Frank fights off an attack as everyone gets ready for the endgame
Finally, Frank knows the truth. The two poles in his life used to be his family and his fellow Marines, but now it’s clear to him that the latter helped destroy the former. His best friend Billy Russo is out to get him and is in fact on TV right now dragging Frank’s name through the mud.
PREVIOUSLY: The Punisher recap: ‘Virtue of the Vicious’
Back in her office, Dinah is watching the same channel, and she furiously throws her coffee mug at the TV. She’s obviously mad that the guy she fell for killed her partner, killed innocent Afghans, and almost killed her. But like…that’s your fault, Dinah! Aren’t you supposed to be a top Homeland investigator? You fell for a guy whose whole shtick screams “I’M EVIL,” and now you’re mad you got played? Not how it works. As we’ll see later in this episode, one of the things I’m really enjoying about The Punisher is how it portrays the government operatives running this global deep state of shadow wars and authoritarian police killings as brainless chickens—s, but even so I wish the show had given Dinah a more fulfilling plotline that didn’t require her to act like a total idiot all the time.
And it doesn’t get much more “total idiot” than Dinah inviting Billy into her office and telling him she knows he killed Sam and the others…and then also asking for his help finding Frank Castle, which he obviously refuses. It’s a wonder anybody trusts Dinah with anything.
With his world turned upside down by Billy’s betrayal, Frank is now getting testy with Micro as well, and he tries to dissolve their partnership. But at that moment, they find something that brings them back together: delayed footage from Micro’s house of his wife and daughter being captured. Luckily, his daughter, Leo, managed to get away, but Frank knows that with the other Liebermans, Russo and Rawlins should be able to find their secret base. So they split up: Micro goes to talk to his daughter, while Frank stays behind to set a nice trap for Russo’s goons. (Recap continues on page 2)
Remember what I said about “brainless chickens—s”? That’s exactly how I would describe the meeting between Rawlins and Russo, talking about taking down Frank. Rawlins wants Russo to go, but he doesn’t want to “expose” himself like that (I guess talking all over cable news doesn’t count in that regard?). Russo wants Rawlins to go, but for all the “big tough guy” act, this CIA official is still scared out of his mind by the guy who took his eye.
So instead, Russo sends a squadron of his goons to invade . Frank systematically destroys them all, of course. He has an awesome new trick, too. Remembering what Micro told him about the Roman phrase “memento mori,” after killing one of the troops he turns their head into a bomb and rolls it in front of the others. After the explosion scatters them, he goes through and shoots them all one by one. He expected Billy to be there. After killing the last soldier, Frank takes his phone and calls Billy, calling him a coward. They each have bargaining chips left at this point: Billy has the Liebermans, and Frank/Micro have all the details on everything Billy did in Afghanistan (I’m sure he’s done even more atrocious things since starting his mercenary company, too). I think Billy is starting to realize there’s no way out of this for him, though he probably doesn’t quite suspect that Rawlins is planning to fully throw him under the bus to save his own skin. Billy and Frank plan on a trade — and no matter how much the former insists otherwise, Frank knows that eventually this all has to come down to the two of them.
By the end of the episode, the lines have been drawn. Micro is reunited with his daughter Leo, who now knows that “Pete” is actually the wanted vigilante Frank Castle. She doesn’t like him as much anymore, and he gets it. But at least they finally brought Dinah in too — if Micro trusts her, then she’s good enough for Frank. God knows she certainly needs all the help she can get.