The Punisher: Home
November 18, 2017 9:54 PM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Frank makes a damning confession. A shootout leaves Sarah wondering what to believe. Rawlins goes in for the kill, once and for all.

*At Homeland Security, Frank gives Dinah a confession about Cerberus and all involved, and admits that he was the one who shot Ahmad.
*Lieberman tells Dinah he will get her the video and all the other evidence she needs but only if she gets Sarah and Zach back first.
*Frank and Lieberman wait at the waterfront to make the exchange. A van approaches and lets out Sarah and Zach, while Billy watches through his rifle scope. Homeland security interrupts the transfer, and Lieberman is killed in the crossfire, while Frank is taken by Billy's men and Billy shoots out Dinah's car tires.
*Frank dreams of his wedding dance, then comes to at the hideout, zip tied to a chair. Billy tells him that Homeland killed Lieberman, so he needs Frank to give him the password to get into Lieberman's files.
*Frank asks if Billy killed his family, and he says he didn't, but admits knowing about it ahead of time.
*Back at Homeland Security, Dinah opens Lieberman's bodybag from his faked death, and he is reunited with his family. Sarah is super upset, but eventually a group hug ensues.
*At the hideout, Rawlins joins the interrogation, and moves from talking to lots of punching. Frank drifts between the torture, and dreams of having sex with Maria.
*Dinah confronts Lieberman over Frank's double-cross; he was supposed to let her track him to wherever Billy was taking him, but he ripped the tracker out of his jacket before he got put in the van. Lieberman says he's given her everything she needs, but his loyalty is to Frank, who wanted his shot at Billy and Rawlins without interference.
*Back at the hideout, a barely coherent Frank tells Billy he's had enough. He says it has to be his right hand entering the password and his eye for the retinal scan. They pull the chair over to the computer and free his hand -- in the distraction of the countdown stopping and the system opening, Frank pulls a shiv from the chair and stabs Rawlins in the shoulder and starts biting his ear off. Billy pulls Frank off of him, then Rawlins stomps Frank's head until he's knocked out.
*Lieberman has a change of heart as he worries for Frank, and shows Dinah the feed from the hideout surveillance cameras, which have been set to transmit as Frank's final revenge if he failed to kill everyone first.
*Billy interrupts Rawlins' beating of Frank in order to give him the quick death he promised, but Rawlins isn't having it, and threatens and insults Billy, and they point their guns at each other. Billy gives way, but snips at Frank's wrist tie before he walks away.
*Frank dreams of telling Maria he was coming home for good. Rawlins injects him with adrenalin so he'll be conscious for the rest of his torture/death. Dream Maria holds Frank's hands and tells him to come home, but he breaks her grip when he breaks the zip tie, and then he stabs, punches, and eye-gouges Rawlins to death.
*Billy slips away as Dinah and Homeland Security tactical, and Lieberman arrive.
posted by oh yeah! (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This might be the first time I've ever seen a "It was part of my plan to get captured!" plan work in a way that made any damn sense. I guess it helps a lot when the fail condition is "suicidal guy dies" but still, good work marvel.
posted by fomhar at 1:45 PM on November 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

The end scene music is at a bare minimum a homage to the end of 28 days later. The setup of him about to be killed is equated with Cillian Murphy unleashing the chained infected from the Army Fortification. It is the music of everything going sideways as the infected overrun the fort and Cillian's character breaks free for vengeance. It is a very primal twist. The imagery matches his character taking on the military officers... with the blood painted on both their faces - locked in struggle.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Man, Rawlins. Part of me is tempted to criticize that they made it so easy to hate him, that they made the ultimate villain really just that bad. Other antagonists like Lewis and Russo have clearly gone bad and betrayed both values and people, but they feel more like humans who broke under pressure before going on their way to becoming monsters. And in general the TV MCU has been good at giving us human antagonists. Rawlins appears as both wooden and a true psychopath.

