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DAREDEVIL Episode 4 Recap: The Punisher Tells His Heartbreaking Story

DAREDEVIL Episode 4 Recap: The Punisher Tells His Heartbreaking Story

Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Daredevil episode “Penny and Dime.” Leave the ring and find a fight away from this page if you haven’t seen the episode yet.

Funerals are not the time to pile on layers of sugar to make someone seem like he or she was a better person. Maybe the thought makes me harsh, but Father Lantom agreed, so… He presided over Grotto’s funeral in Daredevil’s “Penny and Dime.” The lack of attendance made a bleak occasion more depressing, but it did result in one hell of a pep talk between Lantom and Matt. In the comics, Matt’s Catholicism is a constant presence. We don’t see it as much in the series, but there are occasional reminders like this.

It was a small portion of the episode, but the scene between Lantom and Matt stood out. Maybe it’s because we have ideas of what priests should say and do in our heads, and Lantom’s words went against all of it. He didn’t exactly give a resounding thumbs-up to Matt’s extracurricular activities in Hell’s Kitchen, but he didn’t discourage him either.

And Hell’s Kitchen still needs help. As has been established, Fisk’s absence has opened the door. While Punisher tried to take care of the problem, the weeds haven’t stopped popping up. He’s been capable so far; Frank has taken a beating before this point but he still seemed invincible. That changed with the arrival of Finn. PS: I was not ready to see Tony Curran as anyone but Vincent van Gogh, thank you very much.

Finn gathered his Irish army (basically) and hunted Punisher down. It was an interesting parallel to what Karen was doing. She investigated to follow up on the bizarre x-ray of Frank’s punctured skull. Finn’s methods–you know, brute force–were more effective (Karen did find Frank’s former home, however). He located Frank and had the leg up on him for a brief time. The key word there is brief. The captivity ended with Frank unloading more bullets into people than usual. As he eliminated Finn, he brought up his family.

When Matt and Frank had their first rooftop chat, Matt didn’t have any pity regarding loss. He pointed out suffering loss didn’t make anyone a special snowflake and it wasn’t an excuse for Punisher’s actions. Learning about why Punisher was fighting didn’t make Matt’s sentiments any less true, but it shed some light on his extreme attitude. Daredevil helped Punisher escape the Irish, and as Punisher was wounded with nothing much else to do, he opened up to Daredevil.

Jon Bernthal’s been tremendous to this point, but in this episode, he was riveting. I’m not always one for a sob story about loss and trauma, but it was impossible not to be moved. Frank talked about coming home after being away at war and the joy of being reunited with his daughter. He wasn’t eloquent, that’s not who Frank is, but he spoke from a true place. The pain was damn near tangible. The day Frank returned home was the day his family was killed, and he described the grisly details of holding his dead daughter. He’s motivated by exacting revenge for his family’s murder. He’s also driven by not wanting such horrors to happen to anyone else–even though he’s killing someone’s relative every time he takes a life.

When the police eventually followed the trail of violence to Punisher and Daredevil, the latter convinced them to arrest Punisher and let him go. Daredevil put a smart and kind of selfless spin on it. I mean, clearly it kept him out of jail so it wasn’t entirely without selfish motivations, but he didn’t want Hell’s Kitchen to think Daredevil captured Punisher. He wanted to give the win to the police to restore some faith in the justice system. I respect him for that.

So far, elements of season two of Daredevil are outstanding. Sometimes they sweep up extraneous bits with their excellence and sometimes not. On the whole, the writing isn’t as consistent as what I remember from season one, and the show also suffers a little from following the epic-ness of Jessica Jones. Still, in “Penny and Dime,” Matt’s talk with the priest and Frank spilling to Matt about what happened to his family stand out as highlights. Bernthal brought so much pain to his monologue–it was poetic. A line as simple as, “I think I’m done, Red. I think I’m done” isn’t groundbreaking, but for the determined character, it was everything and Bernthal’s delivery sold it.

Random thoughts:

  • It took threatening his dog to get Punisher to talk. Frank has committed terrible deeds but seeing him show sympathy for an animal poked at a soft spot in my heart.
  • I’m on board with the whole Matt and Karen thing (I hope it goes a different route than the comics), but how long do you think he can/should keep his alternate identity from her?
  • The timing for the appearance of Elektra could not have been more obvious.

Favorite quotes:

  • “Revising history only dilutes the lessons we should learn from it.” – Father
  • “The guilt means your work is not yet finished.” – Father

Who else thought Karen and Matt’s date was the cutest? Head to the comments and tell me your thoughts about that and about Punisher’s tragic story.

IMAGES: Netflix

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