The Punisher Season 2
The Punisher season 2 feels like the end of an era. It’s probably the last season of The Punisher, as a number of Marvel Netflix series are being shredded by Disney due to the advent of their own streaming service. Series such as Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil have already served as recent casualties of the platform’s existence. However, if the show is to end, at least fans can take comfort in the fact that it ends on a high note. The second season of the show, while not a massive improvement on the first, does the show justice, and is a fitting send off to what could have been a really great show had it been given more time to find its feet.
Season 2 does its best to emphasise the more human side of Frank Castle, our brutal, murderous antihero. In this season, he meets his new sidekick/ surrogate daughter, Amy Bendix, a young sharp-mouthed girl who’s gotten herself mixed up with some scary, mysterious and powerful people, who happen to be after something in her possession. Frank has a soft spot for Amy from the minute they met, as her prickly personality and acerbic wit is a reflection of his own, further emphasised during one of their first interactions when she rudely questions what he’s looking at, while addressing him as “rough road”.
The show is a bloody, high octane affair right from the off. The fight scenes are brutal, bone crunching affairs, which build on the intensity of the first season. The camera work also helps to highlight just how much damage is being done by the characters in each fight scene. It’s a gloriously macabre affair, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
This season also focuses on the rise of a new villain. Pilgrim is a mysterious, religious fanatic who takes his marching orders from an old testament evangelical clergy. The show goes out of its way to emphasise the fact that Pilgrim and Frank are equally matched, and have a lot in common. In a sense, both characters are dark reflections of each other, which is a theme that is played up to good effect throughout the duration of this season. It’s even possible that both characters might have been friends in another life, if they weren’t so busy trying to slit each other’s throats in this one. The interesting dynamics between the two characters is nothing short of fascinating, and helps sell the viewer on the narrative, especially when the stakes are raised later on in the season.
Adding to Frank’s troubles is long-time friend turned villain Billy Russo, who shares the spotlight with Frank. This season is equally divided between the both of them, doing its best to showcase the cosmetic and psychological damage that Billy suffered as a result of the events of the first season. The show also attempts to draw parallels between Billy and Frank, emphasising the feelings of betrayal that Billy felt at the hands of his brother, feelings that Frank is all too familiar with.
Unfortunately, due to events outside the control of The Punisher’s showrunners, a third season is looking more and more unlikely every day. However, the ending of season two is an oddly satisfying possible ending to the ill-fated show, letting its fans and viewers know that Frank is still who he is, and is definitely not letting go of that skull-painted bulletproof vest anytime soon.