RTF Review: THE PUNISHER, S2 E11 – ‘A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed’
By Thomas L. Kelly (@WriterTLK)
The Punisher Season 2: Reviews by Episode
Episode 11: The Abyss
Flustercluck and The Dark Hearts of Men pulled no punches. Each had their fair share of mayhem, anarchic chaos. It was only natural that The Abyss would serve as a come down. It’s a table setting episode.
By the end of The Dark Hearts of Men, Frank has mentally unraveled, so has Pilgrim. In their own ways, both have encountered their demons.
For Pilgrim, it’s the sins of his past. In going back to New York, he was faced with a world he’d longed to forever leave behind. Being thrust back into it consumed him; it drove him to the vices he’d abandoned when he’d discovered a new life.
It takes a visit from to Eliza Schultz (played by Annette O’Toole, Lana Lang from Superman III)—the wife of Anderson Schultz—to shake him from that malaise. She, like her husband, is a manipulator. If it wasn’t clear before that the Schultz family cares nothing for Pilgrim the person, it sure is now.
For Frank, the perception that he’d taken the lives of three innocent women ruins him. It blurs the lines between him and those he’s sought to eradicate. If he’s no better than them, then what does he have to live for? That was the intention, though. In coercing Madani into revealing her deepest, darkest secrets during The Dark Hearts of Men, Dumont gleaned everything Billy’d needed to break Frank’s will.
That’s the crux of The Abyss. With Frank embracing death, it’s up to those who care for him to protect him, just as he’s protected them. To that end, this episode features a special appearance from Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). For those that have seen the first season, she, more than just about anyone, championed Frank’s cause.
Here, it’s no different. After Frank’s arrested at the end of The Dark Hearts of Men and hospitalized with severe injuries, she comes because she genuinely cares. It’s a cameo that actually makes sense and it’s a good through line for the Netflix shows.
Amy also displays her loyalty. She risks her own safety to ensure Frank’s. The $5 million bounty set during Flustercluck has not gone away. She understands that, and despite the peril it presents herself, she goes to help anyway. It’s truly her strongest character moment.
As for Billy, his bloodlust wasn’t satisfied by the end of the tenth episode. His extremism is progressing. And no amount of relationship bliss will satiate that hunger for vengeance.
There’s only two episodes to go. The Abyss may have been quieter, but something tells me that trend won’t last for long.