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Recap / Daredevil S2 E3 "New York's Finest"

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"Only I do the one thing that you can't! You hit em and they get back up, I hit em and they stay down! It's permanent! I make sure that they don't make it out on the street again! I take pride in that!"
Frank Castle

After the Punisher captures Daredevil, the two discuss morality while Karen tries to learn more about the Punisher and what the DA is hiding.


Tropes featured in this episode include:

  • Batter Up!: Several of the Dogs of Hell arm themselves with bats.
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  • Blatant Lies: Turns out Grotto has been downplaying his status on the hierarchy to Nelson & Murdock. To them, he's made himself seem like a low-level grunt who just does deliveries. On the rooftop, Frank Castle makes him admit to actually being a hitman who has carried out a particular assassination.
  • Blood Knight: Daredevil's face breaks out into a manic grin just before he charges into battle against the Dogs of Hell.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Frank points out that his method makes sure criminals never hurt anybody ever again, while Matt responds that he is taking away their chance to change their ways. Their argument climaxes effectively around Grotto, a career criminal whom the audience has gotten to known and who shows the potential to redeem himself, is convincingly begging for mercy, but nonetheless has killed innocents.
    Daredevil: You run around this city like it's your damn shooting gallery—
    Punisher: Yeah, what do you do?! What do you do?! You act like it's a playground, you beat up the bullies with your fists, you throw 'em in jail, everybody calls you a hero, right? And then a month, a week, a day later, they're back on the streets doing the same goddamn thing!
    Daredevil: So you just put 'em in the morgue.
    Punisher: You're goddamn right I do.
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  • Chain Pain: Daredevil uses the chain still attached to his wrist against both Frank and the Dogs of Hell.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Karen convinces Blake Tower to hand her information on the Punisher case by showing him that Reyes has a habit of stabbing others in the back to save her own ass.
    Karen Page: Your boss said she could take down a firm like ours pretty quickly?
    Blake Tower: She wasn't lying.
    Karen Page: Huh. So... she could also take down someone like you?
    [Karen takes some manila folders out of her purse and puts one down on Tower's desk]
    Karen Page: ADA Elliott James. Took the fall after Reyes mishandled informants in the, uh, Teller case about a year ago. [pulls out another folder] Cole Kent. Got booted from your office after she failed to quiet the Ensent scandal. [pulls out another folder] And Chris Davidson. Did you meet him? Fired after the State Supreme Court disqualified your entire office from the Pell case due to "widespread misconduct". Widespread! But not everyone got fired. See, Reyes walked out in one piece. She's good at throwing people to the wolves. So sure. She can take down Nelson & Murdock this month. But how long before you are getting pulled into the shit with the rest of us?
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  • Combat Pragmatist: Daredevil has a chain connected to one wrist and an empty gun duct-taped to his other hand when he fights the bikers. He makes creative use of this by using the chain as a lash and pistol-whipping the villains.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Removing Luke Cage from the hospital caused Claire to get stuck on emergency room duty during a graveyard shift.
    • Matt makes a remark to Frank that is eerily similar in tone and message to Jessica's tirade against Audrey Eastman:
      Matt: Who did you lose? Huh? Was it someone you loved? Well boo-hoo. Let me tell you something, buddy: everybody's lost someone. It doesn't mean you have to do this.
  • Crapsack World: Frank Castle's antics have caused some gangs to go to war with each other, each thinking another is responsible for his kills. The blood is so bad that they're trying to settle scores in the emergency room and don't care if ER staff or bystanders get hurt. One such scuffle breaks out while Foggy is at the hospital trying to look for Matt, and he's forced to use his lawyer skills to talk them down.
  • Crowbar Combatant: One of the Dogs of Hell attacks Daredevil with a crowbar.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the comics, Grotto is part of Those Two Bad Guys alongside Turk; here, he's killed by the Punisher instead.
  • Freudian Excuse: Defied by Matt, as he claims that everybody has lost someone and that this is still no excuse for Frank to kill. He even gives Frank a mocking "boo-hoo," akin to Rocket and Drax.
  • Giant Mook: The big biker who beats up Matt and gives him a considerably tougher fight than his comrades.
  • Hallway Fight: Daredevil fights a biker gang in the hallway of an apartment building, which eventually leads to a stairwell fight.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Punisher gets choked unconscious by Daredevil with the chains he used to tie him to the chimney.
