Written by Michael Jones-Morales
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Post-accident Madani gets dressed and takes pain pills. Frank is setting up his guns on the wall of the basement. David is pissed that Frank pulled Madani out of the car because now she knows he’s alive, and that means Agent Orange will soon know too. Frank is very annoyed by David’s nagging, so he gets back at him by heading to see Sarah. He replaces the headlight with Leo’s help while they talk about books, and Zach shows up with a skateboard that isn’t his. Uh oh. Leo wants Sarah to invite “Pete” for dinner to thank him. She does. He tries to decline, but she insists. David watches over the camera feeds extremely enviously and sadly.
Madani shows up at Homeland. Rafi told her mother to keep her home. She’s at work because she blames herself for the operation going wrong. Rafi assures her the team thinks she’s a badass. She for some reason doesn’t tell him Frank Castle was in the other Mustang. She gets a call from Billy while she’s in her office. He asks her out in a voicemail. Madani is looking at Frank’s file, and she finds a picture of Karen from the court case.
Frank gets back to the basement. He thinks Zach takes after David in being an asshole. David is trying to figure out where the footage of Zubair’s assassination came from. Frank says it was Gunner, the Cerberus guy from Kentucky who was most vocal in the flashbacks about how uncomfortable he was with their missions. David thinks Gunner might know who Agent Orange is.
Cut to the CIA headquarters in Halifax who has a busted eye. Hey there, Agent Orange. He’s William Rawlins. At Homeland, Madani has brought Karen in to ask her questions about Frank. Karen turns it around on her, keen on getting a story about the arms deal. Karen gives nothing away, but defends Frank’s character.
Madani assigns Sam to track down some of the men she’s figured out were in the room when Zubair died. Sam isn’t particularly thrilled about this assignment, and he refuses. He doesn't think this is what she should be focusing on right now. She follows him out into the hall and tells him Frank Castle is alive. She’s not going public with that, though. He’s not keeping it a secret if OIC asks him a direct question about it. Rawlins has a bug in her office, so he knows Madani’s trying to get info from anyone in Cerberus.
David apparently has a camera on Karen’s window now, and the pot of roses is sitting in it. Frank heads off to go see her without explaining to David. They meet at the waterfront. This conversation involves a lot more smiles and fondness than the last one. She’s happy to hear he pulled Madani out of a burning car. He did a good thing even though it compromised his position. Frank tells her about David, then tells her a story about Frankie painting a Marine on the wall at their house. Working with David, he’s having a hard time thinking about failing to protect his family where David succeeded. All he can do is get revenge. Karen isn’t stopping him, but she wants him to think about what he’ll do when that’s all over. She believes exposing these guys will be better justice than killing them, but Frank refuses to let her get involved enough to write the story, because that will risk her life, which he never wants to do. He can’t express how important her safety is to him in words, so he kisses her on the cheek.
OIC interview time. Sam doesn’t reveal that Frank is alive, but he’s not happy about it. He’s giving Madani a week to make serious headway in this before he takes it to Rafi. Over in Halifax, Rawlins is getting an award at the CIA for his bravery. Heh, yeah, nothing brave about how he lost that eye.
David has found where Gunner is likely holed up, and he’s going with Frank to find him. That means a drive to Kentucky. David tells Frank how Cerberus means Spot. Hades named his dog Spot. Bahaha. Also, David stirs up a sad packet of tuna for Frank, but he made himself an enormous, elaborate sandwich and doesn’t seem to see the problem with that.
Rawlins visits the lady who gave him the medal. She’s about to get promoted to director because the old director is getting a Cabinet position. This lady is the same actress who played Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and now she’s playing Marion James. Hahaha. She wants Rawlins as her deputy director because she thinks he’s been super effective. He stoutly denies having any skeletons in his closet. Oh boy.
