'Marvel's The Punisher' - "Kandahar" Episode 3 Recap

For the most part, Marvel's The Punisher spends its third episode, "Kandahar", on two men in a room figuring out if they can trust each other. They both have reasons for their trust issues, as both Frank and Micro have suffered great deals of pain from a corrupt government. Their backstories are filled throughout the episode in some very tense flashbacks.

In Micro's flashbacks we are taken back to when he first receives the video of Ahmad Zubair. His superiors would have him bury it, but that just doesn't sit well with him. Micro wants justice for this senseless murder, and sends the video to Agent Madani in the hopes that she'll uncover the coverup surrounding the entire operation. Micro's act of heroism is not met kindly. A team of Homeland Security agents, led by the always sleazy Carson Wolf, give chase to Micro throughout the city streets before Wolf gives what he thinks to be a kill shot on poor Micro, sending him toppling over the rails of a bridge. He's been in hiding ever sense in an effort to protect his family.

The focus then switches to Frank's flashbacks of the titular "Kandahar". Frank and Billy are part of a special unit known as Operation Cerberus. Their commander is a no-named "Agent Orange". He points, they shoot, no questions asked. It is Orange who gives the order for Frank to kill Ahmad Zubair.

Orange later tasks the unit with infiltrating a nearby building to take out a target. Frank doesn't like the looks of the place and senses an ambush, but Orange commands them to proceed with the assault. When Frank and Billy lead their men into the attack, Castle's worst fears are imagined. The unit is severely outmatched and taking casualties. It falls on Frank Castle to do what he does best, storming into the building alone, a one-man killing machine with guns a'blazing. The sequence is oddly edited, with a cheesy, on-the-nose country western song playing over the violence that all just seems like too much. Stylistically, the scene doesn't work for me. Thematically, it does wonders. Frank Castle is the type of man who will face an army all by himself if it means protecting his own men. This is the type of characteristics a character needs if we're also going to be rooting for them to viciously slaughter anyone that stands in their way.

When the battered and bloodied unit returns to base after the mission, Agent Orange shows no remorse for the squad's sacrifices, instead cutting right to the chase of asking if the target had been eliminated. This causes Frank to snap, attacking his superior. Billy drags his friend away and tries to talk some sense into him. Billy was leaving the unit, and if Frank hated it so much, he should follow suit. Pretty solid advice, I'd say.

Back in the present, Frank and Micro agree on a truce. They'll work together to take down those involved in Operation Cerberus on one condition, Frank gets to kill every last one of them.

Elsewhere in the episode we learn that Billy is helping pay the rent for Curtis' veteran support group. The two of them reminisce over mutual friend Frank Castle, with Billy unaware that Castle is in fact very much alive.

We're also given a quick scene of support group attendee Lewis shooting at his father in a fit of PTSD. His shot misses, and his father is completely fine, but the ordeal is enough to send Lewis away in a state of emotional distress. This is a lot more dramatic and grounded way of looking at the effects of war, so I'm excited to see how The Punisher explores this storyline.

That just about covers episode three of The Punisher, "Kandahar". Before you dive in to episode four, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.