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We’ve now seen more actors play live-action versions of The Punisher than Spider-Man. Dolph Lundgren was the first to star as the anti-hero in the 1989 eponymous feature, and both Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson followed with their own versions years later in films of their own. Now, however, the world has been introduced to Jon Bernthal’s interpretation of Frank Castle courtesy of Daredevil Season 2 – and he’s the best adaptation that we’ve seen yet, leaving us with some truly amazing and memorable moments.
The Punisher is featured in almost every episode of the new season of the hit Marvel/Netflix series, but there are a handful of sequences that stand out above the rest when we think about the impressive and incredible take on the character. To celebrate this, we’ve plucked out our six favorite Punisher moments in Daredevil Season 2. Read on to find out which ones made the cut!
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains many huge spoilers for the entirety of Daredevil Season 2. If you have not yet caught up with the show, we recommend clicking away to another one of our wonderful articles.
Taking Out The Kitchen IrishFrank Castle doesn’t even show his face in Daredevil Season 2 before killing his first victim – and it’s not just one guy that gets blown away in The Punisher’s explosive entrance to the world of the show. Instead, the character makes his presence known to the audience by taking out a room full of Irish gangsters, who happen to be in the midst of celebrating how it is their time to shine after the fall of Wilson Fisk. Frank doesn’t even enter the room, using some sort of automatic weapon to shoot through the windows and deliver violent death after violent death. He doesn’t wind up getting a 100% kill rate in the scene, as McCaleb Burnett’s Grotto manages to walk out of the bar still breathing… but it’s only a couple episodes later that this wrong is righted and the Punisher completes his mission.
On The Roof With DaredevilMost of the moments featured on this list involve bombastic bits of violence, but it’s the dialogue-heavy interaction between The Punisher and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil that we now want to highlight from episode three – “New York’s Finest.” It’s throughout this hour that the two characters really dig into their personal philosophies and approach to vigilantism, and it’s utterly engrossing. The Man Without Fear obviously thinks of the black clothed-killer as nothing more than a murderous psychopath, but the soldier views “Red” as nothing more than a half-measure who is unwilling to do the job that needs to be done. Their very different approaches to their individual jobs is part of a larger theme that persists throughout all of Daredevil Season 2, but it’s when the two “heroes” are on the roof that the subject matters gets the best attention and analysis.
Fighting Through TortureFrank Castle is obviously one tough cookie and knows how to take a punch or two – but nowhere in Daredevil Season 2 do we see more of his raw power of will than after he’s been kidnapped by the Kitchen Irish. It turns out he stole a whole lot of money during the first scene we mentioned on this list, and the gangsters are happy to put The Punisher through hell in order to get it back. Of course, they manage to completely underestimate Frank’s intelligence and preparedness, and it winds up being their downfall. Not only does Frank have the cash rigged to explode – killing anyone who comes near it – but he even buries a razor blade deep in his own forearm just to cut through restraints should he be captured. He winds up getting some help from Daredevil at the end, but not before committing one of the show’s most violent acts ever: blowing his torturer’s head off with a shotgun.
Emotions In The GraveyardThis scene comes right after the last one, but it’s so emotionally powerful and well done that it legitimately deserves its own mention. After Daredevil manages to rescue Frank Castle from the Kitchen Irish, they find themselves having yet another heart-to-heart chat – only this time Frank starts talking about the time before he felt the need to put bullets in all of the criminal scum in New York. He reveals to the Man Without Fear the story behind the whispered phrase “One batch, two batch; penny and dime,” and reflects on the love and strength of his young daughter – before she was killed in an apparent drug deal gone wrong. In terms of Jon Bernthal’s performance throughout the show, this is really where he gets the spotlight shone on him, and he does an absolutely magnificent job.
The Prison AttackWhen Wilson Fisk sets you up to die, usually there is only one result: you die. But Frank Castle is not most people. So when Punisher is set up to be slaughtered by a crew of inmates temporarily freed from their cells, his course of action is not to be killed, but instead decimate every single one of them. He takes a good bit of damage in the process – the most notable being the shiv that he takes deep in his forearm – but his fists, a sharpened broomstick, and a few other tools help him walk away with his prison whites soaked in the blood of his enemies. It’s arguably the most danger that Frank finds himself in throughout all of Daredevil Season 2, and it makes for one of the best sequences we’ve seen from the series thus far.
The DinerFrank Castle forms a special bond with Deborah Anne Woll’s Karen Page throughout Daredevil Season 2, but nowhere do we see the extreme dichotomy of their relationship better illustrated than in the diner scene featured in “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel.” One moment Frank is talking to his young female friend about the power of the pain that comes with being in love; and the next he is facing off in bloody battle with two of the Blacksmith’s hitmen. The fight itself is certainly one of the most brutal of the season, with Punisher not only smashing a guy with a pot of hot coffee, but also beating the other with the butt of his gun until his face no longer looked like a face. Within one setting we see everything that makes Frank Castle a compelling emotional and “active” character.