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The Crazed Spruce

S01.E10: Virtue of the Vicious

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I think they've done a really good job establishing this Karen/Frank relationship and sort of explaining their insane chemistry. Apparently, Karen wasn't going to be in this series at all but they put her in after they saw the Karen/Frank stuff in Daredevil, which really was some of the best stuff the Daredevil series has ever done.

It's obviously complex because he's still hung up on his wife and she has, um reservations, because he's a killing machine but they have some intense feelings.  They spark. Well, Bernthal sparks with everyone, but this is extra sparking. 

I laughed when Micro was like, "What's the deal with you guys?" because that is the question.

The "Rashōmon" stuff was mostly well done. It's hard to do that in a short time frame. The blood spatter on the wall was  way of establishing the timeline, which is fitting in this insanely violent show.

The show's take on the politician was interesting. Is the message no one in charge is good? Is everyone a hypocrite?

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Madani and Frank in that stairwell was intense. Frank in general is intense, and it was fun to see Madani really experience that first hand and not disoriented from a car crash. 

Frank/Karen geez. I feel like it might all be ruined if they actually got together, but it's intense. They're kindred spirits.  

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I actually yelled just kiss already! At my TV in the elevator. Holy crap Karen/Frank have some insane amounts of chemistry. Bernthal sparks with everyone but, man the chemistry between him and Wohl is insane.

Either I missed something or they goofed or it was all a lie. In Karen's story we see her talk to Russo about surrendering her weapon. We later see her looking for her gun when Lewis comes in but, she doesn't have it. How did she end up with the gun (again) in the basement?

Did they good? Did I miss something? Did she have the gun the entire time and lied to the Cop?

The scene in the stairwell were both Frank and Mad on I realizes Russo was bad was great. Loved that the story is moving forward and, I can't wait to see how everything works out. 

I have a bad feeling about Micro. I want so much for him to get a HEA but, I don't think the show will go there. ?

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3 hours ago, Morrigan2575 said:

We later see her looking for her gun when Lewis comes in but, she doesn't have it. How did she end up with the gun (again) in the basement?

About 2 seconds after she looked for her gun, she saw the discarded gun of one of the downed Anvil agents and picked it up.

This ep had a few strange character beats.  First, had no one talked to Curtis? If they had, it would have been clear why Castle was at the hotel -- i.e., to chase Lewis. Second, why did Madani go straight to Russo about the Anvil agents instead of looking into them first? It beggars belief that someone who's gotten that high up the chain as an elite investigator might not consider that Russo, himself, is dirty. Why tip him off when you know he has the resources to disappear?  Third, why did Russo, who had been cool as a cucumber for 9+ episodes, suddenly show his hand in that stairwell? And then how/why did he stick around to talk to the NYPD later?  Really odd stuff.

Edited by DEM
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11 minutes ago, DEM said:

About 2 seconds after she looked for her gun, she saw the discarded gun of one of the downed Anvil agents and picked it up.

 

Thank you. I totally missed it. Will have to pay attention on my re-watch.

Quote

This ep had a few strange character beats.  First, had no one talked to Curtis? If they had, it would have been clear why Castle was at the hotel -- i.e., to chase Lewis. 

I seriously wondered about that myself. Why didn't Curtis tell then Frank was after Lewis and that Frank saved his life?

Unless he did but the cops ignored him? Either case it would have really helped to have a quick scene or reference.

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4 hours ago, Morrigan2575 said:

Thank you. I totally missed it. Will have to pay attention on my re-watch.

I seriously wondered about that myself. Why didn't Curtis tell then Frank was after Lewis and that Frank saved his life?

Unless he did but the cops ignored him? Either case it would have really helped to have a quick scene or reference.

Curtis might be still trying to keep the fact that Frank is alive quiet- we don't know how soon the cops saw that dash cam footage before they talked to Curtis (who I love, btw.) I dunno. Maybe he passed out from his injuries? Or....they didn't believe him. 

Also, I'm guessing there are takes where Karen and Frank kiss in that elevator in case they wanted to push it that far because it definitely felt romantic. He might've been too bloody. 

Frank basically showed his hand when he yelled at David to help him find Lewis and said that Karen was for him equal to what Sarah was to David. Or the show did. Frank himself might not admit it but that was an awful lot of chair kicking. 

