Frank is coughing up blood as Dinah and Micro get him to her parents’ place, begging her dad the doctor to help him. Her mom isn’t happy they brought this to their home. She wants no part of helping a criminal like Frank, but her husband tells her they know better than most that sometimes the criminals are the freedom fighters. She still thinks they should stay out of it and jeez lady you have a dying man in your house that’s just cold. Doctor Dad doesn’t care though and does his best to save Frank, including draining blood from his lungs so he can breathe. Billy meanwhile, like a smug idiot, has gone to his office at Anvil to dig the bullet out and bandage himself. He’s emptying his safe of all it’s money and a smartphone when he hears two police radios. He ambushes two cops, kills them, takes their radio and uses it to know where the rest of the squad are, murders them at like a cold bastard, then blows his own building up as he walks away from the blast. Opening credits.
Frank is recovering while Micro gives him blood. Meanwhile Marion and Rafi are watching Rawlins’ body be taken away and she accuses Dinah of helping Frank escape. Rafi says she doesn’t know that. She says don’t I? Later at Dinah’s apartment Frank is getting dressed and Micro gives him an envelope with I’m guessing a credit card or a cheque worth a ridiculous amount of money based on Frank’s reaction. Frank feels like crap but still wants to end Billy. Micro and Dinah want him to take the money and just start over somewhere else. Dinah tells Frank this is his only free pass. If she ever sees him again she’ll arrest him or shoot him. Frank actually smiles at this and leaves.
Rafi and Marion are questioning Dinah about what happened to Frank. She tells them he helped get them enough evidence to bring the whole thing down and he earned his reprieve. They ask where she took him, she smirks and says he overpowered her and escaped. They try to threaten her with the consequences of her letting a wanted terrorist escape, she counters with them colluding to cover up an illegal drug smuggling assassination unit run by a top CIA official. They ask if she knows where Frank and Micro are. She says no but that’s probably for the best as they CERTAINLY don’t want those two in custody telling THEIR stories. So either arrest her or let her do her job because she did what was right. Rafi tells her to get back to work. After she leaves Marion calls her a piece of work and says she likes her. Rafi just chuckles.
Sarah is in a hotel room under police protection when Micro returns. She was worried sick he tells her everything is fine and it’s all over now. They’ll need a period of readjustment but he’s never leaving them again. She asks about Frank. Micro says he’s alive but he’s gone.
Curtis, still recovering from his run-in with Louis, wakes up to a noise and finds his gun to be NOT under his spare pillow. Billy is sitting near his bed holding his own gun on him. Billy wants to know how long he knew Frank was alive. Curtis says since his funeral. He says Frank wanted to protect Billy and keep him out of the crosshairs so he asked Curtis not to tell him. Cyrtis asks Billy if he’s going to kill him, then asks if he can make some coffee. Curtis tries to convince Billy to turn himself in so he can get help. He goes to hand Billy a coffee but somehow, I guess he saw a glint on the coffee cup, Billy realizes he’s in sniper sight and dodges a shot from Frank. He takes a shot at Curtis who he clips in the shoulder, and hides underthe window. Frank calls Curtis and has him slide the phone to Billy. He asks Billy to spare Curtis and they can finish this man to man with honor. Billy says he’ll give his word and toss the gun if he hears Frank eject the live round and remove the magazine from his rifle. Frank complies, and so does Billy. Billy says his word DOES in fact mean something, and he leaves Curtis alive after he and Frank agree on where to meet.
Of course the place Billy chooses is where it all started; the Merry Go Round where his family was killed. Frank has flashbacks to that day and apparently Billy was there with them. The memory itself is happy and friendly and shows Billy really was like family to Frank and the Castles. But Frank looks traumatized by just remembering that much, and his memory ends with the sight of blood on the ride horses.
Micro is playing go fish with his kids and it’s nice to see them happy, especially Zack who’s been such a bitter miserable shit. Sarah watches them together and abruptly drags him off to the bedroom for nookie. Which, yes, she hasn’t seen or fucked her husband for over a year, I understand the urge, but GODDAYUM people your kids are LITERALLY in the other room with police guards.
Two teenagers who work at the boardwalk are closing up their booth and making out when Billy shows up and asks them to help him with something at gunpoint.
Dinah is typing up her after action report on the attempt to arrest Russo at Anvil, (which I can’t read completely because my stupid TV is cutting off part of the right side of the screen), but she pauses, her fingers twitching, like something isn’t sitting right with her.
It’s late now, well after the boardwalk is closed. The Merry Go Round is unsettlingly quiet. Frank is approaching the boardwalk area in Central park through the trees on his stomach with his sniper rifle, looking through the scope for any sign of Billy or any traps. Because like Frank wouldn’t assume Billy is going to booby trap the meet site he chose.
Dinah gets a mysterious anonymous text, likely from Billy because Frank wouldn’t involve her, showing her the location in Central Park they’re meeting at. She searches it on her PC and realizes it’s where his family died. Without stopping to think SHE’S being lured into a trap, she abruptly leaves the office ignoring Rafi trying to get her attention to go stop FRANK from walking into a trap.
Frank is still stealthing towards the boardwalk when the Merry Go Round turns on the distance. Billy is clearly hoping to use Frank’s PTSD against him and it works, as we see his flashback to the park clips from DareDevil season 2, (yay recycling!!!). Frank looks through his scope as he shakes off the flashbacks and sees the two poor teenagers Billy accosted, tied to the Merry Go Round and slowly bleeding to death from cuts on their wrist. Billy phones him to taunt him about letting two more kids die. Frank listens carefully to the background noise on the phone and has a rough idea of where Billy is, taking his grenade launcher and firing that way, missing Billy only by MAYBE 25 feet. He charges and he and Billy start shooting. Frank takes one in the though, and has to tourniquet his leg.
