‘The Punisher’: Season Two Review

Netflix

Prior to the beginning of 2019, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were all canceled leaving fans bewildered. The Marvel and Netflix partnership that brought in millions of viewers over the years is no longer, as Disney plans to move all Marvel content to their own streaming service. The news left fans playing the guessing game as to whether this would be the last season of The Punisher, and its titular character Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal). Well, if this truly is the last season of The Punisher to ever grace the Netflix streaming service fans will be excited and maybe somewhat bitter to know this is one of the best seasons yet.

After the events of the previous season, former Marine-turned-vigilante Frank Castle (Bernthal) is now a free man, living a quiet life on the road, and staying out of trouble until trouble knocks on his door. Thwarting the attempted murder of a young girl (Giorgia Whigham) at a bar leads Castle back into the life of the Punisher, putting a target on his back from new and returning adversaries.

the punisher pic 1
Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal)

We, the audience have grown to associate the Punisher with revenge whether it be through the comics he is known for or every episode he has appeared in throughout the Netflix Marvel series. He is a one-man army, who brutally takes down anyone who has wronged him no matter the cost. Castle may have got justice against the people who murdered his family in season one, but he has yet to find peace. For a man like Castle, there is no quietness to be had, nor a life of happiness, only violence, and from the first episode alone, season two makes that clear.

The Punisher is described by bystanders as nonhuman and sometimes even as an animal, and when you put him a corner he is at his most dangerous. The showrunners made sure to capture that first sentence perfectly, as the gunfights, and overall action is more brutal than the previous season. The number of times you will verbally utter “damn”, “oh my God” or “Jesus” throughout the show is probably more than you will be willing to admit.

john pilgrim
John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart)

There is enough callbacks, reveals, and returning characters to make fans happy, but new villain John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart) serves as the most interesting character. Pilgrim is a highly devoted Christian man with a moral compass, yet he is a skilled assassin intent on killing the young girl Castle protects. Just when Castle day couldn’t get any worse, his friend now enemy Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) now dawning the name of Jigsaw is hellbent on revenge and after the events of season one.

Season two is rather interesting because it poses a question from the very start to the very end “Does the world need a Punisher?” by the end of the season, Castle answers that question very clearly. If this is the last season of The Punisher it is a fitting conclusion to Frank Castle’s character arc, while still leaving the door open for a potential season three.

 ★★★★½

The Punisher Season 2 premieres on Netflix January 18th. All episodes were provided for this review

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