Another fantastic action sequence and some intriguing turns make “One-Eyed Jacks” one of the stronger instalments of The Punisher Season 2 thus far.
This recap of The Punisher Season 2, Episode 5, “One-Eyed Jacks”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Frank and Amy begin “One-Eyed Jacks” playing Three-Card Monte, which is cute for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s nice to see them actually bonding. The second is that it’s basically both their personalities in microcosm; Amy is the slick grifter who whose left hand is always obscuring what her right is doing, and Frank – a bit like a child, really – is getting frustrated that he can’t just approach every problem in the most obvious way possible. “The only way to win is to not play,” she tells him. Blimey, it’s a metaphor!
Frank goes to see his – and, let’s face it, our – old buddy Turk (Rob Morgan), who is predictably thrilled to see him. But Turk’s the kind of guy who would know about a Russian wrong-un called Konchevsky, who you might recall from his time being strapped to a chair and subsequently strangled in the first episode. He and his goons operate out of a gym, where Turk is sent to arrange a meeting with Frank. This results in him being taken captive while Frank stakes the place out; it’s always nice to see continuity between these seasons, and Turk’s seemingly endless suffering is always a pleasure. More on this chain of events a bit later.
A kind of three-way connection is being reinforced in “One-Eyed Jacks” between Madani, Billy and Dumont, the latter of whom is still coaching the fledgling supervillain through his various psychoses, which makes for an interesting dynamic. Usually the beautiful woman would be the victim in this setup, but her take-charge expertise reposition her as a commanding figure of power, and Billy is weirdly subservient to her – presumably because on some level he recognises that she holds the key to unlocking his recollections. It’s not like she’s immune to problems of her own, mind, as suggested by the tell-tale self-harm scars that adorn her forearms.
Amy, meanwhile, is swanning around Madani’s apartment dressed up in her clothes and ordering things on her credit card, which is funny, and especially so when Frank returns and initially begins to chide her for it before becoming really comically excited that she ordered pizza from a place he likes. Maybe Madani’s worries that she made a mistake in bringing Frank back to New York before all this **** with the Russians was resolved are justified. And on that subject, Turk calls (under duress) to arrange a meeting.
Let’s check in on Pilgrim, who is currently self-flagellating for his sins and saying goodbye to his sickly wife, as he has been asked to “return” to New York in pursuit of Frank and Amy. Here’s the problem with Pilgrim, thus far: It’s really tough to buy into all the religious claptrap as motivation, as his overseers are so obviously using it to manipulate him that his whole character just seems hopelessly naïve. We’ll see how that progresses.
Speaking of progress, Billy is making some. He’s switched-on enough to eavesdrop on Dumont counselling another patient, Jake, who also attends Curtis’s therapy group for troubled veterans, which Madani attends in “One-Eyed Jacks”. It’s purely accidental but makes for a nice scene in which she gets to vocalise some of her post-Season 1 trauma and shut down Jake, who seems like a real *******. It’s not much of a surprise when, slightly later, he and Billy become psycho friends.
Anyway, Frank, in some new duds ordered for him by Amy using Madani’s credit card, sets off to get those fresh threads covered in blood – and boy, does he. The Russkies aren’t exactly forthcoming with information, but there’s only so long you can remain tight-lipped when Frank’s asking the questions. After the extended shootout sequences of that excellent third episode, it’s nice to get some more hand-to-hand action, because Bernthal absolutely sells the hell out of it and the show’s choreography is just consistently excellent. Also, I’m pretty sure one of the goons was played by former UFC light-heavyweight contender and frequent portrayer of villainous henchmen Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine, but I didn’t bother checking the credits to be sure. Looked like him, anyway.
Regardless, a new lead is acquired, Frank and Amy move out of Madani’s apartment and into Curtis’s place, and the final scene shows Pilgrim shooting up the gym. I guess he returned to New York after all!
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.