Dinah shows up checking the coordinates she was sent. Billy is likely hoping he can use her to distract Frank. But she’s only in the parking lot some distance away, she’s not a usable liability yet. Frank hops on the Merry Go Round as does Billy. Billy starts yapping about how they’re both the same, tools made to kill, who no one will mourn. Frank takes advantage of his yapping to fire in his direction, and we get a RIDICULOUSLY unlikely shot of a hole now existing in Billy’s left cheek as he spits the bullet into his own damned hand and my suspension of disbelief is trying to claw it’s way out through the bathroom window. That ONE shot is threatening to ruin this entire scene.
Billy is sick of this shit and stops the ride. He tells Frank to show himself or the kids die. Frank complies and tosses his gun and knife as Billy demands. Billy whines like a little spoiled brat how he never had anyone. Frank says “You had us”. Billy gets more pissed and shoots Frank in the vest as Dinah arrives trying to sneak up on Billy. Billy shoots Frank again, and Dinah’s stealth check fails because he turns and shoots her before she even speaks or makes a sound. Though it may have been the teens getting suddenly louder that clued him in. Frank takes the distraction of Billy shooting Dinah to jump him, knocking his gun away, and now it’s just Frank and Billy fist to fist and we get the knock down drag out fight that saves this scene from that idiot facial gunshot wound.
They beat the living shit out of each other until Billy pulls a knife. He gets Frank good a couple of times and stabs him through the arm, smashing him into a mirror. Frank fights back by stabbing Billy in the gut with some broken mirror glass. Billy keeps trying to fight back but Frank has it from here, smashing Billy’s face into the other mirrors, and dragging his face along one until the broken glass has completely shredded the right side of his face. He’s about to slit Billy’s throat, and seeing what Frank did to his precious face Billy begs him to do it, but Frank sees HIS reflection too, and decides death is too easy for everything Billy’s done. Instead Frank’s going to let him live his life, crippled and in prison, looking at his shredded gace every day.
Frank goes to cut the teens free, then checks on Dinah, who at first looks knocked out and maybe she was wearing a vest, but then Frank checks her pulse and lifts her head to see a gigantic puddle of blood under it and goddammit where did all these onion ninjas come from? Frank angrily curses at her for getting herself killed. He sits beside her cradling her head, as the teens sit beside him while police cars show up for some reason. Best guess is Dinah called for back-up offscreen. Frank just sits there, not even TRYING to escape or run.
3 days later, Frank, in irons, is escorted into Dinah’s hospital room and hot damn she bloody survived. Frank is duly impressed by her toughness. Meanwhile Marion and Rafi are there to fulfill Dinah’s request to give Frank a pass. Marion agrees that the US owes him debts they can’t ever truly compensate for, so they’ve given him a new identity as Pete, replaced “frank Castle’s” prints and DNA on record with those of a dead man, and expunged all evidence of his arrest. Dinah tells him everyone she needed to see punished has been and Frank has atoned enough. He’s free to go try to rebuild his life. Before he leaves he asks about Billy. Rafi says he was in surgery for 11 hours and they have no idea if he’ll ever recover from the traumatic brain injury Frank gave him. He could wake up tomorrow or not at all, remember everything or forget his own name. Dinah says she hopes he does wake up and remember so he can suffer with the consequences. He deserves nothing but pain, and it seems Micro was right about Dinah becoming more like him and Frank. We close on the hospital scene getting a look at Billy in his bed, comatose with his face heavily bandaged. And there you have it folks, the question is answered; Yes, Billy will become Jigsaw.
Speaking of Micro Frank drives him home while Sarah is finishing dinner. He’s scared as hell to actually go inside a truly free man. Frank pushes him to just do it, but won’t be joining him. He goes inside and Frank drives off. Sarah asks Micro where Frank now Pete is but Micro just ushers them inside to eat. We end season 1 with Frank at the Vet support group helping Curtis set up. Curtis chuckles and calls Frank a shit magnet, which makes Frank laugh. He’s finally ready to sit in on a meeting, and later he talks about how easy war was when you only had to think in the moment and never had time to worry about future plans, how you could only focus on the here and now. He says for the first time in as long as he can rememmber, he has no war to fight, and he admits he’s scared.
So that was Marvel & Netflix’s The Punisher. Not their best but nowhere near their worst. It had it’s hit and miss moments but overall the season wide plot was cohesive and pretty decently paced. The cast was excellent and everyone, even the kids, were convincing and gave you reasons to care about or despise them. If you go into it forgetting or not knowing who Billy is in the comics his heel reveal is a genuine surprise, (I haven’t read Punisher in years so I had forgotten until the heel reveal). It got really excessively gory and violent at times but if you go into watching a show based on a murdering vigilante expecting rainbows and unicorn farts it’s your own fault if the violence bothers you.
Overall here’s my order of the Marvel Netflix shows as I see them from Best to Worst and where punisher fits in.
- Luke Cage
- Jessica Jones
- Daredevil Season 1
- The Punisher
- The Defenders
- Daredevil Season 2
Anyway, that wraps up my Punisher recaps. Next up I recap Marvel & Hulu’s Runaways. See you then!
Tags: Netflix, The Punisher