The Punisher’s seventh episode, titled ‘Crosshairs’, is about ramifications more than anything else. And after what happened in Episode 6, to say there were a few would be an understatement.
Episode 7 opens with Lewis attempting to wash the blood off his hands. But despite his best effort, they’re still stained red. He takes off his shirt, also bloodied, and takes a look at the cut on his abdomen. It isn’t deep and should heal easily. What’s more interesting, and to be honest, frightening about Lewis is that he alternates between eerily calm and extremely freaked out. The freaked out is more than understandable, but the calm? That’s worrying.
He takes O’Connor’s shower curtain and wraps the body inside before leaving the house, driving back to his place. He tucks his gun into the back of his pants, and it’s important to note that he’s still shirtless with bloodstained hands. And a cut that hasn’t been dealt with. Lewis certainly doesn’t look well, so when he walks into his house to see his father still home, he attempts to appear in a somewhat decent state. His father admits he’s really worried about him and offers him medication that he himself used to take after Lewis’ mum died.
“There’s no shame in bad dreams.”
His dad knows something is going on, but he doesn’t know the extent of it. And as he later tells Lewis over dinner, he doesn’t need to know. But he’s there for his son no matter what.
When his dad leaves, Lewis has a complete breakdown. He tries to rub the blood off his hands while pacing around the room. And in a horrifying and frightening turn of events, Lewis takes out his gun and puts the barrel in his mouth. His finger is on the trigger for what feels like minutes, but eventually he puts the gun down, taking a deep breath. Throughout the episode it’s unclear what Lewis will do next. In some moments you can see the grief and guilt he feels, the yearning to start a new life. But in others, we see something much darker. And it looks like it’s the latter that wins, because as we see at the end of the episode, Lewis is building a bomb. He’ll most likely use it to cover up the evidence of O’Connor’s murder, but at this point, who knows?
Meanwhile, Billy Russo is still playing the part of charming businessman/lover, and he plays it extremely well. He visits Dinah in her office, but when he tries to sneak in for a kiss, she dodges. She’s not Dinah here, she’s Agent Madani. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t stop him from making little innuendos here and there. But Dinah, as much as she enjoys his company, wants to get down to business. Billy, however, disappoints her. He says he hasn’t found anything out. He’s reached out to all of his sources, but everyone thinks Frank is dead. Dinah’s face falls at this news, but Billy reassures her that he’ll keep trying.
“If he’s alive, I promise you I will find him.”
Dinah believes him, and honestly, I can’t blame her! He’s convincing, but as Sam points out after Billy leaves, maybe it’s just because he has a pretty face. She rolls her eyes, claiming that she’s not that shallow, but Sam disagrees. “We’re all that shallow,” he says. He distrusts Russo, and he isn’t happy about Dinah telling him about Frank Castle, but he does trust her. And her instinct says that Billy can be trusted…she may want to check her instinct.
That being said, her guard may be going up soon considering that she found a bug planted in her office. She first realized the possibility when she thought about how crazy a coincidence it was that a day after they connected Gunner to Kandahar, he turns up dead. So, Sam and Dinah tear her office apart until they find the bug planted in her bookcase. What they’re next move is…well, our guess is as good as theirs at this point. But one thing’s for sure. Billy Russo definitely had something to do with that bug.
At the end of Episode 6, it was revealed to us that Billy Russo was actually working with Rawlins (AKA Agent Orange) this entire time. And this episode, we received some details on exactly what that relationship entails.
Billy is Rawlins’ Lieutenant, and from the sounds of it, he was working with him even when he was in the army. But how deeply he was involved back then, we aren’t sure of. Rawlins claims to have ‘made’ Billy, but was his entire friendship with Frank faked? Or were there some real feelings there? We’re still uncertain on that front, but Frank, for one, doesn’t even suspect Billy’s betrayal.
Speaking of Frank, he’s recovering pretty quickly. Considering that he’s now doing chin ups with weights tied around his waist, I’d say he’s doing quite well. And good thing, too, because it’s almost time for them to execute the next part of their plan. Even though Gunner didn’t know the identity of Agent Orange, he did know that Col. Morty Bennett was also in on the operation, which gives Frank and David their next lead. Little do they know that Rawlins and Russo are anticipating this, and will be ready to ambush Frank as soon as he reaches Bennett’s room.
