[Header Image: Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, and Giorgia Whigham as Amy/Rachel | Netflix]
From the moment the first episode started I knew I was going to absolutely love this season. To avoid spoiling anything, let’s just say it starts with a car chase, Frank (Jon Bernthal) is covered in blood, guns, and a mystery girl (Amy/Rachel played by Giorgia Whigham). It was very suitable for this show and it most definitely felt like I was stepping back into the world of Frank Castle.
After the opening scene, we’re taken back in time a little to show how Frank gets to that point. The first three episodes or so do a lot to introduce us to all the new characters, reintroduce us to previous characters, and set the scene for where this season is going to go. We partly follow Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) who is in hospital after the events of season 1 and a new character John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart) who is hunting Amy and killing anyone who gets in his way.
The split was actually done really well. There was often equal amounts of focus on both the Billy Russo storyline and the Pilgrim storyline. The overall structure and pacing of the season was really done and everything unfolded gradually, giving just enough information to keep you interested but keeping just enough from you that you actually wanted to keep watching. The two storylines didn’t necessarily intersect but there was a lot of crossover with what characters like Frank had to deal with. I honestly enjoyed each episode just as much as the last. They were all entertaining and presented something new to the overall plot(s) of the season.
There were some great characters too! Of course, it was great to see Frank again. Some of his journey was similar to the Punisher season 1 and Daredevil season 2 but there were also new elements. At this point, he’s at a different stage. As I write there’s no news on renewal but I’m guessing the show will be canceled like the rest. It’s a shame because you can see progress in Frank’s journey that could create a path in season 3 that feels familiar enough but moves on to something new. The three major characters we see from season 1 are Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah) who was shot in the head toward the end of season 1, Billy Russo who (as I said before) is in the hospital after the events of season 1, and Curtis Hoyle (Jason R. Moore) who became injured because he got in Billy’s way.
We see all three of those characters suffer from the events of the previous season just like Frank is. They each have different feelings on the events and especially about how to deal with it now. Their suffering, while having the same cause, is widely different. They’re all dealing with how they feel in different ways and their actions (and reactions) vary too. I enjoyed seeing them all again and seeing the aftermath of season 1 through many points of views and not just one.
There were also a few new faces but three, in particular, stood out. The first is Krista Dumont (Floriana Lima) who plays a psychotherapist working with Billy at the hospital, she becomes quite a big part of his portion of the season but I don’t want to give away too much other than I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her scenes. The other two are Amy and Pilgrim. As I said before, the latter is coming after Amy and has killed several people along the way. She, on the other hand, is saved by Frank and they work together to figure out what is going on.
The latter is brought to New York and comes after Amy for reasons unknown, killing several people along the way. Amy is a teenager who is saved by Frank and ends up traveling with him to solve what is going on. I liked both those characters a lot. Pilgrim was really interesting and I’m already a fan of Josh Stewart so seeing him in a main role was really fun. Amy was a big surprise. I honestly didn’t expect to like her as much as I did but she’s definitely my favourite new character of the season and one of my favourite characters overall for Marvel Netflix.
Not only were the characters really great but so were the relationships. We only got to see them interact for one episode but as always Frank and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) blew me away. In just one episode we got some really great scenes between the two of them and once again we’re shown why these two characters are so well loved together. It’s a shame she was only in one episode but it actually works out pretty well and she comes into it at just the right time. As much as I wanted to see more of her, I appreciate that it worked really well with the season and she was a big focus of the episode she stared in.
I will say though, that the biggest relationship to stand out for me was Amy and Frank. This season is the first time they’ve met so we’re blessed with seeing them get to know each other and grow from complete strangers to being more than that. I think their relationship was probably my favourite thing about the whole season, it was really well done and the progression was perfectly paced. They’re also surprisingly similar but vastly different which makes for some very intense scenes between them but also some very entertaining ones.
I did also appreciate touching back on the relationships between Frank, Curtis, and Billy. For reasons I can’t say, there’s more depth than I expected. Obviously, they’re all going through the aftermath of season 1 but there are some details that change what that aftermath looks like and how they interact which made it so there was a lot to explore with the three of them and it was way more entertaining that I was prepared for.
Generally speaking, I loved this season and I would say that I enjoyed it even more than season 1. Apart from a portion near the middle where it focused on the Billy story more than the Pilgrim one, they often balanced everything perfectly and the pacing was fantastic. All of the new characters were interesting and there are a ton I’ve not mentioned in this review (mostly because anything I could say about them will reveal spoilers). I genuinely liked following all of them and no character felt like a waste or like a duplicate. In a lot of ways its a follow on from season 1, showing the aftermath and continuing on any unfinished storylines, but at the same time, it adds a lot of new content. There’s plenty of directions the show could go in if it’s lucky enough to get renewed, and I think with all honesty that the Punisher is now joint first place with Daredevil as my favourite Marvel Netflix show.
It’s been consistently good. It’s just as well done as season 1 and even better in a lot of ways. Hopefully, there are more seasons to come and it will be a shame if there’s not because I feel like the Punisher is one of those shows that will only get bigger and better with every season.