Frank Castle is back and ready to bust more heads in a new trailer for the upcoming second season of on Netflix.
centers on former Marine combat veteran Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), a vigilante out to avenge the gangland murder of his family. Viewers were introduced to the character in season 2 of , and while he's not officially one of the Defenders, he soon got his very own series.
It debuted to mixed reviews, but season 1 was a fan favorite and earned praise for its gritty depiction of a man dealing with grief and PTSD, as well as its impressive fight choreography. True, it suffered from the same sluggish pacing that plagues all the Netflix/Marvel series, but viewers have come to expect that by now.
(Some spoilers for Season 1 below.)
The first season's narrative arc focused on Frank's former comrade in arms and fellow Marine Billy Russo (Ben Barnes), nicknamed "Billy the Beaut" because he's such a handsome womanizer. Russo graduated to running Anvil, a private military contracting firm, and was out to prevent a DHS agent from uncovering the truth about a deadly botched mission when he and Frank were stationed in Afghanistan. Violent mayhem ensued and the bodies piled up, until Frank slammed Russo's face into a carousel mirror (the same carousel where Frank's family died). Russo fell into a coma, and Frank grudgingly joined a PTSD support group.
Obviously, that happy ending doesn't pan out, since Frank resumes his role as the Punisher in season 2. This time around, Frank teams up with a young woman named Amy Bendix (Giorgia Whigham). They meet when he rescues her in a bar, and we learn that she is being targeted by someone who has killed everyone she's ever cared about. So they have that much in common, at least. Amy is grateful for his help but also recognizes the darkness within. "It's almost like you were happy for the excuse" to beat up lots of people in the bar, she observes.
Mostly, though, season 2 is about the return of Billy Russo, who has recovered from the traumatic brain injury Castle inflicted on him, although his face has been left badly scarred. In an earlier teaser clip, a hospital therapist suggests he might want to decorate the plain white mask covering his face to represent what he wants to portray to the outside world. "What face do you want the world to see?" she asks.
The answer: the face of Jigsaw, one of Castle's arch-nemeses in the comics, so named because his facial scars resemble a jigsaw puzzle. Here, the scars are as much psychological as physical, not only from PTSD but from his brain damage and memory issues as well. As Barnes told io9 recently, "He's trying to piece together what happened and who he is, and at one point the metaphor used is that his brain is the jigsaw they're trying to put back together."
Russo has been having bad dreams, too, but it's the Punisher's symbol that he sees—and once his memory returns, he wants revenge. Jigsaw finds a worthy accomplice in John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart), possibly another bad guy in the comics known as The Mennonite because of his penchant for priestly garb. Amber Rose Revah will reprise her role as DHS agent Dinah Madani for this new season, and 's Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) will also make an appearance.
Season 2 of starts streaming on Netflix January 18. We look forward to the show being abruptly cancelled two weeks later, just like , and .