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Recap / The Punisher 2017 S 01 E 03 Kandahar

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Frank skips the subtlety while interrogating Micro. Brutal memories of top-secret missions shed light on Frank's past.


  • Boom, Headshot!: Ahmed's fate, courtesy of Frank.
  • The Bus Came Back: Colonel Schoonover makes an appearance in the flashbacks of Frank and Billy's Marine service.
  • Call-Forward: When Frank was on trial in Daredevil (2015), Colonel Schoonover testified as a character witness and described how he got Frank and his squad led into an ambush, and lost his right arm in the process. The flashbacks in this episode depict said ambush, and also add some missing details.
  • Cassandra Truth: Agent Orange disregards Frank's warnings that they are walking into an ambush, believing his intelligence trumps the war whisperer's reservations.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Micro has anaesthetic hidden in his pen.
  • Cry for the Devil: Despite wanting him out of the way before, Madani still thinks that Wolf didn't deserve to die like that and wants to find out what happened.
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  • Eye Scream: Frank is so pissed off about Agent Orange's lack of regard for the soldiers that he punches him hard enough to blind him in his left eye. Using his wounded right arm, no less.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Colonel Schoonover names the unit "Operation Cerberus", and then proclaims them to be his dogs of war. However, in Classical Mythology Cerberus was the guard dog of the Underworld, and was not remotely used in war. This demonstrates early on that Agent Orange is not equipped with all the necessary intelligence, which leads the unit into a trap.
    • The focus given to Gunner in the flashbacks is going to play into later episodes.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Russo's good looks and sexual promiscuity lead Frank to jokingly call him "Billy the Beaut".
  • Hallway Fight: When Frank infiltrates the enemy compound, he begins shooting his way through a few corridors before running put of ammo and using a knife, then a rock.
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  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Agent Orange, while doing enhanced interrogation on Ahmed Zubair, asks the man in Farsi if he's told any of the soldiers present in the room that he's a police officer. Zubair says no, and that's when Agent Orange gives Frank the order to execute him.
  • The Hero's Birthday: It's Frank's birthday both in the flashbacks and the present day.
  • He's Got a Weapon!: What Wolf uses as an excuse to gun down David on the sidewalk.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out that Frank's a Bruce Springsteen fan. He becomes giddy when he sees that Maria's happy birthday letter from home includes two tickets for a Springsteen concert in the Meadowlands for once he gets back, and one of the things he says to psych himself for his charge against the insurgents is "I've got a date with the Boss!"
  • Instant Sedation: Averted. Micro injects Frank with a sedative that knocks him on his ass, but takes around 30 seconds to really slow him down. Later when he wakes up it takes him about 15 minutes to properly shrug it off.
  • Irony: Because the sedation is still strong after Frank wakes up, Micro has to drive him around in the office chair, which the latter was previously restrained on by Frank.
  • Kill 'Em All: Frank's condition for allying with Micro: They kill everyone leading the conspiracy.
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: After Frank wakes up from being tranquilized by Micro, he isn't put in restraints and even has a gun laying on top of him. Micro gives him the choice to kill him or finally start listening for real.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Frank at one point teases Russo by asking if he's ever thought about settling down with a single woman rather than just have one-night stands. Russo replies, "God made me this way for a reason. It'd be wrong not to share the wealth."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When one of the Taliban shoot his gun near Frank's ear, the soundtrack mutes, as if the audience lost the same amount of hearing that Frank did.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While having some downtime, Frank refers to Russo as "Billy the Beaut", his comics street name when he was a Mob assassin.
    • Agent Orange loses the sight in his left eye when Frank punches him, echoing the eyepatch he wore in the comic.
  • Meaningful Name: "Agent Orange" is the name of one of the "Rainbow Herbicides" used as a chemical weapon by the United States during The Vietnam War.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: During the flashbacks, Frank is seen taking issue with Agent Orange and his orders, but still follows them when he's told they have Congressional approval. This changes after the ambush.
  • My Greatest Failure: Not killing Agent Orange is this for Frank as this is what started the chain of events which got his family killed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Operation Cerberus
  • Never Suicide: Sam Stein notes that Carson Wolf's death is obviously a murder.
    Sam Stein: Unless Wolf shot himself in the leg, busted his own face and broke his own neck, I think it's fair to say that we're looking at murder here.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Frank beats one of the Afghans in the flashbacks brutally to death with his bare hands.
  • No Name Given: Billy and Frank discuss after the initial debriefing how their fearless leader never gave them his name. Frank says he's heard some of the soldiers call him Agent Orange.
  • Not So Different:
    • While Frank vehemently denies it at first, David keeps pointing out the similarities between them and at the end he finally agrees to work together with him.
    • Frank mentions that the name given by Afghans to the members of Operation Cerberus is "the American Taliban"
  • No Sympathy: Agent Orange just looks around at the American soldiers that have been injured or killed in the aftermath of the operation that was a complete FUBAR thanks to his Armchair Military mindset, and asks in a very bored tone of voice if they achieved their objective. This makes Frank finally snap and beat him within an inch of his life.
  • Obvious Trap: The ambush, but Agent Orange doesn't care and sends the unit in anyway.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: We get to see the events of the execution tape, now from Frank's point-of-view. Now we see that Frank is the one who executed Zubair, which is why he was so shaken up by the tape.
  • Only Sane Man: Gunner expresses concern to Frank about destroying evidence when Frank is extracting the bullet he put in Zubair's head.
  • One-Man Army: Frank shows that he was always one of these in the flashbacks, brutally killing at least a dozen Afghans without any back-up.
  • Pocket Protector: Micro survived getting shot because the smartphone in his left breast pocket slowed the bullet.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If only Frank had spoken Farsi, he'd have known that Zubair was a cop.
  • Posthumous Character: Both Schoonover and Wolf have died by Frank's hand, so their appearances in flashbacks count as this.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After Agent Orange pays no attention to the suffering of his soldiers, who almost died because of his orders, only coldly asking whether they fullfilled their objective or not, Frank loses it and beats him so brutally that he loses an eye.
  • Really Gets Around: Frank chides Billy for this instead of settling down.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Toxic Friend Influence: O'Connor tells Lewis that the talks in Curtis' support group are useless and that he should get a gun. This causes him to almost accidentally kill his own father.
  • Troll: Henderson introduces himself to Frank, they chat a bit, then he comes on SUPER MEGA CHRISTIAN, spouting scripture. Billy and Frank have no fucking clue how to react. Then Henderson cracks a big goddamn grin...
  • Unwitting Pawn: The unit in which Frank and Russo are in is no goverment funded special operation. They're just glorified hitmen.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: A lot of the episode is set heavily in flashbacks, first in the flashbacks to Micro faking his death, and then moving to flashbacks of Frank and Billy in Kandahar.
  • You Are in Command Now: Dinah Madani acts as the temporary replacement for Wolf.


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