THE SHINING LIGHTS OF NEW YORK OVER THE WATER are the background for several homeless people warming their hands over trash can fires. The Punisher sits in front of a trash can alone, bloody and contemplative. He’s thinking of Billy Russo’s betrayal which ended up killing his family. The Punisher sits there all night and well into the morning.

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David sees Frank for the first time since two episodes ago


Russo is having a great time, however. He’s being interviewed on TV by a newscaster. He says Frank is a “monster” and completely throws him under the bus. Dinah watches the broadcast, furious. She throws a coffee mug and smashes the TV. She hates Russo almost as much as Castle does, probably. Micro is watching the broadcast back at the hideout when Castle walks in and stands there silently. Micro says nothing. Castle says nothing. They stare at each other.

Castle walks into the hideout’s horrifying bathroom and starts ripping his shirt off to deal with his wounds. He still has the shrapnel from the bomb in the last episode sticking out of his arm. Micro comes slowly into the bathroom, arms folded. He hasn’t seen Castle since he left to save Curtis back in “Front Toward Enemy.”

David only knows what he’s seen on the news, and Castle doesn’t want to talk to David about any of it. He doesn’t even want to let David stitch his wounds closed. David convinces Castle to let him sew his wounds closed. David starts with the bullet graze on his head, which is still pretty deep.


Castle’s plans are falling apart, so he decides to abandon David too


Castle says Micro betrayed him by going to Dinah Madani. This is ridiculous, and Micro points out they both agreed to do that before he left. Castle is obviously letting some of his excess rage at Russo overflow on Micro. Micro says nothing’s changed, but Castle says everything is over and leaves the bathroom, angry.

Sarah, Zach and Leo (Micro’s wife and kids) are watching the news. The kids are just staring at the picture of The Punisher, who they knew as ‘Pete.’ Leo wonders sadly where he is, and Zach says sourly that they’re lucky Castle didn’t murder them all. Sarah hasn’t told the cops, and doesn’t plan to. She tells her kids to say nothing.


Russo is interviewed by Dinah at Homeland


Russo walks into the Department of Homeland Security and is escorted into a conference room where Dinah waits. He hasn’t brought a lawyer, but he’s being interviewed as a person of interest in Sam’s death. He tells Dinah that he only came to the crime scene that day to pick her up and take her home.

Russo also gets a crafty look on his face (he thinks he’s super smart) and says if it was official she wouldn’t be alone in the room. Dinah shuts off the camera recording the interview. He sneers that the room might still be bugged: “you can never be too careful.” This is just a taunt regarding the bug he and Agent Orange used on her. Russo is a really nasty guy.

She gives him an offer: expose everything and everyone, even William Rawlins (aka Agent Orange), and in exchange, she’ll help him get a reduced sentence. Russo looks up at that. He’s gone quiet and still, but that’s his only reaction. He didn’t know Dinah knew about Rawlins, and now he’s reevaluating his position.

Dinah knows more than he’s comfortable with, so Russo completely reverses his tack. He almost tearfully claims innocence. He was practically gloating a minute ago. Dinah doesn’t care, and says Castle is going to kill Russo. Russo is deep in thought as he leaves.


Rawlins comes clean to Marion and uses it to blackmail her


Rawlins and his superior (Marion) pace by the water. She asks him why he’s in New York, and why they have to talk by the water where no one can hear them. He tells her that Castle is a liability, and that most of the intelligence Agent Orange gathered was through illegal means and that Castle was involved.

Marion’s frustrated by having a new problem dumped in her lap. Agent Orange shrugs and points out that if he goes down, she’ll also catch some flak politically. He says all he needs is access to some CIA resources to find Castle, and then he’ll use “a civilian asset” (Russo) to kill him. Rawlins says flatly, “It’s been done before.”

Castle is busy spraypainting The Punisher skull onto a black bulletproof vest. He’s getting ready to go on a full Punisher killing spree. I think they’re going to have trouble killing Frank with their “assets.”


Sarah and Zach have a problem


Sarah and Zach are getting dinner ready when a police officer knocks on the door. Leo is upstairs. He walks in and starts questioning them about their connection to Frank Castle, which Sarah denies. He starts asking strange questions like: “Where’s your daughter? Is she home, or not?” Sarah gets nervous when he demands they go with him to the police station. She yells, “Zach, run!” and smashes the cop in the face as he tries to grab Zach.

Sarah and the fake officer scuffle and she hits him with a meat tenderizer. She gets a long kitchen knife and has him against a wall when another officer walks up behind her, one hand on Zach’s neck and the other on his gun. “Drop it.” Sarah drops it.



The Punisher is sulking, but forgets about it in the new emergency


The Punisher has finished spraypainting his skull on the vest. David is yelling at him that Castle has no regard for his own life, and that he’ll just die if he goes against Russo and Orange with no strategy. David gives up on that, and instead argues that they should be fighting for his family. The Punisher pauses and looks at the monitors Micro has observing his family. He looks closer and sees an empty house with blood on the floor. Micro rewinds the tape and watches terrified as his wife and son get abducted. David grabs his gun. “I’m outta here.”

The Punisher stops him. He says that Rawlins and Russo are coming. Sarah has Castle’s number, so they’re going to find Micro and THe Punisher soon. They watch Leo jump out the window of the house and escape the fake cops. The Punisher tells Micro to call her, but David can’t do it. Frank calls Leo and tells her where to meet.

Frank hangs up and tells David he’ll have to meet Leo instead; Frank is going to stay and ambush the men coming to kill him at the hideout. He’s going to torture them to find out where Sarah and Zach are. David isn’t crazy about the plan. Leo thinks he’s dead, and it won’t be an easy meeting for her. But he agrees to go.


