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The Punisher – S1E6/S1E7/S1E8 – The Judas Goat/Crosshairs/Cold Steel

Previously on The Punisher, “Gunnar”

Images: Netflix

“The Judas Goat”

With Frank in bad shape, Micro calls on Curtis for help. Madani and Russo continue to mix business with pleasure. Lewis stands up for his rights. – Netflix

A Little Minor Surgery

Even Frank Castle couldn’t easily bounce back from the battle that occurred in the last episode. After a dream sequence in which a happy celebration with both Frank and Leo’s families ends in assassination, we see that Frank is back at Micro’s lair and not doing well at all. Micro goes to Curtis’ home in the middle of the night to tell him that Frank is dying. Back at the lair, Curtis declares that Frank is septic due to the arrow from the fight in the woods still being in his body. No matter what antibiotics Micro gives Frank, there will be no healing until the arrow is removed. Micro barely stomachs it, but he and and Curtis are able to pull the arrow through Frank’s shoulder, rather than out. Thankfully Frank is not awake for the procedure.

Fraud

Back at Curtis’ group meeting, the angry O’Connor gives his usual spiel. Curtis asks him the most sensible questions of all, why is he there and why is he so angry? O’Connor doesn’t really have an answer, plus Lewis, the only person who seems to agree with him, is absent from the meeting.  Curtis tells the group about a pet goat he had during one of his deployments and how that goat ended up being sacrificed in the line of duty. Today is not a day that Curtis can provide much hope or sage advice for the group. Everyone looks surprised, including O’Connor.

Lewis and O’Connor stand outside on the steps of a court to pass out fliers about the second amendment and the right to bear arms. After a police officer asks them to leave Lewis explains to the officer that he is following the law and doesn’t understand why he and O’Connor are being asked to move along. As Lewis continues to argue with the officer, O’Connor stays silent and backs away. By the time the officer falsely accuses Lewis of trying to reach for his gun and has him on the ground, O’Connor is long gone. O’Connor is basically one of these dudes who pump someone else up for a fight and then walks way because they don’t have the courage of their convictions or any interest beyond causing trouble for others. Later on, Lewis visits Curtis at the meeting room. Of course, Curtis bailed Lewis out not O’Connor. The two discuss O’Connor and it turns out that Curtis investigated him and found out that O’Connor is an absolute fraud who didn’t even serve in the military. Lewis goes to O’Connor’s dingy house to confront him and during a fight, Lewis kills O’Connor.

Reunited?

Frank is awake and recovering. He hears Billy trying to reach out to him via scanner radio using their code names, Blackbird is Billy and Frank is Raven. Frank tells Micro that Billy is a friend, but Micro isn’t convinced. Micro voices his suspicion about Billy and even extends the logic that potentially someone else thinks Frank is alive and this is why Billy is reaching out to him. Frank disagrees; his belief in The Marines as his family is blinding him to the obvious.

Dinah and Sam are alerted to the scene of the fight between Gunnar, Frank, and Bill Rawlins’ men. Dinah thinks Frank called her to find Gunner’s body and she tests blood from the scene for a DNA match. Dinah and Bill meet up in a classic Marvel meeting spot: the docks. Although Dinah asks him for more information on Frank she’s the one sharing key information that Frank is alive. Telling Billy this doesn’t feel like a smart idea.

Billy goes straight to Curtis and asks if he’s seen Frank. Curtis plays it correctly and maintains that he thought Frank was dead. Billy explains that he found out via a government source and proclaims that all the wants to do is help Frank. Curtis meets up with Frank and suggests that Frank take Billy’s help. Billy and Frank meetup under the cover of darkness and almost immediately Billy wants to know why Frank didn’t reach out to him. Billy gets Frank to tell him the full story of what he’s doing and who he’s after including a mention of CIA Agent Orange. Billy offers to help Frank.

Back on the docks, Billy Russo meets with Bill Rawlins. Turns out Billy is in league with Bill. There just two dudes, two Bills hanging out; two ain’t shit individuals.

“Crosshairs”

Lewis struggles with the ramifications of his actions. Frank and Micro pursue another face from the past. Madani and Sam go bug hunting. – Netflix

We Need to Talk About Lewis

Lewis spirals further down. His father tries to speak to him as if nothing is wrong, but obviously something is wrong because Lewis is walking around shirtless and bruised in the middle of cold weather. Lewis’ father tries to give him some meds that his doctor prescribed to him to help him sleep. Sleep is a start, but Lewis needs far more than that. Lewis breaks down after his father leaves and puts a gun in his ow mouth, but he doesn’t pull the trigger.

