The Punisher: Virtue of the Vicious
November 18, 2017 6:31 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

An attack on a high-profile politician is examined (and reexamined) through different perspectives. Madani faces a painful truth.

*Lewis shoots a man through his apartment's peephole, then enters and starts taking his jacket. When he sees he had pet birds he tries to release them from their cage (but they stay put, because I guess they know the NYC skies are no safe place for tame little birds, honestly Lewis, just live with your guilt).
*NYPD detective Brett interviews Billy, Senator Ori, Karen, and Dinah about the events of 6 hours earlier, when Lewis used the murdered man's (Isaiah) Anvil credentials to take his place in the security detail and breach Senator Ori's hotel suite during his interview with Karen. Before Karen's interview, Dinah takes her aside and asks her to help her contact Frank.

Six Hours Earlier:
*Frank calls Billy and warns him that Lewis is coming after Ori, tells him to get the senator out of the hotel secretly so that Lewis will think he's still there and Frank can take care of him.
*Karen meets Billy in the hallway, and he takes her to the gun control interview.
*Lewis comes up the stairwell, sucker-shooting Anvil security as he goes, then disables the elevator at the Senator's floor, blows through the door with explosives, and sets off a smoke (or tear gas?) canister.
*In Ori's version of the story, Frank and Lewis appear to be working together, and Ori grabs a gun and tries to get help for Karen. In Karen's version of the story, Ori cravenly begs for his life, then she also pleads with Lewis not to kill him, and Ori runs away leaving Karen behind when Lewis grabs her as a human shield against Frank. Lewis activates the deadman switch on his bomb-vest and drags Karen to the elevator. The remaining not-dead Anvil operatives open fire on Frank the moment the elevator closes, and Frank flees to the stairwell, shielding himself with a dead Anvil operative.
*Billy comes down to the lobby to meet Dinah during the gun control interview. Earlier, she had come back to work to find Hernandez in her office. She showed him the bug and explained that it was why she set up the decoy bust and filed the false tactical plan. He leaves her the files on the dead mercenaries and she saw they were all Anvil-affiliated. At the hotel, she asks Billy about it; he claims ignorance, then gets defensive while Dinah gets suspicious. When the hotel alarms go off and Billy rushes back to the Senator's floor, she heads to the stairwell. She has a standoff with Frank, then Billy takes a shot at Frank and she and Billy have a standoff. She realizes Billy was the fifth mercenary who killed Sam. Then the NYPD bursts into the stairwell and restrain Billy and Dinah, and try to capture Frank but he smashes his way free and continues downward.
*Lewis pulls Karen into the hotel basement kitchen, and releases his hold on her. She tries to talk him down, but he grabs her again when Frank enters the room. Frank tries to talk him down, mentions what a good thing he did by telling him how to free Curtis by cutting the white wire, as a pretext for signaling to Karen when she has hold of the white wire of the deadman switch, and she pulls it and shoots Lewis in the foot, and Frank locks him into the food storage room. Lewis rewires the switch and blows himself up.
*Karen lets Frank use her as a human shield to get to the freight elevator past the hallway full of NYPD. They share a forehead touch, then Frank hauls himself up to the elevator shaft and escapes, zip lining to another building's rooftop.
posted by oh yeah! (11 comments total)
Well, I can't say I'm surprised that Punisher's gun control advocate was made a hypocrite (that would be like being surprised when the bitter atheist in a Hallmark Channel Movie of the Week ends up going to church by the end of the show, or the Christmas curmudgeon learning to believe in Santa Claus). As recent events have shown, being caught in a mass shooting can turn a person pro gun-control. It might have been interesting if they'd let him Ori be more sincere, but, I'd rank this higher than Arrow's attempt at a gun control episode at least, so, yay for that?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:05 AM on November 19, 2017

I honestly thought I'd missed an episode before they started the flashbacks.
posted by fomhar at 10:13 AM on November 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

The first link in the MeFi post led me to assume that the show was going to be politically tone deaf but ultimately neutral.
In fact, in a recent interview with showrunner Steve Lightfoot said the issues of mass shootings and gun control weren't considered by the writing staff at all.
Bullshit. The writers went out of their way to explicitly deride gun control advocacy, and they were really ham-handed about it. Lame.
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on November 19, 2017

I feel like Castle should've revealed he had some Santa Claus magic or something before he went into the elevator shaft because he obviously had only one good arm.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:11 AM on November 20, 2017

Also, why wouldn’t Russo think that Madani couldn’t connect him to that squad? That was the reason he gave for using them.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:36 PM on November 20, 2017

oh no. everyone s going to hate this one. I thought it was really good, but going for the rashomon, political commentary, and superhero hat trick? comic book land.
posted by eustatic at 9:21 PM on November 21, 2017

There's a tendency in TV writing that I refer to as "stinking of the writers' room", where you can just hear them throwing dialogue at each other and feeling very pleased with themselves. For some reason I always visualise a guy sitting in the background throwing a ball against the wall and catching it. Anyway, the whole thing with the anti-gun senator was the worst example so far in this series, but usually there are worse. The fact that the senator is right is almost beside the point, but given that he is putting that argument in and mendaciously knocking it down does more of a disservice to the show than ignoring it completely.
posted by Grangousier at 1:45 PM on November 24, 2017

How did Karen get her gun back? If I am reading this right, she had to give up her gun to interview Ori, and she was kidnapped from Ori's suite directly to the kitchen - at which point she shot the kid in the foot. Did she have a second gun? Seems pretty sloppy on Anvil's part, although I'm not that impressed with them in general, with their success mainly due to Russo's connections and salesmanship.
posted by Mogur at 10:17 AM on November 25, 2017

How did Karen get her gun back? If I am reading this right, she had to give up her gun to interview Ori, and she was kidnapped from Ori's suite directly to the kitchen - at which point she shot the kid in the foot. Did she have a second gun?

I thought maybe she had picked up one of the dead security guys' guns from the floor of the suite, like Ori claimed to have done in his version of events? (I too was confused by how the gun got back in her purse, but, not enough to suffer through a re-watch of the straw man gun control nonsense.)
posted by oh yeah! at 3:55 PM on November 26, 2017

Yes, there's a scene where Karen picks up one of the bad-guy's guns
posted by coriolisdave at 4:42 PM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don’t think it was so much “anti gun advocacy is bad” so much as “politicians are bad.” Like - it’s actually not the worst thing to either beg for your life or run for safety, people should not be expected to be badasses in every part of their daily life. The bullshit was where he invented a story that was him being the hero, trying to shoot, and then going for help, rather than just running.

That said, man, the Kipling in context made me cry.
posted by corb at 8:45 AM on December 4, 2018

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