Marvel & Netflix’s The Punisher Recaps by Penny – Episode 10; Virtue Of The Vicious

We open with Louise for some reason killing some random guy by shooting him through his apartment door peephole. He then shoots the lock off the door and enters. He steps over the poor schlub’s body, presumably planning to make this his new base of operations. I guess he figures the cops will be looking for any known associates so they won’t find him at some random stranger’s house? Anyway, he spots the dead guy’s pet budgies, and proceeds to prove what a clueless idiot manchild he is by cracking a window and opening their cage to set them free, not understanding why they make ZERO attempt to flee.

You see the two ways this proves Louise doesn’t really understand how the world works in his violent delusional crusade is twofold. First, he clearly doesn’t understand why the birds won’t fly out the window even wen he puts their cage right up to it. They’re domesticated birds. They’re not stupid. They have a human who loves them and feeds them and keeps them safe from predators. I have two pet rats who can and often do easily squeeze between the bars of their cage, but they NEVER try to escape. They just sit on top of the cage to get my attention when they want cuddles. My babies know where the food comes from. They have no reason to WANT to escape. And secondly, Louise doesn’t seem to understand that if the birds DID flee, they’d be doomed. They’re small domesticated birds with no fear of humans and no survival skills. They’d be doomed if they left. Domesticated animals are not equipped to survive in the wild and usually get killed very quickly after release. We go to the opening credits with Louise looking utterly confused by this reality.

Billy is being questioned by a particularly smug and presumptuous NYPD cop at what is clearly a crime scene given the blood splattered all over the walls. Apparently Louise’s victim WASN’T some random guy but was one of Billy’s PMC employees assigned to the senator’s protection detail. The cop is grilling Billy about having almost hired Louise but Billy points out that he DIDN’T hire him and wrote him up as unfit during his evaluation. He points to the blood on the wall as proof he was correct. Apparently Louise made a run for the Senator offscreen, (Man I HATE Noodle Incidents), and killed 4 of Billy’s guys before being chased off. The cop arrogantly presumes being an American cop is even REMOTELY the same thing as serving in active combat in the military and Billy is understandably annoyed by this. He says arrest me or we’re done and gets up to leave. The cop asks him about Frank before he goes, because apparently despite having Curtis as a witness this idiot thinks Louise and Frank are in cahoots somehow and believes Frank was involved in this new shooting, which is clearly wrong, because as Billy pointed out, the senator is still alive, and we ALL know if killing him was FRANK’S mission the man would be stone cold DEAD.

We flash to 6 hours earlier and Billy and the Senator are discussing security arrangements for a press conference he wants to give that Billy is against because it leaves him exposed. Frank calls him to warn him Louise is coming for the Senator. Frank says set a trap for Louise and he’ll deal with it. Billy realizes Frank is on-site and worries. Frank warns him to just keep his guys out of Frank’s way. After Frank hangs up though, Billy smiles and clearly thinks he’s going to swing this to his asdvantage somehow, and then greets Karen at the elevator, as she’s arrived to interview the Senator.

We’re going to be skipping back and forth between right now and 6 hours ago for awhile it seems, as we’re back in the current timeframe with the douchey cop interviewing the Senator, who’s in mild shock and just slightly rambling about reassessing his life and what matters as he apparently had to pick up a gun himself during whatever just happened despite having never touched one til today, plus he’s feeling the stinging guilt of knowing men died protecting him. He asks the douchey cop if he’s ever been shot at and how it felt. He seems very close to going into full on shock and just starting to ramble.

Back to 6 hours ago, Karen and the Senator are starting their interview when the wall beside them explodes. All hell breaks loose as Louise tosses a smoke grenade, likely tear gas, into the room, then comes in shooting. The Senator hides behind a couch and in the heat of the moment survival instinct kicks in. He grabs a gun of one of Billy’s now dead PMC guys and fires a couple shots in Louise’s direction, giving him enough of a window to get out of the room. Frank arrives just in time for Louise to grab Karen and hold her at gunpoint.

