The Punisher: The Punisher, Season 2
January 20, 2019 1:32 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

I really liked this season.... but Jigsaw... I expected a lot more scars.
posted by Pendragon at 1:59 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was a frustrating watch for me. It felt like there was a good season somewhere beneath the surface, but the view was obstructed. Billy's makeup made no sense -- it reminded me of the Beast in that 2012 Beauty & The Beast reboot, which being a CW show couldn't possibly have a leading man who was ever unattractive. I have no idea why Punisher went with such minimal scarring for Billy. Not being familiar with Jigsaw from the comics, I probably could have lived with it if not for everyone in-show acting like Billy's scarring was significant. Like, either give him the grotesque make-up or don't, but don't give him pretty little scars and then have everyone act like he looks like he's grotesque. It made it really hard for me to take any of his bullshit seriously.

Likewise, I found Dr. Dumont's falling for Billy to be baffling. I mean, I guess it's sort of explained by her backstory, but, still. (I was sort of amused by how pristine her face was at the end too, despite falling 3 stories onto it. I mean, that she survived the fall at all, requires a massive suspension of disbelief, but, then to have her with just some external fixation casts, and full hair and makeup? I mean, we know they can do horrifyingly beaten-up face makeup from the gym fight scene, they could have at least given her some impressive bruising on the pavement-hitting side of her face. But, nope, she's gotta stay pretty too.)

I did like some of the Frank+Amy scenes - the AV Club episode 9 recap put it well "The perfect distillation of Frank Castle as a character is when he delivers a kill shot just so Amy won’t feel bad about shooting someone. That’s our lovable psychopathic dad!".
posted by oh yeah! at 2:59 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Jigsaw was a weird choice. I don't remember him from the comics but there was a definite disconnect between "I'm a horrible wretch who needs a match" and "here's an attractive actor with a little makeup on." Kind of a minor quibble ultimately, I guess, because lots of other things are going on (e.g., Russo's mug is all over TV but nobody clocks him). I found Amy's character to be irritating in the first few episodes but fine by about the midpoint (I fault the writers for this, having her claim to be some random person who 6 mercs showed up to kill was just not believable).

The thing at the end with the 3 dead women was really easy to see coming. I found it particularly jarring that they explain stippling in the morgue scene to a federal LEO (and by extension, us the audience) like we as a country all haven't seen a few years' worth of Law and Order, CSI: Wherever, etc.

Overall I thought this was better than the average MCU netflix show. So I assume it's going to be cancelled at any moment.
posted by axiom at 9:14 PM on January 20, 2019

Sigh, mask not match.
posted by axiom at 9:31 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I haven't finished the season yet, but what was the deal with Jigsaw/Russo's mask in the hospital? Is it supposed to be a medical thing to show where the fractures are? It obviously doesn't offer any sort of support or compression for the wounds. It looks more like a cheap "scary" Halloween mask.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:42 AM on January 21, 2019

I think that's addressed in episode 4 - the mask is for therapeutic purposes, psychological not medical.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:07 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was disappointing overall. Bernthal is just stellar and gets a couple of great scenes but the whole series is just a little middle of the road. It just doesn't quite land its villain(s), side characters or even protagonist.

There are so many people to keep track of and I don't feel the show does a great job of getting you invested in any of them. I think Madani and maybe the Pilgrim come across the most interesting, but even Amy who is meant to be the emotional heart of the series gets ultimately very little backstory and depth to her character.

I like (some) of the Punisher comics immensely because they spend a lot of time with the people working with or against Frank and Frank himself is just presented as a force of nature that everyone needs to deal with in their own way. The ones that focus on Frank as a person are generally less successful with a few exceptions.

Daredevil season 2 went for the latter and did a good job introducing Frank and it was probably the most nuanced, sympathetic and human portrayal of the Punisher I've seen. Season 1 did alright to follow that up but this season just feels a little flat.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:48 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

just finished. netflix seems to be trying to outdo itself in the ultra violence dept. like Im not super squeamish or necessarily violence averse in my entertainments but damn, we get it, you beat the guy to death, do we really need to see the pulped remains of his head in HD???

I found 'Amy' mostly really annoying throughout, she just got lucky to be a foil for Frank's daddy guilt and it took her a whole season to appreciate it and stop being an idiot. oh well...

I won't say I didn't enjoy it, Berthnal is fun to watch and Frank is just so over the top, BB is much too pretty to be convincing as a scarred-to-horrifying monster but he makes a fun ultra-villain. I'm glad Curtis didn't die, I was a little worried about that, he was pretty much the only truly 'good' person in the story...everyone else is some shade of asshole, no?

I guess my level of emotional involvement is mediated by my assumption that, yes, this one will be cancelled too...
posted by supermedusa at 11:28 AM on January 26, 2019

I was so disappointed by this season. If they had devoted more time to building a story instead of planning fight scenes.... Even for The Punisher I felt the violence didn't even push the story further. Like. The only satisfying moment was Frank shooting that evil Christian fascist woman and telling her hubby to kill himself.
posted by lineofsight at 10:09 AM on January 27, 2019

I liked this, generally, especially exploring Frank and his maternal instincts (not just the finale but the evolution too); also, Frank vs. The Punisher as in not being all that ok with the nickname others put on him.

Wishing Bernthal all the best in landing his next role - he's been typed and can absolutely do the part (this, and Shane in TWD) but can he still excel in something different? I think he might.

The violence was, frankly, laughable. It was way too ott and was off the charts, even taking the Netflix MCU all-humans-are-super-regeneration-mutants postulate.

