Sunday, January 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Punisher' - Frank Protects Rachel While Russo Begins His New Therapy in 'Fight or Flight'

Netflix's The Punisher - Episode 2.02 "Fight or Flight"

Frank and a reluctant Rachel go on the run as a menacing adversary gives chase. Meanwhile, Madani pays Russo an unwelcome visit.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Punisher.

"Fight or Flight" was written by Steve Lightfoot and directed by Jim O'Hanlon

Frank serves as both protector and abductor for Rachel. He understands perfectly that dangerous people are after her. She probably understands that as well. She is just naive about the world around her and her ability to survive on her own. At times, she does try to run away. Frank won't let her drive. He ties her to the bed while he sleeps. He can be frightening in some ways especially considering he likes this kind of work. He kills a number of bad guys who come to take Rachel. He delights in it. Rachel can see that as well. However, she is still just badly lying about what's going on. That gets old very quickly. She believes that she is this master manipulator who can say whatever she wants and be immediately trusted. Frank is able to see through it so quickly though. He doesn't believe that she is just some innocent college student who has gotten swept up in something she doesn't understand. Moreover, she actually has whatever these new villains are trying to get. It wasn't in the bag she left behind at the bar. She is still carrying it around herself. That makes her incredibly valuable while remaining a target. But again, the audience needs a reason to care about what happens to her. Right now, she's simply the person in Frank's immediate orbit who is causing a lot of chaos for him. The bar was destroyed in the premiere. And now, the hotel room is also trashed here. Both have become crime scenes with multiple bodies. Frank is smart enough to know that they aren't safe here and buys the adjourning room. That allows him the element of surprise when the assault happens. That's very cool. However, the show also points out just how terrifying all of this can be from Rachel's perspective. She isn't an innocent victim in all of this. She is arrested just like everyone else at the hotel during this shootout. But she also doesn't live in a world of violence just like Frank does. He is trying to protect her. And yet, she just wants to escape to something much simpler. There is the hope that prison can be that sanctuary. However, they will only remain in danger in that environment because it means there is now a public record as to where they are. Sure, not a whole lot is known about the new villain played by Josh Stewart. He is mostly just creepy and religious. That's all that he is being asked to play. That's not all that exciting. So, the threat is very lackluster at the moment. It's much more intriguing to spend time with Russo and Madani in New York. She is obsessed with him. She believes that he is faking his memory problems just so he doesn't have to stand trial. And yet, everyone is worried about her because of her own brain injury and how it may be effecting the way she does her job. She wasn't always a great character in the first season. In fact, she was deceived on one too many occasions to ever come across as an effective voice for law enforcement. However, this season already seems to find an intriguing direction for her with this obsession with Russo and her resistance to Frank when he reaches out for help once more. Meanwhile, Russo could genuinely not remember most of the details of his life. He has a solid idea of his service. But he doesn't remember the reason why he is in the hospital with these injuries. Of course, his new doctor, Krista Dumont, could be up to something nefarious as well. There is nothing inherently wrong with the questions she's asking. But there is still the sense that something more has to be going on here given the time spent on it already.