Release Date: January 18
Network: Netflix/ 13 episodes
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Georgia Whigham, Amber Rose Revah, Josh Stewart, Annette O’Toole, Corbin Bernsen, et al.
The major theme of The Punisher season two is family. On different fronts, the show tries to explore what that word really means. Frank, Curtis and Russo’s history in the army easily comes to mind; but there’s also the fact of Russo (now Jigsaw, in a manner of speaking) banding together another set of war veteran misfits looking to fight another war into his Frank-Castle-Killing-Club. Billy Russo, even with his PTSD and memory loss, is worse than ever, and easily motivates these persons into fighting his personal war with the Punisher. Talk about a charismatic leader.
There’s also Amy, the girl without a family, and how some wrong life choices land her in Frank Castle’s laps long enough for him to begin to see her as his daughter. Lastly, there’s the person of religious assassin John Pilgrim, and how every murder he’s committed in the name of the Schultz has been in service of his two sons and (eventually) late wife.
This central theme of family spins two entirely separately stories connected only by the antihero – Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Even though he doesn’t really do much punishing anymore as at when the season begins, it doesn’t take long for one (or two) nasty persons to do something to get him angry enough to willing murder gratuitously. In this case, it’s a group of crazy people who shoot at his newfound bartender girlfriend (or more accurately, sex mate he was beginning to catch feelings for). This is enough motivation for Frank Castle to be drawn into the many crazies of Amy’s world, which all turned out to be the Schultz parents sending assassins (including John Pilgrim) after her simply because she’s using photos of their son kissing another man to blackmail them.
The second plot is what really retcons both seasons of the show. It deals with the consequences of the fallout between Frank Castle and Billy Russo in the season one finale. After Frank successfully enacted his revenge on Billy by brutally disfiguring him, the doctors manage to salvage his face, but with severe memory loss and PTSD from the events of that night ay the park, Russo is still a bitter, angry man desperate to fill in the blanks. Some things never change. But luckily for him, he has a psychologist with a sad past enough to get her triggered as she helps him heal. Together, they go further down the drain – committing unspeakable crimes in their bid to stay together as destined true loves.
Agent Dinah proves to still be an interesting addition to the show. I enjoyed every moment with her dealing with her fallout from Russo last season. PTSD is a big deal and, just like Russo, she too has her fair share of it.
Frank Castle’s war veteran friend Curtis features more prominently this season, and manages not to be much of a bore.
For the better part of it, The Punisher‘s second doesn’t really improve upon its first season, I thought it was a tad weaker. But it’s a wonderful watch, with enough emotion to go with the grit allowing you care about Mr. Castle and Russo and all the death and destructions they cause in their wake.
Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5