Lewis and his Dad have pizza and beer as they watch Foreman and Ali’s classic 1974 fight. Lewis states that he envies boxers because they know exactly who their opponent is and that the task is to kill them. Lewis’s father admits that he really doesn’t know what is going on with his son, but he gives him advice about changing things up and fighting for himself as Ali did in his fight. Lewis clearly takes the wrong message from his father’s advice. He goes shopping and returns to his new base-O’Connor’s house. Lewis proceeds to make a homemade bomb back right across from Connor’s dead body which is wrapped in a shower curtain.

Bugged, But Not Out

Billy visits Dinah and lies to her about being able to find Frank. Once again, Dinah ends up divulging more information to him despite saying she told him too much. On his way out of her office Billy specifically mentions their personal relationship and says ‘to relax that no one is listening’, knowing full and well that her office has been bugged by Rawlins.

Sam confronts Dinah and questions her decision to trust Billy, yet not share information with him, her partner/colleague. He also asks her to stop sharing information with Billy. While Dinah is invoking her inner Misty Knight and examining a crime board it occurs to her that someone had to know about Gunnar since he ended up dead right after Dinah and Sam discussed him. She figures out that her office is bugged and goes in the hallway and explains it all to Sam.

Date Interrupted

Micro and Frank are planning for a mission to get closer to Rawlins a.k.a Agent Orange through Colonel Morty Bennett, a high-ranking officer who was involved with the drug ring. Micro and Frank arrive at the base. Micro stays in the van, using the best technology to track the scene from overhead. Billy and his men are ready and waiting for Frank. Frank attacks Bennett during his weekly dinner date with his dominatrix. The moment Frank enters Bennett’s office, the dominatrix yell’s ‘he’s here, he’s here’ and flees. Frank removes his mask and reveals his face to a terrified Bennet. He binds Bennett up and puts the ball-gag from Bennett’s playtime into his mouth.

While Micro remotely clones information from Bennet’s phone and places a tracking program on it as well. Franks smokes out the room and takes out Billy’s crew one by one. A masked Billy shoots at Frank as Frank jumps from a window. Frank escapes the military compound, but has to shoot a young solider in the shoulder on his way out despite trying to avoid injuring him. He says it’s a lot easier when you can kill people. As Frank and Micro wait for movement from Bennet’s phone. Frank vows that he won’t make a moral decision anymore officer that he’s taking out everyone from here on out.

You Can’t Sit with Us

At a plush CIA safe house, Bennett meets with the two Bills who play good cop bad cop. Bennett wants to know why the dominatrix alerted Billy’s men to Frank’s arrival and moreover, why Billy and his men were on the base without his permission. Rawlins aka god cop, promises that they will set Bennett up with a new life where he can spend the money from their illegal ventures. Billy directs Bennett to leave his phone at the house. Meanwhile, Frank and Micro are tracking Bennet and believe he is still at the house, although Billy takes Bennett to a hotel under the guise of safety. The dominatrix’s dead body is in the hotel room’s bed and Billy stabs Bennett just as it begins to dawn on him that the jig is up. Bennett was clearly the weakest link and not cool enough to hang with the two Bills, or to even live.

Frank and Micro arrive at the CIA safe house and Frank heads out to a wooded area to prepare his shot. Frank is surprised to see Rawlins through his scope and attempts to shoot him, but the glass is bullet proof. Rawlins is mildly startled when the bullet hits the window and tons of lights come on. Frank is shaken, but quick to leave.

“Cold Steel”

Russo opens up to Madani about his past, Sarah shares her concerns about her son with Frank, and a decoy operation takes a turn. – Netflix

Childhood Pangs

Billy is back in his three-piece suit and polished shoes. He visits his mother in a medical institution. She can’t speak and initially just stares at him. As the scene continues the cantankerous nature of their relationship is revealed through a disturbing one-sided conversation from Billy. His mother didn’t take care of him as a child and he grew up in a number of group homes. As Billy talks his mother gets increasingly agitated Billy injects her with drugs which subdues her.

Billy and Dinah compare war stories over bruises of past injuries and Billy reveals more about his childhood. Billy didn’t have it easy at all. As Dinah has a pang of middle-class guilt, Dinah asks if Billy ever looked for his mother. Being consistent, Billy lies to Dinah yet again.

Family Time

Micro discovers that the cameras in family’s house are down and demands that Frank goes over to find out what’s wrong. Frank stops by with flowers on the pretence of saying thank you. The family is safe, but Sarah is just over everything.  She and Frank begin sharing the first of a few glasses of wine while she explains that Zach has been misbehaving so she turned off the modem.  After sharing an anecdote about Micro, Sarah wonders if she will ever have what she had with Micro, with someone else. As Frank is preparing to leave, Sarah kisses Frank and it so happens that before this happened Frank plugged the modem in; therefore, Micro sees the kiss.

