Netflix has repeatedly said that their next Marvel series, The Punisher, is coming in "Fall of 2017." Welp, I looked out my window and the leaves are turning. I looked at the calendar and it says October. It must be time to refresh our memories of Frank Castle's time on Daredevil Season 2, establishing him ahead of his own series. But what happened to The Punisher in Daredevil?
When we first met Frank Castle in the second season premiere of a show that's technically about Matt Murdoch, he proceeded to steal the entire series out from under just about everyone. While Matt-as-Daredevil was running around, looking for "an army" that must have banded together to take down the entire Irish Mafia, the rest of us were watching said one-man-army march his way into the hospital where Karen Page was sitting with the sole survivor, Elliot "Grotto" Grote, to "finish the job."
But while such an introduction might have singled Castle out to be a bad guy (and everyone certainly thinks he is when the season begins), everything turns out to be much more complicated than that. Castle is just fighting a one-man war, and everyone else needs to get out of the way.
A Heck Of An Entrance
Over the course of the next 12 episodes, Castle comes a long way. When we first meet him, he's not even really "The Punisher" yet. Part of why he steals the spotlight so heavily in this season is that while technically it's Matt Murdoch's show, it's Frank Castle's origin story of how he learned to stop worrying and love his vigilante moniker.
Frank Castle's Family
One of the turning points from bad guy to good came early in the season, when Daredevil and Castle bond while hanging out in a graveyard. Castle tells the story of his family and how they died, and how it set him on the path to become the man he is today. As actor Jon Bernthal put it at the time of Daredevil Season 2's release:
He ain’t got a f*cking cape. He ain’t got any superpowers. He’s a f*cking tortured, angry father and husband who’s living in this unbelievable world of darkness and loss and torment.
Castle Goes To Jail
The first half of the Daredevil Season 2 series finds Murdoch and Foggy taking on Frank Castle as a client and trying to keep him from going to jail for his murders. But Castle isn't interested in walking free. Part of him wants to be punished for his crimes. So, in retaliation, he takes the stand and wrecks his case, winding up in the same prison as Wilson Fisk.
Fisk might have had Castle put down like a dog, too, until he found out just how good a fighting machine the man was. While the ultimate outcome is that Fisk springs Castle from jail, this major moment is the future Punisher establishing his reputation in the circles who should fear him most.
Frank Castle and Karen Page
Ever since that not-exactly-meet-cute in the hospital, Castle and Karen manage to grow closer over the course of the season — so much so that actress Deborah Ann Woll is listed among the main characters for the coming season (and featured heavily in the promotional images.)
Where exactly the show is hoping to go with this is not clear. The Punisher is a much darker show than Daredevil, which has it's sense of the romantic. That romanticism is embedded so heavily, it even seemed to influence Castle for a moment or five towards the end. Will the new show keep that, or will it fall by the wayside?
Frank Castle Becomes The Punisher
Some fans feel the moment Castle says he's already dead and kills his former marine commander in Episode 12 is the moment he becomes "The Punisher." But I would disagree. Frank Castle doesn't become the dark hero that can lead his own series until the very end of the season, when we look at him in comparison to Daredevil, and through Karen's eyes.