knowing her arc in the comics, I feel fiercely protective of her. What I love about some of the new shows (Supergirl, Agents of Shield, Jessica Jones) is the way they handle women. Karen has agency, she’s brave, independent, focussed and driven. Yes, she puts herself in danger but it’s always her choice, she does it for herself, not because of a love-interest or because of coercion. Her need to uncover the truth often supersedes her own safety.

She drew a lot of flak this season for her insistence that there was more to Frank than met the eye and the fact that she was more than a little sympathetic to him. Actually, it’s not hard to see why she would react that way. She sees a lot of herself in Frank, she has a dark past and she killed Wesley last season when he kidnapped her. She’s a killer too and if she can secure justice for him and what happened to him, then maybe there’s hope for her too.

I like what the show has done with her character and especially this season, we saw her branching out beyond the law firm. She’s a very talented researcher and it was gratifying to see that talent recognised and appreciated. It was easy to see that she cared deeply for Matt but I was glad to see that she didn’t tolerate his nonsense, she gave him so many chances to tell her the truth and he avoided it every time.

I love the way Deborah Ann Woll plays her, she’s vulnerable but with a core of steel. She infuses the character with heart and makes her easy to relate to.

I was hoping that we would see more of Claire Temple this season, especially considering her character’s popularity in the previous season and her brief appearance on Jessica Jones. But this time around, her character felt underused. She keeps helping Matt and yet again it puts her in danger. Rosario Dawson is too good and it feels like both her and her character are being wasted on the show. I am hoping that her character on Luke Cage will be treated better.

Jon Bernthal as The PunisherJon Bernthal’s Punisher completely overshadowed The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. He was every bit as ruthless and unpredictable as he was in the comics. There were no half measures with him, when he had a target in his sights, he let nothing distract him. There were times when we got a glimpse of the man he once was, but those moments were fleeting. And they only served to show just how much he had changed. Or perhaps, he was always like that but having a family tempered that. He let nothing get in the way of his objective. When he was with Karen, I felt that the writers might just give him a redemptive arc, thankfully they didn’t. For instance, he was willing to put Karen in danger if using her as bait got him closer to his objective, he may not want to actively see her hurt or hurt her, but he wasn’t too concerned if she ended up as collateral damage, case in point, when he rams her car with his own without a second thought.

He was a man on a mission and the end saw him accept that mission wholeheartedly. His arc in the season was one of growth and by the time the end drew in, he had grown into the Punisher. I don’t know yet whether he will get his own spin-off, though it seems unlikely, I do like his dynamic with the characters on Daredevil, namely the Devil himself and Karen.

Elodie Yung as Elektra NatchiosNow, onto the final new character this season, the one and only Elektra Natchios, played by Elodie Yung. I haven’t read a lot about what other people thought of Elektra but I really liked the way Yung played her. She was so ambiguous and hard to figure out. You could never tell if she was being honest. She was cold, ruthless and unflinching. She slits throats and doesn’t bat an eyelid. And yet Yung gives her a strange vulnerability as well. You can see it on her face, in her eyes, that slightly lost look. It’s there in her interactions with Daredevil, the yearning on her face and it isn’t a façade. This Elektra was fascinating and she was so much more than the cold-blooded killer everyone thought she was. There were so many layers to her personality and as a viewer that’s my favourite kind of character, knowing that there’s more beneath the surface. Elektra kills unapologetically but she also saves Matt’s life a number of times. It would have been so easy to paint Elektra as manipulative, and she is, but she is so much than that. I am glad that the show gave her that depth.

