With Larkville in his wake, The Punisher returned to where it all started: New York City. A war zone shrouded by a picturesque skyline. It was only a matter of time before Frank came back from the dead following Russo’s escape. He wasn’t the only dormant memory making a comeback, though, as Rachel and Russo felt forced to confront their respective pasts. Redemption truly does come in many forms.
The War Returns
Dinah posts Frank and Rachel up in her apartment while denying doing such to Gunner. He isn’t buying her story fully and worries that she brought the war back to the city. The meeting doesn’t sour Dinah on involving Frank in her pursuit of Russo. She gives Frank Russo’s dream journal, pointing out that he dominates Russo’s thoughts. Dinah believes that Russo’s memory loss is a ruse as a result of this. Frank likes that he lives in Russo’s dreams. Dinah tosses him the Punisher vest, still bloodstained, as a symbol of their collective unresolved past. Neither of them were able to kill Russo, but that ending might change this time around.
Frank locks Rachel in Dinah’s bedroom before visiting Curtis. He expresses his worry for Russo in his current mental state. Curtis disagrees with Dinah’s assessment of Russo’s amnesia. It’s much easier to have everyone else live with your actions rather than yourself after all. Frank and Curtis rack their brains trying to think of who Russo might seek revenge against from his pre-military past.
Back On The Streets
Russo spends little time acquiring a new look from a mouthy bus rider. A news report about his escape triggers a memory from his sessions with Krista. She tries to pull him out of a pattern of self-defeating thought during his recovery. Russo’s mood shifts to anger when she brings up the skull in his dreams, but it is something he must overcome. She suggests that he decorate his blank mask as a self-identification exercise, but Russo can’t even look at himself.
Russo ends up at a little league ballpark that night. The same one where he told Frank about how his foster dad, Arthur, took away his ability to play baseball by abusing him. He has a nightmare on the bleachers and decides to pay Arthur a visit. The old man welcomes him into his home with a cup of coffee and a blameful tongue. He keeps hinting at his past abuse of Russo, commenting on how his pretty face is now screwed up.
Frank tells Dinah that her theory on Russo’s memory loss may be wrong and believes that he may be going after Arthur. Mahoney stops by to ask about Russo’s missing journal and to warn Dinah about becoming too obsessed with Russo. He might be a bit too late on that one.
Russo finally has enough of Arthur and kills him. He follow Krista home, searching for help. She takes him in but begins to call the police. She remembers a past session with Russo where she promised to help Russo redeem himself. At his lowest, Russo believes he deserves the fear caused by his constant nightmares. He is still trying to rebuild himself into the best version possible, but is still struggling as a blood covered man in Krista’s home. He begs her to help him and she puts her phone away.
Dinah finds Arthur’s body in his home. Mahoney isn’t far behind her, but his lack of sneaking skill gets him two rounds in his kevlar vest. Dinah apologizes, but Mahoney only wants to know what is going on. Dinah evades the question, feigning ignorance once again.
Rachel attempts to get comfortable in Dinah’s bed but ends up finding more solace on the floor underneath it. That is until she begins crying as memories of hiding under a bed while watching her friends die rush back. The experience leads Rachel to finally tell Frank why Pilgrim is following her. She is in possession of photos of two men kissing at a funeral and Pilgrim killed all of her friends to get them. Frank tells her to do something about it, positing that Pilgrim won’t stop. Rachel is frightened, but Frank knows that sometimes you have to bring the fight rather than wait for it to show up.
After researching Frank’s past as The Punisher, Rachel reveals her final truth. Her real name is Amy. She wants to know if Frank felt any solace in killing those that wronged him. Sometimes it does. Frank’s introspection and vulnerability inspire Amy, who promises she is done running from Pilgrim.
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