The Punisher season 2, episode 9 review: Flustercluck


Billy Russo finally comes close to understanding his past, while Frank Castle fights against a five million dollar bounty for his head in this episode of The Punisher.

Like any good TV series, the further you dive into The Punisher, the more complex it becomes. In episode eight, Frank and Billy Russo dealt with the psychological consequences of finally coming face to face after the season one finale. While we all expected Billy to be devastated after figuring out his best friend was the one responsible for scaring him physically and emotionally, it was surprising to see Frank be emotionally devastated too. That pain led them both to reflect on who they were and to become who they’re really meant to be.

On one hand, Billy finally gave a face to his worst fear, allowing him to become the villainous Jigsaw. On the other, Frank realized his family’s death wasn’t responsible for turning him into a mad killer. Instead, he was always like that, and even so, he needs to be like that. His wife always accepted him for who he was, and that realization made Frank accept himself too. Now season 2 will be all about a fully-realized Punisher against an insanely dangerous Jigsaw… or is it?

Jigsaw vs the Punisher vs the Preacher

“Flustercluck” really summarizes this season of The Punisher so far, really well. There are two amazing storylines with two promising bad guys, each with their own plans and motivations both fighting for Frank’s and the viewer’s attention. While this isn’t a huge problem itself, its best noted here. A lot of amazing moments happen in this episode, but their impact may be somewhat reduced by them being separated across two different stories. Just when you are getting invested in Frank’s search for Billy’s and the latter’s arc about figuring out his past, the series quickly changes to Frank acting as a paternal figure by keeping Amy safe from the Preacher, only for it to go back to Curtis trying to locate Billy and so on. You get the point.

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Don’t get me wrong, things could’ve been worse (and I’m talking about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 -level worse). But even if the series does its best to keep things centralized and its narrative focused, it’s noticeable that The Punisher is dealing with two completely different storylines at the same time. And both of them have different character arcs and different repercussions. There’s still a lot of enjoyment to be found (and I really mean a lot), but the series doesn’t quite reach its full potential due to this issue.

Just think about the incredible Daredevil season 3. Yes, they were two different bad guys with different issues and motivations, just like in The Punisher season 2. However, in Daredevil, the Kingpin and Bullseye developed a personal connection. Not only that, but the narrative itself was always building towards the same conclusion. It didn’t matter in what episode of the series you were, it always felt like the storylines were interconnected and that they would inevitably crash with one another. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for The Punisher season 2, and that’s a shame considering both of its stories are deserving of the spotlight. Just, not at the same time.

Reunited once again

One of the highlights of the episode came in the form of Billy Russo and agent Madani crossing paths.  It was a tense, exciting and really enjoyable moment. That’s due to how well the show develops the psychology of some of its characters. Billy was there because he wanted answers about the man who damaged him emotionally, and Madani was in front of the man who damaged her physically and psychologically. Both of them were on the brink of losing their cool and attacking each other at every time. Not only that, but they wanted to do so. It just shows how scared these characters are and how they can do pretty irrational things when exposed to their biggest fears.

It’s great that the season develops moments like this when the audience can be at the edge of their seat without the need of an action sequence or any blood. Let’s just hope the relationship between these two characters keep growing to the point of collapse, where they’ll have to inevitably face each other.

Like father, like daughter

This is perhaps the most emotional moment of The Punisher season 2. In the previous episode, the relationship between Frank and Amy reached a breaking point. Things got so bad that Amy finally escaped. She had no reason whatsoever to stay with Frank, and what she thought could be her new beginning turned out to be her worst nightmare. The Preacher put a bounty on Amy and Frank’s heads. As a result, Amy’s friend (who was supposed to help her escape) betrayed her and decided to turn her in. What happened next was a great action scene with an incredibly emotional payoff.

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Frank didn’t hesitate to save Amy. She was trapped in a building with a whole team trying to get to her. Fortunately, this is the Punisher we’re talking about, but while he managed to take down most of the enemies, there was one standing right in front of Amy holding a gun to her. That’s when she used Frank’s technique to disarm the guy and… immediately shoot him? I’ve got to admit, that was pretty unexpected for me. She pulled the trigger without a doubt (showing what a strong character she is), but after that, came the realization she had shot somebody. At that moment, Frank decided to act as a true father and comforted her in the most Punisher way possible. Neither one of them is a particularly emotional character, so it was pretty easy for the moment to feel cold or out of place. However, it worked out insanely great, further developing their arc as a father and a daughter. Now, let’s just hope the series takes advantage of their relationship when going forward, as it is without a doubt the heart of this season.

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What do you think of The Punisher season 2 so far? Do you love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comment section below! And stick around with Bam! Smack! Pow! for more reviews about everything superhero-related.