This is a show that just gets better as it goes. I’m becoming more invested in this show than I expected.

Lewis, who almost killed his father accidentally last episode because of his severe PTSD, digs a giant foxhole in his backyard. He rings it on three sides with sandbags, and half covers it with a tarp. With his assault rifle next to his head, Lewis covers himself with a blanket and goes to sleep. And with this depiction of the reality and extreme suffering mental illness can cause, the title credits roll.

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Marvel’s go-to criminal, Turk Barrett, makes an appearance.


Quick background on Turk: He’s often on the wrong side of exchanges with Daredevil, but is nowhere near a match for any of the real heroes or villains. He sold weapons to criminals in the show Daredevil when The Punisher was shooting up New York. He also has had interactions with Diamondback and Luke Cage on the show Luke Cage. Somehow, he’s survived all of this, even the Hand. This guy should just leave New York. He’s just a glutton for punishment at this point.

The Punisher ambushes Turk from behind and hustles him into the shipping container Turk was locking up. Castle demands a full shipment of guns he thought Turk just got with a handgun on the back of Turk’s head. Turk asks for his life to be spared, and Castle must be getting soft because he just knocks Turk out. Interesting. Not a very Punisher move.



Castle and Madani are both after the weapons


The guns that Castle was trying to get were bought by an unknown party who is willing to take the whole shipment. Sam has a conversation that reveals the buyer is Homeland Security represented by an undercover agent. Dinah and Sam are just waiting to swoop down on the gun runners right after Homeland purchases the guns. But Castle still wants these guns, so he and Dinah may bump heads for the first time.

Operations Director Hernandez walks into Dinah’s office and politely kicks Sam out. He talks to Dinah alone, saying if she does well as acting SAC, she can have Wolf’s job permanently. But he also takes away her investigation into Carson Wolf’s death. Dinah is frustrated but goes along, while refusing to give up on her investigation into Ahmad’s death. Hernandez makes the not-so-subtle threat that she won’t get Wolf’s job if she keeps going the way she has.



David and Castle aren’t exactly best friends


David yawns, takes a break from hacking and looks around, realizing Castle is cleaning the handgun David keeps under his computer desk. Castle compares Micro to a kid who doesn’t know how to take care of his dog. Micro contends he knows how to clean the dog and just doesn’t want to. Not a compelling argument.

Their semi-friendly banter is interrupted when Frank gets a call from David’s wife. Wow, this is awkward to watch. Castle tells him he got her number for “leverage.” I think Castle feels a little guilty. He doesn’t answer the phone, but instead gives it to Micro, who awkwardly listens to his wife leaving a voicemail on another man’s phone. She asks to meet and sign the insurance form so they’ll fix the car she broke by hitting Castle with it. This is a great illustration of The Punisher’s impossible strength. He gets hit by a car, and it’s the car that broke.



What’s in Lewis’ notebook?


Curtis shows up at Lewis’ foxhole. Lewis is sitting in his there, writing in a notebook. It’s difficult to see exactly what it says, but here’s the best I could transcribe it:

Those in power have

no knowledge of sacrifice

no knowledge of honor


— credo — — of

self preservation, I believe

— the 2nd Amendment



It sounds like he’s getting ready for some domestic terrorism and/or The Punisher is getting a sidekick soon. They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Lewis fiddles with his dog tags as Curtis gives him practical advice on living in a foxhole (it needs to be deeper on one end to account for rain) and reminisces about his father’s service and advice. Curtis’ voice fades out as Lewis messes with his dog tags, and he doesn’t hear most of what Curt says.

Snapping out of it, Lewis tells Curtis that he wants to join up with Anvil, and that he never should have left the military. It’s the only place he feels comfortable. He can’t even sleep inside. Curt doesn’t think that’s a good idea but can’t convince Lewis differently.



Castle’s interactions with David’s family are so, so awkward


Castle shows up at Sarah’s house, since Micro put the mission on hold until he helped with the insurance issue. Micro watches intently over the monitors. Frank signs the necessary insurance papers and quickly fix the sink, which Micro’s daughter Leo is having trouble fixing. Castle compliments Leo’s mechanical ability.


Sarah tries to get a little sympathy from Frank (she thinks he’s Pete Castaglione, by the way) and Castle responds a little too readily, saying he’s sorry her husband let her down. Sarah gets mad (why wouldn’t she) and Frank apologizes and leaves. But not before he promises to fix her car. I’m not sure if he legitimately feels bad or if he really took Micro’s threat to heart.

Russo is introducing recruits (Lewis included) to Anvil. He promises them money, purpose and brotherhood if they are hired.

