In case you couldn’t guess from the title, this article contains nothing but major The Punisher season 2 spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here if you prefer.
Chances are that this season of The Punisher is going to be the penultimate Marvel Netflix show, with only Jessica Jones Season 3 left on the slate. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering: what happens at the end of The Punisher Season 2? Where does it leave everyone? Well, read on for our explanation of The Punisher season 2 ending…
Perhaps the most important part of the ending is that Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, kills Billy Russo, aka Jigsaw. After everything the pair have been through, this is no small deal. As we saw in the first season, Billy Russo was Frank’s friend and brother-in-arms during his military service, though it’s fair to say that the two no longer saw eye to eye by the end of season one. It did, after all, end with Frank slicing Russo’s face up on a shattered mirror before rendering him comatose.
But despite Russo’s crimes, Frank didn’t kill him when he had the chance. Frank sparing Billy at least hinted towards redemption for a man who had previously killed almost every criminal he encountered. Sadly for fans of Frank leading a normal life, season 2 saw him backslide substantially. This time he actually finishes the job, taking out Russo so that he can’t hurt anyone else ever again.
Frank Castle at large
A large part of Season 2 involves the NYPD’s Brett Mahoney (recurring from Daredevil) attempting to capture Frank Castle and bring him to justice. A couple of times he almost succeeds. But when Mahoney is called to Russo’s body, Frank’s friends, Curtis and Madani, cover up the truth.
As such, Mahoney has no leads to follow and no case to make. He’s got nothing but his own determination to recapture The Punisher. If The Punisher Season 3 were to actually happen (which, hey, it still might…) you can believe a major part of the narrative would have been Mahoney setting up some kind of Punisher task force. As it is, you’ll just have to assume that’s the direction this is going in. After all, murdering people is against the law, even if they are criminals.
And what of Karen Page? Well, Deborah Ann Woll makes what is almost certainly her final appearance as the character a few episodes earlier, representing Nelson & Murdock, which she helped re-form in the final episode of Daredevil Season 3 (although promises that it might be Nelson, Murdock & Page seem to have not been fulfilled, unfortunately for her).
Despite some extremely close interactions, Karen and Frank never quite get the romance some had been clamoring for – but with no more screen time for these characters likely, you can at least continue to ship it.
While the first season ended with the hope that Frank Castle might never have to punish people again, season two takes the opposite approach. Frank has now fully embraced his mission, severed his ties to civilian life, and entered into a full-time war against crime as The Punisher. Where he had previously been protecting Amy, he sends her away with a bundle of money to get her life straightened out, free from any involvement with him, and gets to work.
Cut to three months later, and he’s staking out a warehouse as gangs arrive. Madani calls him from a CIA field base overseas. She’s now with the agency, and they have a target they need taken out. She trusts him to do it. She’s offering him a job.
But Frank declines, telling her he already has a job. Inside the warehouse the gangs are arguing about who set up the meeting, realizing just as we do that Frank set it up as he emerges from the darkness, in full Punisher skull vest and trench coat, then unloads two automatic rifles into the crooks ahead of him. He’s no longer going to let innocent people like his family get caught in the crossfire, even if that means giving up hope of a normal life.
This time, it isn’t personal. This is just what The Punisher does. And from now on, that’s all Frank Castle is…