Punisher: Nakazat


I’m not sure about your new work outfit, Amy


Frank is dealing with a two-front war, which any decent strategist will tell you isn’t a good position. He’s still got the cartel after him for Amy’s pictures, with their pet killer John Pilgrim proving to be about as good at violence as Frank himself. On the other hand, Billy Russo is still on the loose, which is much more personal for Frank, and causing problems for Madani and Sgt. Mahoney, among others. Unlike most of the other Marvel/Netflix shows, they don’t need to come up with an excuse for Castle not calling for help. Not only would he not do it, but the only one of the Defenders he knows is Daredevil, and they’re not exactly close. Frank and his friends (and he actually does have some now) have to juggle a lot in “Nakazat,” which is apparently Russian for Punish. How appropriate.

When you don’t have a lot of resources, you need to make do with what you can get. Amy has some sleezy connections and gets them someplace to develop the film she’s been carrying around this whole time. I’m not sure which is more surprising: that she gets Frank to go along with this plan, that the pictures are still not developed, or that they’re actually on film, not digital. Do people still do that, aside from really picky artists? At any rate, we learn that Amy knows her way around a dark room and that she actually has a surprising amount of influence over Frank. They’re bonding in spite of each other, and I think it could do both of them some good. They get what they need and leave, with a passing comment of Amy’s coming true in a restrained departure for Frank.

Curtis gets a happy scene with his lady, which is nice to see. At least someone on this show has a life. He leaves eventually, telling her he’s helping someone and might be gone a while. He takes his place serving at a food bank/shelter kind of place, and produces something one of the people there really needs. Curtis jokes with the man, one of the ones from Curtis’ group, and talks about him stepping up from living in his car like he has been. After that nice moment, we see Curtis is very wary and taking precautions, as he should. Russo gets back to Dumont’s place, and there’s an odd, slightly voyeuristic scene which seems to catch both characters by surprise. It’s almost sweet, and normal, which is saying something for these two.

Amy, very much in her element, runs a con job on the phone, getting some more information they need. Frank is bemused at her switch in personality to be in character. They talk about the school they are watching, one of the parents, who is their target, and there’s some awkward but touching conversation. I really didn’t like her when she first popped up, but Amy is growing on me, and, from what I can tell, on Frank, too. Their conversation ranges from teen dating to glee club to getting shot, which is actually done well and smoothly in the scene. She even gets something of an emotional reaction out of him in the conversation. Frank isn’t big on emotional reactions that don’t hinge on bellowing in fury and doing great physical mayhem, so I’m impressed. As the scene ends, Amy wonders if the kids here know the darkness their parents are involved in.

Russo shows his domestic side and makes Dumont some tea. They talk about the earlier scene, or Russo tries to, and Dumont avoids the issue. The pair talk about her session with Jake and what he overheard. Dumont is clearly worried about Russo, and expresses a somewhat naïve view of the world, but I guess it’s one that healers of any sort need to hold on to. They talk about his chat with Jake, how that could be good for him, and she expresses concern about the chances he’s taking. Frank and Amy settle in to their new accommodations, which Frank is fine with and Amy less so. They study the photographs she printed, and Frank explains his very simple view of their living arrangements. The conversation turns to her having a gun, which Frank isn’t thrilled about, but agrees to do some simple training with her. He definitely doesn’t pull any punches, but he’s making an effort to teach her right, and she can see that. He drives his lesson home, gives her some general instructions, and sets up a protocol for him coming back. Amy wonders about him being a good dad, which again seems to derail him. Russo prowls Dumont’s apartment and starts snooping, finding a few things of interest.

Curtis falls victim to an ongoing action/adventure trope. I have to say, if I had a nutjob coming after me, I’d sure as hell be checking the back of my car before I got in. Russo has a talk with Curtis, and it really seems apparent that Russo’s memory loss is genuine. Things get very tense, and even desperate on Russo’s end, before he leaves Curtis with a warning and slips away. Pilgrim visits a diner, does a lot of intense looking around, and goes over a few files, some of which have familiar faces. Mahoney makes an early visit to Madani, who isn’t thrilled at the company. Mahoney has been doggedly pursuing his own investigation, and is coming perilously close to the truth about the night on the carousel. Mahoney doesn’t get what he wants, offers an observation about Madani, and leaves.

Frank and Amy put the next part of their plan in motion, which starts off with a driver having a really bad day. Amy slips inside a restaurant, delivers a message, and gets out again, showing a few slick tricks of her own. Madani’s morning gets interrupted a second time when Pilgrim follows her from her diner of choice and asks about Frank, not that he has the name right yet. Pilgrim doesn’t care at all that she has him under her gun, tells her what he needs, and even politely tips his hat before leaving. Madani gets a great idea and does some quick backtracking.

Frank brings their target someplace they can have a quiet chat, and the man reminisces about his childhood. Both of them are running under some false assumptions, and they manage to talk long enough to get that cleared up, and for Frank to learn the Schultz name, finally. So he’s flailing around in a bit less dark. They finally come to a sort of understanding, and Castle is once again merciful. I guess he’s mellowing a bit with time. Castle gives the man some simple instructions, follows up with a threat, and leaves. As this goes on, Russo holds a meeting that could be a very bad thing in the future.

Madani makes some demands of an apparently incurably perky lab tech, who happily agrees. Russo and his buddies find out one of their friends is in trouble, and decide to take action. It’s not legal action, and it’s not a good thing, but they pull it off smoothly and wonder if they should be making plans for the future. One of them even makes a specific suggestion. Amy and Frank meet up back at their new place, and Amy manages to provide Frank with some intel, which is a switch. They argue over blackmail, murder, and wishing to go back in time and change things. Frank is actually remarkably kind to Amy. The kid’s really gotten to him.

Jimbo, one of Curtis’ more luckless people, has had a bad night and it gets worse with some bad decisions he’s made. Curtis listens to his story, makes an important connection, and goes to get a few things set up. Mahoney, having had enough of people being unhelpful, visits Dr. Dumont with a subpoena for her records about Russo. She babbles long enough to hide a few important things while seeming to cooperate. Eventually, Mahoney leaves, Dumont does her odd ritual again, and Russo returns. They talk about their now mutual criminality. After some very odd interactions, they get caught up in some mutual need and attraction.

The episode ends with Curtis in his usual spot but holding a very different meeting. Madani arrives, not sure why he wants her there, and then Frank comes in. No one is very happy, but Curtis holds them on task as they all agree something has to be done about Russo. Frank is willing to do what needs to be done and give the others their lives back, but they need to agree to doing it his way. It’s an offer that troubles both Madani and Curtis, and gives them something to think about.

What I liked: Everything about this series is impressing me. I like Mahoney sticking by his guns, determined to do the right thing. Frank is relentless, but less so than he used to be. I really like how he and Amy are getting along now. If they could manage to stick together long term, I think it would be really good for both of them. Madani is having to find the least disagreeable compromise to make, and I feel bad for her. Russo is smart, and is putting together a group that’s going to be trouble. Frank’s scene at the docks was particularly well done, as was Frank and Amy at the restaurant. Pilgrim going to Madani’s diner was a good scene.

What I didn’t: Dumont seems to be acting really oddly, and I don’t have a handle on her motivations yet. I get she’s attracted to Russo, but there has to be more to it than that to throw her life away like this. I don’t like that Russo is taking advantage of these troubled men, because that’s absolutely what he’s doing.

Another impressive piece of a good story. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5.