The show portrays Elektra as someone who was always headed down the path of killing, the flashbacks to her training with Stick only drive that point home. Killing came naturally to her, it was Matt’s approach that was alien. Why spare someone to fight you another day when you can just end it here and now (an approach Punisher would approve of) She tries to fight her nature for Matt, tries to be like him and but can’t and the devastation is plain to see on her face. She loves Matt and wants to be loved for who she is and know that he can’t. She sees Stick as her father figure and his betrayal cuts more deeply than his sword. Her final act of saving Matt and thereby depriving the Hand of their objective was heartbreaking because of the humanity that Yung gave her character. After Karen, Yung’s Elektra may have been my favourite character this season (followed closely by the Punisher)

Actually, after watching season 2, Daredevil or Matt Murdoch may just have been one of the weakest characters on the show. As Daredevil, he was borderline ineffective and as Matt Murdoch, his life was spiralling out of control. It was those around him who picked up his slack. And Elektra and Punisher completely overshadowed him.

There was always the chance that with new characters and their own narrative arcs, the show may feel a bit crowded and not as linear as the previous season, and while a slightly uneven pace may have bothered some viewers, in the larger scope of the entire season, it worked fairly well. The season answered some of the questions raised during the previous one, but raised new ones that I am hoping will get answered in the next season.

Daredevil Season 2 – General Thoughts

daredevil-season-2-posterI thoroughly enjoyed season 1 of Daredevil. When it started, it was like a breath of fresh air, remarkably different from anything else that was on television at the time, at least as far as the superhero genre is concerned. It was a superhero show without a superhero. It was dark and gritty with a touch of levity that kept it from being dull and dour. With an engaging plot and characters you couldn’t help but root for, it was just what we needed.

Daredevil Season 2 takes off after a brief time jump from the previous season. For one, our main characters seem to be a tad more settled and while that may be true for their personal lives, their professional lives aren’t doing much better. There is another vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen and some old friends drop in to stir things up.

One of the best things about this show (as well as Jessica Jones) is that they show us that there are real consequences to leading a double life. Jessica didn’t have that problem since she dispensed with hers but with Matt Murdoch, his double lives are starting to bleed into each other.

The primary difference between Seasons 1 and 2 is that, in the previous season, there was only one main plot, everything tied up with Wilson Fisk and he was the primary antagonist. In that sense, the plot and narrative were linear making for a tighter and quicker pace. This season there are a number of plots that may or may not intersect with each other. Choppy pace due to multiple plots is something that even Jessica Jones suffered from, it simply can’t be helped. Some plot lines will be more engaging than others. Having said that, I personally think Daredevil benefited from it, it gave the other characters a chance to grow independently of Matt or Daredevil and also introduced us to new characters who I sincerely hope, we haven’t seen the last of.

Season 2 also introduced us to a bunch of new elements, foremost among them, the Hand. There was also the return of the Black Sky as well as a mysterious pit, a new criminal called Blacksmith to name a few. The season was also divided with the first half dealing with Punisher while the second half deals with Elektra and the Hand. What Daredevil handles beautifully is the balance between the real dangers of the gangs and criminals with elements that defy a logical explanation without it seeming like hokus-pokus. It doesn’t over-explain these seemingly supernatural elements thereby lending them an air of mystery. Besides, there was so much happening in this season that perhaps the writers also just ran out of time to fully explain some of the mysteries raised. However, the pace of the show didn’t seem rushed which was also admirable.

Part of the reason why the first season was so amazing was also because of the antagonist, Wilson Fisk. He was a flesh and blood man and one who was very unpredictable. He was gentle and tender with Vanessa and then a minute later, he could crush a man’s skull with his bare hands. There was true menace within him. This season had the Hand and the Blacksmith and while they were good, they both felt under-developed. There was very little information on the Hand and we don’t know what their primary goal is (beyond raising the dead) and the Blacksmith just felt rushed. The few minutes that Fisk was back on screen, the show felt alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second season of Daredevil. It was different from the first season and that works in its favour. It was nice to see them try to change things around. Give the show and the characters the chance to grow organically and in a way that felt earned. The writers certainly didn’t cut any corners in that regard. The addition of new characters along with compelling arcs for the existing ones infused the show with fresh energy.