Punisher: Crosshairs


Well, with a title like that…

As “Crosshairs” begins, Louis is cleaning up from his incident last episode. He’s got O’Connor’s blood, and a bit of his own, all over him. After making the preparations he can, Louis drives home for an awkward scene with his dad. I feel bad for a lot of characters in this episode, but Louis’ dad is way up there. You can see how much he loves his son, how much he wants to help him, and that he has no idea how to do so. I’m not quite clear on how Dad misses the rather large cut in Louis’ side, but maybe he’s just not taking in details like that at this point.

After the title sequence, which I still think is one of the coolest of the Marvel/Netflix ones, Frank is working out, clearly on the mend from the firefight in Gunner’s woods. He’s in impressively good shape, and David looks on, warning him to not get too carried away while he’s recovering. In between David fussing and Frank grunting, they go over their plan to go after Colonel Bennett, who knows the name of the CIA guy they’ve been calling Agent Orange.

Russo drops in at Madani’s office, and she puts him in his place about office behavior. After some banter about that, he tells her his results from his search for Frank so far. He also has a lot of questions for her about her decisions on this case, and she has decent answers. Sam sees this, and shares his thoughts with Madani after Russo leaves. Sam is very entertaining when he rants.

Castle worries about Bennett being where they need him, and David reassures him that the intel is good. David expresses a few concerns, and Frank gets really snarky with him. If nothing else, the conversation shows that David knows what his limits are. Castle then starts fretting about some of the moral issues involved with this mission.

Madani is in her office, going over her case files, notes, and pictures, when she suddenly has a realization. She goes to Sam and they have a conversation in the hallway about her new theory, with a cover conversation for when people get too close. The cover one is pretty damn entertaining, although Sam looks like he’s not convinced about her new idea.

Russo continues to slip in my estimation (I did have doubts about it when he first popped up) as he has a meeting with Orange Julius (Agent Orange gives him more dignity than he really deserves at this point). Both from his betrayal and some comments he makes, I look forward to his quite likely death, although I’m not sure whether Castle or Madani will get to him first. Russo does have some insights into Orange that I think strike home and surprise the man. They are planning for a trap to spring on Castle.

Colonel Bennett, AKA Morty, is having a guest for dinner back at his place. It’s a rather unusual dinner, and tells us a bit about the man. The scene switches back and forth between the dinner party and Castle infiltrating the base, David providing overwatch via drone. Getting there goes well, but from the moment Castle gets in the room, things go badly for pretty much everyone involved. It’s another tense fight scene as gunmen come in and Frank does what he does best. Castle gets away, a bit the worse for wear, and has a confrontation with a young soldier that shows what kind of man Castle is. We also see who was leading the men trying to take out Castle.

Louis and his dad have another scene together, of bonding, concern, boxing, and pizza. Back at David’s headquarters, he and Frank debate their current tactics, with David reassuring him that they’re doing well. The attempted ambush wasn’t wholly unexpected, as it turns out, and Frank and David managed to keep their hidden objective secret. Castle ruminates more on what might have happened and they start the next phase of their task.

Louis gets another brief scene that shows he’s up to something really not good. Bennett is furious at Orange and Russo, and he shows he’s not as stupid as he might seem. They let Bennett rant a bit, and then tell him about the plan they have to get him away. All of them are concerned about Castle, although to different degrees.

David is alternately thrilled and worried about the possibility of this being over and his return to his family. Castle is amused by this and offers some decent advice between the snark. It’s a nice scene between them, and they even touch on a possible future for Frank, although it’s one we know isn’t going to happen.

Madani and Sam do some through cleaning. As this happens, she offers him some advice on career/life balance and dating. It’s probably right, but not at all what Sam wants to hear. They finally find what they’ve been looking for, and Madani admits she has no idea what to do about it. Sam also makes an observation that doesn’t sit well with Madani, but I agree with.

Castle and David close in on where Orange Julius is hiding out. David recognizes the place for what it is. As Castle gets into position, Russo delivers Bennett to his next stop on their plan for him. Bennett complains a lot, but that seems to be his default setting. Castle tries to do what he went there for, complete with his nursery rhyme from Daredevil Season Two, but he gets a surprise from a complication neither he nor David saw coming. The episode ends with a lot of things up in the air.

What I liked: As I’ve mentioned before, they do a great job of showing Castle as a thinking, caring man, not a mindless killing machine. They’re also spending a good amount of time developing secondary characters, like Louis’ descent into darkness and madness. I like Madani, aside from how she treats Sam. The interplay between David and Frank is entertaining and showing some deepening bond between them.

What I didn’t: I’m really worried about what’s going on with Louis. The ending was kind of a let down after the build up, but I’ll grant it worked. I’m eagerly awaiting Russo’s upcoming death, which I’m going to say is a given at this point. I really don’t like the man.

This was another great episode in a fantastic season. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.