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Recap / The Punisher 2017 S 01 E 10 Virtue Of The Vicious

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An attack on a high-profile politician is examined (and reexamined) though different perspectives. Madani faces a painful truth.


  • Agony of the Feet: Karen shoots Lewis in the foot on Frank's order the moment she gets an opening.
  • Aesop Amnesia: When Lewis arrives, Karen reaches into her purse for her gun... only to remember she it was confiscated for the interview.
  • Almost Kiss: Frank and Karen. However, Karen has no interest in Frank due to being in the midst of mourning Matt, and Frank has no interest in Karen so long as his quest continues, so instead they have a Headbutt of Love.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The episode uses a Rashomon style to tell its narration, something no other episode in the Netflix shows have done so far.
  • Back for the Dead: Isaac from the support group, last seen being recruited by Anvil when Lewis was turned away, returns briefly so that Lewis can kill him and steal his uniform. Easy to miss since he doesn't live more than 40 seconds into the episode and we only see him through the peephole to his apartment just before Lewis shoots him in the eye.
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  • Batman Gambit: Lewis has a bomb strapped to him and has Karen hostage, so Frank has to do a bit of manipulation to end the situation without Karen dying. He succeeds.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the end, Lewis blows himself up to avoid capture.
  • Blatant Lies: Senator Ori spins a tale of him protecting Karen, shooting back at the Punisher, and running away to "get help". Karen laughingly labels it "100%, unadulterated bullshit" the moment she hears it.
  • Book-Ends: The ending reveals that Frank escaped back to the same building he started the episode on.
  • Bottle Episode: Set entirely within the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Frank throws a dead ANVIL mercenary over his shoulder to shield him from a hail of gunfire from other ANVIL guards. Helped by the fact that he and (presumably) the ANVIL mook are wearing bulletproof vests.
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  • Continuity Cameo: Sergeant Brett Mahoney is interviewing the witnesses.
  • Dead Man Switch: Lewis has rigged himself with one and takes Karen as a hostage. Luckily, she is able to defuse it with Frank's help.
  • Determinator: Even after being shot numerous times, dislocated one of his shoulders, bleeding and barely being able to walk straight, Frank still manages to pull himself up an elevator shaft and then escape the building.
  • Dirty Coward: Senator Ori throws Karen into Lewis' arms to get to escape and pleads for his life every second before that.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lewis, after Karen manages to disarm his bomb through Frank's instructions.
  • Eureka Moment: After finding out that all the killed assailants who cost her Sam and the rest of the team previously worked for ANVIL, Dinah realizes that Billy is behind the attack.
  • How We Got Here: The episode starts with Brett Mahoney asking questions to witnesses while in a blown-out hotel room. We then go back to different points on that day to learn how the hotel was bombed.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Billy's only excuse for what he did is that it was war, and in war the only crime is to lose.
  • Internal Reveal: Rafi reveals to Dinah that the men who killed her team were ANVIL, she reveals the bug in her office. Later, Dinah figures out that Russo killed Sam Stein, when he tries to shoot at Frank in the stairwell.
  • Irony:
    • Billy tells Karen how ironic it must be for her, being a reporter with a concealed-carry permit interviewing a senator with Anti-Gun sentiments.
    • Karen herself silently points out to Senator Ori how hypocritical it is for him to have hired ANVIL to provide him armed security after he tells her that society should provide safety, not guns.
    • When Madani accuses Karen of having lied to her about Frank being alive, Karen counters that she knew too and didn't tell her about it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: After Lewis blows himself up, there is nothing left of him except a huge bloodstain.
  • Made of Iron: Frank takes a dozen or more bullets to the chest and back (granted, he's wearing Kevlar, but they'd still cause damage), dislocates his shoulder, nearly gets a bullet in the head, then take shrapnel in his arm from Lewis' bomb. True to form, he still manages to escape.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Lewis wants to kill Senator Ori, Frank tries to stop him, the cops think the two are working together, Billy wants to kill Frank, and Dinah just wants the truth.
  • Moe Greene Special: Lewis knocks on Isaac's door, then shoots him when he puts his eye up to the peephole.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Lewis gets into the hotel by killing Isaac and stealing his uniform.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Some aspects of the story get retold from a different perspective to fill in certain details. Such as when Senator Ori explains Frank and Lewis were working together, but then Karen sets the record straight: Frank was going after Lewis. More egregiously, she clarifies that Ori was a sniveling coward the entire time, not the reluctant hero he paints himself as.
  • Pet the Dog: Lewis takes pity on Isaac's budgies (after murdering him for his ANVIL uniform and ID) and tries to release them. Of course, budgies are domesticated, tropical birds and thus they have no desire to fly out into the middle of a freezing New York fall.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The episode is framed as Brett Mahoney questioning the various participants in the incident, with us seeing flashbacks as they recount what happened from their point of view. It's clear that the Senator's retelling is the outright lie, however. Karen has hero-worship up the yin-yang, but viewers can be fairly sure that Frank wasn't working with Lewis in any way, shape or form.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Lewis' attempt to Pet the Dog shows us a number of things about him; trying to free them shows that he still sees himself as a good person wanting to avoid unnecessary casualties, but his failure to take into account that they're domesticated and in the wrong climate shows his inability to think through his position, and the birds themselves being unwilling to leave the cage despite repeated opportunities and encouragement could be a metaphor for Lewis staying in his downward spiral despite many people trying to help him out of it.
    • Instead of Lewis, the budgies could represent the people of New York, since neither one wants or appreciates the 'freedom' that Lewis is trying to provide.
  • Shout-Out: The title refers to a famous Oscar Wilde quote; "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious".
  • Smug Smiler: Billy sports an extremely insulting one after Dinah angrily yells at him when she realizes that he killed Sam.
  • Stairwell Chase: Frank goes down the stairs to escape police officers, Madani, and Russo. This leads into an Elevator Escape.
  • Taking the Bullet: Frank jumps in the way of Lewis' gunfire when he tries to shoot the senator, taking the rounds on the back of his Bulletproof Vest.
  • Unreliable Narrator: With the Rashomon style used to retell the story, viewers are clued in to the speaker’s biases by the way Frank is portrayed;
    • In Senator Ori’s version (where Frank is in league with Lewis), Frank moves about like an expressionless automaton.
    • In Karen’s version (where Frank is protecting them from Lewis), he looks heroic and selfless.
    • Neither one shows Frank moving with the tactical care and skill that usually characterizes his fights — which neither character would know much about.
  • Wire Dilemma: Subverted in that Frank knows to cut the white wire due to disarming Lewis' bomb the day before. Karen doesn't of course doesn't know this, so Frank references this (gambling that Lewis is using the same color wire), sees that Karen understands, and subtly tells if she is or is not holding the white wire, ultimately allowing her to disarm the bomb herself as Lewis was holding on to her at the time.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Karen poses as Frank's hostage so he can leave the building.


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