The Punisher Roadhouse Blues review Season 2 Episode 1

Of all the Marvel Netflix shows, The Punisher is the one that can afford to start off a little slowly. After all, it’s not like Frank Castle needs to hone new powers. The slow burn approach can work for a character whose ‘power’ is his unrelenting knack for brutally taken down any opposition.

Roadhouse Blues starts off in a way some Punisher fans would happily spend 13 hours watching — Punisher in a shootout. This isn’t the typical one as Frank is speeding along in his van with a young girl trying to avoid pursuers.

That’s just to get our attention as the bulk of the episode focuses on Frank drifting in to another town relaxing at a bar. It’s clearly been a while since the incident with Billy and Micro as Frank has rediscovered his smile…somewhat. Frank’s even in a good enough state of mind to appreciate the band and be receptive to the flirting from the bartender, Beth.

While Frank’s getting his flirt on, the same young girl (Giorgia Whigham) shown earlier in his car bumps into him. She’s nervous and obviously on edge. Eventually we learn she’s the sole survivor of an attack that left all the other girls dead. And John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart, The Collection) is the man hunting her down for whatever she’s got in her backpack.

Frank notices the girl is on edge, but Beth is far more intriguing. After some awkward flirting — Frank doesn’t have the best one-night stand game — he works out his frustration in a different way. The Walk of Shame gets a bit complicated when Frank runs into Beth’s 8-year-old Rex. Frank was already drawn to Beth, but seeing she’s a mother to a kid who would be about the same age as his son has intrigued him further.

the punisher roadhouse blues review - rachel

It’s enough to convince Frank to stick around a little longer and ‘catch the band’ for another night. Good for Frank. Jon Bernthal plays Frank Castle to spot on that it’s easy to envision what’s going through his head. He’s still tortured over losing his family, but has found some peace now that he’s brought everyone responsible to justice. It still has left him somewhat empty, but he’s starting to try and move on. Maybe with Beth and Rex?

Of course this being The Punisher, that can’t last long. It’s a little sad in this case as Frank doesn’t have this feeling of obligation to be a hero like Daredevil or some greater purpose like Iron Fist. He’d be fine getting back to a regular life, but trouble always comes his way.

Pilgrim’s goons come to the bar searching for the girl, who acts so skittish she quickly gets made. Frank has been sizing up the situation and is quick to act. And here comes the bloody and no-holds barred brawl we’ve been waiting on. I kinda liked that Pilgrim’s goons included some very capable women and that Frank had no trouble pummeling them either. Of course, it wouldn’t be The Punisher if he started pulling his punches.

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Pilgrim has blood to spare though so the numbers start getting to Frank. He gets a little help from the bouncer, but Pilgrim’s crew eventually takes him out. Beth grabs the shotgun to help and gets shot. Not that Frank would notice as he’s in full Punisher rage mode as he takes out the rest of the goons. Frank going HAM always makes for good TV.

Beth isn’t dead, but is losing a lot of blood, which motivates Frank to get her to the hospital ASAP no matter who gets in his way. Pilgrim and his crew retrieve the book bag from the bar, but he’s captivated by Frank’s wedding ring, which got ripped off during the brawl.

The girl asks Frank if he thinks there will be more of them and he says he hopes so. Meanwhile, at another hospital Agent Madani disdainfully checking in on her ex — Billy Russo, who’s chained to a hospital bed wearing a colorful mask. He might not go by the name Jigsaw, but the implication is apparent. The big question is who put that mask on him?

Roadhouse Blues maintained a steady burn as it gradually set up this season’s conflict. It wasn’t the most remarkable episode of The Punisher, but it was an interesting enough hook to get me excited for what’s likely to be The Punisher’s final season on Netflix.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credit: Netflix

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