Two Dead Men played out like a thrilling game of cat and mouse. It also proved The Punisher is all the better for getting the pesky origin chapter out of the way in Daredevil’s second season.
Not that Frank Castle has the most elaborate origin in the history of super vigilantes, but it helps that this season isn’t devoted to him becoming The Punisher. He’s already fully realized and operating in that role. This helps the pacing tremendously as we’re not waiting for some big payoff. You don’t have to look too long to see Frank in the punishing mindset especially when he’s pissed off.
The big focus this episode was Micro testing Frank before freaking out when the tables get turned. Rule No. 1 in pushing a gun-toting vigilante — don’t get on his bad side. Micro had a copy of an incriminating interrogation where a masked US soldier assassinates a suspect. That was Zubair, Madani’s undercover cop pal, which explains her interest in finding Castle. Judging by Frank’s reaction, he might have been the man who pulled the trigger.
Madani’s investigation led her to one of Frank’s surviving solider buddies, Billy Russo (Ben Barnes). This scene didn’t really lead to much except introduce another possible Frank ally and potential love interest for Madani. Someone’s going to have to have a love connection this season.
This was a good a time as any for Frank to reunite with Karen Page. They had some seriously undeniable sexual tension going on in Daredevil and it hasn’t died down at all. With the CW superheroes having small armies handling their cheat sheet work, it was nice to see Karen put in some legwork to get intel on Micro. And I’m always a fan whenever Karen’s New York Bulletin editor Ellison shows up.
With Karen’s help, Frank tracked down Micro aka David Lieberman’s family. This led to a nice role reversal as earlier Micro had Frank jumping through hoops — now it was Micro freaking out. But as Frank told Karen, if he’s not dirty or dangerous, he’s got nothing to worry about from him. Frank just had a simple conversation with Micro’s wife Sarah (Jamie Ray Newman), but the warning was clear.
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I dug how Director Tom Shankland used the surveillance camera perspective to give the sense that someone is watching all the characters throughout the episode. I loved that Frank was smart enough to ditch his hipster beard and change his walking style to avoid Micro’s surveillance. It’s always a nice change of pace to see a protagonist who doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
This was also helpful as Frank immediately went to Madani’s supervisor (C. Thomas Howell) for some answers. We’re only two episodes in, but the fights are better than anything seen on Iron Fist. Shankland makes the action easy to comprehend and appreciate the viciousness. I lost count of how many times I winced during this fight.
The close quarter combat action sequences have been top notch and a marked improvement over every Marvel Netflix show since Daredevil. I’m kinda bummed out Howell is out of the show so quick. He was playing that shady authoritative role very well. At least this should give Madani’s subplot some extra weight now. Although I’m concerned the writers might try and link every bad guy this season to the murder of Frank’s family.
The ending was fun too with Frank sending Micro on a wild goose chase before sneaking into his crappy hideout and knocking him out. Micro might be savvy with tech, but he’s definitely got a glass jaw.
Two Dead Men cleverly set up Frank’s alliance with Micro while bringing Karen back in the fold and maybe giving a larger purpose to Madani’s subplot.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix