Yep, we’re definitely in the no bad episode run of the season. XXX was a great episode with some true allegiances revealed and a shocking cliffhanger. You could pace yourself watching episodes 1-6, but this is the stretch you’re going to want the caffeine to watch all of them without breaks.
Curtis and Frank are stalking out Billy’s warehouse preparing for their big move. I love their give and take as we don’t get that when other characters interact with Frank.
The episode is edited differently than most with random splices of Frank yelling. Is this Billy’s visions? Not quite.
The Dark Hearts of Men chronology is intentionally disjointed as we flash back to Madani and Dumont’s conversation. It won’t pass the Brenchel Test, but it’s a fascinating discussion as the two consider Frank’s virtue and value system and how different it is from Billy. We know of course that Krista’s interests are more than professional and playing devil’s advocate and Madani’s loyalties are clearly obvious.
Pilgrim did in fact win the bar brawl, but he took some damage. Worst, he’s fallen off the wagon and drinking from a bottle and snorting something. Before I can get upset at missing the carnage, we get another flashback. Here’s a live shot of me watching Nazis and skinheads getting killed.
But as Billy starts to ascend to full on Jigsaw mode, Pilgrim is starting to feel a bit boring. He’s fallen further as he hooks up with a prostitute. Pilgrim’s fall from grace is not great TV. It’s the one weak element of The Dark Hearts of Men. Billy has earned the screen time where he plays the victim, but Pilgrim isn’t nearly as charismatic or interesting. And I’m hardly invested if he’s faithful to his wife.
Also, based on the setup this season, I’d much rather see Pilgrim get killed before Billy. He looked to have potential as a main event villain, but now that he’s feeling sorry for himself, he’s becoming more of a nuisance Frank hasn’t killed yet.
Billy rallies his troops to kill The Punisher. Frank is alone, but Billy has a Brotherhood.
Frank and Curtis launch their invasion with Curtis in the sniper role. This incursion plan doesn’t seem the best, especially since Billy knew it was coming. Curtis has to deal with guys storming the rooftop while Frank has to fend off strobe lights in Billy’s ambush.
Billy’s crew actually takes Frank down. For a show that has been all about realism, it was disappointing Billy went the supervillain route of leaving and letting his goons kill Frank. Not shockingly, Frank gets the upper hand and kills them. If this were a video game, Frank’s rage meter would be fully charged.
Frank spots Billy running up to a room upstairs and wildly sprays bullets hoping to catch him. But there’s no Billy. Just bodies of the prostitutes Billy and his boys hired. Congratulations Frank, you’re a murderer.
But Billy’s questionable tactic was intentional. We flashback to Madani leaving Krista’s place as Billy emerges from the bedroom. Krista now knows how to break Castle: take away the idea that he’s better than you. No hero would gun down innocent women.
It’s a cold blooded tactic that works beautifully. Frank is still in shock over his actions when SWAT members arrive to arrest him.
What happens to The Punisher when it’s his time to face justice?
The Dark Hearts of Men was a killer installment with a stunning twist that leaves Frank’s world rattled. This firmly makes Krista’s intentions known and proves the decision to bring Billy back as the main villain for another season was a smart one.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix