I know what “Front Toward Enemy” means from reading action novels. There’s going to be some real opportunities for death and destruction in this episode for sure.


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Dinah is still in shock. She’s just lying in bed, turning around. The shot keeps cutting to let us know that time is passing. As she lies in the bed, a single tear drips down the side of her face. She really liked Sam. I can’t relate, but I get that having another (sort of) partner die would be traumatizing. Just not Sam. He was so obnoxious.


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Dinah’s got PTSD now, like the rest of the characters


Farah (Dinah’s mom) walks in with coffee. Farah also tries to give her pills (she’s a psychiatrist), but Dinah doesn’t want any. She does get Dinah to talk about the whole shootout and Sam’s death, at least. Dinah is ridden with survivor’s guilt, which asks an unanswerable question: why didn’t I die? Her mother is understanding, which is nice.

The Punisher is watching Dinah through her window from the rooftop. Micro is hiding below the ledge of the roof, unwilling to even expose himself that much. The Punisher states she is either dirty or a “total **** magnet” to have another partner die. So he’s investigating her to make sure she’s clean before they go to her for help.

Everything is uneventful with Dinah, but down the street there’s a large explosion. People start yelling and screaming. Car alarms go off from the shock. The Punisher stares at Micro, confused.



Lewis makes himself a citywide problem


The TV shows a news channel playing cellphone footage captured at an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office, where a birthday party was blown up by a bomb. I think we all know who’s responsible for the bomb; the show’s resident homicidal maniac – oh, wait, there’s a ton of those. That could be almost any character. Well, then I’ll just say: it was Lewis, the murderous, PTSD suffering veteran. Two other bombs made by him went off at a police station and courthouse.

Lewis is watching the news and madly scribbling his manifesto, which he sends to the desk of Karen Page. Karen opens it and reads it to her boss Ellison. They agree it’s probably from the bomber. It’s not just addressed to Karen on the outside; it’s specifically written to her, and references her assistance in the defense of the Punisher. Lewis ends with the fun little note that he’ll blow up the paper if she doesn’t print it in the paper.

The whole thing is handwritten; this guy is no Unabomber. Is he planning on getting caught? Is this whole scheme an elaborate suicide by cop? He really isn’t being careful.



The Punisher is not a fan of bombs


The Punisher is watching the footage unblinkingly. He hates nothing more than a bomb, and more than that, it throws a wrench into their plans. The Punisher doesn’t want to make a move when the whole city is on high alert.

Dinah gets a visit at home from her mentor and superior Rafi. He criticizes her and asks her what she was doing. Hard to believe that she hasn’t given that information yet. A lot of people are dead, and she hasn’t had to explain what the point of the operation was yet? It seems like she could go to prison for some of this stuff.

The Punisher very, very seriously reads Karen’s article with his full attention. He’s worried that she went after the bomber with such aggression (her article is not friendly to him or his letter). Karen does more than write the article, however. She’s also a guest on a local radio station. The Punisher listens avidly, and oddly enough they immediately start talking about the Punisher. Karen as usual leaps to his defense before they go to commercials.



Lewis doesn’t really seem like he’s trying to stay hidden


The commercials are interrupted by Lewis calling the station and telling them he’s the bomber. He takes Karen to task for saying bad things about him. Karen isn’t scared by him at all, so she just says worse things in response. I guess after facing the Hand and her long history of facing other villains, lackeys and goons she doesn’t really care about much anymore. Lewis gets mad at everybody and hangs up saying “Sic semper tyrannis.”

The Punisher reacts more to hearing those words than times I’ve seen him actually get shot. He heard Lewis say that in person, and he even remembers Lewis’ first name and that he drives a taxi cab. Lewis is gonna get it now. He yells at Micro to find him off of those facts.

David isn’t thrilled by the extra task or by the fact that he’s going to be handing someone over to be killed. The Punisher starts smashing his fist into tables and slamming stuff around. David gives in, and he pretty quickly finds Lewis’ identity and address. The Punisher takes a handgun and leaves.




