This episode has a ton of action. And we see the way the Lewis storyline is going, and it’s pretty disturbing.

Lewis is washing O’Connor’s blood off himself in a sink. He uses his very bloody hand to wipe his face and mouth. That’s super gross, Lewis. Come on.

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Of course, he did just murder someone, so I suppose a lack of hygiene is hardly his biggest problem. Still. Pretty disgusting.


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Lewis is having a bad day, but O’Conner is dead so… his day is probably worse


Lewis takes his shirt off; it’s completely covered in blood. He hesitates, about to leave the bathroom, then stops and rips the shower curtain off the rod decisively. Time to get rid of the body, I guess.

He drives a taxi (is he a taxi driver?) to his dad’s house, and is surprised to see his dad there. Lewis is caught off guard. He’s shirtless, still a little bloody, and the gash O’Connor gave him on the abdomen is showing very clearly. There isn’t really a way to get out of it gracefully, and Lewis just stands there. His dad stares at him and asks the least awkward question possible: “What happened to your shirt?”

Lewis looks at the floor. His dad tells him if he doesn’t get help he’ll end up hurting somebody. Yeah, that already happened. His poor dad just wants Lewis to be healthy and happy. He says he’ll do anything to help, but Lewis says there’s no help he can give. His father gives him some pills, probably antidepressants, and Lewis takes them. His father hugs him before Lewis goes to his room in the basement.

By himself again, Lewis freaks out. He pulls his gun out and holds it in his mouth for a long minute, but something keeps him from pulling the trigger. Maybe it’s the fact that his dad cares about him so much. It’s nice Lewis has such a good father, though it’s tragic because there’s nothing he can do to help.



The Punisher is back in action


The Punisher is working out. He’s doing pull-ups, which is crazy because he just had a very large arrow pulled out of his shoulder. He is The Punisher though, so normal rules don’t really apply. He’s not just doing pull-ups either; he’s attached chains around his waist just to make it even more insane. Micro looks at him indulgently and tells him not to overdo it.

Micro and The Punisher are planning out their next operation. They’re going after Colonel Morty Bennett, the one Gunner told Frank was involved. Frank says he knows that Agent Orange sent the kill squad and was watching through their feeds. Micro points out that if that’s the case, the operation may be at risk. Orange knows Bennett’s involvement in Project Cerberus. Frank agrees.

Billy Russo walks into Dinah’s office at Homeland Security, and tells Dinah he can’t find anything about Frank. He says as far as he can tell, Frank’s dead. This, of course, is a lie, though he wishes it weren’t. He not only found out in the last episode (The Judas Goat) that Frank was alive, but also tried to kill him. He’s teamed up with Agent Orange and they’re both very heavily into some very shady stuff. Frank is not going to be happy when he finds out that Billy betrayed him. He thinks of him as family.



Russo tries to get Dinah to back off the Frank investigation


Dinah says Frank’s alive. There’s no way to convince her otherwise, at this point. She actually got Frank’s DNA from the crime scene on Gunner’s property, when he bled everywhere. She tells him that Frank Fought some people and killed them, but she doesn’t know who he was fighting against. Russo promises to find him, and asks to be her boyfriend again, or whatever he was before she recruited him to find Castle. Dinah’s not going to be too happy with Billy either, when she finds out he’s evil.

Sam barges into Dinah’s office and starts yelling at her about telling Billy Frank’s alive. I still have no handle on what their relationship is. It’s not a partner relationship, and it’s not a superior to subordinate relationship either. And they don’t seem like friends, at least not healthy ones.

The best way I can describe the vibe they give off is codependent. He’s always nagging her about something and always dissatisfied with her, and she just accepts it. He seems like a really bad boyfriend, but he’s definitely not her boyfriend. I’ve said this in some of my other recaps, but it bears repeating: Their relationship is weird.



Dinah realizes she’s bugged


The Punisher and Micro are still planning the operation. Frank asks for reassurance that Bennett will be where David says he’ll be. David says he will, and asks for confirmation that he won’t kill Bennett. I’m surprised by this. I thought they were going to kill everyone involved, not just Agent Orange. But apparently that’s not the plan.

Dinah is staring at her evidence board when she gets a weird look on her face. She looks around her office almost fearfully for a minute, then her face resolves and she steps out to summon Sam. She’s figured out her office must be bugged. The fact that Gunner died right after they realized he was involved couldn’t be a coincidence. Sam agrees.




Agent Orange and Russo try to intimidate each other, just for kicks


Billy Russo and William Rawlins (alias Agent Orange) are meeting in the large, expensive house Rawlins is staying in on the CIA’s dime. Orange asks about Dinah’s investigation into Castle and is concerned that she might find him first. Rawlins complains that Russo didn’t kill Castle when he saw him. Orange also matter-of-factly threatens Russo with exposure if he is exposed.

Russo isn’t fazed. He starts rambling about watching Agent Orange torturing people in Afghanistan, and the looks on their faces when they realized they were going to die. Rawlins gets impatient having to listen to someone else talk, but Billy gets to the point: He saw the same look on Rawlins’ face when Frank Castle punched him in the face and Rawlins thought he was going to be beaten to death. Rawlins isn’t fazed either. They both stare at each other.

Finally getting back to business, they decide to wait for Castle to make his move on Bennett without telling Bennett that anything is going to happen.



Operation Bennett begins


Frank begins the operation. He’s got a mask and all black clothing. He cuts his way through the fence of the military base Bennett commands is on his way to Bennett’s quarters. Micro uses the drone to help Frank around the sentries patrolling the base.

