In a pivotal early scene from the first season of Daredevil, the titular hero explains to a member of the Russian mob why he’s been torturing him. Alongside the nurse who found him in a Dumpster and tended to his wounds, the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” says, “I need you to know why I’m hurting you… I’m doing this because I enjoy it.” It’s a scary sentiment to hear spoken by a so-called hero — for the audience, the nurse and especially the mobster dangling over the edge of an apartment building. Less than a year after Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) first uttered these words, both he and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) are back for the second season of the hit Marvel-produced Netflix series, as are a bunch of other characters new and old. And the Russian? Best not to worry about him.
The “I enjoy it” scene set the tone for Daredevil‘s first season, especially because so much of it dealt with Murdock becoming the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. He struggled to discover who he was whenever he donned the black mask then, in the finale, the iconic red suit. By the time season two rolls around, however, Murdock is comfortable with who and what Daredevil is, and everything the mantle requires of him. Hence why, early in the new season, he smiles and laughs to himself before taking on a biker gang singlehandedly in a hallway and down a stairwell. He still enjoys what he does whenever night falls over New York. He wants to find trouble, and he wants to hurt it.
Whether or not Murdock will be able to maintain this sentiment throughout the new batch of 13 episodes remains to be seen. Not because of the constant nitpicking of his best friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), or the flirty concerns of his office assistant, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), but because of the arrival of several new players. While Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is nowhere to be found, the villain’s past aggressions pale in comparison to what a vigilante known as “The Punisher” has in store for Murdock.
Of course, the real trick is that this new antagonist isn’t really a clear-cut baddie like Fisk. He isn’t gunning for Daredevil, and he isn’t targeting Karen, Foggy or anyone else Murdock cares about. The Punisher, real name Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), only kills and maims (then kills, because the injured are merely the ones that got away) gang members, drug dealers, smugglers, killers, rapists and anyone else with a rap sheet long enough to snuff out the possibility of future good intentions. Or at least that’s the way Castle sees things, per his rooftop explanation to Murdock during a heated debate regarding their drastically different methods.