This episode feels like the writer’s wanted to add some necessary change to keep the action going. We take a complete break from the Pilgrim storyline and finally focus on the true meat of this season. The build-up towards Frank and Billy’s meeting. The episode starts off directly with a confrontation on what Frank, Madani, and Curtis on what they should do. Frank finally realizes that he needs to finish the job he neglected last time. Madani is also stuck in a rather bizarre predicament, as. Her own desires to take down Russo to finally free her from the guilt are being confronted by her moral center. If she continues down this path she may end up becoming more like Frank.

Let us talk about a major player this season. Curtis had a small but considerable role in the last season. His relationship with Frank and Billy was an important part of the first season. He was Frank’s moral compass and only friend he could rely on. Now, his own fear is pushing him into a new direction as he is slowly entering Frank’s territory. His fear is pushing him over the edge as he even breaks the trust of those that trusted him. Still, his connection with Frank and them just talking with each other truly helps contrast Frank’s softer side with his murderous behavior. It hurts me to see Curtis go down this route but it truly builds on his experience from the first season.

The other main focus is on Billy, as the episode slowly builds up to them robbing a small bank. We get some really intense moments, as Russo feels like a man who would not hesitate to shoot his entire team before they even drive off. The small twitches and facial expressions really give his character that air of unease. Once again, have to say that Ben Barnes really gives an amazing performance in this season. His mind is a jigsaw puzzle and we are currently back to the version that knew how to lead a team to reach his goal.

Frank gets some heavy moments in this episode, especially with the absence of Amy. She helped him get over his killing tendencies in the last episode. So, his regret on not finishing Billy pulled him right back. While it does feel like a huge step back for his character development, it is rather fitting for the moment. I feel like this is the reason the season is split up between two distinctive storylines. It allows the show to challenge Frank over and over with what direction he wants to head in with his life. This builds on the theme I sensed on Frank questioning if he wants to truly accept his Punisher persona.

Speaking of, we finally get him back in his iconic outfit. It actually is the one that he wore while scarring Billy in the last season. It was such a fantastic moment, as Billy realizes that the man who scarred his face was someone he believed to be his best friend. His facial expression really sold us on the fact that this Billy Russo had no idea that he was the one that did it. He has no idea about the things that he has done so for him there is no reason that Frank would do this. While we get another great action sequence, it is the range of emotions that Billy goes through that really sells this episode. Even the abrupt end of the episode perfectly matched the disorienting character moment.

VERDICT

4 mind games out of 5.  

There was a lot of builds up in this episode that all comes to a fantastic moment. We finally get Frank back as the Punisher while the Russo storyline finally reaches its peak. Ben Barnes is truly turning into the MVP of the season. Curtis is also getting a lot of character development in this episode, as we see a new side to him. Madani also gets a great scene that highlights her own moral struggle with how to take down Billy. It all was building up to this moment and the season managed to pull it off.

ONE-SHOTS

  • Anyone else wished they had as much courage as that lady has at the bank?
  • I just realized that the way Billy views the skull symbol, we get a brief scene where it seems that Frank’s face is covered by the skull mask. It is a nice homage to one of his looks from the comics.