The Punisher: My Brother's Keeper

"We could be gods."

Who we are and where we fit in the world is a big theme in this episode. Who is Frank Castle? Is he just the Punisher? Who is Billy Russo? Is he a brother or a monster?

I should start with that opening scene, which felt like it was lifted from the climax of a cops and robbers action movie. Frank being on the receiving end of superior firepower was a nice change up, and Billy, my god. His screams were primal, his pain so clearly written on his face, a mix of fear, bewilderment and pure anger. That anger continued throughout the episode, to his interactions with Krista and finally with his rise as a new crime lord. I was really worried that he would kill Krista, but at the moment she is the only good thing in his life. For her sake, I hope that doesn't change.

That question goes to the heart of this season; what they do and why they do it are slowly defining them. Billy constantly talks about a lack of comprehension and how he got his scars, and his faulty memory has driven him insane. More than that, his brothers (Frank and Curtis) are openly trying to kill him, and he doesn't know why. Yet I'm pretty sure he understands that it was his fault, and his nature compels him to act violently, seize power over others, and pursue criminal behavior. Even without his memories, Billy Russo is a monster.


I'm not sure if the same could be said about Frank. He is a murderer, no doubt about that. He is unrepentant in his actions, no matter how brutal. Yet he is also searching for answers, because at the beginning of this season he had found a measure of peace, and even a potential new future with a person nearly as damaged as himself, a family he could slip into, and perhaps find redemption in. Unfortunately Amy screwed that up, even though as Curtis pointed out, he didn't have to get involved. That's the rub, of course. His family is long gone as Amy kept driving home in the last episode. He lingers, unable or unwilling to follow them into death.

Amy for her part is also struggling with her place. She thought she had found something real with Frank, perhaps even a surrogate father. But she is also in a holding pattern, unable to escape her pursuers, in constant fear of that possible danger, so her existence is trying to learn to defend herself and hoping Castle will come back soon so he can kill the monster stalking her. I did love her interactions with Curtis, the pasta that looked practically inedible, talking with Madani and Curtis about their messed up situation, and of course almost cutting Curtis in half with a shotgun.

Madani, on the other hand, is still pretending to be who she used to be, a by-the-book enforcer of law. She wants to be in the light, she doesn't want to get her hands muddy with all the gray area she has to work in. But from her boss to Frank, nothing in her life is on the up and up. Except, oddly enough, for Mahoney, who is trying to do what she tried to do last season. Honestly, if she weren't so involved, he might be a good partner for her. Perhaps that's where her end game for this season is leading, stepping back into the light with Mahoney.

Bits:

The scene in the alley with Mahoney and Castle was delightful. I especially liked Curtis coming to Castle's rescue for once.

That song that played over Castle visiting his family's grave was called "The Woods" by The White Buffalo.

Mahoney doesn't believe that Frank has a code. Wanna bet by the end of the season he learns to be thankful Frank has one?

Quotes:

Curtis: "You're Amy. I heard so much about you. Not about the part with the shotgun. That would've been useful."
Amy: "Well, I'm making something to eat, if you're hungry."
Curtis: "First you wanna kill me, now you wanna feed me?"
Amy: "Yeah, it might be the same thing. I'm not much of a cook."

Mahoney: "He hit me in the head, and he took my gun."
Dinah: "He did the same thing to me first time we met."
Mahoney: "I guess I should be glad I'm not dead."

Curtis: "Sir, I'm gonna need you to let him go now."
Mahoney: "Who the hell are you?"
Curtis: "I'm the guy with the AR-10 pointed at your head."

Another really strong episode full of powerful themes, and strong characterizations.

3 1/2 out of 4 Gunfights in the streets of New York

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I thought Ben Barnes did amazing work in this episode. From one moment to the next, I had no idea what he was going to do, and thought that he could do absolutely anything.