Episode 9 opens with Dinah and her mom chatting while Frank and Micro spy on her, but it doesn’t really begin until a few minutes in when we are finally introduced to the full scale of Lewis’ plan. As bombs go off throughout the downtown area, Lewis has hatched his plan and sealed his fate as his plans will unwittingly put him right in Frank’s path. Lewis has decided to involve Karen Page in his madness and that just won’t do.

The episode is finely crafted and ties somethings together very nicely. Lewis’ letter and subsequent call to Karen on talk radio not only puts him on Frank’s radar, but also incites the central conflict of this episode when Curtis hears him on the show. After just enough building, this episode finally pays off on everything we’ve seen building with Lewis and gives us a major denouement to the Lewis/Curtis story. A good man to a fault, Curtis’ decision to make one more attempt to save Lewis, a violent man in immense anguish, aids in the reveal of just how far down the rabbit hole Lewis has gone. When Curtis discovers Lewis it’s in the recently deceased O’Connor’s pad where the two quickly move into one of the series’ most brutal and prolonged fights to date. Despite having just one leg, Curtis is a much larger man and fierce combatant forcing Lewis to go full Cobra Kai before eventually taking Curtis’ leg and beating him with it.

The episode takes a pause for a few beats to give us a little more of the Billy/Dinah jib jab before Billy has to run to meet Senator Ori (who we met briefly during Karen’s talk show appearance) for a potential Anvil contract. We don’t know it at the time, but this little meet and greet serves to do more than break of the craziness, but we’ll save that for another time.

Micro discovers that Curtis is with Lewis and sends Frank that way. Much to Frank’s horror, when he finds his old pal he finds him booby trapped with claymores and under the watchful eye of an increasingly intense Lewis. This episode paints Lewis as a pretty shrewd guy and while Frank and Curtis escape the trap (with some help from Lewis), he’s called the cops to the scene. So while Frank saves the day, it comes at the cost of his very public reintroduction. The Punisher lives!!

Verdict

4.5 out of 5 Claymores

A great episode on its own, this also puts the pieces in place on the board to move towards the endgame. There was very little about this episode that didn’t either pay off immediately or shortly down the road (including Micro revealing himself to Dinah), so after a bit of a slump in the middle episodes, this one certainly put things back on track.

ONE-SHOTS

*Senator Ori’s appearance is interesting given his connection to Frank in the comics. Though his part seems minor here, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him again; then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if we never see him again. In the comics, Ori’s dirty and after Frank kills his nephew, he goes after Frank using both his Maffia ties and his political clout.

*Lewis beating Curtis with his own prosthetic cements the fact that he’s not only crazy, he’s an asshole. Curtis gave him a good beating, but that was absolutely brutal.

*Good thing Frank warmed up his arm with the football last episode. He lit that cop up with a high, hard one.

*”37 that they know about” might be one of my favorite lines of the series so far.