But if there is anywhere I think it's damn important to give us the psychopath, it's here. It made me think of this Vladimir Bukovsky editorial on torture from 2005, in particular this part:
Investigation is a subtle process, requiring patience and fine analytical ability, as well as a skill in cultivating one's sources. When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.
And that's who Rawlins is, isn't it? He's the kind of guy for whom torture isn't just a heat of the moment must-get-the-information means-to-an-end thing, it's actually an activity he looks forward to, he likes it. And if we aren't careful, the ends-justify-the-means culture of war and covert operations become an ideal environment for men like that to thrive and as their influence grows they corrupt the people around them and that corruption can grow until it not only costs humanity in terms of lives and suffering but actually threatens the whole damn system.

War accidentally makes people like Lewis. Our moral carelessness, if we let it, puts people like Rawlins in places of influence.
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2017 [10 favorites]

Wow, that was both raw and well-done.

Yeah, fomhar, totally one of the few instances where this works (both why Frank would go this route in the first place, and why Frank was plausibly successful) and it let a whole lot of backstory hang all the way out.

Nice callback to the handgun in the drawer by the computer terminal that David "totally forgot about," originally, then the un-Chekhov-ed(?) blade-taped-under-the-chair.

Great point about the music, Nanukthedog! My problem with 28 Days Later was that the Cillian Murphy character completely did not have the background to succeed in going primal.

The musical score for both scenes was, to me, signifying that there wasn't rage or anger or hatred or any of that anymore - just necessary righteousness carried out as is required.

wildblueyonger - definitely; for Rawlins, torture is the end, shady/evil blackest ops sponsor is the means.

Bit (pleasantly) surprised at how the Lieberman family situation played out and the communication and the children's forgiveness. Not totally buying it, but as far as the bar in comics/graphicnovels go, this tw'aint bad.

As a casual observer, someone who went through what Frank did ... that's at least a year of convalescence and he'd never be right again. I guess the humans of the MCU really do have a different regenerative biology compared to Earth 2017 humans (as mentioned by someone earlier in this series FanFare or in a Blue thread about the Defenders re: DareDevil braining people in the noggin all the time with a rod and pretending that they're just "stunned").

Scars are a thing, especially in the facial area - and they don't go away (significantly) unless you developed them under the age of 12.
posted by porpoise at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Poor Dinah. Why won't anyone do a video interview with her properly and just tell her their name when she asks them to and not arse around?
posted by Grangousier at 1:48 PM on November 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, and according to my wife, Japanese watchers of the series on Twitter refer to him as Puni San.
posted by Grangousier at 2:32 PM on November 24, 2017

I'm going to assume that Frank taped a weapon to the bottom of everything he could conceivably be zip-tied to. Otherwise the wheels fall off this plan pretty fast.
posted by Mogur at 2:53 PM on November 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think it's fair to say that if Frank has any spare time, he spends it duct-taping weapons to the bottom of random things.
posted by Grangousier at 3:01 PM on November 25, 2017 [15 favorites]

Oh, and according to my wife, Japanese watchers of the series on Twitter refer to him as Puni San.

I’ll just leave this right here...
posted by armage at 3:59 AM on November 26, 2017

And that's who Rawlins is, isn't it? He's the kind of guy for whom torture isn't just a heat of the moment must-get-the-information means-to-an-end thing, it's actually an activity he looks forward to, he likes it.

There was that scene a couple of episodes back where Russo tells Rawlins while they're in the mansion that he can see Rawlins getting super hard when he gets to torture people. He's set up as a true psychopath, and while it's an "easy" supervillain, it totally works for this show in context against everyone else.
posted by numaner at 12:09 AM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

War accidentally makes people like Lewis. Our moral carelessness, if we let it, puts people like Rawlins in places of influence.

This is I think the overarching theme, if there is one. We can prevent people from turning into Lewises and Russos and Castles. But only if we are willing to refuse to put the Rawlins in power, regardless of how useful or capable they are.
posted by corb at 10:43 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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