“Penny and Dime”
Written by John C. Kelley
Directed by Peter Hoar
The surviving Irish Mafia are having a mass funeral for their twelve or so dead comrades. The father of one of the deceased is super angry because Punisher not only killed his son but stole over $1 million in cash from him. He’s out for blood (but also his money). The Nelson & Murdock team attend Grotto’s funeral. They’re the only ones there. Father Lantom’s eulogy isn’t as complimentary as eulogies usually are. Matt picks up his new helmet(s) from Potter. Karen investigates the Punisher on her own and learns that he’s Frank Castle, father to murdered children and husband to a murdered wife (and he will have his vengeance). After patching up his own wounds (and adding razors to them) Frank sits beside a carousel and waits for the Irish to find him. He kills a few before they haul him off. Matt finds one that was only wounded and gets the others’ location out of him. The Irishman tries torturing the location of his money out of Frank, but Frank doesn’t talk until he threatens to torture a dog. But it was a trap! Frank uses his subdermal razor to free himself and start killing more Irish, including the one who wanted his money. Which is rigged with a bomb, and blows up the Irish who go to get it. Matt stops Frank from killing anyone else, but Frank is badly wounded now. They make it to a graveyard, where Frank tells Matt about his daughter, who was wonderful and precious, and who was horribly killed, along with his wife and son. The police arrive, and Matt tells Brett Mahoney to take the credit for capturing the Punisher, because he wants the public to believe in the system.
I definitely think one of the main themes of this season is whether or not society can really function if vigilante justice is a part of it. Which is a very bold theme to explore in the superhero genre, since the whole thing is pretty much built on vigilante justice and doesn’t often examine that too closely for fear that the whole premise will crumble.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Brett telling Matt he’s not the Punisher was some extremely valuable validation for him, I think. Also, it seems like Matt might have figured out a way to straddle the line after all. Maybe a vigilante can exist, but only in secret, if he doesn’t kill and he’s willing to give the police the credit for his captures. But now that Matt has found a way to do this and he’s ready to start something with Karen, here comes Elektra to screw everything up.
Karen has a brother! Or had. Dangit, I want to know her backstory. Also, why did she run off and do all that investigating on her own? Wouldn’t Matt and Foggy have been interested in helping? Couldn’t Foggy have gone after her while Matt went after Frank? They could’ve explored Frank’s house together, exchanging sparse, sad dialogue about what it all meant. Bah. After Foggy got to be so awesome in all the episodes so far, I’m not happy with him getting sidelined this time. Karen’s interest in Matt is intriguing. I mean, he’s gorgeous and has many attractive qualities, even before you know he’s also a superhero, but she’s not swoony. She can work with him very effectively, but any time they get particularly close to each other, her breath catches and she gets all hyper-aware of him. I’m kind of surprised she didn’t try to make a move earlier.
I feel so bad for Frank. The reason he’s doing what he’s doing is starting to become clear. He was a good man, a good soldier, husband, and father, and then his whole family was ripped from him by senseless gang violence. (I think. Can’t quite remember the details.) He’s been broken by his loss (and the bullet to his frontal lobe), he’s enraged that the system he was part of failed his family, and the only option he can see going forward is to wipe all the men responsible from the earth. It’ll be interesting if it turns out that some of the men involved in the shooting that killed his family were ones that got back out of prison after Matt dealt with them. Another thing that’s interesting about Frank is the contrast between him and the Irish boss. They’ve both lost family, but the Irishman only cares about his money, which disgusts Frank. He could maybe respect him a little if he wanted revenge for his son’s death, but he wants his money back more.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.