The Punisher Season 1, Episode 2: “Two Dead Men” recap
I’ve watched all the Netflix Marvel shows, and it’s always difficult to tell where they’re going. This show is as unpredictable as any or the other series.
Frank and his children are on a tour boat in New York prior to one of his tours of duty. He tells a nonsense story which his son finds annoying, then his son makes a racist remark about killing Afghanistan natives. He grabs his son angrily, before releasing him and hugging both kids.
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Frank has some breakfast
In the present, Frank enters a diner and is immediately called over by the waitress when he receives a call on the diner’s phone, which Frank says, “can’t be.” But the man knows him by his real
Castle sees a glint on a rooftop far away, hangs up, pays his bill and sprints over there while keeping under cover. But it’s a ruse. He arrives on the rooftop to find a mirror hanging from a string with a cellphone attached and a note that says, “Don’t disappoint me, Frank.”
Looking back at the diner, he sees Micro sitting on the diner’s roof. He waves and leaves. Frank realizes he may have a real problem. This isn’t the normal dumb drug dealer or gang member he’s been dealing with lately.
Castle did some bad things, but did he do this bad thing?
Back in his room, Frank watches the video Micro gave him. It shows Ahmad, Dinah’s old partner who was murdered by US soldiers being interrogated, tortured and executed by masked soldiers. It’s not possible to see if Frank is one of the soldiers or not.
Frank goes to see Curt and Frank says that what he did in the war was a blur. Maybe he doesn’t remember either. He remembers enough to know that he did cloak and dagger operations very similar to this one though, and he’s worried that it’s his sins that got his family killed.
Dinah, talking to her partner, reveals that she has seen the video we just saw Castle watching. She also received it from an anonymous source, but it was stolen before she got back to the US. But she found a lead: someone from Castle and Schoonover’s old unit, Billy Russo.
I’m not sure Dinah should have trusted this new partner so fast. He’s a little too slick. He comes off as a con man to me… We’ll see.
Karen Page is back
Karen walks past a homeless-looking man who thanks her by name when she gives him money. She pauses and sees it’s actually Frank Castle. It’s been months since they saw each other, but she invites him back to her apartment and offers him a drink. Frank wasn’t certain of a warm
Karen asks him where he’s been, and he says he had business to finish. Ha asks for her help in tracking down Micro, who he believes is a spook. Karen agrees and gets very emotional as Frank starts to leave, hugging him unexpectedly. Frank tells her to be careful.
Karen digs through a massive amount of files looking for a story on Micro that has disappeared. Her boss, Ellison, asks her what she’s up to and she tells him (minus the fact that Frank Castle is her source). Ellison says he killed the story both for a lack of evidence and because Carson Wolf (Dinah’s boss) asked him not to run the story. He offers to give the story to Karen and leaves to get it.
Micro has a very uncomfortable and ugly hideout
Micro is in an extremely strange and grungy place, which looks like his hideout. He’s wrapped in a blanket though he’s inside, so I guess it’s cold as well as dirty and ugly. He’s watching Leo,
Dinah and Sam meet Billy Russo through a training exercise she proposed to Wolf. Russo is the head of a company named Anvil (sounds related to The Blacksmith to me) which does simulations for law enforcement, in their case, a hostage situation and rescue. Dinah tricked her boss into giving her access to Russo by covering it in a training exercise request.
But Wolf is smarter than he looks: he’s watching her conversation with Russo on a security camera. That’s creepy. He walks in, interrupting her attempt to get information on his time in Kandahar. Russo offers to take her for a drink when Wolf is out of earshot. She nods and smiles.
Karen and Frank meet, but she demands to know what he’s going to do to Micro before she helps Frank find Micro. He angrily assures her he wouldn’t kill an innocent person. She gives him the story that never ran: It’s about an intelligence operator who leaked secret information and called himself Micro.
David Lieberman and Frank Castle, deceased
According to the story, his real name was David Lieberman and he was shot and killed by Homeland Security. Karen asks when she’ll see Frank next, but he doesn’t say. She’s frustrated he doesn’t take care of himself or care about his own life. She’s certainly right about that.