Frank returns to Micro’s lair and Micro has the frame of the kiss frozen on the screen. Micro is drunk and upset, but he doesn’t blame either Frank or Sarah. The men drink and share stories about how they first met their wives. In the midst of it all Micro figures out that Dinah can be an ally for them and the solution to their problems if she can help arrest Rawlins. Frank isn’t interested in a court case against Rawlins, instead Franks wants him to die. Micro wants Frank to see past revenge and attempts to call Dinah. Frank knocks the phone out of his hand and then knocks Micro out before putting him to bed. In the morning when Sarah calls Frank, Frank angrily assures a hungover Micro that he isn’t interested in Sarah. Sarah leaves a message asking for help because she found a knife in Zach’s backpack and is afraid he is planning to hurt someone.

Frank has the one of the world’s scariest interventions with Zach. After trying to connect with Zach after commenting on his Wu-Tang shirt and figuring out Zach doesn’t care about connecting. Frank calls Zach’s bluff and holds a knife to his throat to scare him. Zach cries and explains that he got the knife to protect himself because he’s scared and friendless. You have to feel for Zach; maybe time with Frank will get him to behave and stop antagonizing his sister.

Marvel’s The Punisher

Smoke Out/Pour One Out

In Dinah’s office, knowing that the bug is there, Dinah and Sam discuss following Frank as he meets with an arms dealer. The plan is to smoke out the people bugging Dinah’s office. In reality, Frank will not be at this meeting, but Dinah, Sam, and their team will be and as such Dinah plans to file a fake tactical plan.

The two Bills meet up and discuss Dinah’s plan which Rawlins will share with Billy once Dinah officially files the paperwork. Billy refuses to use his men because he lost nine of them thus far. Basically, Frank is taking them out one by one.  Billy chooses some of the worst of the worst for this mission. These men are fairly persona non-gratis with the members of the public and the government due to video of them attacking civilians in Iraq. Billy promises each man $500,000, half up front and half after the attack. What are the odds that any of them live to receive the second payment?

Billy and his crew arrive at the warehouse where Dinah, Sam, and their team are already in place. Almost immediately things go awry, and Billy realizes Dinah is there after she yells at his team to give up. Billy tells his team to take the crew down. All hands are on deck and each side fights their way through with significant gunfire, including Dinah and Sam. The scene is quite tense and it is fairly miraculous that anyone makes it out alive. Billy even uses one of his men as a shield and he shoots another one of his men who is wounded and begging for help. Yes, these dudes are definitely not receiving that second payment.

Dinah taps into her inner impossible white man and makes it out unscathed. (Shout out to Kituria and Rod at TBGWT.) Alas, this is not the case for Sam who is stabbed by Billy. After Billy escapes the building, Sam catches up to him. Billy drops his gun as ordered and Sam pulls off Billy’s mask. Billy gets the drop on a shocked Sam and slits his throat using the same handy dandy wrist knife he used to stab Bennett. Billy flees, and Dinah finds Sam as he’s dying. The episode ends as Billy is gingerly bathing a shell-shocked Dinah and wiping Sam’s blood off of her, the very blood he helped to spill.

Thoughts

  • I’m still nervous about Curtis finishing the season alive. Lewis is sinking fast and either Curtis will get caught up trying to help Lewis or Lewis will view Curtis as an enemy. Marvel is fantastic, but Marvel seems like it will Marvel up the storyline of another good black male character.
  • Until I saw her mother’s picture on the nightstand I completely forgot Dinah was staying with her parents. Dinah’s parents are quite respectful of her being a grown woman with a gentleman caller, because Billy seems to be a regular visitor.
  • How beautiful was that quick scene with Frank doing pullups with chains and a brick on his legs for extra weight? Frank might not have super powers but he has super strength fuelled by righteous disgust and intense training methods.
  • I’m impressed with the pacing of the series. When I first heard that Punisher was another 13 episode series, I had my concerns that it would lag as most Marvel/Netflix shows do. Thankfully this is far from the case.
  • When will Dinah find out that she’s been sleeping with the enemy? I even hope she phrases it like that when she finds out, then I hope she handles Billy for Sam.
  • Will Frank have to eliminate Lewis? His crimes are escalating and require punishment.

Not a binger? No problem. ProFans Ejiro and Kituria will be reviewing the first season of Punisher a few episodes at a time each week.

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About Ejiro Onomake (10 Articles)
Ejiro is an ardent fan of British mysteries, sci-fi, Psych, and well produced HBO dramas. She believes there is way too much good television, books, and podcasts to waste time on the mediocre.

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