I’ve been a huge fan of the Marvel Netflix shows for a while. Daredevil is one of my favourite shows and the first seasons for Jessica Jones and the Punisher were fantastic. The rest have been fairly mediocre and quality of the shows have decreased. With all of the recent seasons being average at best, except Daredevil, my expectations were low despite the fact I loved season one.
And for the first half of the season, the show was disappointing. The story lacked any compelling central conflict and dragged. It suffers from problems quite a few of these shows suffer from. It’s way too long. This season did not need to be 13 episodes. By compressing the plot into 8-10 episodes, the season would have felt better paced and we would have reached the actual main conflict a lot earlier.
Another reason the first half fell flat for me was the Amy character. She came off as extremely annoying most of the time. She had moments of charm but for the most part, the writing for the character did not land with me. The actress did a fine job but I didn’t like the character. Another wasted character in Punisher season 2’s first half is Madani. I loved her character in the first season but her arc in the first half feels pointless. She has a lot more to do in the second half when the show actually picks up.
One of the aspects that worked in the first half was the action. This season has tons of action sequences and most of them are well choreographed. The toilet scene was great and was definitely the standout of the first six episodes.
Episode 7 of The Punisher season 2 is when everything starts to pick up. It’s the first time we really see Billy and the Punisher face off and the show gets what it was missing for most of the season. Billy Russo was a well-written antagonist who challenged Frank’s beliefs similar to the Joker in The Dark Knight. Obviously Russo wasn’t as good but he was still great and definitely elevated the quality of the season.
The one issue I had with Billy Russo was the weird and forced arc with the therapist. It felt extremely out of place and didn’t add anything to the story. The therapist character in general was terrible and the writing didn’t work at all.
And that leads me to one of my major complaints. None of the new characters bring the heart or humour that Micro brought to season 1. The show lacked the heart this season and this was easily one of the biggest weaknesses.
One of the biggest positives for the season was Frank Castle’s character arc. I loved how they explored the complexity of the character and the scenes with Karen Page in episode 11 was nothing short of sensational. However, I did feel like they could’ve spent more time with these scenes instead of what they did in the first half.
Overall, The Punisher season 2 had great action sequences and recovered from a dragged out first half. However, it never really lives up to the heights of season one.