Rawlins and Russo finally know that David Lieberman is alive


Sarah and Zach are tied to chairs in an abandoned building, but they’re conscious. Russo and Rawlins watch them from behind, talking quietly about Castle and Lieberman. They’ve finally realized that David Lieberman is alive and working with Castle.

Deputy Director of the CIA Marion James walks into Homeland Security and meets with Rafi and Dinah Madani. Rafi and Madani get right into it, leveling all their accusations at once. She gets huffy and protective of Rawlins, but she basically admits that it’s true when Rafi promises discretion.

I don’t even know what that means though; there’s no way to have a trial of Rawlins without it becoming worldwide news. Marion lowered her guard a little though, and it’s easy to see she’s hiding a lot. She walks out, angry and disturbed. Rafi counsels Dinah to wait and see what happens now that they’ve rattled her.


Frank Castle gets his Punisher on


The Punisher prepares for the assault team he assumes (correctly) is coming to the hideout. He loads and places his arsenal at strategic points, sharpens his knives, and fills a lightbulb with gunpowder before placing it back in its socket. He puts on his Punisher vest and cinches it on tightly.

David walks alone in the night, trying to find Leo. He calls to her and looks around. She peeks over a concrete barrier and slowly walks up to him. She’s thought he was dead for a year. They both cry and hug each other. She asks where Pete is. He says they’ll see him soon.

The Punisher waits in the dark hideout silently, in full Punisher gear. The assault team files in and moves through the hideout, leaving guards behind. The Punisher waits for them to move on before taking out the guards they leave behind. The team walks in and find the torture and execution video of Ahmad playing on the computer and an active countdown with about 19 and a half hours to go. The commander calls Russo who says, “It’s a trap!”


Everybody dies


The Punisher throws a grenade (attached to a head, for some reason) and takes out three more Anvil soldiers. He starts working his way through them. He doesn’t spare any bullets either, spraying each soldier until they’re dead for sure. He gets shot several times in the torso but his vest is very bulletproof and takes all the bullets.

Castle takes a shotgun and shoots his way through more of the assault team before getting shot in the back of his vest by the commander. Frank’s vest absorbs all the bullets again, and The Punisher detonates explosives he’s set up around the hideout. The soldiers are all stunned or killed, and the Punisher takes them all out except for one: the commander. He questions him, but he says he doesn’t know anything. The Punisher says, “Fair enough” and shoots him in the head.

Frank rummages through the man’s pockets and pulls out a cellphone. He dials the last number called: Russo’s. Russo picks up the phone hesitantly. Neither of them say anything for a long few seconds. Russo says slowly, “Frank?”


Frank and Billy make a deal


The Punisher says, “You know the Billy Russo I knew, ah, he’d have the **** to come himself.” Russo says Castle will never get his chance at revenge. Sooner or later, he says, someone will kill Castle even if Russo keeps failing. Russo proposes a trade: Sarah and Zach for Castle and Lieberman. The Punisher says, “Sounds about right.” They hang up.


Marion and Rawlins have a falling out


Marion James meets with Rawlins again, and she’s only getting more unhappy and agitated every time we see her. She yells at him for the massive screw up he’s managed to create in killing Dinah’s agents. He immediately sells out Billy Russo, saying it’s his fault. That doesn’t placate her, and Rawlins gets mad at her in turn, saying he expected “a little loyalty.” He proposes that they blame everything on Russo, and she falls silent as she listens. She finally agrees to go along with his cover-up.

Marion: All right. Burn Russo.

Rawlins: Yes, ma’am.

Marion: And then we’re done. That’s the deal.

Rawlins: Marion –

Marion: There is no place for you in my agency.

Rawlins: Marion, wait –

Marion: No. We protect the agency, and then you will resign your post. It’s for the greater good.

Rawlins: But that hardly motivates me to make this go away.

Marion: Oh, I think it would. Because if you don’t, I will hand you to Homeland myself, and see you in prison for the rest of your life, **** on my shoes or not. You disgust me.

Rawlins stands silent as she walks away, thinking.


Castle’s on a roll now, and Russo knows he’s in trouble


David talks to his daughter in the van as they wait for Castle to show up. They talk a little, and a little awkwardly. Hard to meet your dead dad after a year. It raises a lot of questions. Dinah knocks on the window, and David rolls it down. “What are you doing here?” Castle answers for her. “It’s okay. I called her.” He limps up, covered head to toe in black. His Punisher vest is hidden under his coat. Leo feels betrayed that Castle didn’t tell her David was alive, and Castle apologizes.

Russo and his men are at the hideout, looking over the bodies and the equipment. Russo looks at all the bodies and the computer screens. One shows the video of Ahmad’s death, and the other shows the countdown has reached 18 hours. Russo says, “****.”


Questions raised by this episode


Will Agent Orange accept being fired from the CIA? It doesn’t seem like something he’d be okay with. He imagines himself as some sort of hero. This is an interesting contrast to Castle, who would never think of himself that way. I don’t think Agent Orange could accept being fired. I think he’ll try to blackmail Marion James somehow.


Who will get to save Sarah and Zach: David, or The Punisher? They both would die to save them. I think The Punisher feels like this is a chance to save the family he lost, and probably make up for some of the guilt he feels for their murders.


What’s Dinah’s role in this now? A clandestine meeting at the end of the episode, by herself, in the dark… It doesn’t really utilize her potential as head of a Homeland Security office.


What does The Punisher have planned, and what happened to everything being over? Earlier in the episode, The Punisher said everything was done and his partnership with Micro was over because Micro “betrayed” him. This was obvious nonsense, but they never showed The Punisher apologizing or going back on that. I don’t have any idea on how The Punisher plans to finish this.

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