Quick! Someone call a nurse! Preferably one who has experience dealing with larger than life accidents like Frank Castle getting impaled by an arrow! Wait…

After ending on a bleak note last episode, we open this episode with an even bleaker scene. Another one of those what-could-have-been moments if Frank and Micro had crossed paths under different circumstances and man is it upsetting to watch. We’ve seen Frank’s rage aplenty numerous times before but never his sense of helplessness. Seeing Frank Castle beg and weep is one hell of a disturbing image, one you wouldn’t expect the Punisher to emote. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Bernthal is such a damn star in this show. He sells the scene brilliantly, vicariously letting audiences feel the horrors inside his head.

So another worry of mine going into The Judas Goat was that it would become another episode where the hero gets incapacitated for an entire hour as he wrestles the demons inside of him a.k.a. flashback galore. We got that in the second episode of Daredevil and in Luke Cage where Luke gets trapped under a building. Thank Lightfoot we didn’t get any of that here. Frank’s incapacitation is quickly remedied when Micro finally reveals himself to one of his closest confidants, Curtis Hoyle. While definitely not as ingenious as the Night Nurse, Hoyle gets the job done right. Again, I dig how they resolved this right away instead of dragging it out for an entire episode. Hoyle continues to be a real bro in the show.

And out of nowhere, we’re treated to what seems to be the MCU’s most explicitly filmed sex scene, making the ones in Jessica Jones and Luke Cage look Rated G. I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Madani’s tryst with Russo this early. There’s a sincerity to her actions (she genuinely seems into Russo) but it doesn’t play to the strengths of Madani as a character. She’s someone who clearly has major trust issues and in an investigation where even her agency is suspect, it almost makes no sense for her to hook with someone as questionable as Billy Russo, who later proves to be a dirtbag in the most predictable twist ever.

While watching the episodes prior, me and my buddy speculated whether the writers had something totally different and subversive in store for Ben Barnes and Jigsaw. Like a Mordo-esque or Harvey Dent-ish take where we witness someone’s fall from grace. That he’s not the same asshole played by Ben Barnes in most projects. The way the character is shaping up to be in the closing moments of the episode does not excite me at all. Fingers crossed that pull off something interesting, deep and compelling with the character.

A chunk of this episode may not have worked for me but what did was the escalating arc of Lewis. This character descent into full-on violence feels hauntingly real which makes him stand out more than Agent Orange or Russo. Any knife/blade-related scenes make me queasy, whether it involves stabbing, slicing or slitting. I had to really look away when Lewis stabs that fake-veteran.

VERDICT:

2.5 poor goats out of 5. I’m generally game for slow and quiet episodes in my Netflix shows but man this episode killed the buzz I had in the previous episode. The larger pieces of the show fall into place but most of it feels predictable.

ONE-SHOTS:

  • It’s hilarious how allergic to gore Micro is. We’re all secretly Micro!

  • Out of all the voice of reasons in these Marvel-Netflix shows, it’s Curtis that I find the most genuine and least annoying.

  • Damn that twist with the NRA nut reminds me of all those Stolen Valor videos on Youtube I used to watch.

  • That asshole cop deserves to be dealt with by Frank!

  • Am I the only one not feeling the voyeuristic element of Micro peeping into Frank and Sarah’s poignant friendship? It creates this weird tension between Frank and Micro that doesn’t seem to have any meaning at all. Why doesn’t Micro address the sexual tension between Frank and his wife? Is he cool with it? Is he fine getting cuckholded?

  • Jesus Christ! Micro’s kid is shittier than the shitty cop! You never punch a sister in the face!