The Punisher: One Bad Day

"Are you good with all of this?"

This episode was about crossing the line, and how that line changes when you're a victim of trauma.

It began with flashbacks to Madani in a hospital bed one year ago, struggling with telling a lie. Returning character Marion James told Madani that she admired her for having so much trouble lying, even to save her job and protect Frank. This scene, and the later one where Madani was arguing with Frank and Curtis, was about how Madani sees a line between law enforcement and war, and she desperately doesn't want to cross it. Frank sees what is happening as war and doesn't have a problem with killing Billy, and Madani can't accept it, even though she was the one who brought Frank back to New York for that very reason.

Curtis is in a whole other place. While Frank was torturing tweaker Jake for Billy's location and Madani was freaking out, Curtis accepted it because he is certain that Billy needs to be gone. Note that Jake didn't break when Frank was hurting him; he gave up the information after Curtis told him the truth about what Billy did and why they wanted to take him down. Curtis then bandaged Jake's hand. That's what Curtis does, after all – he helps his fellow vets heal.

In fact, my favorite parts of this episode were the two car scenes with Frank and Curtis basically discussing the meaning of life. Curtis knows that most people just want quiet and safety; Frank had that, but it's gone. Frank even told Curtis about Beth, that he might have gone for the quiet life again but got pulled back into violent confrontation because he couldn't let Amy die. During the second car scene, Frank wouldn't let Curtis risk his life to help Frank take down Billy and his vets at the ReadyQuick. Frank respects the line that Curtis has drawn for himself and wouldn't let Curtis compromise his own principles. Pretty cool of you there, Frank.


We learned a bit more about Krista Dumont after she had rough sex with Billy that included the two of them viciously squeezing each other's scars. Krista has nearly as many scars as Billy does, and she confessed that for her, pleasure must include pain. Hey, I'm all about consent, but I must confess that when Billy was gripping her scar, I couldn't help cringing. Krista told Billy that she "fell" when she was nine, and spent the next two years recovering. I bet there's a lot more to Krista's story than that; her behavior screams victim.

Madani can't control Frank, and Krista can't control Billy, who decided to take charge of his mess of a life and pull off a robbery with the help of the vets he has befriended. The scenes in the warehouse where Billy kept drilling his team on every detail of the robbery and insisting that they all learn each other's jobs was an interesting callback to the smart military leader that Billy used to be. Isn't it fun that the whole thing was nearly derailed by Lillian at the ReadyQuick, one strong middle-aged lady who refused to open the lock? (Glad she didn't die.)


"One Bad Day" began and ended with our characters suffering from the physical symptoms of PTSD: vertigo, blurred vision, the feeling that the walls are closing in, recurring flashbacks. Madana was experiencing them in the hospital flashback as well as present day, seeing Billy shoot her over and over again. Madani felt it again when Frank was torturing tweaker Jake. Krista Dumont feels it every time she gets close to a window.

And it overcame Billy in the end when Frank came out on the street and revealed the bloody skull on his chest, the skull that still has Billy's blood on it. A little high noon there. Some whistling might have been good, instead of a car chase. This episode went by so quickly that when it ended, I was surprised.

A cliffhanger? How could you? I was all ready for a big confrontation. Darn.

Bits:

— Title musings: I don't know where he said it – the comics? – but apparently Frank Castle is known for saying "You're one bad day away from being me."

— All those fingerprints, and Pilgrim's aren't in the system. I just loved the analyst and her "serious filter issues." Was she stroking the boss, was she really into Madani, or was she just weird? Loved her.

— The make-up in this series is excellent. Billy's and Krista's scars looked very real and they moved with the actors. And Frank's facial injuries again looked skull-like.

— Everybody is committing crimes while not wearing gloves. That seems to be a conceit these days.

— No Amy in this episode. Didn't miss her.

Quotes:

Marion: "I think you're pretty special, Madani. I mean, you're lying here in a bed with a bullet hole in your head and you're still not thinking of yourself. That's as rare as rocking horse shit."
What an imaginative simile.

Madani: (to Frank) "You decide someone deserves to be gone, and bang, they're gone. No second thoughts, no qualms, no conscience. And then on you go, happy and safe on your… I guess at least borderline psychopathic, merry way."

Madani: "This isn't some foreign country with guys you never met shooting at you. This is home. It's different."
Frank: "Is that right?"
Madani: "It has to be different."
Frank: "Yeah, tell that to my wife and kids."

Krista: "You live with pain long enough, you start to… miss it when it's gone. And then, well, you discover the pain-pleasure connection."
I wonder if this was all about Frank as well. Not that he's masochistic, but you know what I mean.

Good episode, especially for Madani and Curtis. Three out of four flashbacks,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

Aaron Studer said...

Always loved Frank's and Curtis' talks throughout this series -definitely a highlight for this ep.

Was so amped up for that Frank and Billy rematch too before the credits rolled.

As a Psych major aware of the major repercussions for messing around with a client, the Billy-Dumont affair is probably one of the ickiest things I've seen transpire in a Marvel-Netflix series.

Michal Dvorak said...

He says the "one bad day away from being me" line in the second season of Daredevil.

Mikey Heinrich said...

I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who loved that Analyst! Everything about her fascinated me. So intense, but somehow still reads as naive and friendly. are combination.

I never actually read the Punisher comics, so I can't speak to the line's appearance in them, but the one bad day between you and me idea is the central conceit of the Killing Joke, and I've heard it in reference to the Joker a few times.

Which makes me want them to turn Durant into off brand Harley Quinn even less.