  • Improvised Weapon: A whole lot of them appear in this episode, most prominently Daredevil's chain and empty revolver. He can't let go of either, thanks to Castle, so he puts them to use against the Dogs of Hell.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Averted. The Sadistic Choice offered to Daredevil by Frank is lifted from the comics, but this time, the gun really is loaded with a single bullet. Later played straight when Daredevil, having used the bullet to free himself, holds one of the Dogs of Hell at "gunpoint" in order to get a civilian out of harm's way before the smackdown in the hallway/stairwell.
  • Just Following Orders: Grotto tries to use this justification when Frank brings up a very specific job.
  • Knight Templar: Frank is firmly this, unwavering in his commitment to and belief in his cause, stating that Daredevil's heroics are ultimately a futile half-measure that only prolongs the inevitable.
  • Machete Mayhem: Some of the Dogs of Hell are carrying machetes.
  • Motive Rant: The entire episode is basically one big motive rant for both Frank and Matt, defending their respective approaches.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Frank and Matt's confrontation is a direct reference to a scene between the two written by Garth Ennis in the acclaimed arc "Welcome Back Frank," lifting several quotes. Although as the TV show is less biased towards the Punisher, the confrontation ends rather differently.
    • Matt calling out Frank for acting like he's special because he lost someone echoes a conversation he had with Frank's protege in the "Omega Sanction" arc.
    • The landlord being a Marine veteran from the Vietnam War is an allusion to Frank's original background.
    • The large x-ray that Karen pulls from Punisher's file shows a human skull, reminiscent of Punisher's symbol in the comics, albeit this one has a hole in the head reminiscent of a gunshot wound.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Daredevil inflicts this on the Punisher, and later on the Dogs of Hell that come knocking.
  • Not So Different: Frank tells Daredevil that he is "one bad day away" from being a guy like him.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Frank's philosophy is made very clear.
  • Pipe Pain: Some of the Dogs of Hell bikers use metal pipes.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Invoked when Foggy, from an attorney to a criminal, decides it's more likely to work than appealing to their better natures.
  • Precision F-Strike: Frank gives probably the first one in the MCU to date during his argument with Daredevil.
    Matt: Let me ask you this.
    Frank: What's that?
    Matt: What about hope?
    Frank: [annoyed] Oh, fuck. What, like Santa Claus? You wanna talk about Santa Claus?
  • Reality Ensues: Getting Luke Cage out of the hospital (in the last episode of Jessica Jones (2015)) had serious consequences for Claire, who has been on emergency room duty for about a month with barely any time outside.
  • Rejected Apology: Grotto calls Karen from a payphone. Karen tries to apologize for not anticipating Reyes' double-cross, but Grotto is in no mood to take an apology.
  • The Oner:
    • Matt's fight with the Dogs of Hell is a direct sequel to the iconic one-shot Hallway Fight in the first season, though this one actually has a few hidden cuts and doesn't maintain the concept the entire fight. Just as well, because it would have been impossible to film otherwise.
    • Less showy but still impressive is Foggy and Claire's conversation as they traverse the busy hospital.
  • The Nicknamer: Frank calls Matt "Red" (a rather obvious choice, given the suit), and even openly mocks the name the newspapers gave him.
  • Sadistic Choice: Frank gives Matt the choice to let him shoot Grotto or kill Frank to prevent it. Matt shoots his chains instead, but is unable to stop Frank from shooting Grotto.
  • See You in Hell: During the Sadistic Choice above:
    Matt: Go to hell!
    Frank: Too late.
  • Semper Fi: Frank says this to the old man, who was in the "Fighting Third" in 'Nam.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Frank eventually has enough of Matt's speech about the inherent "goodness" in the people he kills and knocks him out with a wrench to the face.
  • Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: After Karen convinces Blake Tower to share the Punisher case files, he acts unmoved, telling her in no uncertain terms that she is not welcome, she should never contact him again, and he's going downstairs to call security now—all while gathering up the files and handing them off to her.
  • Take a Third Option: Frank tells Matt he can either let Frank shoot Grotto, or shoot Frank himself, but Matt shoots the chains holding him instead. He's unable to stop Castle from shooting Grotto, though.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Foggy gives an epic one to the gangbangers who try to start attacking each other in the ER, managing to talk them down in the process.
  • Visual Pun: A nicely subtle one, used during the montage of the Dogs of Hell descending on the rooftop. As the bar is pumping "Ace of Spades", it cuts away on the lyric "Read 'em and weep" to Karen in the act of pulling a photo of one of the Punisher's victims out of a manila folder, showing us the dead man's hand, again.
  • Wrench Whack: Daredevil and Frank do this to each other. Later one of the Dogs of Hell attacks Daredevil with one.
  • You're Insane!: Matt calls Frank this, which is one of the few comments that gets an angry reaction from him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: With his last breath, Grotto asks Matt why he didn't stop Frank from killing him. Matt's only response is a despondent "I'm sorry."

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