Features TV

REVIEW: Daredevil 2×04 “Penny and Dime”

Written by Alex Reale

 

Well, that was unexpected. After that last episode of Daredevil, I legit thought Matt would’ve turned the Punisher over to the authorities, or at least kept him imprisoned in some manner. Instead, it looks like Frank is back out on the streets. But this is a good thing, because then we don’t have to waste time watching the Punisher’s escape, and instead, we spend this episode learning more about the character and his background. While not as action-heavy as the previous installment, “Penny and Dime” was another great episode that fleshed out the Punisher’s background and motivation. (spoilers ahead!)

This episode kicks off with the Kitchen Irish (led by the vicious sadist Finn) conducting an all-out manhunt for the Punisher after discovering that he was responsible for eliminating half the gang. Soon enough, they encounter Frank as he’s sitting next to a carousel in a sort-of trance, obviously reflecting on his traumatic past. The gang members attempt to surround Frank, but he’s not going down without a fight. In an impressive albeit very brief fight sequence, Frank holds the gang members off until he’s taken down by a handful of tazers to the chest.

Elsewhere, the Nelson & Murdock crew attend the funeral service for Grotto (and they’re the only ones even in attendance). Matt speaks with the priest about his guilt, feeling as if he could’ve done more to help Grotto (or Hell’s Kitchen for that matter). Now, Matt Murdock’s character is known for being heavily motivated by his Catholic faith, so it’s understandable that he’d be turning to the priest for guidance in these trying times. However, I’m curious about whether this will be the only time we witness him going to the church throughout the season. Will he return at some point near the finale, or is this a one-and-done deal? If it’s the latter, then the show might be skimming over a major component of the Daredevil character.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 8.46.54 AM

Last episode, Karen Page stumbled upon an X-Ray of a skull with a bullet-wound. We watch her go all Sherlock Holmes this episode as she begins to piece together various clues to learn more about the Punisher and his history. We learn that Frank was shot in the head several years ago and taken to the hospital. Under the orders of a shady group of suits, the hospital took him off life-support. But he refused to die. After briefly flat-lining, he came back to life, grabbed a nurse, and demanded to be taken home. Karen ventures to that home, where she sees the mailbox bearing the name “Castle”. Inside, she finds evidence of Frank’s former life, including his military history and his mysteriously missing family.

If you’re like me and you’re familiar with the Punisher and his whole story, then this exposition might’ve seemed unnecessary. We know Frank Castle is the Punisher, and we know his whole story. But it looks like Daredevil took a major turn and slightly changed up the Punisher’s background. So while we know the basics of the comic character and his motivations, it was interesting to see how they slightly shifted his lore to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Since this show is called Daredevil, we can’t forget about the titular character. Matt visits his old friend Melvin Potter to pick up a fancy new costume. It sounds like Melvin is actually creating his own armor as well (oh please let him suit up in Season 3). Now armed with a fancy new costume, Daredevil sets off to find the Punisher.

Frank is imprisoned by the Kitchen Irish in a seedy underground lair (how cliche). Finn decides not to kill him right away because he wants to know where the Punisher hid the money he’s stolen from his gang. So he instead decides to torture him. I won’t lie – I found myself cringing as Finn took a drill to Frank’s body. You could almost feel the pain with him. The Punisher may portray himself as an unstoppable killing machine, but he is still human. Again, that’s what makes him such a great character in both the comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His only real power is his resilience and incredible tolerance for pain. He’s not like Captain America or Thor, who all seem to brush off near-fatal wounds with ease. The Punisher feels every single hit, and he takes it like a champ.

We also see a more humane side to Frank when Finn threatens to torture the Punisher’s adoptive dog. Frank instantly caves and reveals the location of the money. This goes to show how the hardened character will go through any and all torture inflicted on his own body, but once you try to harm an innocent being, he’s done. This demonstrates the Punisher’s more sympathetic and caring side, and proves that he’s not some solid unfeeling rock. I’m guessing a villain will use this to their advantage in the future, appealing to Frank’s softer side in order to take him down.

The Punisher tells the gang that the money is located in a van, which he uses as a mobile base and armory. The Kitchen Irish find the money, as well as an explosive surprise hidden in the suitcase. It’s around this time Daredevil arrives and rescues the Punisher, and together, they fight their way out of the lair. I’m so happy we got to finally see them in action side-by-side, but I was hoping it would’ve been longer. The moment when Daredevil prevents the Punisher from executing a gang member reminded me of the scene from The Dark Knight Rises when Batman stopped Catwoman from shooting one of Bane’s henchman during their first fight scene together. There’s no way that was unintentional.

The episode’s final moments feature Daredevil and the Punisher sitting in a cemetery while waiting for the police to arrive. It’s at this time that Frank pours out his life story and tells Red about his family. Jon Bernthal has done such a fantastic job so far with the Punisher character so far, but this scene is phenomenal. He absolutely crushes it with his performance as he tells the story of when Frank came home from the war and saw his family again for the first time.

The police arrive to arrest Frank, and Daredevil makes sure that the police lets everyone know that THEY were the ones to stop him, not the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. He wants the city to know that the police are the real heroes, and that their way works. According to Daredevil, vigilantism, especially the Punisher’s kind, does not work, and it’s crucial that everyone understands that.

I’m a little concerned that the Punisher will be out of the picture for a while now that he’s in the hands of the justice system. But that’s fine, because as we see in the final few seconds of this episode, it looks like a new bad-ass is back in town.

One thing I also wasn’t a fan of in this episode was the relationship between Karen and Matt. I honestly don’t see any chemistry between them, and it’s a bit frustrating that the show is trying to force this unnatural-feeling relationship on us.

I’m so worried that we’re treading into what I call Arrow Syndrome – by this, I mean that the show is trying to forge a relationship just because fans “ship” it and want to see two main characters fall in love. It’s the same crap that ruined Arrow for me, and I hope it’s not going to do the same with Daredevil. Please, Marvel, don’t ruin a near-perfect show to appease the annoying “shipper” community.

Final Grade: B

+ Amazing performance by Bernthal.

+ Loved that ending!

+ It’s great to finally see Punisher and Daredevil fighting side by side.

– Ugh, is Daredevil going to fall prey to Arrow Syndrome with the Matt/Karen relationship?

– This episode was a little slow compared to the previous installment.

– I have a bad feeling that the Punisher will be gone for a while… maybe until the finale.

Extra Thoughts:

– I wonder if Melvin Potter is going to design the Punisher’s iconic skull armor?

What did you think of “Penny and Dime”? Are you curious to see how the Punisher will do in Hell’s Kitchen’s justice system? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!

1 Comment

  • Matt and Karen were an item in the Marvel comics series, so that’s the reason why they are pushing it in the TV version. But yeah, I could do without the romantic “Arrow” entanglements. Bring on more Punisher and let’s get on with the action!