The past comes back to spite heroes and villains alike in “Flustercluck”, proving that there’s no way to avoid a bill that needs paying.
This recap of The Punisher Season 2, Episode 9, “Flustercluck”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
And welcome, one and all, to the Punisher Pity Party. Everyone’s invited. Our keynote speaker is Mr. Frank Castle, who will be monologuing about who he is and how everyone should just accept him for it. “Let me be what I’m meant to be,” he says, and I, for one, am inclined to give him what he wants.
Side note: Can anyone in the MCU monologue like Bernthal? Don’t bother leaving a comment. I already know the answer.
Dumont and Billy Russo are still enjoying weird sex in “Flustercluck”, although now their lovemaking is intercut with scenes of Billy’s crew doing increasingly bad **** throughout New York. One leads to the other, I suppose. And look, here’s Pilgrim! Remember when he used to be in this show? His boss wants him to use his old contacts to put a bounty on the heads of Frank and Amy – something he’s reluctant to do in fear of “opening old doors”. Open them, Pilgrim. Might as well at this point, just to give you something to do.
Pilgrim’s boss, by the way, is Anderson Schultz (Corbin Bernsen), the father of David, who we also meet in “Flustercluck”. Anderson would like David to leave New York, presumably so he doesn’t become a target, but trying to explain that to someone without inadvertently revealing that you’ve killed a significant number of people on their behalf is tricky, and so it doesn’t go so well. Pilgrim enigmatically puts the word out about the bounty.
Team Frank, meanwhile, are getting on splendidly. Frank is out doing the messy stuff, which includes removing a dude’s thumb so that he can conveniently unlock his stolen phone, while Amy and Curtis are bonding over their reconnaissance duties. Amy reveals that her dream is to be in marine salvage (never would have predicted that), which is possibly the only honest thing she has said in the entire season until now. Unfortunately Curt has responsibilities to group therapy that can’t be ignored, and Amy, going crazy on her own, leaves the trailer as well. These people just can’t make things easy on themselves.
Frank – still carrying dude’s thumb around – finds out about the bounty by foiling an attempt at collecting it as awesomely as ever. This obviously complicates the fact that Amy has sought out her old, dodgy friend in order to acquire some fake ID, having no idea that there’s now $5 million to be gained from her life. When she finally answers Frank’s call, the penny drops. She’s in major trouble, and so texts Frank the address to come and bail her out. But does she need saving at this stage? Well, kind of. She manages to disarm and shoot one of her attackers, so that training paid off, and she also ****-punts her Judas friend, which is very satisfying. But Frank still has to turn up with an assault rifle to make sure all that goes smoothly.
Elsewhere in “Flustercluck”, Billy shows up in Madani’s crib in an attempt to intimidate and taunt her, but it backfires somewhat because she has a trump card: She knows why Frank ruined his face, and she absolutely delights in telling him: “He put all that ugly on the outside where it belongs.” In light of this, Billy’s skewed justifications become especially hilarious; he genuinely thinks that he deserves better than what Frank did to him because of all they’ve been through together. There’s that ego! The lack of truly hideous scarring for this version of Jigsaw is starting to make more sense.
While Curt tasks the loyalists in his group therapy session with tracking down Billy, Pilgrim receives a tip and is blindsided by a particularly unsavoury figure from his past, who has some backstory to dispense. Once upon a time, Pilgrim was a coked-up nutcase white nationalist maniac who disappeared 12 years prior with a great deal of money, found God and a wife and never returned. Now, apparently, he must “pay for his sins in full”, which doesn’t sound fun for anyone, let alone him.
Towards the end of “Flustercluck”, Frank utters that instantly-iconic line from the trailer: “I’m not the one who dies, kid. I’m the one who does the killing.” But what does he really mean by that? By embracing his Punisher alter-ego, he’s ensuring that the right people get their comeuppance. When he’s the Punisher, bad people die; when he tries not to be, innocents do. I guess it makes sense after all.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.