Frank wakes Micro up with a bucket of water. Micro tells Frank he understands his paranoia as Frank intimidates him by opening a can of food with a knife. An alarm goes off for one of Micro’s security features, wherein if he doesn’t type in a password after a certain amount of time, his hideout immolates itself. It will only take a retinal scan, and Frank seems genuinely unsure whether or not he cares if they day. Opening credits.
Micro tries hopping the chair he’s tied to to get to the retinal scanner. Frank takes him over to it, pissed to find a gun. He takes it apart and unties Micro so he can deactivate the countdown, then ties him back up. Micro protests that they’re both “dead” because of the same people and should be allies. Frank explains to him that torture isn’t about pain, but time, the slow realization your life is over either way. Micro starts explaining what he was doing at the NSA that got him burned. His job was to wade through various intelligence reports to determine which ones are actionable, until one day he gets what I’m assuming is the Kandahar video of Frank’s unit torturing and murdering Dinah’s partner. A flashback sees him and his wife discussing what he should do with it. He wants to do the right thing but his wife is afraid what might happen. Micro says he needs to teach his kids the right lesson and if he buries this how can he look them in the eye? His wife reluctantly agrees. He watches the video and it turns out he actually e-mailed it TO Dinah and that’s why she’s persuing it to begin with.
Next we see him and his family in their car in a traffic jam when he notices armed soldiers approaching their car in the rearview. He leaves his family in the car and leads them away. Wolf is leading the armed cops, and blatantly lies that Micro has a gun when he is PLAINLY unarmed and shoots him. Frank agrees with Sarah’s assessment that Micro was brave and stupid.
Dinah and Sam are going over the crime scene evidence from Wolf’s house, trying to figure out who killed him and why. Despite him being a dick to her, Dinah says he was one of them and she’s solving this. Billy meanwhile shows up at Curtis’ support group space. Apparently Billy is the one footing the bill for all of this. Curtis wants him to stay for the meeting, but Billy feels guilty that he has his life together and makes good money when so many of his combat brothers are barely holding themselves together. He teases Curtis that he could’ve stitched his own leg back on if they had found it, and Curtis admits he probably would have. Billy leaves.
Frank is reading a book as Micro wakes up again. But Micro as quickly passes out again. Frank douses him with water again. Frank just wants Micro to tell him who’s coming for him, but Micro tries to convince Frank they should be friends. Then we flash back to Khandahar again, as the CO’s of Frank’s special ops unit Cerberus give them a pep talk, one of whom is Clancy muhfugging Brown. Billy cracks jokes, and we see a scrabble board a shrink would have a field day with. Frank plays his guitar while some bible thumper quotes scripture at him. Or at least seems to, as the texan laughs and tells Frank he’s messing with him. Billy and Frank talk about why they’re there, and Billy teases Frank about reading poetry.
Back in the present, the twitchy young guy at the veterans meeting is quietly relating a horror story about a military pr guy selling a bad friendly fire incident as an enemy ambush and how he dreams about killing that pr guy and fat racist guy says he should. Curtis tells them that sometimes they do need to take matters into their own hands, and without naming him tells them about Frank.
Frank tells Micro he found no explosives, so Micro tells him the truth; the countdown is actually to a video feed that would broadcast to various media outlets. It was to broadcast his killers if they ever found him. Frank says Micro and his video got his family killed. Micro calls him on his hypocrisy.
Frank flashes back to the murder of the undercover cop. The translator made sure none of Frank’s unit knew he was a cop. Frank as it turns out was the guy who pulled the trigger, and hid evidence like a good little soldier. Curtis and Billy talk about Frank in the present, over some graves. Dinah is looking at photos of Wolf’s murder as she talks to her mother. Her mom thinks she’s shutting people out and burying herself in her work. Dinah just says she can’t afford to trust people because she’s the best and others will let her down. Mom calls her on being arrogant and self-important and that she needs to open up.
Frank is again dreaming about his wife waking him up then getting shot, only this time her shooter unmasks to show Frank it’s him. Frank’s subconscious is clearly trying to tell him something. Frank wakes up. Micro wishes him happy birthday, disarms the video feeds, and secretly grabs a gimmicked pen he uses to drug Frank. Frank passes out almost instantly. Meanwhile a man comes home caling out to his son Louis, the young twitchy guy from the veterans meeting. He wakes from a nightmare firing his gun, JUST missing his dad. Louis breaks down in horrified sobs at what he almost did and runs out in tears.
Sam brings Dinah evidence of some fishy bank accounts Wolf had. Dinah treats him like shit and Sam calls her on it just as her mom did. She relents a little. Frank wakes up groggy to find Micro left him his gun. Frank stupidly asks why Micro didn’t just kill him and Micro chastises him for being a stubborn moron. He again explains they’re on the same side and they’re both targets of the same people. They NEED each other and Frank needs to get the hell over himself. Frank flashes back to Khandahar again, with him and Billy in the bunk reading mail. Frank finds his wife bought him Springsteen tickets. Clancy Brown grabs them for a briefing. Government spook guy briefs them about a chance to kill a high value target but Frank sees it for the obvious trap it is, but pencil pusher says he’ll tryst intel over a seasoned soldier’s experience. Shock and awe, Frank is proved right, but is determined to finish the mission anywa as Curtis lies bleeding from the stump where his leg was. He’s determined they’ll all get home alive just to spite the pencil pusher. Frank goes full Punisher and clears the mission himself like a BAMF while barely keeping himself from hyperventilating. What sounds like Eddie Vedder singing about the lie of the Great American Dream for good loyal soldiers plays over Frank killing all the targets. (Don’t think it IS Vedder, but that kind of voice). Even after he’s won, Frank flips out and starts beating the bodies to an unrecognizable pulp. He vomits blood, and everyone gets back to base. Pencil pusher, showing no concern whatsoever for the damage done by him sending them in against Frank’s advice, asks if they got the target, and Frank punches him out. Billy tells him it’s time they got out because they can’t keep doing this shit.
Micro chastizes Frank for actually letting him get the drop on them. He points out to Frank that he needs him because without Micro finding their real targets, Frank is a missile without a guidance system. Frank is a blunt weapon who could be a guided missile with Micro’s help. He shows Frank that Operation Cerberus never officially existed, that it was an illegal op never approved or sanctioned, and that Frank was basically a hitman for CIA spooks. Frank is NOT amused by the revelation.
End of episode.
Tags: Netflix, The Punisher