The 11th episode of Netflix’s The Punisher begins with Frank Castle sitting on the riverbank by a fire with a blanket wrapped around him. He’s been sitting there for over 12 hours, and he hasn’t yet seen to his injuries. And all he can think about are two things: his family and Billy Russo. Billy was a brother to him. To find out that he’s in league with Rawlins, that he was apart of the group that killed his wife and kids, to say that he’s angry would be an understatement. Frank does eventually return to David’s, and when he does, Billy is on the news. He’s saying that the Frank Castle he knew is dead, that he doesn’t recognize this man, and he will do everything in his power to stop him. Talk about salt in the wound.
Back at Homeland Security, Dinah calls Billy in ‘just to talk’. The whole thing, of course, is being recorded. She shows him pictures from the operation, including a picture of Sam’s body, asking him if anything looks familiar. But Billy knows exactly how to play this, mentioning the multiple times they had sex loud and clear. He knows she doesn’t have anything concrete on him, or he’d already be in custody. But what he wasn’t expecting was for Dinah to know Rawlins’ name. The fear on his face is only too real at that moment, because all of a sudden, his insurance is a lot less reliable. It’s her turn to start toying, mentioning that she could just take her time bringing in Frank Castle.
“God, do you remember how he looked at you in that stairwell? He’s gonna kill you, and he’s gonna enjoy doing it. Who knows? Maybe he was tipped off. Maybe he’s waiting right outside this building.”
Though it’s extremely satisfying to see Billy Russo without that smug look of invincibility, they still don’t have anything concrete enough to arrest him for. And Rafi isn’t happy about Dinah letting it get personal. But she’s right to be angry – Russo is responsible for the deaths of their own, and if Rawlins is involved? They need to at least ‘rattle some cages’, as they put it. This is where the Deputy Director, Marion, comes in.
Rawlins spoke with her earlier in the episode and told her everything. About Kandahar, the heroin, the torture, all of it. And how Frank Castle was a witness. If he talks, they’re all going down. Marion is pissed at Rawlins for keeping this from her, but she agrees to use his contact in the city (Billy Russo) to take care of the problem. So when Rafi and Dinah question her, she plays it like she doesn’t know anything about it. Definitely problematic, but all hope is not lost, as we’ll see later in the episode.
Meanwhile, Sarah and the kids have now found out that Pete was not who he said he was. And they’re all handling this information in very different ways. Sarah is confused and conflicted. She can’t deny facts, but the man she met wasn’t a bad person. Leo is…I guess hopeful would be the best word. She also can’t deny what she sees on the news, but she has faith in the man she met, whoever he may be. And as for Zach? He’s pissed. So much so that against his mother’s instructions, he calls a Frank Castle tip line. An officer shows up at the door and he seems anything but friendly. He walks around the house asking where Sarah’s daughter is. She lies and says she’s spending the night at a friend’s house, but in reality, she’s hiding upstairs. The officer tells Sarah that both her and her son will have to come with them. That’s when Sarah tells Zach to run.
She hits the officer with a lamp and runs to the kitchen. He pins her against the counter until she’s able to grab a knife and threaten him. But another officer shows up behind her, holding Zach. She drops the knife and the officers take them. And yes, they work for Rawlins. He was able to put two and two together. If Frank interacted with the Liebermans, then David must still be alive as well. And it’s only a matter of time before they find the hideout.
Speaking of, David convinces Frank to let him stitch his wounds. David tells him that he has every right to be angry, but that they’re in this together. Whatever happens to Frank happens to him. By this point David’s only sewn up his head wound, but Frank has to stop him.
“So you betrayed me. Do I betray you?”
Yes, they agreed to go to Madani, but they agreed to do it together, on Frank’s terms. Instead, David went behind his back. And on top of the other betrayal he faced…it’s just the cherry on top. Frank’s pissed, but more so, he’s hurt. And David calls him out on that. The Punisher would rather kill people than deal with his hurt feelings. More so, he’d rather die. He knows that one of these insane missions will get him killed, but he doesn’t really care. He just wants to make sure he takes as many with him as he can. The Punisher is back, skull-painted vest and all. And while it’s totally bad-ass, you can’t help but want to give Frank a hug. He’s starting to get lost again, he needs a cause.
And that’s exactly what he gets.
