“The Abyss” is a kind of calmer, not so thrilling episode that is more about making sense of what happened and putting all characters on the same page than about its action. After an impacting, explosive and meaningful episode like the previous one, this is exactly what the show needed. Even better, it does that while also featuring the always impressive Karen Page.
It opens up with Frank trying to hold on to his life as Brett Mahoney accompanies him in an ambulance towards the hospital. This sequence, alongside the one of Frank being treated by a team of doctors, was an interesting way to contrast the violence that the people of this show go through with a regular place like a hospital. It puts the result of a Punisher and Jigsaw confrontation in the middle of a common place of civil society, and in doing so it highlights the brutality of what happened. Seeing Frank all cut up, bleeding and barely stayin’ alive like that makes one wonder where would the doctors begin to try and treat his seemingly infinite injuries.
After a brief moment with Curtis, in which the former marine gives the impression to finally be fed up with this whole thing that got nothing to do with him, Amy decides to do what she can to try to rescue Frank. As she does that, we’re given another glimpse into the stealthy side of her that seemed to be a big deal early on. While undercover as a nurse, she charms an officer out of her way and gets where she wants. The work of a true master infiltrator.
When Amy and later Dinah join Karen in the hospital room, the script gives us a nice ensemble moment of the good guys, like the Marvel shows on Netflix usually have at some point. Seeing Karen use her connections to prove to Dinah (and Frank himself) that it was Billy who killed the women, was a bittersweet reminder that she is an amazing character we most likely won’t see again after this season is over. When it comes to Madani, the script seems to have changed its focus from her mental health issues after the events of season one to her willingness to help Frank and get Billy once more. And that’s great. The agent side of her was missing this time around.
Speaking of mental health issues, this is the episode where the audience finally learns what exactly happened to Krista Dumont that made her such a complex and different character. It does make a lot of sense that someone who was nearly killed by her own father would grow up to understand he needed saving, not anger, and then proceed to treat people just like him. It does not enlighten, however, why would she want to be happy with a psychotic murderer like Billy, but a traumatic experience like the one she went through certainly changes people in many different ways.
Pilgrim’s tragedy finally happens in this episode. It was clear that his wife would die some point this season, but it was very cruel from the writers to kill her as her religious husband had a brief return to his mobster days. His wife died as he used drugs, alcohol and had sex with strange women, a fact that could deeply affect an already troubled character. It’s hard to tell what will become of him, considering he seemed to realize that Eliza was manipulating him to do what she wanted, but he still went ahead to do it for his children’s sake. Deep down, he probably does fear that God might be testing him, but after his wife’s passing it is most likely that he does it for the kids’ safety.
The show’s tone and Jon Bernthal’s acting are leaning more and more towards tragedy than towards a happy ending. Now scared all over just like Billy (though his scars may be less definitive than Russo’s), Frank seems to know that things can’t end well this time around. The show’s trying to tell us that through the dialogues, the acting and even the soundtrack. Things are about to get worse for Castle, and Jon Bernthal is not letting down with his portrayal of The Punisher. The powerful Frank looking frail and desperate as he told Karen about his family’s death was a heartbreaking moment that the actor certainly lived up to. He’s great at the action, the emotion and even the character development. Bernthal’s importance for the success of the show should never be underestimated.
Episode eleven wraps up with Frank nearly escaping the police once more, just to be found and arrested by Mahoney at the very last minute. It’s true that Frank gave himself up too easily, but that could be due to his precarious physical state. Or he has a plan. In either scenario, Pilgrim is getting closer and could interrupt whatever happens at any minute. Let’s wait for what’s next.
4 high heels out of 5.
After the previous episode, it was natural and needed for “The Abyss” to be more about its characters than its action. It may not have been as thrilling as some of the best episodes of this seasons have been, but it didn’t feel like one of the fillers either. The episode uses its time to bring Karen into the mix and form a trio alongside Madani and Amy to help Frank. It was cool to see them all work together, while we also had important moments from Pilgrim and Dumont.
- Billy’s scars are progressing through the season, as they looked way fresher back then. Way to go, make-up department.
- “I’m gonna murder them and keep her alive, because that’s what I do.” – Finally, Frank Castle fully embraces the fact that he is The Punisher.
- At the hospital, a bounty hunter goes after Frank. This would have been such a good idea for the whole season, put him on the run and fighting bounty hunters left and right. What a shame we didn’t get it.
- Karen helped a lot figuring out it wasn’t Frank who killed the women, and all it took was… a pair of shoes? A creepy guy with strange desires never came in so handy.