We’ve been hearing a lot about Kandahar so far this season, but this episode finally takes us there and shows us what kind of crimes Frank Castle committed in Afghanistan. Folks, it’s brutal and bloody. But it also feels real. I had a lot of doubts going into this show, but if the rest of it is as honest as this episode, then The Punisher has honestly exceeded my expectations.
The Kandahar flashbacks are littered throughout this episode. In the present, Frank has Micro tied up naked in a chair in his own little Micro-Cave. Before we get into Frank’s flashbacks, we get another set of flashbacks. These are Micro’s, revealing how he went from being a happily married family man to…well, a naked guy tied to a chair in an empty warehouse. Come to think of it, I wonder if Micro’s small computer hive is an intentional visual reference to The Conversation, where Gene Hackman’s surveillance equipment takes up only a small portion of the large warehouse space he owns.
Speaking of The Conversation, Micro also ends up seeing something he shouldn’t. But in his case, it’s video of Ahmad Zubair’s interrogation and murder. We see Micro debate with his wife whether or not he should publicize the tape. He doesn’t like the idea of teaching his children to be good people while also refusing to do the objectively “good” thing when he can, but she also refuses to give her blessing on the action, since she knows he just wants someone to tell him it’s okay. Well, he does it anyway, and the backlash comes soon. Not long after he sends the file to Dinah Madani, Micro is in car with his family when he sees a SWAT team approaching. Ordering his children to stay in the car, Micro tries evading his pursuers on foot. He’s soon cornered by none other than Carson Wolf, who has him at gunpoint on top of a bridge. As other cops converge, Carson yells that Micro has a gun (when he obviously doesn’t, of course). His wife arrives just in time to watch Carson shoot her husband, knocking him backward off the bridge.
Back in the present, Micro explains that a cell phone in his pocket saved his life. After his “death,” federal agents went about smearing his name, making him seem like a traitor. Frank mentions that Micro’s wife still believes he was a good man, but as Micro notes, that doesn’t seem to count for much right now. He believes that Frank won’t kill him because he’s a good man, but Frank tells him, “You don’t know s—.”
Soon enough, we learn the s— for ourselves. (Recap continues on page 2)