RTF Review: THE PUNISHER, S2 E6 – ‘Leverage’
By Thomas L. Kelly (@WriterTLK)
The Punisher Season 2: Reviews by Episode
Episode 6: Nakazat
At the end of my review for One-Eyed Jacks, The Punisher‘s fifth episode of the second season, I sort of lamented over the underlying issues with Amy (formerly Rachel). She just isn’t very compelling.
Nakazat does not remedy my problems with her. In some ways, it exacerbates them—she’s tone deaf and insensitive here. What it does give us, though, is greater insight into why Anderson Schultz (Corbin Bernsen) wants her dead.
That revelation was much needed. It provided the season with a renewed sense of urgency. The Marvel Netflix catalogue has always been plagued with narrative inconsistencies. Some episodes are magnificent, while others struggle to keep their head afloat.
We hadn’t reached that latter point this season, but the telltale signs were there. There’s content in the first five episodes—and in Nakazat, as well—that simply serves to pad the runtime.
Billy’s odd sexual tension with his psychiatrist Krista Dumont (played by Floriana Lima) and Amy swiping Madani’s credit card in One-Eyed Jacks are examples of primary offenders. I’m almost certain nothing will come of Amy’s impetuous shopping spree. It exists solely because they had nothing else for her to do.
Dumont’s lack of judgement, on the other hand, may have consequences. The trouble comes in making the journey there interesting.
Despite these gripes, utilizing nearly every scene for an intended and necessary purpose is what Nakazat does best. From the start, Frank is on a mission for the truth. Why do the Russians want Amy dead? Well, they don’t. We, as the the all-seeing, already knew that. We had observed that it was Schultz who was pulling the strings. He needs what she has. What that is may be particularly damning to his pursuits.
The inflammatory nature of the content is sought after by the Russians, too. They, more than just about anyone, would benefit from Schultz’s reputation suffering.
The general setup is simple enough. Frank finally comprehends the importance of the leverage they possess. Pilgrim’s task is to get it back and make the mess of it disappear.
The strength of the episode lies in how each of those things unfolds. With Frank, we get to see his more tactical side. He outthinks and outwits his foe in Nakazat, luring Nikolai Poloznev into a situation that gives him the firm upper hand.
It’s a welcome deviation from his approach in One-Eyed Jacks. Frank as a blunt instrument is great in spurts, but to maintain the illusion of plausibility, he can’t always go in guns or fists blazing.
Nakazat also establishes an important line in the sand between Frank and Pilgrim. Frank’s seen and administered a lot of death; and his actions have exacted their own unique price. Moreover, what he’s lost in his own life has given him a different perspective on things. Sometimes, there are boundaries to what he does. Such barriers do not seem to exist for Pilgrim.
Madani, whose been relegated to chasing ghosts, is also imbued with a new purpose. After an eerie confrontation with Pilgrim, she’s set to work on identifying the intimidating, yet polite stranger.
As for Billy, he is indeed recruiting. And he is indeed growing more dangerous by the day. The time for Frank to act against his former friend may come sooner than later, especially with Billy’s movements becoming more frequent and unpredictable.