Sam Stein is running the operation for buying the guns from “the Greeks.” I’ve never heard of “the Greeks” before, so I guess we’re just supposed to assume they’re a generic mob of Greek ethnicity. As he briefs his team, Dinah interrupts and completely takes over his briefing. She contradicts and changes the plans he made and introduces her own ideas into it. Sam is whiny as usual: “So, did I get anything right?” This guy is going to be unbearable if he lives until the end of the season.



Lewis seems purposeful and much more comfortable in a military setting


Lewis is undergoing the physical test to be hired by Anvil. He completes the necessary number of pull-ups with time to spare. He uses that time to encourage another recruit to complete the pull-ups requirement, doing the last ten pull-ups with him. Russo notices Lewis’ coaching.

Micro has found the buyer of the guns Castle is after: Homeland Security. He hacks into Homeland Security and looks through the plans for the operation. Castle says they’ll need a ride, and they go to get one.

Characters we’ve never seen are in a garage with expensive cars and a dead body: one is torturing another while other thugs stand around. I guess they tortured the other guy to death. Just as it seems they’re about to kill him, Castle walks in confidently, grenade held high in the air. The thugs all point their guns at Castle, but have no idea what’s happening and are very stressed out by the grenade. Which is literally Castle’s only reason for the grenade, because it’s a dud.



The Punisher’s version of buying a car


Castle throws the grenade, distracting them and keeping them worried about blowing up while he shoots from behind cover, taking them out one by one. Castle whistles after beating the main torturer to death, and David walks in. He isn’t thrilled by all the dead bodies, and tries not to throw up. Castle tells him this is what happens “when the missile [referring to himself] goes off. Guess you never thought about that.”

Micro sniffs, keeping his eyes averted. “Smells more than I thought.”

“You get used to it.”

Castle leaves the blindfolded torture victim in the garage for the police. The Punisher is not the most empathetic hero. If he’s even a hero. That’s ambiguous. Anyway, both Castle and David take cars from the garage and drive out.



Russo doesn’t hire Lewis. 


Russo talks to Lewis and asks him about the foxhole in his backyard. Curtis just met with Russo and told him it would be bad for Anvil and for Lewis if Russo hired him, and Russo listened. He tells Lewis he’s sorry, but he can’t hire him as an operative. He offers to find some kind of job for Lewis at Anvil, but Lewis calls him “another liar in command” and leaves angry. This is a good message: there’s no easy answer to PTSD.

Homeland is busy trying to buy the guns. They’re set up at the meet, all ready to go. They’re just waiting on the Greeks. Micro and Castle are also trying to get the guns, but Micro is having cold feet. Castle brings up something Sarah said: that David never got his hands dirty. Micro gets annoyed enough that he’s willing to go through with the plan.

Castle is in position, watching the convoy from above. David hacks into Homeland communications system, overwhelming it with music. Castle jumps on top of the truck and throws out the driver. The follow car is unable to radio a warning with the comms jammed. The agents in the follow car track the truck and find it parked next to the ocean. They cautiously walk around to the back of the truck, but Castle is ready and waiting with a flamethrower. They flinch and he forces them to jump into the harbor. in her command vehicle, Dinah realizes that they’re watching a looped video feed and gets in her car to take matters into her own hands.



The Punisher meets Dinah Madani


Micro is driving the truck now as The Punisher follows. Dinah sees them and Castle cuts her off, forcing her into a side street. She gives up on the truck and chases Frank. He outmaneuvers here and seems to get away. Dinah guesses where he’s going and cuts him off. They stare at each other from the ends of a long straightaway, revving their engines. They both slam on the gas as they speed towards each other in a tense game of chicken.

They get closer and closer and there’s no reason to think either character will abort. As Dinah passes a side street, Micro drives the truck out of hiding, blindsiding her and overturning her car. Frank says, “What did you do?”

“I got my hands dirty!”

Frank tells him to go home.

Frank walks over to the car wreck and pulls a bleeding and concussed Dinah from the burning car. She recognizes him from her investigation and weakly grasps her gun, but he gently takes it away. He looks at her badge so he knows who he’s dealing with. She asks if he killed Wolf, and he says he did. He says, “Stay out of my way, Madani.”

Dinah’s beloved car explodes as he walks away.



Questions raised by this episode


What is Frank doing with David’s family? It’s strange. He resists going to see her and help her, but then once he’s there he takes every opportunity to help in any way he can. Not consistent, at all. He seems very conflicted about something, and I’m not sure what. I’m sure his strange behavior toward Sarah and her kids and their resemblance to his own murdered family is no coincidence though.


Will Dinah and Frank resolve their differences? They both want the same thing, though they disagree on the execution (pun intended). The Punisher wants to kill everybody, and Dinah wants to bring them to justice. But they’re both after the same people, so a team up is always possible. This show is very unpredictable though, so there’s no way to tell yet.


And the most important question of all: who would have won the game of chicken? Seriously! Come on, Micro. Of all the times to interrupt.


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