Lewis is recognized by two people from three words


Curtis heard the radio too, and he knows where Lewis lives. He calls Lewis as he walks to O’Conner’s place. Opening the mail slot, he smells O’Conner’s body and breaks the door in. Lewis walks up behind him as he stands in front of bomb-making materials.

Lewis, as usual, is breathing very heavily and rubbing his head. Curtis talks calmly and slowly, trying to defuse the situation, but Lewis pulls a gun. Curtis grabs it and disarms him after a struggle. They grapple and Curtis throws him to the ground. “Stay down, Lewis!”

Lewis doesn’t stay down. They fight more until Lewis pulls off Curtis’ prosthetic leg. He beats him violently and repeatedly in the face. Curtis might be dead.

The FBI is talking to Karen, trying to narrow down Lewis’ identity on her end. As they talk, she gets a call from the Punisher and almost says his name with an FBI agent in the room. Awkward. He’s mad that she did anything, and she’s mad because she likes a fight. She tells him not to kill Lewis, and he says “Just stay put.”



Russo gets creepier and creepier


Dinah and Russo meet. He stops her from kissing him and tries to counsel her. It’s actually creepier this way, I think. He wants to get in her head. Russo’s getting more and more of a serial killer vibe. He tries subtly making it Sam’s fault while (unknown to her) gloating over his death: “Maybe Stein screwed up. I mean, how’d he manage to get himself stabbed when he was the one with the gun?” He knows perfectly well. He’s the one who stabbed him.

He tells her to do her job or quit, encouraging the latter option while ridiculing it. He’s walking a very fine line, but he’s definitely coming off as nasty and kind of evil. She’s too disturbed to really see it though.

David gives the Punisher a call as he waits outside Lewis’ house. (Lewis isn’t in there though. O’Conner’s is his base of operations, and there’s no way for Frank to know that.) David gives The Punisher permission to kill Lewis. The Punisher laughs because he wasn’t asking for it. “What are you trying to tell me, David?” David tells him Curtis is at the same address as Lewis’ cellphone. The Punisher races off toward O’Conner’s house.



Russo is a psychopath


Russo, meanwhile, is meeting with Senator Ori, one of the guests on the radio show with Karen. Senator Ori is right in the middle of the whole issue politically, and is hiring Russo to help with security. He’s conflicted about it though, since it goes against his (stated) principles. Russo doesn’t believe him and doesn’t care. With Ori, Russo is very cold and in control, projecting professionalism. Russo is a chameleon. He’s different with everyone he meets, a symptom of a psychopath. He just seems more and more like a serial killer.

The Punisher breaks down the door and finds Curtis with a bomb attached to him chest. At least he’s alive. The bomb is connected to a claymore facing out toward The Punisher.

For those of you less acquainted with military weapons of war: claymores are an anti-infantry trap. They contain an explosive charge designed to blast hundreds of bullet-like ball bearings in a wide arc. Think of a much more powerful grenade that’s concentrated in one main direction. They’re printed on one side with very large letters “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY” so soldiers don’t accidentally annihilate themselves.



Lewis finds out his idol The Punisher is alive


So the bomb will blow up Curtis, and the claymore will kill anyone in front of him. Other claymores are set up around the room. Anyone caught in this will be just a puddle after it goes off. The Punisher wakes Curtis up, who struggles frantically before recognizing Frank. He pulls out the gag and starts inspecting the bomb and its cellphone trigger. Frank gives him a drink of water and takes his time checking out the bomb and the claymores, chatting calmly with Curtis as he does. Curtis’ cellphone rings and The Punisher answers.

Lewis says “You’re supposed to be dead.” He’s watching Frank with the scope of an assault rifle through the apartment window.

“This Lewis?”

“And you’re Frank Castle. They said that you were killed.”

“Yeah, well, they said a lot of things, kid.”