Similarly the meagre medium-/ long-term damage depicted. The makeup is completely ignoring inflammation and is depicting the results a few hours after the injury that look like recovery after months of intensive therapy - with some dirt rubbed in around it.

Human bodies can't take that kind of punishment and continue fighting, much less not die.

Standout examples of this were the fight in the gym where Frank uses a 5lb (?) plate as brass knuckles and the mid-finale fight with the fire extinguisher/ CO2 tank. It's just not believable that someone doesn't die after the first couple of good solid straight-on blows to the head - fracturing, much less caving in, one's orbital usually ends a fight for good unless strong chemical stimulants are involved.

I'm actually a little upset about this because it minimizes/trivializes the consequences of violence.

I would not be surprised if shit like this hasn't contributed to kids getting seriously hurt because their "playmates" had an unrealistic idea of power levels. Until they get sued or arrested.

Also, a trio of beat cops can fight that well in an elevator? Psh. Must be power level balancing for the tie-in console game(s).
posted by porpoise at 8:38 PM on January 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I burst out laughing when I saw Billy Russo's scars. There was so much buildup! The spooky mask, the therapist's horrified expression when he took it off...but then there's the big reveal and the scars are at worst only marginally more disfiguring than the cuts/bruises/scars that Frank's constantly got all over his face. VERY MARGINALLY.

I can't help liking Billy, I like how the wheels are always turning with him. Frank is such a big lug in comparison that I can't really get as interested in what's going on with him. I liked Madani last season, but she's not getting much to do in this one (that said, I'm still watching S2, so maybe that'll change). And I like Amy pretty well, because at least she's clever -- but she's reminding me SO MUCH of Claire from Supernatural. That's sort of neither here nor there, because I like Amy loads better than Claire, but it's distracting. It makes her feel like a cliche, although she's not really any more of a cliche than any of these characters are.

There's something oddly addicting about this show, but I can't say that it's good or even enjoyable? Weird.
posted by rue72 at 10:56 PM on February 1, 2019

The only plausible reason for having Krista live is for her to be the Big Bad next season (if there is one), right?

I never really understood Amy's backstory.

Random observation: Midani owns two blouses; a white one and a royal blue one. She wears the royal blue one in almost every episode of both seasons.
posted by the webmistress at 7:32 PM on February 2, 2019

Only up to the 4th episode so I'm not reading comments yet but I wanted to add: Billy Russo/Jigsaw doesn't have enough scars on his face! But I guess that's more of the production not wanting to spend hours doing makeup for him every day.
posted by numaner at 1:58 PM on March 4, 2019

Yeah, I get the impression the scripts were written with a scar-filled Jigsaw, but during production they toned it way down, which made for some funny moments. "LOOK AT ME, I'M HIDEOUS !! ... me: No, you're not..."
posted by Pendragon at 2:55 AM on March 7, 2019

So I finished and I'm not that impressed. Like most have said, the violence was way over the top, but also didn't really make sense. Like Frank getting carved up and beaten to a pulp by Billy's gang in that warehouse, and looked only slightly beat up by the time he escaped the hospital, and that was maybe only a 12 hours lapse?

Also, how is someone like Billy can think ahead to plan the murder of the 3 women, including removing the bullet shells, but forget to aim like they're getting shot from the floor below?

I think my biggest complaint is that this show just doesn't know how to write/treat women. All of them suffered terrible things, and then either barely get their redemption, like Madani, who didn't even get the kill shot on Billy like she deserved, which I also complained about last season, or just fully embraced the evil, like Dumont, who was such a tropey therapist-falls-for-psycho-patient that my eyes rolled out of my head. And then there was Elizabeth Schultz who is just your typical one-dimensional villain with no complexities, Rebecca who is just there for The Pilgrim to get any sympathies but I just found him uninteresting (the most interesting thing about him was Frank's mercy for him), and Amy whose complexities just needed at least another half episode of exposition, I just couldn't understand her motivations beyond "scared and paranoid teenager who was a grifter trying to survive", which is a dime a dozen in TV shows. At least we still got Karen Page whose past Netflix-Marvel story gave her actual characterization and I really felt for her when she was like "dammit Frank just come settle down with me". Also whatever happened with Beth? I'd like to know if she actually came back to that bar to work and how she's doing with her son since that's some traumatizing shit she went through.

Like others said, the most compelling character is just Frank, thanks in large part to Bernthal. And it's most like how everyone had to react to him that made him interesting. Madani definitely became more enjoyable through the season, as she's on that balance beam of working with Frank and being a credible SAC (which I think she failed at a lot).

I'm also glad Curtis lived, and that he never betrayed his own morals. He might have screwed over Frank by handing David Schultz to Mahoney, but I completely understood his motivations. I think the fun was that he was pretty much the only one that could have done that without Frank saying shit about it.

My last complaint is that this is not the Maggie Sawyer I know and love! #sanvers
posted by numaner at 3:16 PM on March 7, 2019

Finally finished this up. I kept putting off watching because I found the Russo stuff so uninteresting. I was way more invested in Amy and Pilgrim's side of things. There was a lot to like. Some good fight scenes, some great performances.

The power couple threatening Frank for kidnapping their son was pretty funny. When you're already doing everything in your power to hunt someone down and kill them, what else is there? If your default response is the nuclear option, then it's no surprise your enemies will opt for MAD.

Anyway, I think this is the only Netflix Marvel show I've finished.
posted by ODiV at 10:40 PM on July 6, 2019

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