Before he takes off, Frank and David see the videos of the Lieberman residence and see blood on the kitchen floor. They rewind and watch happened, and David points out that Leo wasn’t there. Frank asks if she has a cellphone. So, hoping that she’ll pick up, Frank calls her. She was able to sneak out of the house and now is in the middle of a park. She’s a little frightened when she hears that it’s Frank on the other end, and he gets it. But he promises he’ll help her and her family and she believes him. He tells her to meet him by the pool in that park and not to talk to anyone. He’ll come for her, he says. But that’s a lie. It’s David that has to go. He obviously doesn’t like this idea, knowing how confusing it’ll be for his daughter, but also terrified of her reaction. But Frank convinces him.
“Look at me. Look at me. You’re her father, right? You go to your little girl, okay?”
But it isn’t a question. And the hurt in his voice is only too palpable. What he would give for the chance to see his little girl again.
David knows he’s right, so after dark he goes to the pool and starts calling for her. “Listen to my voice,” he says. “It’s Dad.” He takes off his hood, not knowing if Leo is watching or not. Thankfully, she is. And when she sees it’s him, she walks into the light. She doesn’t run to him. It’s like she’s walking in slow motion, like she’s in a dream. And then she hugs him, and the tears won’t stop. Neither of them can really believe that this moment is happening. Leo thought her father was dead, and David thought he’d die before he saw his family again.
This actually makes me a little worried. The reunion was beautiful, but Sarah and Zach are still in the hands of Rawlins and Russo…what if David doesn’t get his entire family back? But for now, David isn’t focusing on that. He promises Leo he’ll tell her everything, but right now, they need to get out of there and go to a safe place. That’s where they’ll meet Frank.
And where is Frank during this reunion? He’s back at the hideout, waiting for Russo’s men to come after them. He’s going find out where they’re keeping Sarah and Zach, and then he’s going to take out every last one of Russo’s men. He rigs the entire place with traps, stashing guns and knives in countless places. He’s donning the vest and strapped head to toe in guns, grenades, and knives. The Punisher is back, and he’s ready to do some punishing.
There have to be at least twenty men that come after him. At least. And he takes out the first few easily and silently. The soldiers search the building top to bottom but still, Frank escapes them. One of the soldiers calls Billy and tells him that Frank’s nowhere to be found. The computers are rigged up to a countdown and a torture video, and there’s a cell phone lying on the desk, but that’s all. Billy immediately understands that it was a trap. Castle is there. He yells at them to get out but it’s too late. Frank’s already come into the light, guns blazing.
This scene is gruesome and brutal. But the reason it’s hard to watch is Frank. We haven’t seen him quite this violent in a while. Honestly, probably since Season 2 of Daredevil. Yes, he’s killed people this season. But never so…forcefully. With such ease and pure hatred. This has always been what makes Frank fascinating. He’s got these two very different sides, and you can’t have one without the other. Even if you hate what he does, you still can’t help but root for him.
He goes through each of the men, killing every last one. And he’s pissed when he finds out the Russo isn’t among them. So he takes one of the dead men’s phones and gives his old friend a call. Amidst insults and threats, Frank tells Billy that ultimately, it’s going to come down to the two of them. But in the meantime, Billy proposes an exchange. Frank wants Sarah and Zach. Billy wants David and Frank. He tells him he’ll set it up.
With Sarah and Zach still in the hands of Russo, we have cause to be concerned. But things are about to take a different turn. Because it isn’t only Frank that meets up with David and Leo. Dinah comes along, and it’s actually Frank that called her and ask requested, she came alone. They all want to see Rawlins and Russo go down. And with Dinah and Frank working together? Well, that’s one deadly combo that I cannot wait to see more of. As for Leo, she’s scared of Frank, and she tells him as much. Frank’s a lot scarier than Pete was. But she’s still talking to him, even cracking a smile every now and again, so hope isn’t lost there either. But there are still two episodes left, and a lot can happen in that time.
One thing is for certain, however. Marion is so angry with Rawlins that she’s putting her foot down. She agrees to take out Castle and blame everything on Russo, as per Rawlins’ suggestion. The heroin, Kandahar, all of it. But after that, Rawlins will retire. It’s for the greater good. And if he refuses, she’ll hand him over to Homeland herself. Either way, he’s screwed, but I’m still hoping that Frank and Dinah take care of him themselves.
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