Lewis says he’s on The Punisher’s side, and Curtis is against them. Frank calmly disagrees. He tells Lewis he’s not going to make a real difference by killing Curtis and all these cops. He calls Lewis a coward for using bombs instead of facing him like a real soldier. He yells, “You’re nothing like me! You’re **** on my shoe.” Lewis starts breathing really fast, but he doesn’t blow them up. Castle is his idol, and he’s given him something to prove.

Dinah talks to Farah about her guilt over Sam’s death. She thinks it’s her fault. She says that she’ll tell the truth, the whole truth about Castle and everything when she speaks at his funeral service. She knows it will end her career.



The Punisher is not an expert on bomb defusing


The Punisher is trying to disarm the bomb, but he’s not an expert in this type of weaponry. Curtis is wishing aloud that he’d died years ago when the improvised explosive device took his leg in Afghanistan, rather than have another one strapped to him now. Lewis calls. He’s creeping up the fire escape, trying to prove himself to Castle. He says he called the cops, and that he doesn’t want to hurt Castle. He wants to work with him.

Castle says okay, sure; just disarm the bomb. Lewis doesn’t trust him. Frank tells Lewis about when Curtis lost his leg. He says he let Curtis down by not shooting a pregnant woman who was carrying a bomb. He just couldn’t shoot her. Lewis nods, and calms down. “Come to the back window, Frank.” They talk on the phone, though they’re feet apart.

Frank refuses to leave, though the sirens are within earshot now. The Punisher yells at him, “You decide how this goes! … Make your decision! Are you ready? You wanna kill me? You wanna kill Curtis?”

Lewis hesitates, torn between his conflicting principles. He says, “Try the white wire.” and runs. The sirens are very close now. Frank takes the wirecutters and grabs the white wire. He clips it and nothing happens. He thumps Curtis on the chest and they grin at each other.



Frank saves Curtis but is intercepted by police


But it’s too late for Frank to escape without being seen. The cops sight him and start chasing. He runs through the city with his hood up, leaping fences and taking back alleys, but a cop car still intercepts him.

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Frank grabs a big loose chunk of concrete and throws it, smashing one cop in the head. He’s down. The Punisher slides over the front of the car, crushing the other officer in his own car door as he tries to get out. Pulling him out, The Punisher jumps in the car and takes off, lights flashing.



Micro meets Dinah


Dinah is drinking alone in a bar, until David sits down next to her. He’s awkwardly holding his gun in his hands, and introduces himself as Micro. She knows Micro sent her the video of Ahmad’s death, so this gives him instant credibility. He, on the other hand, doesn’t trust her. He says he hopes she’s not “one of them.” Micro offers to give her the names of “everyone involved in Kandahar.”

She’s listening now. He tells her the interrogator and head of operations for Project Cerberus was William Rawlins, aka Agent Orange. Now Dinah has something to work and live for again: A new lead.

Ellison walks angrily into Karen Page’s office and turns on the TV, which shows footage from the police car’s dashcam of Frank Castle. Micro and Dinah see it in the bar and both exclaim “****”.



Questions raised by this episode


Will Dinah be a part of the team now? Micro believes in her enough to expose himself and give her critical information. And she’s pretty deep into the whole conspiracy at this point. Given how much she’s inconvenienced Agent Orange and Russo, she must be a hairsbreadth away from getting killed like they tried to kill Frank and David.


Is the Punisher going to kill Lewis, or bring him to justice? People keep telling the Punisher that maybe he should do things differently. I can’t see him not killing Agent Orange, but Frank has a lot less history with Lewis, and Lewis isn’t associated with killing Frank’s family either. If Lewis had killed Curtis Frank would definitely be out for blood. But he didn’t so it’s possible Frank will just beat him into a bloody pulp.


Where in the world is Lewis getting his weapons? They specifically showed us where Frank got his weapons; it was a whole episode. But even Frank didn’t get any claymores. Maybe Lewis is stealing stuff from Anvil? We know he doesn’t like them, and they are military contractors. Claymores are the type of thing they’d have.



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