Punisher Season 2 review
By Justin Hopkins
I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I wanted to see if it would survive Netflix cancelling spree on Marvel property. Now that it’s been a bit and it lives on. So, might as well proceed as if it goes on. Came in to season 2 with a bit more hope then I had for the first. Jon Bernthal proved to be an excellent choice for The Punisher from back in Daredevil and carried it over well to his own show. Can season 2 carry it over now that his vengeance is complete, and the answer is yes but comes with a huge wasted opportunity. Let’s get to it and I’ll explain my main issue in a bit.
The season picked up with Frank laying low and on the move in Michigan, under the name Pete Castiglione. Where he is seen with a potential to create a new life with a bartender Beth and her child, until he encounters a smart mouthed girl (Giorgia Whigham) with a group of people after her. After a blood filled brawl breaks out throughout the bar that saw Beth get shot. Refueling Frank’s desire for vengeance. More or less Kidnapping the girl after dropping Beth at the hospital. Trying to find out what is going on while The Pilgirm is hot on their heels at every turn.
Meanwhile back in New York, we see Madani has been visiting Russo in the hospital multiple times a day. As she struggled to overcome what he did to her. Wanting to see him in jail, but can’t due to him being unable to stand trial due to the brain damage left by the beating from Castle.
Russo was haunted by nightmares of the skull and had no idea of why. Memory being knocked back to where he never left the military. Krista Dumont was the Doctor try to help him regain his memory with mental problems of her own. Growing so obsessed by Russo that even after he escaped, continued to help till a relationship formed, and all of this was where my issue comes in.
Ben Barnes was tremendous at a damaged and remorseful Billy Russo. Even though we know his turn to Jigsaw is inevitable. Was so compelling as a sad and broken individual, but I didn’t care about this story in the slightest. The entire time him and Dumount just took much needed time away from the main story and just acted as devices to distract Frank from the main story villain and Barnes and Floriana Lima should have been held off for a later season, because they took time away from The Schultz’s and The Pilgrim and they are the ones that made this season special.
Josh Stewart’s portrayal of The Pilgrim was stunning and terrifying. He owned nearly every scene he was in. Soft spoken but every word carried a heavy menace behind it. A man saved by the word of God, but like Frank is an absolute tank. Takes a beating then gives it back ten fold. Feel he is being manipulated due to his faith and wanting to simply rid the world of filth, but as the story goes on, find out he is a lot deeper of a character and is being used by the Schultz’s Family and their hold over his boys. Seeing him and Frank trading blows at the end was the intense and brutal fight that was being worked up to and more. The two just battering each other and the shocking twist did not disappoint. Corbin Bernsen and Annette O’Toole didn’t get nearly as much screen time as they should have, they took advantage of it and created some real terrible people we were glad to seeeet the Swift punishment dealt by Frank. Had the moral issues and Madani and Curtis’s issues been moved from the Russo arch to this, would have had the exact same affect and got them more time for Schultz’s to be seen.
Despite my own issue, Season 2 was an absolute blast. Loved seeing Deborah Ann Will back as Karen Page and everyone had great chemistry. Hope this is not the last we’ve seen of this group and excited what season 3 will bring.
Thanks for reading.