The Punisher: The Abyss

"You're not the monster. You never were."

Not what you'd call a heavy action episode, but I really enjoyed it. Actually, maybe that's why I enjoyed it.

Frank, who spent nearly the entire episode cuffed to a hospital bed, was overwhelmed with guilt because he believed that he had killed three innocent women, and three very different women who all believe in Frank came to his rescue. Obviously, there was some deliberate numerical symmetry going on there.

The first of Frank's rescuers was Amy, who ran to the hospital to save Frank from anyone wanting to cash in on that five mil. She even managed to secure another disguise and talk herself past the police guard and into Frank's room, and she saved him from that rogue cop. Talk about karma.

And Karen arrived. Finally! I wanted her to be in this entire season because I can't help but see her as Frank's love interest because of that lovely moment in the elevator back in season one. Sadly, no progress on that front. But Karen also faked her way past the police guard and got Madani into the morgue to check out the bodies of those three victims.

The fact that Madani was so easily able to clear Frank, at least to her own satisfaction, was just a bit too pat for me. Frank was in kill mode and could have easily killed those women, anyway. He was pouring bullets into a concealed space and couldn't see who was in it. I understand that Frank thinks of women and children as non-combatants, and he can't bear it when they're victimized, but that doesn't make him an innocent man. It's just not as black and white as Karen sees it.

Frank is a killer. He keeps putting himself in situations where he can kill bad guys, so he must find killing satisfying in some way. Karen thinks there could be a happily-ever-after for Frank, but I don't think so. Like the Winchesters, Frank will probably keep fighting evil until it kills him. But I did find it moving when the rogue cop came in with the needle and Frank simply bared his arm for the guy. It reminded me of when Brad Pitt opened his shirt to death in Interview With the Vampire.

It's fascinating how Billy and Frank keep not killing each other when they have the chance. Billy called Madani so that he could gloat about Frank being chained to a hospital bed, just like Billy had been. Rubber bullets and rock salt explained how Frank could have lived through that bloodbath in the warehouse, and I wonder – was Billy deliberately trying to have his guys replicate his own facial scars on Frank?

So many parallels. Frank and his women, Billy and his woman. The incredibly self-centered Billy suddenly realized that he knew almost nothing about Krista Dumont, even after a lot of painful sex and killing a whole bunch of people together. This time, we learned that Krista is working out her daddy issues with Billy. When she was little, her father, a damaged Vietnam vet, took her out a window with him when he killed himself, the selfish shit. Like Karen with Frank, Krista thinks that Billy deserves happiness. She wants to heal Billy, although how she can do that by encouraging him to kill is beyond me. She must be from the Hannibal Lecter School of Psychiatry.

I liked those nine bullet casings Billy set up on the table while he and Krista were talking. It was a perfect and disturbing visual reminder of those murders they had just committed together. Maybe Billy was using them to keep reminding Krista of her partnership in his crimes. Of course he was.

Pilgrim's story progressed as he moved from bleeding all over his motel room to completely trashing it after Ma Kent, another selfish monster, reluctantly brought him the news that his wife Rebecca had died. Too much loss, just like everyone else in the cast. I almost felt sorry for him. Not that Ma Kent (okay, Eliza Schultz) came to tell him the news because she cared about him; she tried to keep it from him as long as she could because it might make him a less effective minion and assassin. For a moment, as she was blathering on and on at him, I thought he might even lose it and kill her. Sadly, no.

After leaving his motel room (you know, someone is going to have to clean that up), Pilgrim dropped by the hospital, looking way too conspicuous with his ripped clothes and bruised face, but too late to kill Frank.

Who was handcuffed inside an ambulance. Wasn't this where we came in?

Bits:

— Curtis. Sigh. He killed for the first time and as a healer, he was very upset about it. I get that. But I was disappointed in him for essentially leaving Amy to save Frank by herself.

— Karen bribed Creepy Ed the morgue guy with her own high heels. I thought that was pretty funny. The second time through, I noticed that our first glimpse of Karen in this episode was of her feet in those heels.

— Please tell me this episode isn't all the Karen we're getting?

— Why didn't Amy give the photos to Karen? She's a reporter, isn't she?

-- The close-up of Eliza as she was persuading Pilgrim to keep killing for her showed a throbbing vein in her cheek. Was that deliberate? It reminded me of Billy's scars.

— Re: the five million dollar bounty, I'm unclear about whether it's five mil for each of them, or if it's a package deal. Anyone?

Quotes:

Frank: "Now I'm the monster."

Billy: (to Krista) "It was a dark thing that we did."
You think? Bit of an understatement there, Billy. Pitch black would be a better adjective.

Amy: "You mother scratcher!"
Why did this amuse me so much?

Karen: (to Frank) "You can't keep loving people in your dreams."

I really enjoyed this episode. Three out of four mother scratchers,

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

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