Frank and David get to Kentucky. David is not to get his hands dirty this time. Frank heads into Gunner’s property. David is now reading the book his daughter was talking about. Aww. Frank finds a tripwire, so Gunner is definitely here. There’s smoke coming out of the chimney at the cabin. Frank calls out to Gunner and tries to make himself not seem like a threat, but Gunner greets him with an arrow in the shoulder. He tells Gunner that his family died because of the footage Gunner took. All he wants from Gunner is names. Gunner puts down his bow. He doesn’t know Agent Orange’s name. He took the footage because he found out Agent Orange and a Colonel Bennett were using the dead bodies of American soldiers to smuggle drugs back to the U.S.
A helicopter flies in. Frank and Gunner run for cover. Eight guys are hunting them. Rawlins is watching their progress on helmet cameras. Gunner shoots one with his bow. Another gets gutted when he hits the tripwire. Rawlins sees Frank on that guy’s camera. Frank shoots another. David gives Frank eyes in the sky with a drone. Gunner gets hit. So does Frank, in the side. David helps them get the pair of guys coming up on them, then the next pair. Two to go. Gunner grabs one, and Frank hides under leaves and jumps the other while he’s trying to find him. Then he looks into the camera and makes a threat/promise. Gunner is in bad shape from that gut shot.
Sarah, Leo, and Zach are sitting at the dinner table. No Pete. They’re all pretty bummed about it, but Leo especially. Aww.
Frank tries to help Gunner get to safety, but he’s dying, and Frank’s not doing great himself. The bullet must’ve hit Gunner’s lung, because he’s wheezing. He wants Frank to bury him on his property. Frank leaves to go get help, but he passes out from blood loss before he makes it far.
Madani takes Billy up on that offer for a drink. She takes him home and lots of making out and then sex happens. He wants to stop when he sees her injuries. She does not. Wow. Okay. David finds Frank and hauls him out. He bandages him and gets him on a saline drip and drives back to New York, trying not to panic. Frank is awake, so maybe he’s not hanging on by a thread.
Yesss, the final piece of the puzzle! It was Gunner who recorded the footage and sent it to the NSA. Schoonover and Rawlins thought Frank was to blame, so they tried to have him killed and cover it up with a massive drug shootout that would take out his whole family to obscure the real goal. It all makes sense now. I really like this episode. Some great partner dynamics between Frank and David, another excellent scene with Frank and Karen, with Frank and the Liebermans, some great action on Gunner’s property, and Gunner himself is highly enjoyable. We also finally learn more about Agent Orange, and he's now in play. The weakest link is probably Madani. They didn’t have to give her bruises all over her torso for the same episode she starts sleeping with Billy! She looks like she has broken ribs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she also had a concussion.
Things I Either Liked or Which Made My Heart Hurt for Frank Castle
Things I Didn’t Like
Poor Frank. His whole life was destroyed because they suspected the wrong guy. I think it’s really important that Frank doesn’t for a second blame Gunner. This is a man who has killed possibly into the triple digits on his quest for revenge. Gunner’s actions played a very large role in getting his family killed, but what matters to Frank is that Gunner was doing the right thing, so he doesn’t blame him for what happened as a result. Just like he didn’t want Reyes dead even though her political ambition played a role in his family’s deaths too. He has very clearly defined bad guys and non-bad guys, which is critical for making a character like him sympathetic. Regarding Karen, because she made it clear when they last spoke that she actually does want to see him again and that she cares about him, Frank is letting himself care about her too. I think that he came to her out of necessity at the beginning of episode 2 and felt pretty bad about it, but now their interactions are much more lighthearted because he knows he’s not an unwanted burden for her and she knows that he’s not only interested in using her to get information.
David is a very effective sidekick in the ways that matter, and a very bad sidekick in the ways that don’t, like making sure your Punisher eats as well as you do. Bahahaha.
What the crap, Madani? How are you upright with those injuries, let alone having very energetic sex with Billy? I think the time compression of this series (taking place mostly between November 15 and November 22 of 2016) does a real disservice to characters who get badly wounded. Frank should be stuck in bed for the next couple of weeks after getting shot with an arrow, shot with a bullet, and possibly also stabbed in the side. But he still has more than half of the season to go, and Madani is hurt too. It makes them seem like crazy people. (Which, in Frank’s case, is why I have a theory involving combat enhancement drugs slipped to all the Cerberus guys without their knowledge.)
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.