So Frank Castle, at the beginning of the season, is drifting from town to town, trying to live the quiet life, even starting to connect to people again, but when a teen girl is attacked by surprisingly well-trained and equipped foes, Frank’s back in the fight.
Look, that’s… not too bad. In some ways what they have is a kind of ideal opening for a Punisher series. Frank comes to a new town, gets close to a local woman and her son, she’s injured in a gunfight over a teen girl in trouble, Frank starts revenge-killing the people responsible for the gunfight, the teen girl
Because wow but Marvel Netflix had a weird need to drag their characters back to square one. They were convinced that “reluctant hero being dragged into the fight” was the best intro possible and would not grow old at all no matter how many times they did it.
The Defenders, a show with only eight episodes to fill, spent three of them with Matt Murdock trying his hardest not to be Daredevil, Jessica Jones trying to be a recluse (again), and Luke Cage just getting out of jail. Only Danny Rand, the worst Defender and the one least likely to be cared about, seemed eager to get into the Hand-fighting business. It was like “Everyone retires two minutes after their season finale” was the only excuse they could think up for “Why don’t the main characters cross over more?” Then JJ season two just tried to pretend Defenders never happened, and Jessica had to be reluctantly dragged into another mess.
The worst offender, of course, is Punisher season one, which I described at length back then. Suffice to say, they threw out Frank finally becoming the Punisher, and then took three episodes, three hour-long episodes, to re-teach him that thing about Afghanistan and get the actual plot going. Say what you want about the CW shows (they’re overall better than Marvel Netflix, fight me), but the main characters are in costume and fighting criminals by the end of the first episode, and only rarely need to be talked back into it.
But anyway, back to where we open the season…
Thing they did well: Jon Bernthal might be better than ever as Frank Castle. It’ll be a shame when Kevin Feige ultimately replaces him with Jamie Dornan from 50 Shades of Grey— don’t look at me like that, you don’t know that he won’t.