Episode 4 of The Punisher begins with Lewis digging in his backyard. He digs deeper and deeper but as it turns out, he’s not burying something. He’s building something. He’s dug a trench in his backyard where he not only spends most of his day, but where he actually sleeps. We knew Lewis suffered from PTSD, but from the looks of it, things are only getting worse. Curtis sees the signs too, but while he wants to help Lewis, Lewis doesn’t want any help. If this episode is any indication, he might play a much larger role in the series than originally anticipated.
Meanwhile, the two ghosts of New York City, Frank Castle and David Lieberman, have joined forces. Their current goal: weapons. An arms deal is set to go down soon, but when Frank arrives at the location and corners Turk (who always seems to be finding himself at the heart of crime in NYC), he finds out that the weapons have been transferred to people who can carry the entire load. But he has no idea who that is.
Needless to say that when Frank returns weaponless, he’s pretty pissed. It doesn’t take long for threats and accusations to start flying at David. They need those weapons and they need them now. But while David’s looking into it, Frank receives a call from Sarah, David’s wife. Both of them freeze. While Frank goes into a frenzy when angry, David becomes extremely quiet. But the death glare he gives Frank says it all.
They listen to the voicemail and as it turns out, Sarah just needs him to sign a couple of papers in order for them to fix her car. David gives Frank an ultimatum. He either goes and helps Sarah, or no weapons. He can hate him if he wants, but Sarah has nothing to do with this and she shouldn’t be punished (no pun intended). What David doesn’t know is that Frank probably would’ve gone anyways. Despite his rough exterior, he’s really just a big sweetheart underneath, something made clear when he goes to Sarah’s house.
The two kids are dealing with their father’s death in very different ways. His son, Zach, is angry, ignoring his mother and pushing past Frank. While his daughter, Leo, is, as Sarah says, taking on way too much. She’s only a kid, but she puts so much responsibility on herself. After Frank signs the papers and is about to leave, they hear a noise in the kitchen and a slightly pained shout. They hurry in to see that Leo’s trying to fix the kitchen sink and the wrench just slipped. Frank asks for Sarah’s permission to help and after receiving the go-ahead, he climbs down under the sink and together, they fix the pipes.
It’s a short but beautiful scene. For just a moment, we get a glimpse into what Frank’s life could be right now. We also see what he was like with his daughter. We see a softer side to him. That roughness is completely gone and replaced with pure and kind support. When she pulls out the source of the problem he grins from ear to ear.
“Atta girl! Tell you what, she’s pretty handy. Think you got a future engineer on your hands.”
Sarah smiles, unsure of where she gets the talent from. She doesn’t know anything about this sort of thing, and David, while incredibly smart, never was really one to “get his hands dirty”, as she puts it. When something broke or something went wrong, they always just called a guy. Frank tells her they won’t have to anymore, not with Leo in the house.
The cute and light conversation quickly turns sour as she’s seeing him out. They can hear the kids fighting upstairs and she sighs saying, “Ugh, I love ’em, but sometimes I would love it if they weren’t here.” She immediately realizes what she just said, who she just said it to. Frank’s understanding, tells her not to worry about. She has a lot on her plate. It’s actually Frank that apologizes to Sarah, telling her it sucks that David left them the way he did. And Sarah’s quick to jump on that. From what she believes, he doesn’t even know David. And just because she’s angry doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss him. He quickly backs off, apologizing again, and the regret on both of their faces is evident. They’re both still learning how to cope with loss. It’s one of the reasons why Frank, right before he leaves, offers to fix her headlight himself. “It’ll keep me busy,” he says. And Sarah agrees, dissolving some of the tension.
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Lewis is still spending most of his time in the trench he made himself. Curtis tries to talk him out, tries to offer help, but Lewis has already made up his mind. He’s going to join Anvil and get back in the field. He feels that he needs to, and this leads to us seeing exactly how Billy Russo runs the company.
The soldiers who join Anvil are trained and highly skilled at very specific things, things that make it hard to find a successful job back home. Billy gives them the chance to use those skills again, to find a place where they belong. And Lewis looks quite promising. Not only is he strong, but he’s motivated. When someone else is struggling, he puts down everything to go and help them, push them forward. Exactly the kind of mentality Billy is looking for. But Curtis begs him to put a stop to it, to let Lewis go. He informs him of the trench and warns him that Lewis is close to snapping. It’s only a matter of time. Billy hesitates, but agrees. It’s a risk, and he trusts Curtis’ judgement.
The scene is ugly. Lewis isn’t ready to leave. Billy tries to let him down as gently as possible, but there’s too much anger for the conversation to remain calm. And there’s a tense second when we think this might be the moment Lewis loses control. Billy asks him to leave after Lewis continuously insults and threatens him, but he doesn’t budge. He stands there, staring him down. And this is when we see the first hint of darkness in Billy Russo. His eyes go completely dark and all kindness drains from his face. “Now,” he says. He’s no longer asking him to leave, he’s telling him. Lewis doesn’t need to be told again. The scene is chilling for two reasons. One, Lewis suspects that Curtis has something to do with this, and with the anger he has, there’s no telling what he might do. And two, we’ve now received a new glimpse into Billy Russo, and he might be a lot more dangerous than he seems.
Meanwhile, back in the office of Homeland Security, Dinah gets a reality check from her boss, the man who recruited her, Rafi. She’s still investing too much time in not only Kandahar, but in Carson’s death. Rafi warns her that passion is good, it’s what got her to where she is now. But obsession is dangerous. And if she ever hopes to change the way the system works, she’ll have to play the game. Keep the end goal in sight, as it were. So she switches her focus to the upcoming arms deal. Because as David finds out, it’s actually Homeland Security that are posing as a criminal force and ‘buying’ the weapons. It’s an ambush, of course, one that would’ve gone smoothly if not for Frank and David.
David almost backs out of the plan, but Frank throws in his face that Sarah was saying he could never get his hands dirty, always got someone else to deal with a problem. And that comment, cruel though it was, sparks a lot of anger in David. And as Frank says, anger always beats fear.
David hacks into Homeland’s system and puts the footage on a loop while blasting their sound with music, leaving Frank with the perfect opportunity to steal the truck. Sam calls Dinah on her cell and asks if they should abort the mission, but she tells him to continue on as planned. And then she realizes that the truck passed a specific point more than once, meaning it’s on a loop. She hops in her car and quickly makes her way towards the scene.
By this point, the plan is nearly complete. David is driving the truck away while Frank’s in the car. And when they see Dinah heading towards them, Frank tells David to go home. He’ll distract. And distract he does, leading her on a wild chase, turning every which way. But she manages to keep up to him until he hits the breaks, forcing her to steer off course. But he still doesn’t lose her. Instead, he finds himself facing her. And as they both rev their engines and start speeding toward one another, David comes out of nowhere, t-boning Dinah and flipping her over.
David is shaking, but he finally got his hands dirty like they wanted. Frank sends him back home while he goes over to the car and drags Dinah away from it. She’s bleeding, but she’ll be alright. Except for the fact that she saw Frank’s face. She now knows that Frank Castle is alive.
What does this mean for everyone? Well, chances are no one will believe her. Considering the accident and the fact that she probably has a concussion, they’ll most likely just put it down to a hallucination, or someone that just happened to look like Castle. But that definitely won’t stop Dinah from looking for him herself. And with her determination, it’s only a matter of time before she finds the truth.
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