Those names should strike fear into fictional villains everywhere. His show on Netflix broke new ground for Marvel, diving into a number of heavy topics. Some would argue that it’s the most emotionally and mentally challenging Marvel/Netflix adaptation since Jessica Jones and Daredevil Season 2.
However, there is a lot more to The Punisher than his violent outbursts, mission to avenge his family, fancy logo, and tendency to leave a mess wherever he shows up. There are also a number of factors that we learned could lead to the demise of Frank Castle.
The Netflix series did what none of the awful movies (seriously, they were legit cr*p) were able to do: present Frank Castle as a complete character instead of a caricature. In this list we are going to take a deep dive into the many layers of Frank Castle and what we learned about him through season one. More specifically, we are going to look at his weaknesses.
You’ve all probably binge-watched the series by now and are ready for the recently announced second season. We’re hoping this will hold you and your friends over until the Punisher adventure continues.
15. He Has A Conscience
It really doesn’t matter who crosses the Punisher, he doesn’t blink an eye or lose any sleep (at least for disposing of the wicked). However, that doesn’t mean he is a mindless killer who doesn’t have some sort of moral code of conduct.
He actually saves Agent Madani after his partner, David “Micro” Lieberman rammed a truck into her car getting his hands “dirty” in the process. A lesser man would have allowed her to die without much thought.
Yet, when it comes to bad guys…Castle’s kindness could be something that gets him in trouble. It’s possible that he could be deceived into letting someone live…
14. He Has A New Bond With Liberman
While David “Micro” Liberman took a huge risk when he reached out to Frank, it ended up paying off for both men. Despite Frank’s original hesitation, he and Liberman turned into a highly efficient team who helped one another heal.
It’s highly unlikely that either would have lived without having the other by their side. While they had their arguments, bickered at one another, they ended up seeing each other as brothers.
Who would have thought that the Punisher would have worked so well with others? If you watched the second season of Daredevil (of course, you did), you’ll know that Frank can be a little testy at times.
13. His Past Could Be Full Of Acquaintances
While at the beginning of the season, only a few people were aware that Frank Castle was still alive. One of them was Curtis, who he served with while in the Marine Corps. We soon learn that Curtis and Frank are extremely close, and Curtis serves as a guiding light for Frank and presumably always has.
Then we have Billy Russo, a man who Frank served with on what we’ll call a “special covert team” after both were selected for their unique set of skills.
One of these individuals would show themselves to be a true friend to Frank, the other would show himself to be an extremely troubled, greedy, and broken shell of himself. Yet, there could be more individuals in his past that he cares about.
12. He Can Be Brutally Honest
Frank’s conversation with the unstable Lewis character after he wired a bomb to Curtis was one of the most emotionally interesting scenes in the Marvel/Netflix partnership. Each character represented a military Veteran in different mental stages of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Frank deciding to challenge Lewis by directing calling him a liar after Lewis proclaimed he joined the Army in order to serve his country was as powerful as it was thoughtful.
This display of brutal honesty by the Punisher is not something that was expected in a high tension situation like this showdown – let’s not forget one of his closest friends’ life was hanging in the balance.
11. He Can Show Loyalty Without Any Constraints
In an extremely powerful moment and the conclusion of an incredible scene, Frank Castle showed his loyalty to Curtis. Frank was willing to trust the words of Lewis and cut the wire which could have killed both he and his long-time friend.
Frank told Lewis the story of how Curtis lost his leg, an event Frank blames himself for – despite the objections from Curtis. Frank saying, “It’s you and me,” means a lot more than the words themselves. Franks shows that he takes his brotherhood seriously with Curtis, even if it costs him his life.
10. He Cares A Great Deal
Frank’s relationship throughout season one with Karen Page displays a new layer of Frank Castle. While adding her to the season allowed for great character development for Frank, it also allowed Karen to add to her lore as a journalist.
After the public altercation with Lewis, there are a lot of ways Marvel can handle Karen. I’m sure in future films a journalist could fit in – if Marvel decides to change their approach.
However, during The Punisher she helped Castle show that he is caring and show that he values Karen as a member of his family. There’s little Frank wouldn’t do for New York’s finest journalist.
9. He Can Relate To The Wicked
Frank was defiant in the fact that he was nothing like Lewis, yet when the disturbed murder was about to blow himself to piece – Frank was there to give him some comfort. There is little doubt that Frank has been to that dark place – especially with everything he has gone through since the Kandahar mission.
