“The Punisher” Season 1 Episode 5 Recap: Gunner

Episode 5 of Netflix’s The Punisher opens with Dinah waking up at home, covered in dark bruises. And while they look incredibly painful, she’s lucky to be alive. And there’s no way that she’s wasting that by sitting at home and waiting to feel better. She takes some pain meds, gets dressed, and heads to work like a true bad-ass.

Now, here’s the really interesting thing. Dinah tells only one person, Sam, that she saw Frank Castle. She doesn’t tell anyone else. Whether that’s because she wants to do this on her own, or because she doesn’t think anyone would believe her, she’s keeping this information on a strictly need-to-know basis. So much so that when she and Sam were asked questions in an investigation of the incident, neither of them mentioned Frank. If anyone finds out that they lied, both of their heads will be on the chopping block. It’s a big risk to take, but if there’s anything we know about Dinah, it’s that she’ll do anything to get to the truth.

frank castle and leo the punisher
Credit: Netflix

Meanwhile, Frank pays another visit to the Lieberman residence where, with a little help from Leo, he fixes the headlight on Sarah’s car. While Zach has a clear disliking for Frank (most likely because he’s worried he’ll try and replace his father), Leo has warmed right up to him. It’s no surprise that they get along so well. Leo misses her father, and Frank? He misses his daughter. Neither can be replaced, but they offer each other some comfort without even meaning to.

While Frank’s washing up, Leo tries to convince her mum that they should invite him over for dinner. After all, he saved them $500 by fixing the light himself. Sarah’s not sure but when Frank comes out of the washroom, Leo invites him anyway, claiming it was all Sarah’s idea. Frank admits it’s been a long time since he’s had a home-cooked meal, and Zach, having just come upstairs, replies, “It’s been a while since she made one.” He proceeds to run to his room, leaving the three of them in an awkward silence. Frank tells them it would be an honor to be their dinner guest. Unfortunately, Frank doesn’t end up making it dinner, for reasons we’ll get into later. David watches all of this unfold with a pained look on his face, and I can’t tell what’s worse for him. The fact that his family is in so much pain without him, or that they’re spending time with Frank.

Speaking of, David is severely unimpressed with Frank for letting Dinah see his face. He tells him that she could have dragged herself away from the car, but Frank just shakes his head. He’s not having this discussion again. The truth is that she was an innocent, and even if it makes things harder for him, he won’t let an innocent die. This is actually what confuses Dinah more than anything else. Frank Castle was the Punisher, he killed hundreds of people without hesitation. What made him save her? She decides to talk to someone who actually knew him: Karen Page.

This scene was one of the most intense yet. Karen is nervous, but she plays it down quite well. She doesn’t give any hint that Frank is alive and she only reveals what she knew of him before he ‘died’. She gives the opinions of an outsider, maybe an acquaintance. Whether Dinah sees through that is unclear, but if she won’t get her answers from Karen, she’ll certainly get them from someone else.

karen page frank castle punisher
Credit: Netflix

This little encounter leads to another meeting between Frank and Karen. She tries to talk him out of killing everyone involved. If he kills them, they die martyrs, they die heroes. No one will ever know the truth of what they did, the crimes they committed. If Frank wants real justice, they should expose them for what they are. But justice isn’t always that simple, and in Frank’s mind, killing is the only solution for this problem.

That isn’t all, though. If his brief meeting with Dinah taught him anything, it’s that he can’t continue to be close with Karen. Everyone he’s ever cared about has died because of him. He can’t lose her, he won’t. Karen tries to stop crying while he tells her that he won’t let anything happen to her. “I cannot let that happen…please.” I think that’s the first time we’ve ever heard Frank plead. He leans in and kisses her cheek before leaving, getting back to the business he has to take care of. But where does that leave these two?Frank might have enough will power to stay away from Karen, but Karen would never abandon Frank, even if it’s what he thinks is best. She’s stubborn, and no doubt that will come out soon.

Back with the not-so dream-team of David and Frank, they’re searching for the man who filmed the video of Ahmad being shot. And Frank is convinced it was Gunner – he always thought this was wrong. They’re hoping that Gunner will know the identity of the man who ran Cerberus is, the man they only know as Agent Orange. What the audience now knows is that Agent Orange’s real name is Rawlins, and he’s actually one of the lead agents in the CIA. His reach of power is far, making him all the more dangerous. And he’s intent on keeping Cerberus a secret. It’s also notable that when Frank hit him near the end of the operation, he actually blinded him in one eye.

When they get to the location (which is around the time that Frank should be having dinner with Sarah and the kids, by the way) Frank orders David to stay with the truck while he goes looking for Gunner. And as it turns out, Gunner’s a master of disguise. Wearing nothing but camouflage, he’s able to sneak up and shoot Frank in the chest with an arrow. But once he realizes who he shot, he starts to lower his weapon. Frank gets on his knees while clutching his chest, explaining how he wasn’t involved in anything that went down with Cerberus. How those men killed his family, and all he’s trying to do is kill the people responsible. Unfortunately, Gunner’s as lost as Frank is. He doesn’t know who Agent Orange is either.

Before the conversation can continue, a helicopter is heard overhead. Rawlins found Gunner. They deploy six soldiers to take Gunner and Frank out. Though they’re both skilled, they’re a little worried about the numbers. Luckily, they aren’t alone.

David, upon hearing the helicopter, deploys his drone and flies it near Frank. He’s able to tell him exactly where the soldiers are, exactly where to move and how to stay alive. And though both Gunner and Frank get shot, they’re able to continue on and kill the others. The one kill is especially brutal, with Frank shoving a sharp stick through the soldier’s gut over and over again. But it’s Frank’s final kill that may prove to be his undoing. You see, each of the soldiers had cameras strapped to their chest so that Rawlins could see what was happening. And Frank looks directly into the camera for his last kill. He warns whoever is watching that he’s coming for them before snapping the man’s neck. So, Rawlins knows that Frank Castle, the Punisher, the man who blinded him, is still alive.

David proves himself when he runs through the forest only to find Frank lying unconscious and bleeding from his wounds. With great effort he heaves him over his shoulder and carries him back to the van where he patches him up. As they’re driving away, Frank starts to stir and sees what David did. He chuckles.

“Might be hope for you yet, Spook.”

Against all odds, David was able to save Frank. And they’ll definitely be closer for it. But Gunner? Though we don’t know for sure, it’s doubtful he made it out alive. His wounds were much more serious than Frank’s, and the last we saw of him he was struggling to draw breath. If I’m being honest, I hope Gunner died in that forest. Because if he didn’t, Rawlins will come for him and most likely torture him for information on Frank. So, here’s hoping for the best.

Oh, and as for Dinah? She got another drink with Billy Russo and ended up having sex with him…so there’s that! You can read more about that scene and what exactly this dynamic means here! For more news on The Punisher and previous episode recaps, be sure to check out our official Punisher Page here!

The Punisher Is Currently Streaming On Netflix.

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