The Punisher Season 1, Episode 1: 3AM review and recap

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The Punisher Season 1 streams exclusively on Netflix.

Episode 1 synopsis – Frank Castle vanishes without a trace

After eliminating all the parties involved with his family’s murder, vigilante Frank Castle has given up his identity as The Punisher and vanished without a trace, believing his mission to be accomplished. Special Agent Dinah Madani has returned to the United States wanting to investigate the death of her former partner after he discovered a drug smuggling operation involving American troops and bring his killers to justice.

Episode 1 recap – Frank Castle is Pete Castiglione

After his debut in Season 2 of Daredevil, I was a bit worried and intrigued as to how the writers would create a story for Frank Castle that would be streamed for a collective 13 hours. I was highly impressed with this first episode as it gave you The Punisher doing what he does best — killing people.

It also gave a few background stories — Agent Madani’s search for justice, coping with PTSD and who is spying on Castle through video surveillance. The thing that separates this series from the other Marvel shows is that there are no powers, superhuman abilities or enhancements — just ordinary people dealing with clandestine missions and chickens coming home to roost. This series started where the finale of Daredevil Season 2 left off, with Castle hunting down the rest of the individuals who had a hand in his family’s murder. Castle kills off these individuals in the most stylistic ways, including a headshot from Castle’s sniper rifle in Texas to his victim in a building in Mexico.

After returning to New York, Castle fakes his death and takes the name of Pete Castiglione to stay on the down low as he believes his job to be done. He takes up a job as a construction worker where he not only befriends new co-worker Donny Chavez over lunch, but ends up saving his life. Chavez gets pressured to partake in a robbery scheme which turns south and their fellow co-workers plan to kill him. The lovely tool Frank uses to save Donny is his trusty sledgehammer which makes for one of the most brutal fight scenes in a Marvel show thus far. After saving Chavez, Castle pays a visit to the scene of the robbery, which was the Gnucci crime family poker game, and proceeds to kill everyone in order to tie up loose ends. This whole exchange with Chavez, shows the way that Frank’s ideal of justice, which happens to be protect the innocent, punish the crooked by any means necessary. Castle left the poker game and was being watched on surveillance cameras by an unknown individual.

The introduction of Special Agent Dinah Madani was a nice addition to the series because Marvel Netflix shows have always had strong female leads to accompany the male protagonists. Madani comes to New York to work for the Department of Homeland Security to seek answers as to what occurred in Kandahar. All she knows is that her previous partner, Afghan police officer Ahmed Zubair was killed and his body was never found after discovering an illegal drug smuggling ring that involved American soldiers. Madani feels that Zubair may have been right about the drug smuggling, because everytime she tries to bring it up to her superior Carson Wolf, he dismisses her and threatens her job if she does not leave the issue alone. Wolf also assigns Sam Stein, already on Wolfe’s bad side, as her new partner to ensure that the pairing keeps her discouraged my pursuing Kandahar any more.

Rare Review — Why we gave Episode 1 4/5 stars

What worked

  • The opening sequence which sets the stage and tone for how the series will play out.
  • Multiple ways that various characters experience grief.
  • Hammer Time fight scene.
  • The foundation created by the writers to help carry this series for 13 episode.

What didn’t work

  • I don’t know how Frank Castle kept a low profile with the name Pete Castiglione.

The Punisher Season 1

The Punisher Season 1, Episode 2: Two Dead Men review and recap

The Punisher Season 1, Episode 3: Kandahar review and recap

The Punisher Season 1, Episode 4: Resupply review and recap

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