Posted December 6, 2017 by Jasmin in Reviews

REVIEW: The Punisher S01E08 – Cold Steel

Episode: S01E08 – Cold Steel
Directed By: Antonio Campos
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

“Cold Steel” proves that Billy is cold blooded. Running a counter op against Homeland Security on some fake intel. Then you pull in outsiders, got them all killed, took down at least four Homeland special operatives AND Madani’s second in command? And if that was ruthless enough, you helped her wash her partner’s blood off of her AFTER you killed him! I want to be mad and angry, but I can only be in awe. There is nothing but ice in your veins, Billy Russo.

Stein and Madani - Cold Steel

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

The trap was a good one. After Madani and Sam found the bug in “Crosshairs,” they figured out a way to flush out the listeners. They built a fake operation, filed the brief, put a team together, and laid in wait. While they had no idea who was on the other end of the bug, they were not expecting a heavily armed spec ops team. Being overly prepared worked, almost.

I want to be proud of Sam, but I also want to strangle him. Disarming a suspect is the smart move, but getting that close to someone that well trained was a mistake. Sam was a good second, and it was nice to see him and Madani finally fall into step with each other. “Why didn’t you wait for backup?” I screamed at the TV. But how can I be mad when Sam was doing his job? “Who’s pretty now?” Russo growls before stabbing Sam a few more times for good measure. It sucks to see him go, but my God I want to see how far Billy can carry this ruse.

Now that he knows they know about the bug, he and Rawlins are back holding all the cards. This op went worse than the one where Frank Castle stole their guns, and it leaves Madani with a lot of blood on her hands. What does this mean for her career?

Madani and Stein - The Punisher Cold Steel

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

As her world falls apart, David’s family is collapsing in on itself. He sends Frank to check on things after the feeds went dead, and doesn’t like what he sees when they come back. The Sarah/Frank tension has been building for a few episodes and finally comes to a head in “Cold Steel.” David does not take this well. But the bromance between him and Frank won’t break so easily. After a hilarious sequence that amounts to literal d*ck measuring, Frank subdues David after he has too many drinks.

Before they can work out David’s insecurities about his wife kissing Frank, Sarah calls with some scary news about David’s son, Zach. After a tense man-to-man talk with Frank, he makes a breakthrough with the kid. But David is coming a part at the seams. He has watched his family struggle since his “death” and now the burden is too great. Frank talks him down from revealing himself by promising to talk about bringing Madani in on their plan.

Relationships are front and center in “Cold Steel.” We finally see some depth between Russo and Madani, despite his comments otherwise. Frank and David grow as partners as Frank becomes the rock that tethers David. And prior to his demise, Madani and Sam are finally making progress as a cohesive team. Each pair of interactions brings a different dynamic to the episode.

Russo and Madani - The Punisher Cold Steel

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

There is a great deal of tension in this episode especially with the paced slowed. So much so that I’m on the edge of my seat by the time we get to the fire fight. “Cold Steel” is an example of The Punisher using each episode to do one thing at a time. The two concurrent stories do not overlap, and moving from one to the next feels natural.

Individuals finally have the opportunity to shine here. Frank is genuinely happy, for the first time outside of a flashback. Madani is completely decimated after Sam’s death. Billy’s calm facade is fading, both in his meeting with his mother and when he talks to Rawlins. David is slowly crumbling under the weight of his loneliness. Nothing seems out of place or forced in “Cold Steel.” This eight episode is another remarkable testament how well planned this season is.

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.