Episode two of Marvel’s The Punisher introduces some new and old characters, continuing the slow burn that started in episode 1. I am still digging the show, but unfortunately, although the Micro stuff is interesting, the show is leaning hard on a government conspiracy angle that is just not all that compelling to me. The homeland security agent-stuff is a little bit better this time around, but it’s still a lot of people sitting around and talking and following leads. This isn't bad in itself, but the dialogue and the chasing down of said leads is kind of boring. Bernthal is amazing as always, but I am growing slightly impatient for the punishment.
Early on, there’s a great scene where Frank thinks back to a conversation with his son, before he went out on another tour of duty. It’s a small exchange, but it shows a bit of the reflective side of the Punisher and also a bit of his temper. Even though he is a murderous killer, the show-runners have to build him into an actual human before he becomes a rampant engine of destruction. It’s got to be a hard line to walk, because no one really wants to see the Punisher feeling remorse or moral consequences, but here, with the war, he can. You can see that the violence is weighing on him, even though he follows orders to the letter.
The episode picks up when Frank encounters Micro for the first time. Micro calls him at a diner, directing Frank to an envelope, which holds a phone and a dvd. From there it's a game of cat and mouse, with Frank using his resources and his slowly building network of allies to find out who Micro is and what he could want from Frank. Even though we know that Micro and Frank are going to end up working together (or anyone familiar with the Punisher in any way will), the game they are playing is still a fun one to watch. Curtis is again a great character to watch, and it’s going to be fun to see him develop, until he gets shot or tortured to death. Call it a hunch.
Seeing Frank and Karen Page interact in a more relaxed setting is enjoyable as well, and makes up some of the best dialogue and acting in the episode. They have almost a romantic tension, which will be interesting to see develop (or not develop). I kind of wish they would have waited a little longer to bring in characters from other series instead of doing it so soon, but as long as they keep Iron Fist out of it, I’m cool. I also hope they don’t do a whole “Team Punisher” type situation like they are doing in almost every show in the DC universe. Punisher of course needs some allies, but the Punisher is at his core a lone wolf. Everyone he cares about usually ends up in the ground, so he builds up a shell. I know this can get old, but one thing I’ve always loved about the Punisher is that he ends up getting some pretty colorful villains, since he can’t have too many allies.
I’m looking forward to the next interaction with Micro, and to see how the gains the Punisher’s trust. I am not super thrilled on the government conspiracy angle, especially since Frank’s whole thing is to kill criminals, since criminals killed his family (in the book). It's early, so I'm trying to stay open minded, but if it turns out that Frank's family was gunned down by an unsanctioned black ops group… then what? He’s gonna run around killing unsanctioned, black ops groups? Kill every single person who is responsible and then decide that he should start killing criminals, since there aren’t any more black ops dudes?
Check back soon and I'll let you know what goes down in episode 3.