TV Review The Punisher Season 2: Episodes 10-12

All right, down to the home stretch now with Episodes 10-12, titled ‘The Dark Hearts of Men,’ ‘The Abyss,’ and ‘Collision’ course. It does not look all that likely that the two big plots of the season, Russo and Pilgrim, will find a nice, natural way to intersect this late in the game, especially with only one episode left after these three, but at least there was a lot of action.

So, the bullet points here. Russo and Dumont plan a way to get revenge on Frank, namely, Dumont has a wine night with Madani where she mines her for information about Frank and his weaknesses and learns that Frank likes to think himself better than men like Russo because he does not kill innocents. So Russo sets a trap where Frank will think he has done just that. And since Russo knows that Frank and Curtis are hunting him, he easily discovers them staking out his new HQ (called Valhalla for some reason), and knows they are coming and prepares his men. So Frank and Curtis start their own plan, which involves Curtis distracting Russo’s men outside with the sniper rifle, while Frank heads inside. Sadly for Curtis, who never wanted to hurt anyone, one shot grazes a major artery of one of the vets, who dies in Curtis’ arms, leaving the man feeling broken as he retreats the scene.

As for Frank, he is attacked by Russo’s men, who use flashes of light to stun him and proceed to beat him down while Russo gloats. Thinking him broken, Russo leaves the room, telling his men to finish the job. Of course, Frank recovers, kills everyone in a violent mess, and chases Russo to the next room where Russo retreats upstairs to a room with windows onto the floor below. So Frank shoots his machine gun after him, tearing through the windows. When he heads up to check to see if he got Russo, Frank discovers the bodies of three dead women, who we instantly suspect were planted there by Russo, but Frank thinks he killed them (of course), and does not fight when NYPD arrives and arrests him.

Meanwhile, we last saw Pilgrim about to be attacked by his old colleagues, and they do come after him, and he takes a beating, but in the end, he kills ALL of them before heading back to his hotel room to recover, using alcohol and coke to soothe his pain. Little does he know the next day will bring even more pain, as he calls to speak to his wife and is denied as she is actually dead; a fact he does not learn until Mrs. Schultz herself comes to visit him in his hotel room, telling him his wife is dead. She then informs him that she and her husband will be taking care of his children until he completes his mission, subtlety threatening his boys until he does what they want.

We next see Frank handcuffed in the hospital, where they took him to treat his wounds before taking him to prison. He has given up because he thinks he killed innocents, but luckily for him, Karen Page (who finally makes her appearance this season), Madani, and Amy have not given up on him, especially not when Russo calls to gloat about what happened to Frank, using terminology that makes Madani suddenly suspicious. While Karen and Madani investigate and prove the women were dead BEFORE Frank shot up the windows, Amy saves Frank from a corrupt cop trying to collect the bounty. His conscience healed, Frank and the ladies make their escape, with Madani helping a still limping Frank (now dressed in the cop’s uniform) out while Karen pulls all the fire alarms in the building. Sadly for them all, Mahoney is not buying it, and stops Madani and Frank outside and decides to take Frank in himself. He throws Frank into a nearby ambulance and takes off.

Unfortunately for Mahoney, Pilgrim saw what happened and comes after the ambulance, running it off the road (well bridge) it was on and causing it to crash after a fall of several stories. Madani arrives just in time to scare off Pilgrim, though the man steals her car and escapes. Frank saves Mahoney from the wreckage, which is about the explode, and sets off to deal with the Pilgrim situation, abducting Congressman David Schultz, the man from the pictures, who parents are the ones who hired Pilgrim to kill Frank and Amy. Eventually, we learn David had nothing to do with it and is immensely disappointed that his parents are so bigoted against who he is, something he shares with Curtis later. Pilgrim uses Madani’s car GPS to track down Frank’s trailer where he encounters Curtis and Amy, and while he beats down Curtis, Amy escapes, and Pilgrim heads back to his apartment to salve his wounds, as Amy did manage to shoot him in the leg during the scuffle. Little does he know though that Amy actually stowed away in the trunk of his car, intent on killing him.

Madani, tipped off by Russo’s words on the phone in Frank’s hospital room, visits Dumont, and both women are clearly aware that the dynamic has changed. After probing each other to see how much the other really knows, they attack. I was disappointed to see Dumont fair so well in a fight against a fully-trained DHO agent, when she is just a psychologist. Still, in the end, Madani manages to throw Dumont out a window – a fitting ending for the women who’s only interesting trait was her fear of heights.

Sadly for Madani, Dumont and Russo had just been making plans to leave Frank and the criminal life behind and start anew outside of New York, and just as Dumont hit the pavement, Russo had been coming home with flowers for his girl. As he stares in shock at his love bleeding on the ground, he looks up at the window and sees Madani there. He bolts for the door and we know Madani is in a lot of trouble. And of course, that is where Episode 12 ends, meaning we are in for a wild ride in Episode 13.

It is interesting to see the show switching gears at this point, to have Frank decide to actually deal with the Pilgrim situation at the end. It was the thing he was trying to do at the start of the season while Madani dealt with Russo, a responsibility she tried to push onto Frank earlier this season and a decision that potentially only made things worse. Looking forward to seeing how they wrap everything up!