Posted December 9, 2017 by Jasmin in Reviews

REVIEW: The Punisher S01E12 – Home

Episode: S01E12 – Home
Directed By: Jet Wilkinson
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

Some people get a happy ending, and some people get their bodies bloodied and broken. For Frank, he gets both in “Home.”

David and Frank - Home - The Punisher

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

This penultimate episode is heavy on the melodrama and predictable. Two things that are forgivable when judged by the entire season, so far, but as a stand alone, “Home” is weak. However, the payoff of watching Agent Orange come to a brutal, visceral demise is worth it in the end. Flashbacks/visions of Frank and his wife Maria try to play up Frank’s internal struggle. I can’t imagine what goes throug a man’s mind as he’s being slowly tortured to death. But with everything that has been piled on Frank, it is impossible not to feel broken up about the way “Home” plays out.

How much pain can one make take? Frank has literally lost everything yet he still wills himself to live. What drives that? Does his vengeance burn so brightly that it eclipses every other motivation? Frank does awful things throughout The Punisher, yet I find myself forgiving his transgressions. Either this series has built a perfect sympathetic character in their version of Frank Castle, or my priorities are seriously misaligned.

Could Frank be running on love? Pure, unfiltered, unadulterated, pristine love? Is his love for his family so intense that it has been warped and corrupted into something sinister and ugly? Perhaps I’ve got this whole season wrong, and what we are really watching is someone too weak to let it go. Nah, that’s too easy.

Agent Orange - Home - The Punisher

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

“Home” reveals the twisted nature of the work men like Rawlins, Frank, and Billy are into. What Cerberus did in Afghanistan is horrible. That kind of work not only requires absolute obedience and loyalty to the mission, but it also takes a special mentality. Gunner Henderson didn’t have it, despite being recruited for his skills. It is unnerving the way Billy watches Frank literally beat Rawlins’ face in. “Always loved watching you work, Frankie,” he says when Castle is satisfied that the man beneath him is dead enough.

There is a lot of history between Frank and Billy. We get a glimpse when Billy promises Frank that he won’t let Rawlins kill him. Frank and Billy have chased each other all over the city trying to kill the other man. Is it mutual respect? A sense of duty? Because they’re still “brothers?” Or is it simply madness? Now we’re getting into comic lore as the hero/arch-nemesis relationship is solidifying. This tension is palpable, and now I kind of don’t want Billy to die because I want this cat and mouse game to continue.

Billy Russo - Home - The Punisher

© Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

Despite Frank’s best efforts to be a martyr, David does not let him die. He and Frank’s contingency plan works and everything Rawlins and Billy do is recorded and sent to Madani. She sends in the cavalry, wounding Billy before he can kill Frank. By now, Frank is beaten so badly, I can’t help but wonder how he even has blood left in his body.

“Home” is a disturbing peek into just how ugly this line of work can get. With Rawlins out of the way, there’s only one showdown left. I hope it’s worth the wait.

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.