Like I've said before, I never intended to ship for this show, and I still don't really care about any of the pairings, but I'm going to end up talking about them anyway. Season 1 did a brilliant job with romance, mostly by leaving it out, and in comparison it's Season 2's most glaring fault (at least in the early episodes. Maybe I'll change my mind before I finish).
Karen was always destined to have some kind of relationship with Matt, okay, sure. I wrote fic for it, so I was obviously ready for it, but what I wasn't ready for was preferring my own fic to canon. Even if it's only there to kick off a love triangle, a romance between two main characters needs some initial conflict to make it interesting, and to explain why it hasn't already happened. One way to get around the latter is for it to have already happened. That's the route I took, and it would have been easy to start Season 2 by showing Matt and Karen as a somewhat new but established couple. We don't know how much time passed between seasons, but I'm guessing six months to a year. Has Matt really spent that entire time debating whether he wants to ask Karen out?
Since that option was declined, though, we can still get by without it. Maybe something kept them both from acting on their mutual attraction. Maybe it was something really obvious, which was set up perfectly in S1. Maybe it was Foggy, is what I'm saying here. Foggy had a massive crush on Karen. Karen was aware of it but had feelings for Matt. Matt was aware of it too, and he loves Foggy like a brother and would never knowingly hurt him. The love triangle was already there, but it was a love triangle between mature people who cared about each other, ergo, stalemate. What better way for the team to bond than to have Foggy magnanimously putting aside his own desires and setting up his friends with each other? We all want to see him with Marci anyway.
But no, instead we have Marci as the only one who remembers that Foggy was into Karen. So, what's in the way? Does it feel a little weird for Karen to be dating her boss? Are they still processing all the scary and violent things they've been through together? Hey! Is Karen holding out hope that she's got a chance with Daredevil? Because that would have been yet another interesting way to get them together: she gets rescued/kissed by the man in the mask, or she figures it out, or both. Sure, it would change the ending, and that last scene was actually the one part I really liked about Matt/Karen, but pretty girls investigating the secret identities of heroes who protect them is so primal it transcends trope and becomes genre. Why the hell not?
With all these enticing possibilities, what the show decides to go with is an awkward first date at a fancy restaurant, which becomes a sweet romantic date when they realize that they don't like fancy restaurants. I have questions about this too. Karen's well aware that Matt's financial situation is at the same level as hers; whose idea was it to splurge? Why do they not know each other (and themselves) well enough yet to realize they'd have more fun in a casual environment? Why does Matt not know his wines?
Basically, they took a stock first date scene and inserted the characters into it, and went on to develop it into a stock relationship ready to be struck down. Once Elektra arrives on the scene, everything heats up and we start probing into Matt's psyche again, so you could just acknowledge the writers' preference and shrug it off. I have trouble with that, though, since everything that happens between Matt and Karen is part of them each as individuals, and I really love both of them and it's not fair that their interactions with each other erodes their characters.
And that's even before we get into Matt's life falling apart thanks to Elektra, which is really Matt's life falling apart thanks to Matt. Maybe next time I feel like griping, we'll talk about how much easier it is to end a positive romantic relationship than to create a compelling one in the first place