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TV Review: Marvel's The Punisher, Season 1, Episode 4 "Resupply"

THE PUNISHER, Season 1, Episode 4 "Resupply"

RECAP/REVIEW:

Last episode ended with Frank and Micro finally burrying the hatchet and deciding to work together to bring down the bad guys, most notably everyone involved in Operation Cerberus, led by Agent Rawlins. Episode 4 picks up with Lewis, the PTSD-laden Vet, digging a fighting position in his backyard, filling sandbags and sleeping inside of it, supposedly to bring the comfort of war back home. It's a big, fat smack in the ol' stereotype face (dude is still wearing his dog tags...c'mon. No Vet is doing that shit) and I can tell Lewis is going to become a character I quickly loathe (more so than I already do). After the credits roll, we catch back up with Castle, wearing a hoodie and pointing a gun at a familiar face inside a shipping container; it's Turk from Daredevil! Turk is moving some guns and Frank is in need of some, as well as ammo, but Turk unfortunately doesn't have much more than a custom-made pink rifle. Frank knocks Turk out, his little heist the criminals expedition a bit of a bust.

Back at Micro's hideout, Frank returns with nothing but that pink rifle. Micro was expecting that Frank would return with more, based on his intel that sent him to Turk. Frank is pissed. "Find my goddamn guns." We then head over to Madani's office where we find that a gun shipment from the Greeks is on the way, which is sure to hit Frank's inbox. Madani and Sam are preparing to conduct an operation to seize those guns, which will no doubt cause ol' Frank some issues. In the midst of discussing the operation, an older man enters the room; Rafi (short for Raphael), played by Tony Plana, another government stiff that has a history with Madani. (To note, I will always remember Plana as Jefe from THREE AMIGOS "It's a sweater!") Rafi tells Madani that he recommended Madani for the SAC job, but brings bad news that the investigation into Wolf's death is going above her. Madani is naturally peeved, because it's HER investigation, but I honestly couldn't give a shit. I just wanted to fast forward through this part.

Alas, Madani is confronted with the issue of playing along to advance her career versus doing exactly what she wants in order to do so. Rafi is insistent that she play ball and he seems to have her best interests in mind. I still don't care about her side story, though. I wish I did.

Back at Micro's, Frank is cleaning Micro's gun, which apparently was filthy. He gives a little anecdote about taking care of your gear and it's a nice little back-and-forth between the two. If there's a relationship that works in the show so far, it's Micro and Frank, which I honestly didn't expect to be so invested in. At one point he even makes Frank laugh by comparing him to Robin Hood. Then, Frank gets a call. "Who's calling you?" Micro asks. "Your wife," Frank replies. Ouch. That's gotta sting. Frank tells Micro that he's using Micro's wife as leverage against him, although it seems more half-hearted than an actual threat. Sarah leaves Frank a message about needing info for her car insurance (after hitting him with her car). Micro then tells Frank that he'll only help him with resupply of guns and ammo if he goes and helps Sarah. "So, what, you're gonna hold the mission hostage over a headlight?"

We then cut to Lewis in his backyard bunker where Curtis, bless his heart, has turned up to try and talk Lewis back to group. Lewis talks about how it never bothered him to sleep in a "dorm" while overseas (seriously, no barracks are ever referred to as a dorm. C'mon guys). Curtis rambles on trying to give Lewis some perspective, but Lewis zones him out. "I didn't get nothing over there. I lost it," Says Curtis (who lost his right leg over there). He tries to convince Lewis to come back to group, but for some reason Lewis is checked out and says he plans to try and sign up with Anvil (Billy Russo's group) and get back overseas. Curtis bounces out, knowing that Lewis is in deep. Ugh. I dread where this is going.

Meanwhile, Frank shows up at Sarah's to fill out her insurance paperwork with Micro watching from homebase. There's a commotion in the kitchen and we find Micro's daughter fixing the garbage disposal. They have a nice little moment where Frank reassures that she's a smart girl, while Sarah spills her guts about how the kids are adjusting after Micro's "death". Frank then says that he's sorry her "old man" let her down and she tears into him over the comment. Frank apologizes and offers to fix her headlight himself and...I'm starting to wonder if this is a Hallmark show or a blood-and-guts Marvel show. I get the drama here, but I truthfully just don't want to hang out with Micro's neurotic wife and bratty kids anymore. I just don't see this turning around.

Our next segue is at Anvil, where Billy Russo is giving a speech to an assembly of men that are trying out for a gig with the government contracting agency. Of course, Lewis is there, amidst the crowd, looking ever hopeful to be back in the fight. Russo gives a big, bold speech that taps right into the warrior psyche and Lewis is eating it all up. The prospect of a new "brotherhood" that "pays well" and gives all recruits "something to fight for. To live for." For the first time we see Russo's darker side and something tells me that's his real side.

Later, we see Micro hack the Homeland Security site, presumably to get info on this Greek gun shipment. Then, Madani and Sam are seen at their headquarters talking about the operation to seize the guns from the Greeks. They have a kind of arrogance about the whole thing, addressing it like it's a walk in the park, which by TV show watching standards lets you know it's all gonna go tits up. Back at Micro's base we see that Micro has located all the intel from Madani and Sam, including their whole tactical plan (told ya!). Frank says they're gonna "need a ride."

