The Punisher: Front Toward Enemy review S1 E9

Front Toward Enemy paid off a slow burning storyline, which created another mess for The Punisher to handle.Thirteen episodes is a long time for a show to feature one antagonist. Daredevil Season 1 was structured like a boss system with Daredevil working his way through Kingpin’s allies. Season 2 split the story in half with The Punisher as the villain for the first part and The Hand in the back half. With another menace, Jessica Jones’ pursuit of Killgrave wouldn’t have felt so stretched out.

The Punisher avoided a potential trap of dragging out Frank’s quest to take down Rawlins by introducing a new adversary — Lewis. Throughout the season it seemed Lewis was on the verge of cracking. Killing his father and O’Connor was enough proof, but now he’d gone off the deep end by setting bombs in various city locations. Maybe focusing on Agent Orange would have been enough to keep Lewis off Frank’s radar, but the moment he set his sights on Karen Page, Lewis became Frank’s new priority.

Front Toward Enemy played out more like a comic book in this sense. The villains don’t always courteously wait until the hero finishes up with one opponent before striking. Now, Frank had to put his personal revenge on hold in order to protect the city as a whole — just like any other hero. After all, Punisher Season 2 can’t rely on digging up more shady officials involved with killing Frank’s family. This was a teaser of how subsequent seasons would break down.

In a new subplot that just got started, Billy and Anvil were hired by gun control advocate Sen. Stan Ori (Rick Holmes). Ori isn’t afraid of Lewis, but also isn’t smart enough to be too easy a target.

Like Frank figured, Curtis would just go and try and fix Lewis. That was the wrong tactic, but at least Curtis put up a good fight before Lewis pulled the ultimate dirty fighter move and kicked out Curtis’ prosthetic. At least when Frank found Curtis, he was still alive and heavily wired up with mines.

Jon Bernthal gave his usual amazing performance showing Frank’s quick changing emotions from calm to angry and devoted. Frank wouldn’t leave Curtis even in the face of an explosive death and we learn his negligence on the battlefield cost Curtis his leg. A fallible Frank Castle makes for a more engaging Punisher. Eventually, Frank got through to Lewis long enough to defuse the mine and get a head start on the cops coming for him.

By inadvertently framing Frank for the bombs, Lewis managed to further complicate Frank’s mission. With all of New York knowing he’s alive, his operation just got a lot trickier. But just maybe this will help Micro in his efforts to partner up with Madani?

Front Toward Enemy made a timely departure from the main story to foreshadow the type of hero Frank Castle is becoming in another strong episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: Netflix

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