Sarah is driving her minivan home, and turns into her driveway, somehow not seeing Frank as he just happens to walk (pure coincidence, I’m sure) in front of her driveway. She hits him and he rolls up, then off the hood. Pretending to be shaken, Frank rubs fake blood on his head. Sarah is extremely concerned and invites him inside. Micro (watching on his computer) sees Frank in the driveway and freaks out, grabbing a handgun and driving out of his hideout.
Sarah is much more shaken by hitting Castle than he is, and she’s an easy target for Frank’s seemingly innocent questions about her husband. Micro checks his gun and is about to go into the house when Castle and Sarah come out.
Castle is walking away when Sarah discovers her garage door is broken, and he offers to fix it.
Castle gets ready for action
Back at his place, Castle shaves off his wild hair and beard, getting back to the Frank Castle we know from the series Daredevil. Micro continues to watch him through random security cameras. Carson Wolf gets home and turns on some music, he opens his refrigerator. Closing the door reveals a masked man all in black.
They attack each other. Wolf is a surprisingly competent opponent and the fight lasts for a whole minute or so. He gets some good hits in before Castle knocks him out and ties him up.
As Castle begins questioning him about Micro, Wolf laughs and says torture is useless. Frank, still wearing his mask, pulls his gun and shoots Wolf in the knee. Wolf yells in pain but insists he didn’t do anything criminal. Frank digs his thumb into the bullet hole, and Wolf screams.and works off his bonds, pulling Frank’s gun from his front waistband.
Castle flinches back and gets on his knees as Wolf tells him to. Wolf pulls off his mask and recognizes him. “You don’t know how to die, do you?” Wolf now feels confident and secure holding the gun, and begins gloating. He reveals that the death of Frank’s family wasn’t an accident. It was a cover-up for assassinating Frank, the real target.
They (whoever ‘they’ are) figured if there were enough people dead, it wouldn’t look targeted. Wolf pulls the trigger, but the gun is empty. This was all part of Frank’s plan. Frank breaks Wolf’s neck, saying, “it’s just you, me, and the truth now.”
Dinah’s on a date, sort of, not really
Dinah (who will probably be both relieved and annoyed by her boss’ death) is on a date with Russo at a bar. Russo knows she’s fishing for information. She admits it, and Russo doesn’t mind. He tells her to ask her questions.
He says Castle was his best
Dinah gets called into work in response to someone discovering Wolf’s body and leaves.She is now the ranking agent. Of their branch? Of the entire HSI? Unclear, but she’s got a lot more power than she had five minutes ago. This is an unknown benefit for Frank, who is completely unaware of her, and that her search for justice is connected to his.
Frank dictates the terms now
Frank is back at the diner from the beginning of the episode, eating breakfast when Micro calls. Micro is in a much weaker position now. Frank knows his real name, has access to his family, and has information from Carson Wolf that Micro wants. Frank gives him instructions on where and how to meet, calling him and giving him new destinations every twenty minutes.
Curtis is watching Micro from a distance, ensuring he’s not being surveilled. He gives the final instructions to finally meet in a graveyard, at Lieberman’s grave. That would be pretty unnerving. Curtis walks out from among the gravestones, telling Micro he can’t shoot him because Frank has him in a sniper scope from an unknown location.Curtis talks to Micro, telling him to leave Frank alone and threatening Micro’s family if he doesn’t.
Micro yells, “You need me!” to Castle, whom he can’t see. But he has no options, so he leaves. Back at his hideout, he mumbles to himself and starts drinking. When Castle walks in, he actually looks relieved. His plan to collaborate with Castle isn’t completely lost. He becomes less relieved when Frank pulls back his fist to knock him unconscious.
Questions raised in this episode
Who is going to be the villain now that Wolf is dead? I always have trouble guessing where the Netflix Marvel shows are headed, and this is no exception. I thought Wolf would be in this for most or all the episodes.
How is Russo connected to Schoonover and Castle? He says he was Castle’s friend, but his company is called Anvil, which is unmistakably a reference to Schoonover’s code name of “The Blacksmith.” Is Russo the true villain? That would make sense. He has a private army of Special Ops trained soldiers at his command. He would make a good villain.