Review: The Punisher Season 1 Episode 1 “3AM”

With a commanding, forceful performance from Jon Bernthal, Frank Castle exudes a perfectly haunting, brutal but also sensitive response to his tragic situation. Castle’s mentality and subliminal interference of emotional cues is well orchestrated and edited into the episode, with assertive sound design relaying each beat and memory in a compounding manner. The show’s style and cinematography also potently contributes to this dark, trapped mental state, with a vicious, vengeful edge. Unfortunately, while these technical, stylistic elements work well, the pace is too slow and some of the larger discussions regarding PTSD, the war and political tones rely heavily on generic situations and derivative notions. Apart from Castle’s family’s death, there is little evidence proposed to justify these discussions and eventually they undermine the show’s focus upon Castle. The ending is suitably brutal and ferocious, but due to the clichéd, contrived nature of the events leading up to it, it feels more like a showcase for Castle, than a truly deserved or organic development. 7.5/10

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