The Punisher Season 1
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

“3 AM” is a great kick-off for The Punisher Season 1

Marvel’s most well-known antihero, Frank Castle, also known as The Punisher, makes his headlining series debut on Netflix’s The Punisher. Jon Bernthal is returning to the role he perfected in Season 2 of Daredevil

Episode 1, entitled “3 am,” opens with Frank finding and killing the last members of the criminal groups that ended his family’s lives: the Dogs of Hell bikers, the sole survivor of the Mexican Cartel of NYC, the last member of the Kitchen Irish.

Six months later, Frank (now going by Pete Castiglione) has been working as a construction hand breaking down walls for 12+ hours a day, living in a rundown apartment with nightmares about his family. Due to “Pete’s” quiet demeanor, some of his co-workers, who seem to think he may be special needs, bully him. “Pete’s only ally at the construction site is the new arrival, Donny. Meanwhile, to help cope with his demons, Frank is assisted by friend Curtis Hoyle (Jason R.Moore), who runs a support group of retired service members feeling screwed over by their leaders.

“3 am” was an excellent opening for The Punisher series. While the episode is not as action-packed as one may think, director Tom Shankland and writer Steve Lightfoot carefully handle the reintroduction of Frank to the audience. Shankland makes the wise to show close-ups of Bernthal’s face during Frank’s recurring nightmares about his wife. I was able to identify with Frank and understand the PTSD he was experiencing.

When the action does arrive, Lightfoot humanizes Frank, which makes the action more satisfying. One of the most significant pays off was seeing “Pete” deliver the componence to the bullies. The bullies attempt to murder Donny after he goes out with them to rob a mobster, only for Donny to slip and drop his wallet, exposing his driver’s license. The second action sequence was also satisfying when Frank took out the mobsters.

While Frank does intact justice, it comes with a small price as a mysterious hacker known as David Lieberman (Ebon Moss-Bacharach) tracks Frank using Gait tracking software. Episode 1 also introduces us to the supporting character Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah). Dinah has gained a new posting in Homeland Security, striving to attain a task force to find out who killed her partner Ahmed Zubair of the Afghan National Police, who was undercover investigating a heroin ring. 

Dinah seemed to be a bit underwritten this episode, and hopefully, she has more to do in the later episodes, as it appears she is the female lead on the show. With just enough action to satisfy the fans, but more importantly, humanizing its lead character and being socially conscious about the effects of PSTD, Netflix appears to have another winner on its hands with The Punisher.


Final Grade B+

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