Posted December 4, 2017 by Jasmin in Reviews

REVIEW: The Punisher S01E05 – Gunner

Episode: S01E05 – Gunner
Directed By: Dearbhla Walsh
Streaming Available: November 17, 2017
Created By: Steve Lightfoot
Based on Characters By: Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr., Ross Andru
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Paul Schulze, Jason R. Moore, Michael Nathanson, Daniel Webber, Jamie Ray Newman, Deborah Ann Woll

“Gunner” is a doozy. Heart-pounding action and a full range of emotions skyrocket this episode to the top of the pile, so far. The Punisher lays it all out on the table in this fifth episode as it blows the story arcs wide open. Before we get to the action, there is so much heart in this episode that it’s hard to keep the tears at bay. Every corner of “Gunner” is packed with a deeper story. Watching Micro as he sees Frank interact with his daughter reveals Frank’s true character.

The Punisher Gunner Henderson - Gunner

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

He gives a sh*t. It is truly astounding how much heart and humanity this series has given Frank Castle. Every other live action version of The Punisher before feels incredibly one dimensional. Bernthal brings out unbridled humanity in his portrayal of Frank Castle. Whether he’s interacting with his old buddy Gunner, or Karen at their meeting spot, or fixing the headlight with Leo, and even helping Micro take the next step — Frank Castle is a good guy.

He’s a murderous, vindictive, broken man, but there is good at his core. Because of his good nature, I find my ire for Cerberus growing more and more with each passing episode. Gunner tells Frank that the Schoonover and Agent Orange/William Rollins (Paul Schulze) were using dead soldiers as drug runners. That is how they were transporting the heroin back into the US. What kind of soulless, treasonous monster uses a soldier’s ultimate sacrifice for personal gain? This hits home for personal, prevalent reasons that I won’t get into here… But, wow did “Gunner” strike a deeply emotional chord.

The Punisher Agent Orange William Rawlins - Gunner

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

Now that the devil has a name (only for the audience), we are more vested in his demise. As a big wig in the CIA, Rawlins has his fingers in Madani’s investigation. In listening to her conversations, he learns she’s onto his old Cerberus squad, and piggybacks off her hunch to learn that Castle is still alive. He sends his new dogs after Frank, which is a costly mistake. However, now knows Frank is still alive and to say that the plot thickens is a massive understatement.

The banter between Frank and Micro is increasingly more fruitful as the two are forced into dire straights. The Punisher injects well-timed humor into “Gunner” as Frank and Micro take a road trip. The series balances intersecting characters well as it creates a more complex web of connections. Madani knows that Karen knows, but no one knows that Rawlins is on to them, and Frank now has more people to keep alive than he intended.

The Punisher Frank and Micro - Gunner

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

For a series that starts small, The Punisher eases into expansion before expertly blowing the story wide open. The frenetic pace of “Gunner” keeps my undivided attention and I couldn’t hit play for the next episode fast enough.

The Punisher is now available on Netflix.

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Jasmin loves Batman, sci-fi, and movies with lots of explosions. When she’s not writing about geektastic things, she’s probably playing video games or watching sports. Her ultimate goals include traveling the world to watch tennis and working for BioWare to revive the essence of the original Mass Effect Trilogy.