The Punisher: Cold Steel review S1 E8

Cold Steel proved The Punisher might have solved Marvel Netflix’s villain problem.

It’s more than betraying Frank or tormenting his mother, but Billy is the first Netflix villain I don’t as intended. Billy doesn’t have redeeming factors or some traits that make him an entertaining bad guy. He doesn’t have Killgrave’s charisma, Cottonmouth’s swagger or Kingpin’s commanding presence. Nope, he’s the kind of guy I actively root against and I love Ben Barnes’ performance.

The smartest decision the writers made with Billy was not trying to humanize him. From the moment he’s outed as a villain he’s done a slew of crappy things. Billy is a guy who is working hard to earn his death and it’s going to be one of the most satisfying scenes of The Punisher’s first season.

Micro can’t find the camera feed at his house and asks Frank to see what’s going on. I figured it was going to be real awkward for Micro when Sarah finally kissed Frank. She did, but it wasn’t played up for needless melodrama. Sarah instantly regretted it and Frank gently friend zoned her. Even Micro’s reaction was handled well. He got drunk and had a nice bonding moment with Frank over how they met their wives. The Frank/Micro scenes have been money all season and this was probably their best scene.

I was also glad to the Zach is acting like a jerk subplot wrapped up. And I appreciated the unconventional manner that the series addressed it. Most parents probably wouldn’t be too keen on Frank’s methods of putting the cold steel blade against Zach’s throat, but it shocked some sense into him. Finally grieving the loss of his father, Zach is able to view Frank as a friend instead of a threat.

The Punisher Cold Steel review - Stein and Madani

This is a core element to his character, but I’m rooting for Micro to reunite with his family. I genuinely felt for him as he watched Frank and Zach throw the football around. Making the supporting character subplots interesting has been a key aspect to why The Punisher has been so well done.

Billy recruited his personal death squad to go after Frank, but they stumble onto Madani and Stein’s team. Once again, Billy proved a knack for self preservation and actively put his allies in harm’s way and killing the last one so he wouldn’t snitch. But not even Billy could get away from this clean. Stein tracked him down. The moment Stein kept edging in, I didn’t like his odds. Billy’s wrist blade came in handy again as he used it to kill Stein. That poor guy never stood a chance.

But what really made Billy a Class-A villain was him comforting the still in shock Madani right down to wiping Stein’s blood off her. In Cold Steel we saw just how cold blooded and ruthless Billy can be, which is pretty ruthless.

We’re down to the final five episodes this season. It’d be foolish to bet against a better episode coming on the home stretch. It’s going to have to somehow top the high level performances, emotional drama and serious consequences of Cold Steel, which is for now the best episode of the season.

Rating: 9.7 out of 10

Photo Credit: Netflix

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