“The Judas Goat”
Written by Christine Boylan
Directed by Jeremy Webb
Now Frank’s dreams include the Lieberman family. He finds himself ziptied to a chair while all the Cerberus guys come in and shoot everyone. He wakes up with a fever. He still has the arrow tip in his shoulder. David goes and finds Curtis in the middle of the night to get his help patching Frank up. They have to get the arrowhead out by pulling it through. Luckily, Curtis is a combat medic. He gets it out, then staples up the incision and cauterizes the entry wound. Curtis isn’t happy David went after Frank. So far, this only seems to be making things worse for Frank.
Madani and Billy are having more sex. Yay. He notices her files on Frank. He now thinks she’s using him to get info on Frank. He wonders if Frank’s really dead, considering no body was ever found. At the basement lair, David is plucking at the guitar (and not as poorly as I thought he played). Then he gives Frank an injection. He tells him Gunner’s dead, but he’s getting a proper burial.
The tone-deaf NRA guy, O’Connor, is monopolizing the discussion at group again. He’s just there to counteract Curtis’s message. Curtis tells them about a goat he had to keep treating after repeated simulated war injuries. He’s having a hard time coming up with a positive message for them today, after treating Frank.
Frank is awakened by sounds of Sarah and the kids over the feed. Sarah confronts Zach about the stolen skateboard and he punches Leo for ratting him out. Then he punches the family portrait with the camera in it and storms off.
Sam found Gunner, who is dead in Kentucky. He and Madani check that out. Billy starts putting out a signal for Frank over the radio. Lewis is helping O’Connor hand out 2nd Amendment pamphlets in front of a courthouse. A police officer tries to hustle them along. Lewis rattles off all the ways in which what they’re doing is legal, but O’Connor bails on him and he ends up getting arrested because this cop has a chip on his shoulder. Madani and Sam are in Kentucky now. Madani wants to know who called the local police to let them know about Gunner’s body so he would get taken care of. They send blood samples for a DNA test.
Frank and David eat MREs while they compare stories about how their families did Thanksgiving. David and Sarah would split the cooking tasks. Maria was the one who cooked in the Castle house. Frank reminisces about her. It’s the happiest reminiscing he’s ever done. David is worried about Billy knowing Frank’s alive. Frank isn’t. His unit was his second family. Billy is family. No way he’s something to worry about.
The DNA comes back a match for Frank. Now it’s a matter of how Madani and Sam find him. Lewis goes to the support group room, which Curtis has just set up. Curtis bailed him out of jail. Lewis is still mad that Curtis interfered with his getting into ANVIL, but Curtis knows it was the right call. He also knows O’Conner is no Silver Star-awarded combat vet. He’s a fraud. Lewis doesn’t stay for the meeting.
Madani meets Billy at the waterfront. She tells him Frank’s alive. She wants his help finding him so that he can help her solve her Kandahar case. Billy’s glad she trusted him. She’s still not giving him a key to her place. He goes to see Curtis. He’s wants a chance to help Frank. Curtis doesn’t tell him anything. Frank’s glad about that, because he doesn’t want Billy getting involved. David thinks Frank should talk to Billy.
Lewis pays O’Connor a visit. He confronts him about his Vietnam lies. They end up fighting. O’Connor gets a knife, which Lewis gets off him and stabs him over and over with. He dies. Elsewhere, Frank meets Billy. They hug. Frank is impressed with ANVIL. He tells Billy about the heroin trafficking and what Gunner did. Billy wants Frank to hand this to Madani and get out of it. He’ll help him get out of the country where he can do what he wants.
David contemplates all the stuff Frank has brought to his basement lair, then watches the feeds. Frank goes to his house to apologize for missing dinner. She admits she trusts him even though he flaked. She invites him for a glass of wine. She’s upset about Zach being a bully and Leo having a hard time. He tells her it’ll get better.
Billy is waiting at the docks to see if Frank shows. There’s no sign of him. He gets in a car with Rawlins to tell him Frank isn’t coming. *dramatic chord*
This one slows down again, but you kind of have to do that after the wounds Frank took in the last one. I would’ve been more upset if the pacing had stayed fast because I desperately want Frank to have time to recover between fights. I like how this one builds up Frank and David’s partnership more. They’re two husbands and fathers, and there’s a lot they can relate about. And while Frank’s finding more things to hold onto, Lewis is having more things taken away, and then we learn that Billy is one of the villains. I didn’t know what a Judas goat was, but apparently it’s a goat that leads cattle to be slaughtered without getting slaughtered itself. That’s what Billy tried to do to Frank.
Things I Either Liked or Which Made My Heart Hurt for Frank Castle
Things I Didn’t Like
Frank’s a fairly inscrutable guy, so sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on with him. But I’m pretty sure the point of this episode was that he was figuring out his priorities. Does he take the out Billy’s (seemingly) offering him? Is revenge enough motivation to stay? But then he figures it out, and it’s forshadowed in his dream. The Liebermans are important to him now. Maybe he can, in some small way, make up for failing his own family by helping the Leibermans get out from under this crap that’s keeping them separated. He can’t just flee the country while David is still stuck apart from his family. That was the purpose of the scene where Frank watches David reacting to the confrontation between Sarah and Zach. They need David, and the only way they get him back is with Frank’s help. I think when Frank tells Sarah “maybe” there’s something he cares about enough to pull him through his loss, he’s thinking about a lot of things. Revenge (which he possibly doubts will be enough to keep him going “after”), his friends (Curtis, Karen, and—he thinks—Billy), and this family he has the power to put back together.
I’m not sure David believed Frank cared about his family until he watched him talking to Sarah about how things were going to get better for them very soon. I think when he was wandering around his lair looking at all of Frank’s guns and crap, he was focusing on how much crazier Frank has made his life and wondering if he made a mistake dragging him into it, like Curtis said. Maybe he was wondering if Frank would just take Billy’s help and get out. But then he watched that interaction and realized he did the right thing. Not just for himself, but for Frank too. His family is part of Frank’s mission now.
It’s hard to watch, but I kind of like that even Curtis has bad days when it’s hard to be optimistic for these other vets. He might be generally doing well, but it’s still hard, especially when he sees how much someone he cares about is suffering.
Okay, so Billy is a lying traitor. Can’t wait to find out his reasons for it.
Lewis gets a pretty crappy deal. He definitely has a lot of reasons not to trust the system. He watched command and the press lie about what happened in a friendly fire situation, he got harassed and wrongfully arrested by that policeman, and he was manipulated by O’Connor. But he also has very unrealistic ideas about what’s good for him right now. He deeply resents Curtis for making sure he didn’t get the ANVIL job, even though someone who digs a foxhole in his backyard and nearly shoots his dad shouldn’t be within a hundred miles of a combat situation. He can’t admit that he has a problem; he only sees the external problems that are barring him from doing what he wants to do.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.