When Frank gets into Bennett’s quarters, The woman Bennett is with screams “He’s here!” and flees the room. Russo is outside in the dark, is listening in and goes in to neutralize Castle. They were just using Morty Bennett as bait to catch The Punisher.

Micro uses equipment he gave to Castle to start accessing Bennett’s phone, but he needs 3 minutes to finish. Castle kicks Bennett against the wall, disarming him. Micro sees Russo on his way with three other men heading into Bennett’s building. Castle doesn’t leave. He simply takes two smoke grenades and drops them, pulling his mask down at the same time. The room fills with smoke.



Russo goes up against Castle, and is extremely outclassed


Russo and his men (all masked) enter the smoky room cautiously, red laser sights bright in the smoke. One of the men is attacked from behind, his laser sight going wild. Russo sees the laser moving uncontrollably and switches his sight off, moving to get his back against a wall and wait for an opportunity to kill Castle. Castle takes out the other two men silently and grabs one of their guns.

Russo sees a red laser turn on and move through the smoke. He takes aim and fires, but he missed his opportunity: it’s just sitting on the desk. Frank stalks up behind Russo, handgun at the ready. Russo whips around and they both fire. Russo is knocked down and Frank is hit in the shoulder.

Micro tells Frank that they’re done hacking Bennett’s phone, and he’s good to go. Frank jumps out the window. Russo, apparently wearing a bulletproof vest, gets up and fires at Frank as he escapes. Frank didn’t see or hear Russo the entire skirmish, so he’s still unaware Russo is evil.



Frank escapes after Micro hacked Bennett’s phone. Lewis makes bombs


Frank has a tense moment when he is caught in a tunnel by a sentry. He’s unwilling to kill him, and does everything he can to avoid shooting him; he doesn’t want to kill a soldier who’s just doing his duty. Getting back in the van with Micro, he complains it’s a lot easier when you can kill people.

Lewis and his father watch an old Muhammad Ali boxing match from 1974. His father offers him a beer and cold pizza. He’s desperate to help Lewis, but Lewis doesn’t think he deserves help after killing O’Connor.

Lewis is in a very, very dark place. He goes shopping and buys materials to make bombs. He assembles the bombs in the same room with O’Connor’s body, wrapped up in the shower curtain. I knew when he started writing his manifesto in “Gunner” that he might be headed for some domestic terrorism. I didn’t know if they’d go that dark though. This is getting pretty intense.



The Punisher wishes he’d just killed Bennett


The Punisher is frustrated; It would have been easier to just kill Bennett. Micro assures him this was a success, and they wouldn’t learn anything by just killing Bennett. They cloned his phone and can track Bennett’s every move. Agent Orange was ready for Frank to go after Bennett at the base, but now they can get around that.

Bennett yells at Russo and Agent Orange, angry that they knew the Punisher was coming but just used him as bait. Rawlins urbanely denies it. Bennett doesn’t believe him at all, but eventually yells enough to get it out of his system. He sits down and decides to retire and get a new identity to hide from Castle.

Sam and Dinah are using bug detectors to silently look for the tap on her office. She finds it hidden in the bookcase. They sit in the hallway after hours, and Sam complains that she made him miss a date. Dinah tells him the job always comes first, before any relationships. She tells him he’s not really suited to the job, because he’s not closed off enough, he wants family and friends too much. Sam says she reminds him of Castle.



Castle gets his shot at vengeance


David and Castle have tracked Bennett’s phone to the CIA safe house and are sitting outside. They’re aware Orange is probably inside. Frank grabs a sniper rifle with a bipod out of the back of the van. Micro says, “Happy hunting.”

Russo escorts Bennett to a motel, supposedly in preparation for giving him a new identity and leaving town. But when they enter the room, Bennett sees the body of the woman he was with when Frank attacked him. He recoils, and Russo walks lazily toward him. Bennett protests that he’s leaving anyway. He doesn’t need to die. Russo stabs him and takes his gun. Russo tells him as he lies on the floor, dying, that “I never cared for you much either, Morty.” That’s cold.

The Punisher is outside with his sniper rifle, watching Agent Orange through the windows of the CIA safe house. Rawlins pauses in front of the window, right in Castle’s crosshairs. Castle is feeling very satisfied.

His finger on the trigger, he says softly, “One batch…”

Frank’s finger caresses the trigger. “Two batch…”

Tightening, he says “Penny and dime.” He squeezes the trigger.


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Castle fails


The sniper’s barrel blazes fire and the window fractures but doesn’t break. Agent Orange flinches, but only a little. The Punisher stares unbelieving at the bulletproof glass blocking him from his kill. The lights of the safe house flash on and a dog starts barking. He grabs his sniper and runs. Agent Orange is alive and well.



Questions raised by this episode


What is Lewis planning to blow up? It seems he’s mad about the way that veterans are treated once they return home, or that their second amendment rights are being taken away or something, but I don’t understand who he’s mad at specifically. Is he planning on destroying a government building, or what?


What will Agent Orange do now? He’s starting to see how capable an opponent Castle is, and that’s going to make him more scared and more determined to eliminate him. He’s already had Bennett killed, so he’ll be willing to go to even more extreme measures now.


What’s Micro and The Punisher’s new strategy? Their pan was perfect except for the fact that it didn’t account for Agent Orange’s defenses. But their Bennett was their best lead, and he’s dead. They don’t know about Billy Russo’s involvement either. They’re going to have to come up with a whole new way to get at Agent Orange.



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