Written by Bruce Marshall Romans
Directed by Andy Goddard
Lewis deals with the stab wound O’Connor gave him. Then he wraps O’Connor’s corpse in the shower curtain and drives home in his cab without his shirt. His hands are still bloody, so it’s really weird when his dad just acts worried and not super alarmed. Lewis kinda shrugs him off and goes downstairs to sleep. Wait, actually it’s to have a breakdown and then nearly kill himself.
Frank is doing physical therapy by doing pull-ups with a cinder block chained to him. David makes some pretty elaborate pasta. (He made enough for Frank to have some this time.) They’re making their plan to deal with Colonel Bennett, who definitely knows Agent Orange’s name.
Billy goes to Madani’s office and claims he has failed to find any evidence that Frank’s alive. He promises to find him, teases her a bit, and says “relax, nobody’s listening.” I really hope this is about to become that trope where the villain accidentally gives one of the good guys an idea that helps them. Sam is pissed that she brought Billy in without telling him.
Frank and David go over the plan again. David is very certain Bennett will be at home when they go there, but he wants to make sure Frank isn’t going to go all trigger-happy. Frank isn’t stupid or out of control, so no. Frank’s only worried about what he might have to do to good U.S. soldiers doing their job if they get in the way when he goes for Bennett.
Madani looks at the crime scene photos of Gunner’s body and then realizes it’s awfully coincidental that a kill squad went after him right after she talked to Sam about finding him. YES. It totally is that trope. She now thinks there’s a bug in her office.
Billy is over at Rawlins’s place, or a swanky government place he gets to stay at. Not sure. Seems Billy has Rawlins to thank for being able to start ANVIL and for all their government contracts. If Rawlins goes down, so does Billy. Billy reminds Rawlins that he’s the reason Frank didn’t beat him to death in that tent in Afghanistan. Okay, so Billy was already working with Rawlins at that point. Rawlins didn’t just try to have Frank killed to protect his heroin operation; he did it because Frank made him feel like he was about to die. They debate warning Bennett. Rawlins figures he’ll either run or talk, so they’re not telling him.
Bennett has an appointment with a dominatrix, but that takes a little bit to become clear. She makes him lick up wine she spilled. Frank is moving in. David is providing drone support again. Inside, now there’s a ball gag and whipping. Frank arrives, and the dominatrix screams to signal Billy and his team. David is cloning Bennett’s phone. Frank has to stick around until it’s done. In come Billy’s team. Frank lobbed smoke bombs so they can’t see anything. He grabs one of them quietly, then knocks out another with a marble statue. Billy thinks he’s found him and starts shooting. He’s wrong. Frank shoots him in the arm and gets out of there. Billy intends to take full credit for saving Bennett’s life.
Some U.S. soldiers from the base are now looking for the intruder. Frank encounters one soldier in a tunnel on his way out. He really doesn’t want to have to kill him. He ends up shooting him in the shoulder when he won’t stand down, but he hates it.
Lewis’s dad is watching a Muhammad Ali boxing match. Lewis comes and sits with him. He makes a very creepy statement about how he envies boxers because their enemy is obvious and you just kill the other guy. Yikes. His dad tries to get him to see he’s not in war anymore. Unfortunately, his pep talk seems to convince him that even his dad doesn’t understand him, so now he needs to change up his game.
Frank hates Bennett for abusing the loyalty and bravery of good soldiers like the kid he had to shoot, and he’s not convinced it was a good idea to try tracking him instead of just killing him. Bennett starts moving, and they follow. Cut to Lewis, who goes shopping at a hardware store, then assembles a pressure cooker bomb in O’Connor’s apartment.
Bennett is furious with Rawlins and Russo for using him as bait for Frank. Rawlins wants him to retire with a new passport and identity, to somewhere Frank will never find him. They’ll keep him at a safehouse until then. He leaves his phone.
David is actually imagining being home with his family. He can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s worried, though, because they’ve spent a year with him letting them believe he’s dead. Frank tells him not to let that matter. He’s still planning on maybe taking Billy’s offer, just, after this is all over.
Madani and Sam find the bug in her office. He had to miss a date for this, but they did find something, so it’s not entirely awful. She thinks he might not be the right personality type for this line of work. He says she reminds him of Frank Castle.
Okay, it is a CIA safehouse. Frank stakes it out with a sniper rifle. Meanwhile, Billy takes Bennett to a hotel room. It’s not actually the safehouse. It’s the hotel room Billy kills him in. The dominatrix is already lying dead in there. Bennett tries to use a gun, but Billy has a spring-loaded knife up his sleeve and guts him with it. Back at the safehouse, Frank shoots directly between Rawlins’s eyes. But the window’s glass is bulletproof, and now all manner of alarms are going off. Frank has to run.
The plot is moving forward again, and things are looking up for Frank and David. They think this might actually be the end of their mission. They find Bennett, who leads them straight to Agent Orange, their last target. They think. It’s interesting that Bennett wasn’t one of the targets. He was involved in the heroin smuggling, but not in the deaths of Frank’s family. That seems to be enough for Frank to be willing to stick to David’s plan long enough to see if it catches them their bigger fish. Lewis is on his way to becoming a serious threat, and Madani and Sam now know they’re being spied on. But now that Frank has tried and failed to kill Rawlins, things are going to heat up fast. Especially because he doesn’t know about Billy yet.
Things I Either Liked or Which Made My Heart Hurt for Frank Castle
Things I Didn’t Like
I love how Frank and David respect each other more and more. And David’s getting better at the little stuff, like not forgetting to make Frank some when he makes good food for himself. It’s to the point where David is able to talk about his hopes and worries over his reunion with his family, and Frank can talk about the nuances of who he’ll kill and who he’ll hold back on. David had better be just as important in S2 (and not for sad reasons, because nothing is allowed to happen to his family ever).
Okay, so all of Billy’s success was funded by Rawlins. Was it hush money, or was Billy a willing partner from the start? Because Billy is a ridiculously good actor if it’s the latter. It’s creepy.
Welp. I guess Lewis is fully off the deep end now. Killing O’Connor was a combination of self-defense and combat reflex, but nearly killing himself and then building bombs? I’m reminded of a line from Legion (actually a line from Nietzsche, but I tend to know these kinds of quotes second-hand from nerdy sources more often than from the originals). “In times of peace, a warlike man attacks himself.” I think this applies to both Frank and Lewis, but in different ways. Frank couldn’t quite settle when he came home from his tours, and after his family was slaughtered, he waged a whole new war on those responsible. When there seemed to be no one left to fight, he got a job swinging a sledgehammer, which he was so gung-ho about that he bloodied up his hands. He was pretty deep inside his own head, unable to move forward. Then there’s Lewis, who keeps looking for another war to fight. He’s incapable of trying anything normal or responding to people trying to help him. He tries to work at ANVIL so he can keep fighting. He practically dared that policeman to get in his face (although the policeman was definitely a tool). He took up a cause that was liable to rile people up. He’s not a teenager, but he still feels like the directionless teen angst version of Frank’s anger. He needs help, but he refuses to ask for it, and even if O’Connor was lying, his insistence that Lewis take matters into his own hands seems to have been the only thing that stuck in his head.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.