Back to Now and it’s Karen’s turn to be interviewed by douchey cop. He’s hellbent on his theory that Frank is Louise’s partner and Karen is getting frustrated to all fuck by his refusal to listen or see the reality of the situation. Back to earlier we see Karen meeting Billy at the elevator again from her perspective. He chuckles at the irony of an anti-gun senator being interviewed by a reporter with a conceal-carry permit as he asks for her gun. She in turn points out the irony of that same senator being protected by a PMC. Meanwhile, Louise arrives at the hotel in the Anvil Security uniform he stole from the guy he killed, and makes his way upstairs after just barely dodging getting spotted by Billy himself in the lobby. And we see on his brief detour that for some reason Dinah is here too, sitting in the coffee lounge looking as if she’s waiting for something. Louise kills one of Billy’s guys in the stairwell and continues on. Karen and the Senator debate the differences between rhetoric and reality and it’s painfully clear how naive the Senator really is about guns. Back to Louise in the hallway, he kills another of Billy’s guys and then starts fiddling with the elevator, presumably to keep security from using it to get to him quickly. We catch up to the point in the interview where the bomb goes off and now we see it from Karen’s side.

To no one’s surprise, the Senator’s recollection of events is complete bullshit. He never TOUCHED a gun, he was on the floor begging for his life while Karen was trying to save his life and talk Louise down. Frank arrives just in time to knock Louise’s aim ff and prevent him shooting Karen or the Senator. Karen tries to lead the Senator out of the room but like a coward he shoves her straight into Louise’s arms and gets the fuck out of Dodge. Louise shows Frank he’s wired with a bomb vest and shows him a dead man switch in his hand as he holds Karen hostage. Frank follows them to the elevator trying to talk Louise into letting Karen go. Some of Billy’s men show up but hold their fire because of the dead man switch. Louise escapes in the elevator with Karen and Frank swears he’ll track him down. Soon as Louise is gone the PMC guys open fire on Frank and Frank is forced to use one of their own dead guys as a human shield as he escapes. And I’m not 100% sure but I think one of the PMC guys was Billy himself, nor dressed in full riot gear so Frank wouldn’t recognize him.

Now; Dinah’s turn to be interviewed by douchey cop, and she too tells him point blank he’s an idiot to believe Frank was in on this mess because if he was EVERYONE would be dead/ Douchey cop tries to pull a skeevy intimidation ploy on Dinah by pointing out he heard she was on Administrative leave until today and he wonders smugly why that might be, assuming it was a reprimand. She tells him it was bereavement leave because her partner was killed and died right in front of her. Douchecop looks sheepish and clearly realizes he done fucked up, and his remaining questions are a lot less douchey and much more “I’m an ass and I’m sorry” subdued.

Earlier; Dinah arrives back at Homeland for her first day back, getting sympathetic looks from her staff and staring at Sam’s now barren desk as she passes. She goes into her office to talk to her boss, who grills her about what the hell is going on, and why she filed false plans. She closes the door and immediately shows him the bug, says “Show’s over” to it and rips it out. With Rawlins’ bug disabled she fills her boss in on everything, from Rawlins’ illegal activities and his connection to Kandahar to knowing for weeks Frank was alive to how everyone higher up than them did everything they could to bury her Kandahar investigation. He finally realizes she’s been on the right track all this time and returns her badge, telling her she’ll need it to see this through, clearly still a bit freaked about the bug. He also gives her the reports on the blac ops squad that showed up at her trap, and she realizes every single one of them used to work for Billy. The gears start a-creakin’ and she leaves for the hotel.

We again see the scene of Louise slipping past Dinah in the lobby lounge to get out of Billy’s line of sight. Billy greets Dinah and welcomes her back to being an active agent. He asks why she’s here and she shows him the files on his black ops team. She plays it cool but the look in her eye at his initial reaction before HE regains his composure tells it all. He downplays their association with Avil, saying they worked for him months ago, and probably 20 other PMCs over the years, as the business has high employee turnover. These kinds of guys go where the money is. He plays like he hasn’t seen them in years and even offers to ask around about who the one who escaped might be. She asks him if thinks he could kill Frank and if Frank’s a terrorist, and he says he will if he has to. Dinah pulls away when he tries to kiss her goodbye before he has to get back to his client, and he realizes she suspects him. Before they can get into it any deeper though the hotel’s fire alarms go off and Billy realizes some of his men aren’t answering their comms. He leaves to check it out and Dinah starts to leave the hotel with everyone else evacuating the building because of the alarm, but thinks better of it and turns around.

