After a long wait and much anticipation, The Punisher is finally here. But people are having mixed opinions. Many critics are calling the series ‘unnecessary’ and ‘boring’, and though it has a high rating of 9.4 on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes puts it at a much lower 67%. So, which is it? With only 1 out of 13 episodes watched, it’s impossible to tell for certain. But here’s what I can say: Episode 1 perfectly sets the tone for the series, and it’s even darker than the others.
Note: This article contains spoilers from Episode 1.
The Punisher Is Done With Punishing
By the end of Season 2 of Daredevil, the world believed Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher was dead, and they’re still under that impression. But Frank is very much alive, and when we meet up with him again in the premiere of The Punisher, he’s travelling far and wide to exact his revenge. And exact he does, effortlessly. But within the first few minutes of the episode, he’s found and killed the last man left on his hit list. Which means that it’s time for Frank to go home, without his Punisher vest.
When we meet him back in New York, we see that he’s living on his own in a tiny apartment. He’s currently going by the alias Pete Castiglione and works at a construction site – a job that allows him to lay low and get some of that anger out. Because while Frank may not be doing much punishing lately, he still has a lot of anger and a lot of pain. It turns out a sludge-hammer is a decent way to let it out.
There’s One Person Frank Can Trust
Frank, unsurprisingly, has kept to himself since returning to New York. The fewer people that know him, the better. But there’s one man that knows exactly who Frank is, and seems to be helping him as best he can. This man, Curtis, runs a support group for war veterans, and though Frank doesn’t partake, he listens behind a closed door. But there’s definitely something more going on with this relationship, because Curtis knows exactly who Frank is. Not just who Frank Castle is, but who the Punisher is.
“Anybody that had anything to do with what happened to Maria and the kids are dead. Mission accomplished. And I don’t have a problem with that. Hell, if you would’ve asked me, I would’ve helped you do it…but that was months ago. Now the only person you’re punishing is yourself.”
How Curtis knows Frank is unclear, but it looks like he truly wants to help him. And his advice is definitely sound.
Meeting The New Characters
Honestly, it’s rarely the protagonist that makes or breaks this kind of show. We already know Frank, and I don’t know about you, but I love him. But whether you like him or not, as an audience, we already have some sort of connection to him. It’s always the secondary characters that are a bit of a gambit. If they aren’t strong enough, the show is destined to fall flat. But will that be the case with The Punisher? It’s hard to say right now, but things are looking promising.
Dinah works for Homeland Security and was recently transferred back into the U.S after her last assignment abroad went wrong. Her partner was killed and it seems that the murder was covered up. Desperate to find the truth, she digs where she shouldn’t (anyone else reminded of Karen Page?). And though her current boss warns her to stop pursuing the case, she’s not giving up that easily. She’s determined to find answers. And her new partner, Sam, who happens to have fallen out of favor with their boss, is only too eager to help. It’ll be interesting to see where these two take us.
Frank Decides To Start Righting Wrongs
Frank Castle may be laying low, but some people are just looking for trouble. And there are a few guys on the construction site that certainly fit that description. They’re constantly antagonizing and threatening Frank, which gets more and more hilarious as it goes on. If only they knew who he was, what he could do. But Frank doesn’t do anything. Not until the end.
These guys take one of the new employees, Donny, who’s taken a bit of a liking to Frank, on a job. Together they rob a poker game that’s run by some incredibly powerful people in the city. But the payout, in their mind, is worth the risk. But when they get there, Donny’s nerves begin to show. His hands are shaking, he takes too long getting the money into the bag, and once the bag is filled, he drops it. As he goes to stuff the money back in, his wallet falls out onto the floor, revealing his driver’s license. Now they have a name. And that’s more than enough.
They’re able to get out of there and return to the construction site, but Donny has now become a liability. The guys turn on the mixer and throw him into it, simply waiting for it to fill. But what they don’t know is that Frank is there, watching. And he’s not just going to stand by and do nothing.
Their shock at Frank’s strength is evident. But even without their delayed reactions, there’s really no contest. One by one he kills them, and he makes sure that death doesn’t come too quickly. It gets a little gruesome before he tosses them into the mixer with Donny. He tosses a rope inside and Donny is able to climb out, but by the time he does, Frank is gone. He left the money with a note written in blood saying “Leave Town”. And I’m sure he won’t need to ask twice.
Frank then makes his way to the poker game and takes out each and every person who witnessed the robbery. And again, there’s no contest. Frank is too skilled, and quite honestly, too restless to live a quiet life. And as he’s still being haunted by flashbacks, memories of his family, he needs to be back in action.
Episode 1 was only a teaser, a glimpse of what’s to come. But now that the Punisher is back, who knows what he’ll do next.
The Punisher Is Currently Streaming On Netflix.