Punisher: Judas Goat


A Delightful Family Dinner– What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

After the brutality of last episode, it would be nice if Frank got a bit of a break. Of course, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. The episode starts on what should be a nice enough note, with what appear to be the Lieberman and Castle families all gathering for a dinner. Naturally, things go badly, as Frank realizes he’s ziptied to the chair he’s been sitting in this whole time. Suffice to say, things take a turn for the nightmare. As Frank fights through this, David goes to get help.

David is soon regretting getting Curtis. Frank’s in bad shape, and Curtis can only do but so much. David is being forced to help as Curtis cleans Frank’s wounds and gets the arrow out of his shoulder. Well, Frank did say he thought David should get his hands dirty. After almost making David sick with his crash course in trauma care, Curtis blames David for Frank being as bad off as he is. I get what Curtis is saying, but I’m not sure “Pete the construction worker” was exactly living a good life.

Russo and Madani are very much enjoying their relationship, as we get a fairly graphic demonstration of. Afterwards, Russo finds her file on Castle and starts asking some questions. The man isn’t happy at the idea she’s been using him, and I don’t blame him. They argue and she gets out of it by saying she needs to go to work.

David is playing the guitar, and not doing a half bad job of it, when a computer alarm goes off. It’s not a warning, just time to give Frank a shot. Castle wakes up, confused and disoriented, and David helps bring him up to speed. He also tells him something that means a lot to him that I had my doubts about.

In Curtis’ group, O’Connor, the older, bitter, blowhard of a man, goes on another rant that no one is wanting to hear. Curtis, for his part, is worried about Louis, and O’Connor doesn’t give him any kind of straight answer. Curtis talks about his medical training, and a horror story involving a goat I’ve heard about before. It’s not a happy tale.

Frank comes around again, to see David indulging in his usual hobby, watching his family. Leo is happy about some things at school. It goes less well with Zach, when he gets confronted about a new acquisition and takes some very surprising action afterwards. The kid needs to get some sense, or at least manners, knocked into him.

Sam brings Madani the news that he found one of the names on her list: Gunner Henderson. We already know the bad news about that, and the two of them head out for a road trip. Frank and David talk about some radio call signs David has been hearing. I’m amused that Frank goes by Raven, since that was Rambo’s call sign in the original movie. David is worried Frank can’t trust Russo, but Frank has no doubts he can.

Louis and O’Connor are out handing out leaflets about the 2nd Amendment in front of a courthouse. They manage to run afoul of an NYPD officer, who is being kind of a dick. Louis tries to stand his ground, and gets arrested. Does anyone remember when cops weren’t always the bad guys? O’Connor, to no real surprise, slinks off when Louis gets in trouble.

In some familiar looking Kentucky woods, Madani and Sam examine the scene where Gunner died. She is apparently a good tracker, as she reads the scene very well. After some speculation with Sidekick Sam, she orders him to run some tests to prove something she already believes.

Over frozen dinners, Castle and David share stories about family cooking. They both clearly miss their families a lot. Castle talks about the special bond he had with his unit, and that he really had two families. Castle ends the conversation by saying Russo is his family.

Madani and Sam are back in their offices, going over photos from the Kentucky firefight. Sam comes back with some completely unsurprising news, and Madani speculates about what happened out in the woods. They realize that whoever got away was badly wounded, and Sam makes some really entertaining suggestions on how to track down their suspect that Madani doesn’t appreciate.

Curtis is getting ready for his group when Louis comes by. We find out what happened after Louis was arrested, and Curtis gives him some information about O’Connor. I can’t say I’m stunned by this, but Louis certainly isn’t happy. Curtis tries to get him to stay for the group, but Louis takes off.

Madani meets Russo at the docks, which seems like a really odd choice since they both have apartments and offices that are actually warm. She delivers her news about Castle, and tries to figure out if he knew or not. She tells him Castle is related to her Kandahar case, and asks Russo to get him to come in if he can. Madani tells Russo Castle needs help, and she can do that for him. They at least part on decent terms.

Russo follows up on this by going to see Curtis. Russo puts him on the spot and Curtis tries to stall, I presume so he can come up with a good story. Russo keeps up the pressure and tells Curtis he’s trying to help Castle. It really does put Curtis in a bad spot.

Curtis goes straight to Castle and David and tells them about having to lie to Russo for them. Curtis isn’t happy about it. Most of the scene is Curtis and Castle arguing, with Curtis telling David he doesn’t get a vote on this. After Curtis leaves, David gives Frank some surprising advice.

O’Connor is home in the stereotypical bachelor’s pad for a man his age, with an emphasis on beer. Louis comes for a visit and things get heated between them. Louis is not happy about being lied to about certain facts. Things go downhill quickly, as something I was sort of worried about happens, but at least not to who I was worried about earlier. Not yet anyway.

Down at the docks, Castle and Russo finally meet up. It’s a nice reunion although, like almost everyone else, Russo asks why Castle didn’t reach out for help with his Punisher crusade. They talk about Cerberus, Madani, and a few other points of interest. Castle also breaks the news about Henderson, and Russo makes Castle an offer.

Back in his little secret base, David watches as Castle goes to Sarah’s house and apologizes for not being there for dinner. After some initial tension and reserve, she ends up inviting Castle in and unloads herself about her really bad week. David looks on, more and more upset. Castle does what he can to reassure both of them, which is a nice thing for him, of all people, to do. The episode ends with a really surprising scene showing that two people are working together. I wasn’t shocked, but certainly disappointed.

What I liked: This version of Castle isn’t the killing machine caricature past ones have been, and he gets some real emotional depth this episode. His scenes with David were kind of entertaining this time around, as was David’s reaction to Curtis’ tending to Castle. Russo and Madani’s scenes were good. I’m not shocked by what happened with Louis and O’Connor but I’m saddened by it.
I actually felt kind of bad for David, Sarah, and Leo.

What I didn’t: I really didn’t like that last scene. Zack is just getting to be a real pain in the ass. The boy needs some manners, no matter what he’s been through.

This was another good episode. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.