And so, we open on a shady warehouse full of high speed cars where some criminals are torturing other criminals over, presumably, said cars. Frank steps out of the shadows with a hand grenade and starts talking tough. He then tosses the grenade and commences dispatching the criminals with his .45. and there's a cool little nod to the figure set-up (can't recall if it was in the actual comics, though) that has a bad guy smashed into an arcade machine. Micro then comes out of hiding and is rather put off by the end-results of his "guided missile" known as The Punisher. "Smells more than I thought it would," he says. "Get used to it," says Frank. "I'd rather not." Frank tells Micro to take the van, while Frank jumps into a Mustang. "All this and you're taking the Mustang?" says Micro. "Always buy Amercan." Oh, Frank. You red-blooded 'Merican sumbitch.

Back at Anvil, we see Curtis meeting with Russo to sell Lewis down the river, telling him that the kid is basically about to snap. Russo doesn't seem to mind that much and heeds Curtis' warning, going to talk to Lewis. He asks Lewis about the foxhole he built in his backyard and expresses that he's a risk to take on. Lewis asks if this is because of Curtis. Russo says it doesn't matter. Lewis gets visibly angry and starts trash talking Curtis. Russo says he'd still help Lewis get a job there, but not as a shooter. This flips Lewis and Russo tells him he needs to leave. I get the point of the scene and it actually makes perfect sense if they're trying to connect how some men that have seen combat are actually unfit for it in a civilian job. It's a very real plight for many combat Veterans and I'm sure altercations like this have happened before. So, +1 to the showrunners and writers for getting on aspect of the modern-day Vet life correct.

Cut to Frank and Micro preparing to take down the Greek gun deal. Frank tells Micro it's time to go and he gets cold feet, saying he "can't do this" and that he's just a man "behind a screen". Frank is pissed and challenges Micro, saying that this is what his wife meant when she said he "never got his hands dirty" when there was a tough job. Micro jumps up, calling Frank a prick. "Pissed off beats being scared every time," Frank says. I do dig his quippy little Punisher wisdom bombs. Meanwhile, Madani and her crew are in the midst of the gun grab operation, talking on radios and maneuvering for the sweep of the truck full o' guns. Suddenly, music starts playing over the radio, messing up Madani and her peeps, while Frank leaps on top of the truck in motion (Daredevil, is that you?) and takes over the vehicle, driving it to an open lot and parking.

Madani's men maneuver on the vehicle and open the back, only to find a FLAME-THROWING FRANK in the back. He gives them five seconds to "get really hot or really wet" depending on if they stay and burn or run to the water. Madani is watching everything go down...only she isn't. Micro has looped video playing and feeding to her. She catches on quick and exits the tactical command to go on pursuit alone, because why not? Oh, and she ALSO has a mustang. 'Cause she's not your regular run-of-the-mill SAC with a Persian background and a penchant for breaking the rules. Nooooo. She's got a muscle car, too. All tropes broken, kids. All tropes.

Micro links up with Frank and they start to drive off with the guns, Micro taking the main truck and Frank back in his 'stang. Madani somehow finds them and starts to give chase. Micro breaks away and for some reason Madani decides to follow him (whouldn't it make more sense to stay with the guns?) and they have themselves a little Ford Motor Vehicle Chase in an industrial area. Frank seems to have lost her until she reappears ahead of him. Aw, shit, it's chicken time, y'all. They both rev up and hard charge at each other and before you know just who was gonna swerve (if either of them), ol Micro comes out of nowhere with the gun truck and slams into Madani's car, sending her toppling over. Frank tells Micro to go home as he tends to Madani, pulling her from the wreckage. He lays her down and tells her to be still. She recognizes him immediately. "Castle" she says. Frank searches her and pulls out her badge. "Agent Madani," he says. She asks if he killed Wolf. "You're damn right I did. He was dirty. You stay out of my way, Madani." Frank walks off, leaving Madani's smashed up Mustang to blow up as he does. That's a Punisher exit, people.

So, a little progress in this episode, but it's still a slow as hell burn. I'm not digging on revisiting Micro's wife and kids. Feels like everytime someone gets their hands on The Punisher they feel the need to mirror him with a reminder of his former life and that shit is tiiiiiired. One of the best things about The Punisher is that he never falls prey to that. He is a man reborn of a new mission. He's not looking for redemption. He's looking for revenge. The side story of Lewis continues to annoy the piss out of me and I just don't see how he becomes a character I'll care about. There's a number of routes they could go with him, but I can't help but be peeved at the stereotypical Vet angle. It's obnoxious, but again, I accept that it could be because of my own stature in that sense (and no, I don't still wear my dog tags and dig trenches in my back yard. Unless zombies). Madani and Sam aren't faring that much better, either, but I will say this; I DO like Madani's gusto. If anything can save her it's Amber Rose Revah's charisma. The relationship between Micro and Frank is way more dynamic and fun than I thought it would be. I dare say it's transcended their kind of casual one in the comics. It's a nice touch. There was a slight uptick in action for this one with a little warehouse shootout and a car chase, but we still haven't hit any kind of stride that makes me stand up and shout, "Not THAT'S the f*cking Punisher!" And, yeah, I'm waiting for that moment, so sue me. Let's hope episode five brings a little more heat, but thus far we're just trudging along.

Source: JoBlo.com

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