(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not watched the early episodes of The Punisher. Plot details will be discussed.)
If you’re some ways into binging your way through THE PUNISHER, you may have noticed that the overarching story of the season doesn’t really begin until the second episode.
In the first episode, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) is seen working a construction job, keeping to himself and just generally trying to keep out of trouble – until, inevitably, trouble finds him.
The episode sees Frank begrudgingly befriended by a nice young fellow construction worker, only to be drawn into a robbery of a high stakes poker game that goes very, very wrong.
It’s a small standalone story that also perfectly illustrates the character of Frank Castle and his Punisher alter ego to a T, but we don’t meet any of the major players who will be essential to the season-long story, like Micro (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Madani (Amber Rose Revah) or even Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), and the supporting players in the premiere are all disposed of by episode’s end, never to be seen again.
We asked showrunner Steve Lightfoot why he kicked off his show with such an isolated, standalone episode.
“I always felt there was a version of this where we just picked up where Daredevil left off, where he’s just in the middle of this war, taking out more and more mobsters; and we kind of truncated that, put it in the teaser and put that to bed,” Lightfoot told Tracking Board. “For me it was about resetting. We followed on from what the guys did on Dardevil, because it was amazing, but at the same time, we reset it and The Punisher became its own show.”
It was also a nice, succinct way to catch everyone up on who Frank Castle was as a character, from his wish to be left alone, to his inability to not help out someone in trouble, to his signature penchant for relentless violence targeted at bad guys.
“I just wanted to spend the first episode just with Frank, getting under the skin of this guy,” Lightfoot added. “If I can’t get the audience into his head early, it would be very hard to take them on this journey with him. So the first episode just became about living and breathing with Frank.”
All 13 episodes of The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.