Frank makes it into the military business easily, facing no obstacles as he makes his way to the building, and as he stealthily moves along, we get a glimpse into Bennett’s every day life. He’s eating dinner with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a dominatrix. And in the course of just a few minutes, we see him lick wine off the floor, as well as being gagged and spanked. And it’s the middle of this that Frank bursts into the room. Bennett’s eyes go wide, but the woman shouts “He’s here!”
Billy Russo and his team are standing nearby, waiting for this signal. Upon hearing it, they cover their faces and move in. David is able to warn Frank that they’re coming, he has about thirty seconds. And what we find out is that they’re not there specifically for information from Bennett. They’re tapping his phone. If Frank can stall for three minutes or so, they’ll get what they came for.
After telling Bennett to stay quiet behind the desk, Frank releases two smoke grenades, clouding the room within seconds. By the time Billy and his team make it to the room, Frank is hiding in the shadows. One by one, he takes them out. And he makes it look surprisingly easy. That is until he faces his last opponent, Billy himself. It’s important to note that his face is still covered, so Frank has no idea who he’s truly facing. He shoots Billy but thanks to his bulletproof vest, the impact is only enough to get him to stay down for a few seconds. That’s all Frank needs. The phone is tapped, he needs to get out of there.
He narrowly avoids being shot by jumping out of the window and then ducking into an alley, hiding from the team of soldiers now coming after him. He’s been lucky so far. The last thing he wants to do is have to shoot an American soldier just for doing their duty. But he’s almost at the exit when he has to do exactly that. The soldier is young, which only makes it harder for Frank. But he has good aim and only hits him in the shoulder. He’ll be alright.
Back at the military safe house that Rawlins currently resides in, Bennett is really unhappy with what went down. He knows that Rawlins and Russo both knew that Frank was alive and coming for him, and yet they let him. But Billy reminds him, in a not-so polite manner, that he’d be dead if not for them.
“You know, without us, Frank Castle would have your balls wired to a car battery by now. You’d probably love that, though. Right?”
Bennett doesn’t much appreciate the comment.
But Rawlins knows how to play the game. To satisfy Bennett, he tells him they’ll give him a new identity and send him overseas, somewhere Frank Castle will never find him. In the meantime, they’ll take him to a secure location where he’ll be safe. Bennett agrees to these terms and goes with Billy, insulting him all the way. Something he very much regrets once they get to the room.
Bennett looks in the bedroom and sees a lump under the bed sheets. When he pulls the covers back, he sees the woman who dominated him, covered in blood. He covers his mouth in horror and shock before pulling out his gun. But Billy’s one step ahead of him, grabbing his arm, knocking the gun out of his hand, and stabbing him in the chest. Bennett slowly bleeds out as Billy tells him that he “never much cared” for him, either.
Meanwhile, with the phone tap successful, Frank and David are now able to know Bennett’s every move. Well, at least wherever his phone is, and luckily he happened to leave it at the safe house. And that’s how, that very same night, they’re able to discover Rawlins’ hideout. Frank takes out one of the massive guns from the back of the van and sets his position, ready to fire as soon as Agent Orange comes into site. The suspense builds quickly as Rawlins receives a call from Billy. “It’s done,” he says. Content with this news, Rawlins stands at the window and looks out at the grounds. Frank has his finger on the trigger. And before firing, he whispers to himself:
“One batch, two batch, penny and dime.”
He fires. And the shot would have been perfect…if not for the bulletproof glass. Frank’s eyes go wide in shock. He didn’t see that coming. The alarm sounds and the lights in the yards suddenly turn on, nearly blinding in their brightness. Frank picks up the gun and starts running while Rawlins looks on, annoyingly self-satisfied. He shouldn’t be so smug. Frank Castle doesn’t die easily, and once he sets his mind on something, there’s no stopping him. It’s only a matter of time before Rawlins gets his. Especially considering that the death count on this show is raising rapidly.
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