Cut to about 20 minutes later and Frank is running down the stairs as Dinah is running up them. She spots him a couple flights up and exists the stairwell onto that floor and hides there until he catches up to her, then re-enters the stairwell and tells him to freeze. Frank stops and tells her he was NOT here working with Louise. She says she believes him but she needs him to stand up in court and testify against Rawlins and tell the world about Cerberus. She says they want the same things. Frank realizes she’s been talking to Micro and walks right up to her and puts his forehead against the muzzle f her gun. He tells her either shoot him or he’s walking away. He turns and does exactly that and gets shot in the back from above. Billy is there, and it was him shooting. Dinah holds her gun at HIM now, ordering him to drop his gun or be charged for obstruction. He tries to claim he’s protecting her from Frank but she points out Frank was walking away gun down and Billy is aiming at her now. Billy drops all pretense kind of abruptly. I guess he figures she didn;’t buy his shit about his “former” employees. He tells her this all ends with Frank dead and that she should walk away. He grins and says the only crime in war is losing, and Frank and Dinah simultaneously realize beyond any lingering doubt that Billy is in on it. Dinah and Billy are about to shoot each other when a bunch of cops burst into the stairwell and arrest them both. They try to arrest Frank too but he coldcocks two of them, grabs a firehose, and uses it to rappel down the stairwell.

Back in the now, douchecop wants to know WHY Dinah and Billy were holding guns on each other. She says it was a difference of opinion. He points out both their guns were fired. She says hers was a warning shot, Billy’s was trying to kill her prisoner. He saus well Frank just killed a bunch of his men can you blame him? She calls him on his bullshit posturing, pointing out there is ZERO way he could have ANY ballistic evidence of that at this point. She saus he knows Frank isn’t part of this and he needs to stop towing the company line. She goes to leave. He smugly says he hasn’t given her permission to leave yet. She deflates that bloated ego by simply saying she’s eaving anyway and does exactly that. In the hallways she intercepts a cop taking Karen to talk to Douchecop, and flashes her badge to get a minute alone with her first. She reminds Karen of their prior conversation about trust, and says Karen didn’t tell her Frank was alive that day. Karen counters that Dinah is guilty of that exact same lack of trust, and it confirms they both knew the other knew about Frank. Dinah asks Karen to try to help her get Frank safely because powerful people want him dead and sghe’s his best hope. They admit he’s saved both their lives and Karen agrees to trust her a bit more.

Back to hours ago, Louise exits the elevator with Karen in the basement, holds off a pair of cops with the bomb vest, and gets to the kitchen. He rambles incoherently and yells at Karen for not understanding his goals and being part of the problem and not the solution. That’s when Frank stumbles in, bleeding and wobbly from, at my best count, at least 5 bullet wounds. He tries to talk Louise down by telling him about how his actions will only punish his dad, how his dad will suffer with hatemail and graffiti and social ostracization for years to come because of what Louis is done. Louise continues to babble and Frank realizes he can’t save him, so he tries to get Louis to let Karen go and blow himself and Fran up. When that fails he goes back to trying to talk Louise down, but this time he’s codetalking, and his REAL message is to Karen. As he talks at Louise he slyly lets Karen know which wire to pull on the deadman switch and to get her hand into her bag and onto her gun, (which I thought Billy had confiscated), and gives her subtle headshakes to let her know when her hand is on the right wire. When it is she pulls the wire and shoots Louis in the foot. Frank pushes Louis into the walk-in freezer, and Louis rearms the vest and blows himself up in tears. She and Frank come to after a few minutes and Karen realizes there are likely a shit-ton of cops outside the kitchen ready to shoot. She lets Frabk hold her “hostage” until they get past the cops into the elevator, when Frank gives her back her gun and escapes.

Finally we end back in the now, with Douchecop questioning Karen about letting Frank take her hostage. He knows she helped him escape, and says he should arrest her. She counters if he’s a terrorist then she’s just a victim, hinting at the MASSIVE bad press that would get the NYPD. Douchecop FINALLY relents and smiles and admits yes, he knows Frank saved lives today and isn’t the bad guy. He asks if she knows where Frank is. She replies she doesn’t know but counters with a question of her own; would Frank EVER be the kind of guy who’d risk getting caught in a building he doesn’t know how to get out of? Cue Frank ziplining from the hotel to an adjacent building.

End of episode.

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