So… All done.
There were a few mis-steps along the way to the end. First, the plot Lewis - was there a point to that beyond the ending whereby it exposes Frank? It wasn’t entirely without merit, touching on ideas of what happens after the battlefield and, in the form of O’Connor, people laying claim to what isn’t theirs. But in the end the idiot goes so far into conspiracy mode, starts bombing people for the sake of an imaginary war that I just wanted him dead.
The assault on Frank and Micro’s HQ has to be the firefight to end them all, with Frank taking out the entire assault force, by covert and overt means. After that, it kind of went off the rails, with the sequences with Frank, Rawlins and Russo. I don’t quite see why Russo helped Frank, unless he thought Rawlins was going to turn on his so better for Frank to kill him then he can kill Frank. Rarely has there been such a deserving recipient of extreme violence, though it was a bit hard to buy that he was still standing and walking around after being knifed in the heart! Still, loved that Frank went absolutely medieval on him - multiple stabbing, blinding and beating.
Russo - The series kind of lost it with this character, having previously had him leading the assault team that Madani takes on, he then becomes this hands-off, human shield using arsehole who, in the full Klingon meaning, “has no honour!” To the degree that it really undermined the final fight with him and Frank. The show is called the Punisher, so let’s see Russo get punished, stuff the drama, just put the bastard through hell already. Despite it being very laboured to get there, I loved that Frank ran Russo’s pretty face all the way down a cracked mirror. But, if he was going to leave him alive, at least break his arms and legs so if he ever wakes up he can do sweet feck all while looking like crap.
Curtis was probably my favourite character in the series and I was forever thinking they were going to off him for da drama. Fortunately, they didn’t. Curtis is the one military character in it that, more or less, has himself together. He knows he has his difficulties, he knows he can’t solve them instantly or by himself and he knows going back to war, even if he were able to isn’t the solution either. He doesn’t know what it is, but he knows what it isn’t and accepts that’s enough for the day-to-day.
I’ll admit the plot with Micro’s family surprised me. These days the expectation would be that that’ll all go to crap, the wife will be pissed, so will the kids and no happy ending. That a load of bastards went after them does give Micro’s reason for hiding far more credibility, but even so, resolving that as they did took some nerve. It was good that they did.
Overall, they were going for more of a slow-burning tale compared to where Frank made his debut. That was moderately successful, but I think it’s fair to say it still fell victim to the charge of padding, but to a lesser degree than other series. They also tried to do something more than Frank simply killing a load of scumbags every episode, though that would be superbly entertaining if they managed to do it with sufficient variety. The one big misfire was the sledgehammer subtlety handling of gun rights, it felt out of place and just bad, especially as it started in response to bombings.
Despite all that, it’s the third Netflix series I’ve finished, so it must have done a lot right, will be interesting to see what they do on season 2. I also benefited by watching this immediately after Daredevil S2, it was a very smooth transition.