Episode Title: 3am
Originally Aired: November 17th 2017
Marvel and Netflix are back for the third time in 2017 with their first spin off and non-Defenders centric show. Jon Bernthal is Frank Castle the titular punisher, a former soldier tormented by the death of his family and his thirst for revenge. Going in I expected Frank to be on the hunt for the majority of the season for the remaining people that were responsible for the death of his wife and kids. Instead, that storyline is mostly wrapped up before the opening credits role. I have a feeling this show will mirror elements of the Incredible Hulk TV show or X-files, there will be a monster of the week with an overarching plot that will be slowly pieced together as the season progresses.
It has to be said that this show will not be for everyone, the amount of violence and the level of brutality will be a turnoff for some. It can be off-putting but it is so well done and so visceral that the production team and actors should be proud of their work. Two weeks ago, Marvel released Thor Ragnarok and it was colorful and fun to the point that my major complaint was that it relied too much on the comedy and didn’t let us feel the other emotions an end of the world story should invoke. Too many laughs will not be the problem for The Punisher, in one-episode, people are strangled, shot from distances near and far, beaten with harmers and clubs. We may be appalled by Frank’s tactics but the audience is always on his side as he takes out the bad guys.
I thought the first episode of the new series was excellent. The acting and the filming were well above average and while the story may have been a little simple it hints at much larger things to come. My only real complaints about the episode was the abundance of flashbacks and some of the music. The flashbacks were mostly brief but there had to be 10 of them, looks back to activities with his kids or Frank being woken up by his wife after sleeping in. By the fifth time I was thinking, I get it you miss your family can we move on now. My second complaint is specifically about the intro music. In my opinion, Netflix has nailed it up to this point with all of the shows having quality music for the opening credits. I found the music annoying and repetitive, this will be the first into that I will skip for the next 12 episodes.
The highlight of the show outside of Bernthal was the introduction of three new characters. Curtis is a former Marine who runs a support group for soldiers who are having a hard time reacclimating into society and he may be Frank’s only friend. Then there is Dinah Madani and Sam Stein, two Homeland Security agents that are out to discover what happened in Afghanistan and how Frank was connected to it all. These three will be recurring characters but I am expecting at least one, if not two of them to die before the finale. Sam is the comedic cop who was just partnered with Madani who already lost one partner. Curtis is a caring man who wants to help Frank and his proximity could lead to his demise.
I can’t wait to come back for episode two and see what kind of villains Frank will encounter this time and find out who has been looking for him.