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Major spoilers below for Season 2 of Netflix's The Punisher, so definitely finish up your binge-watch before reading on.
Anyone seeking the most brutal 13 hours of television need not look anywhere beyond The Punisher Season 2, which recently hit Netflix like a viscera-covered jackhammer. This season paired Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle with Giorgia Whigham's Amy Bendix for a two-headed mission to take down the mentally fractured Billy Russo and the faith-fueled killer John Pilgrim. Things wrapped up rather non-peacefully for several characters, but with Frank and Amy thankfully still alive and breathing, if not entirely free and clear.
Speaking with CinemaBlend ahead of the Season 2 premiere, star Jon Bernthal talked about where he thinks Frank's head is at when the finale's final frames flip to the end credits.
I think he's on a new mission by the end, and I think that quiets the voices in his head a bit. . . . And I think that Frank, by the end, comes to a conclusion that he does have a purpose in this world, that he can cool his heart, that he's cold blooded. That he can put people like Billy Russo [down]. He can just look them in the face and kill them, and there's a purpose for that in this world, he believes. And he believes that he can be a blunt instrument, and he's resigned to be that.
When Season 2 starts off, Frank is in a similar spot to where he was in the series premiere: going by Pete and dealing with loss. Only this time around, he wasn't just missing his family, but also his guiding purpose in life. (As well, Micro is nowhere to be found.) He wrongfully assumed that he was finished dealing with Billy's threats, and Frank now also has the mental scar tissue of knowing that good and trusted friend ruined everything.
Alas, Billy rose up anew as the memory-stunted and reinvigorated Jigsaw, though he didn't technically take on the comic-sourced villain's alter ego by name. Plus, Frank's one rigid attempt to make a romantic connection was disrupted when he crossed paths with Amy, who was fast becoming prey to a host of would-be assassins.
Because Frank is as much The Protector as he is The Punisher, he kept Alexa Davalos' Beth safe by leaving her behind, and kept Amy safe-ish by tethering himself to her until things got solved. Hell, he possibly even stopped short of killing John Pilgrim, in order to protect the man's sons from whatever future would await them after the Schultz parents were killed.
Perhaps all of that, along with taking Billy out of the picture for good, was just what Frank needed. Though his missions were temporary, he was able to process everything accordingly this time, being emotionally removed from half of it. Thus, Frank can move forward without seeming quite as lost or as full of self-doubt, while also not feeling like he has to be a hermit until the end of days. In Jon Bernthal's words:
I guess, you know, he's pretty set in his ways by the end. I think he's going to keep tabs on [Amy], he's going to keep tabs on Curtis. He's going to keep tabs on the people that he loves. I think he's the kind of guy that, you know, he's not looking for any credit or any sort of [attention]. I think he would do whatever it took to make sure that they were okay, to help them in any way. He's not really looking for anything in return, which I really dig about the character and admire about the character. . . . I would hope that he wouldn't completely just completely ward off all human contact. But, you never know, man.
Frank probably doesn't have to pay super-close attention to Dinah Madani in the future, since Amber Rose Revah's agent developed a few Punisher-esque tendencies of her own by the time Season 2 ended. But hopefully he'll be able to find sporadic bouts of peace in between beating the shit out of lowlife criminals and taking down entire villainous armies. And if he wants to get up close and personal with another woman like Beth or Karen, so be it.
On the flip side of things, Amy Bendix now has to face the future with the baggage of everything she experienced with Frank and Curtis. She may very well have been murdered twenty times over had she never met Frank, obviously, so her baggage is well-earned. But the advantage that Amy has is that because she's so young, her entire life is still ahead of her, so she doesn't have to be forever defined by what went down.
Speaking with CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg, Giorgia Whigham mentioned that she doesn't have any pull over where Amy's story could or would go in the future. However, the actress thinks that things could possibly be coming up roses for Amy after bidding New York farewell. In her words:
I can only think about things that I have control over. But where they leave Amy for Season 2, she's finally happy and at peace, so it's kind of her doing what she wanted to do. But what she went through, I think it's kind of impossible for that to not have any sort of lasting effect. So there's not really any telling, but I think that's kind of the general answer.
I don't think anyone would expect Amy to be the Punisher character who would go off and immediately come face to face with instant danger that would be front and center of a potential third season. That kind of drama is more suited for the lives of Frank Castle and Dinah Madani, who are drawn to chaos in ways that Amy is not. But Amy certainly has a new bag of tricks to use the next time she does get into trouble.
The Punisher isn't guaranteed a third season at this point, what with Netflix having excised most of its other Marvel heroes, with Jessica Jones' third season yet to premiere. But I know I'm far from the only fan hoping that something works out in the brutal drama's favor. I'd hate to see what Frank Castle would do to the person who made the choice to kneecap The Punisher before Season 3.