The Punisher: Gunner

"I guess we got a little help from above."

Gunner got popular real quick, didn't he?

On the review of the previous episode, J. D. mentioned that The Punisher is "about soldiers and how we as a country treat them," and if we are to take anything from this episode, this is it: soldiers are treated as things, disposable things.

Gunner told Frank that he saw Colonel Bennett and Agent Orange using the body of a soldier to carry drugs back in Afghanistan. Later in the episode, Orange has sent his private army to kill Gunner and sees each soldier fall one by one. He shows no emotion whatsoever, no death disturbs him. His only concern is the mission, and he is only taken aback when Frank reveals himself. But the soldiers? Nothing more than tools through which he tries to achieve his goals.

We learned a lot about Agent Orange. His real name is William Rawlins, he is a CIA agent, he is about to become Deputy Director and is actually blind in his left eye due to Frank's punch. He is known as an agent who delivers, no matter the cost, which is not a political asset. But he has friends in high places, and I pity that lady who trusts him, there are skeletons coming to bite her in the ass.

I don't think Orange is quite a three-dimensional villain yet, but the writers are doing a nice job of building him as the man Frank needs to destroy no matter what. Frank has enough reasons to want Orange dead, but new ones keep piling up. And now Orange knows Frank isn't dead, which was bound to happen eventually.

On to the other person that has just learned Frank is still alive, Madani made the right call and kept that information to herself... but she eventually shared it with Sam, and later that proved to be a good call. Sam wavered, but in the end decided to trust Dinah's judgement on the case. Good for him.

Now, Madani and Karen's meeting was a pretty cool scene, wasn't it? I loved how they talked about Frank: Madani never explicitly confronting Karen about his death status, Karen saying what he would appreciate if he were still around, but never stating he actually is. Journalist and detective, they said enough to understand one another without compromising their intelligence. When will they team up?


The other scene that included Karen (we need more Karen!), she shared it with Frank, and it was my favorite of the episode. Can anyone get to Frank the way Karen can? Nope. Her plea to him not to live a lonely life was also a confession, because she feels lonely herself, except that she hasn't given up fighting against that loneliness, and she feels that Frank has. But Frank needs to push her aside, to keep her safe, or so he says. He offers her a kiss, a tender kiss on the cheek, a significant display of affection from a man who has chosen not to get attached.

But has he really?

With Karen, he lets loose, he opens up. And he treats Micro's family as a rebound family. A wife, a daughter and a son, exactly what he lost. So maybe he is not done getting attached. As a soldier, he was also treated as a thing, he had to toughen up; he had his humanity stripped away from him, he toughened up some more; then he had everything taken away from him and he shut down. But not completely. The Punisher might want his revenge no matter what, but Castle still needs the human connection we all long for. Don't all the soldiers who survive war do?

Tombstones

- Dinah wants to avenge her car. LOL.

- How long until Dinah discovers she is being tapped?

- Dinah and Billy are now having an affair.

- Has Colonel Bennett been mentioned before? If not, his name is the only useful clue Frank got from Gunner.

- I loved this shot below. It's right after Frank looks at the camera. Orange looks at him, but can't see him. Not with that eye. It's a nice symbolism to the enemies' inability to see Frank coming. Might be foreshadowing too.


- Last episode, Micro didn't want to go in the field. This time, he demanded to. I guess he liked the adrenaline, huh?

- Micro made a big fat sandwich for himself and Frank was sad he didn't make one for him too. I love how the friendship between these two is growing.

- Micro so chill: eating his sandwich and reading "Life of Pi" while Frank went to meet Gunner.

- Micro told Frank that "Cerberus" was the name of a hellhound, a multi-headed dog of the underworld. In Greek, the name is "Kerberos," and the dog belonged to Hades, the Lord of the Dead. Micro offers one meaning of that name ("spotted"), but wikipedia says there is more than one.

- Very cool fight scene. The camera from the soldier's perspective was a nice touch.

Quotes

Karen: "I look at you and my heart breaks because all I can see is just this endless, echoing loneliness."
Frank: "I'm not lonely, Karen."
Karen: "Bullshit, we are all lonely. I sometimes think that that is all that life is, we're just fighting not to be alone."

Gunner: "Promise me you will bury me."
I hope Frank goes back and buries him.

Another slow episode that was good nonetheless. Two and a half out of four Cerberus' heads.
--
Lamounier

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I so agree that the scenes with Karen were a standout. I particularly liked the photography of that Karen/Dinah scene in the conference room with the odd angles and the way they were so close to each other physically as they were keeping the truth from each other. And Karen telling Frank that she wants him to have an "after."

It does feel like the point of this series is Frank becoming human. I am really enjoying the way he interacts with Micro. They argue like genuine friends, and Micro saving Frank with the drone was unexpectedly wonderful. I do hope that Frank's relationship with Micro's wife isn't going to have an effect on their friendship.

Patryk said...

Cameras on soldiers always makes me think of Aliens 2. And they all died to a black clad monster too. The tope is called a Mook Horro show, but unlike normal versions of it Frank was also hurt and barely made it out. Thanks to not going alone, hope the lesson sticks.

Anonymous said...


Why does everyone keep referring to episodes of the Punisher as 'slow' Maybe the first two episodes but not everyone has seen Daredevil S2...We had to be reintroduced to Frank and the new players.
Having watched the whole thing its the most fast paced and balanced of all the Netfix marvel shows without the usual quality and story drop off around episode 7..
Everything he does has something to do with the main plot or his character taking steps forward. He and Micro are working as fast as two dead but wanted (huh, lol) characters can.
In what ways could the apparent slowness be avoided, or the story crafted better as to avoid it.

Shari Houtman said...

Wow, who's complaining that it's slow? I'm only up to episode 8 but I've thought all of the episodes have been extremely well crafted. My only complaint was that you could see some of the plot twists (particularly in the first couple of episodes coming from a mile off). I don't know who these people are but I've been enjoying the ride.

JRS said...

Is The Life of Pi becoming a theme here? I recall a tiger in a previous episode.

An Honest Fangirl said...

Wow, this episode didn't pull any punches, huh? I kept feeling bad for the soldiers that Frank and Gunner dispatched. Sure, maybe they were crooked, but what if they were just decent men and women who were following Rawlins' orders? Now they're dead! (Also, poor Gunner. I really hope that Frank goes back to bury him.)

Like everyone else, I loved the scenes with Karen. As much as I like Frank's dynamic with Micro's family (so sad that he stood them up for dinner), I want Frank to stop being lonely with Karen. The kiss on the cheek made my inner shipper squeal.

Donald Reif said...

I think when Karen talks about loneliness and wanting Frank to have an after, well, I think of it as Karen projecting her inner guilt over losing Matt during The Defenders. She saw Matt seemingly "die", so she makes some effort to stop Frank, another person she cares about (and who Matt cared about to some extent), from going down the same path.