The Punisher side of Frank wanted nothing more than to see Lewis meet a painful end, yet season one showed a pronounced duality with ‘The Punisher’ being his physical self and an outlet for his quest to repent for his mistakes. While Frank Castle was his spiritual self, representing a man full of guilt and regret – unsure if he even deserves to live.
8. He’s Willing To Sacrifice Himself
The Punisher sticks to his mission of murdering those who had anything to do with the murder of his family. However, near the end of season one, we found that his mission was not absolute. Frank was willing to sacrifice himself to keep Liberman’s family alive.
Did you notice how Liberman’s family mirrored Frank’s? From the unruly son, talented daughter, and a wife which matched his personality perfectly. You see, the plot lines really run deep within season one.
7. He’s Starting To Trust Others
When you think of The Punisher, you don’t think of a man who allows people near him easily. You also probably don’t think of someone who accepts a helping hand from others. Yet, his relationship with David “Micro” Liberman shows Frank drop some of his boundaries – even if he often did so in a stone cold fashion.
This is best exemplified by Liberman actually saving Frank’s life. His relationship with Karen Page and Curtis further show that Frank is a complex human being that does need a sense of bond in order to function.
6. He Goes Out In Public Often
Who knew that Frank Castle could pass as a Hipster and homeless person?! I know there’s a joke that some of you would like me to make here, but I will pass on doing so…
…That was difficult.
Anyway, Frank was taking a risk any time he would go into public since the world as he knew it thought he was dead for quite some time. There were only a select few who knew that The Punisher had not met a dramatic end. Well, that didn’t stop Frank from getting his sunshine and surprising the journalist Karen Page.
5. He Can Spare The Wicked
Without going into the implications from the comic book series, Frank deciding to spare the life of Billy Russo goes far beyond him giving a former good friend a pass – it shows a change in the mental psyche of Frank.
While he did beat Billy to an inch of his life, his decision to spare him goes a long way. Frank would then join the veteran therapy sessions led by his long-time friend Curtis. Which were paid by Billy, so one has to wonder how they are being financed currently.
However, this change in Frank shows that he may be beginning to emotionally heal. It also sets up an interesting plot down the road if you can get “jiggy” with it.
4. He Bonds With Micro’s Family
The interesting side plot of Frank’s budding relationship with Liberman’s family was extremely interesting. He played the friendly, yet cold “Pete” while around the family – doing a great deal to help them through the difficult transition without David around.
A year had passed since Liberman had to fake his death and his family was beginning to fall apart. Sarah (David’s wife) eventually decided to make a move and the two shared a brief makeout session, which Frank ended. That moment led to several humorous exchanges between Frank and David. “So this is how we’re dealing with this?”
His relationship with Lieberman’s family shows that Frank never lost his sense of humanity. However, they are a huge weakness. Unlike David, there was little sign (Aside from a tiny glimpse that I won’t spoil) that the family could survive a hostile situation.
3. He Can Cook
In the biggest tearing down of gender norms in season one, Frank Castle is shown to know his way around the kitchen. In a brief exchange with Liberman, Frank shows off his cooking knowledge followed by a cryptic, “There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Liberman.”
You have to wonder what his favorite dish to cook is, what his favorite style of cooking is, his favorite cuisine, whether he seasons his chicken and so many other questions.
2. He’s Developed Patterns
The scenes with Frank Castle at diners give a bit of humor, but also give insight into his thought process, along with his desire to maintain a sense of consistency and order. If you didn’t notice, Frank always ordered the same exact meal.
Despite Frank’s life being chaotic since going to Kandahar, he manages to keep himself sane by having a strict code and focusing on his mission. His decision to order the same meal when treating himself could be a nod to how regimented Frank is.
Who doesn’t like bacon and eggs? Vegans excluded, we don’t mean them. Everyone else, though… But, seriously Frank developed a pattern and stuck with it. Someone wanting to do him harm could easily pick up on that.
1. His Can Show Self Restraint
In the beginning of the season, Frank was living his life as Pete and was working (far too hard) at a construction site. Several of Frank’s co-workers decided to bully Frank a bit, however, Frank kept his head down and didn’t allow their immature antics get to him.
It wouldn’t be until this same group of bullies attempted to kill a new co-worker – who had been kind to Frank – that The Punisher came out to “play.”
They quickly learned that they had some several really bad life choices, too bad that’s the last lesson they were to ever have.
Punisher gonna Punish. However, Frank’s restraint could hurt him in the future. He’s beginning to find peace, but it doesn’t look as if the universe wants his life to be peaceful. There will come a time where he will be forced to act, let’s hope he doesn’t hesitate.
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