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8 hours ago, JustaPerson said:

Madani and Frank in that stairwell was intense. Frank in general is intense, and it was fun to see Madani really experience that first hand and not disoriented from a car crash. 

Frank/Karen geez. I feel like it might all be ruined if they actually got together, but it's intense. They're kindred spirits.  

People were asking me whether they needed to see DD2 before this. I told them not really but it does really inform the Karen/Frank stuff a lot. She was the only one who cared even remotely as much he did about what happened to his family. She broke into his house to find out stuff and she convinced Matt to take on the case and also convinced Frank to take Nelson and Murdock on as counsel. She's impulsive and kind of nuts, but there is a faith she puts in people, including Frank, that I could see people responding to. It's the same reason Matt Murdock was into her.  She's also great looking, which helps. As Sam said re. Dinah sleeping with Billy Russo, "Pretty people rule the world."

 

I just like Wohl. I've liked her since True Blood. 

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I assumed there were only ten episodes, so I was happy to find there are three more! Three episodes is my limit most days, though, otherwise I lose focus (and I already missed a few things, due to going back and forth to the kitchen, wearing my headphones). 

Of course Russo was the bad guy. I figured that from the first episodes, but calling his company Anvil - :) I like it. 

I felt bad for Lewis. So messed up. I'm glad he didn't kill Curtis, after all. I was going, "no, no, NO!!!" As that happened. I rarely yell at my TV. 

Edited by Anela
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Man, Matt Murdoch might be blind (and... kind of out of it, I guess), but even he would have been able to see the chemistry between Frank and Karen in that elevator.  This is definitely a case where they probably had no idea just how good Jon Bernthal and Deborah Ann Woll were going to be in DD S2, so they are certainly going full steam ahead here!  There relationship really is one of the best ones in this franchise.

Had a feeling Lewis wasn't going to make it out of the hotel alive.  He clearly did some horrible things and was a real danger, but it is still tragic.  He clearly was messed up with whatever happened during his time at war.  I can only imagine how Curtis is going to feel.  Oh, and Lewis' dad.  Have a feeling that Frank will be correct that the poor guy is going to get a lot of hate for what Lewis did.

Glad Dinah knows the truth about Russo, even though it was reckless as hell to approach him like she did.  But I'm going to guess that it will be a case where she can't prove anything, so he'll slip by for now.  Of course, since she just had her first conversation with Frank, I have a feeling an alliance might be forming very soon!

Edited by thuganomics85
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15 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Man, Matt Murdoch might be blind (and... kind of out of it, I guess), but even he would have been able to see the chemistry between Frank and Karen in that elevator.  This is definitely a case where they probably had no idea just how good Jon Bernthal and Deborah Ann Woll were going to be in DD S2, so they are certainly going full steam ahead here!  There relationship really is one of the best ones in this franchise.

Had a feeling Lewis wasn't going to make it out of the hotel alive.  He clearly did some horrible things and was a real danger, but it is still tragic.  He clearly was messed up with whatever happened during his time at war.  I can only imagine how Curtis is going to feel.  Oh, and Lewis' dad.  Have a feeling that Frank will be correct that the poor guy is going to get a lot of hate for what Lewis did.

Glad Dinah knows the truth about Russo, even though it was reckless as hell to approach him like she did.  But I'm going to guess that it will be a case where she can't prove anything, so he'll slip by for now.  Of course, since she just had her first conversation with Frank, I have a feeling an alliance might be forming very soon!

That's actually something I kind of liked about DD2- IIRC, Daredevil can hear Karen's heart racing as the drug boat blows up and she thinks Frank is on it, she even cries and says his name a few times. All DD2, Karen's elevated heart rate has meant she has smooshie feelings. He kind of already knows about Karen and Frank but didn't have time to process it. He's not going to like it, but it's not like he's treated Karen particularly well. 

Karen/Frank do have one of the best relationships. I like Jessica and Trish, too, even though that's a completely different kind of relationship. 

Also, staring at her and saying, softly, "I will come for you" before Lewis takes her on the elevator is the most romantic things ever on any of these shows. And then he uses a corpse as a shield. 

Bernthal is just so good. 

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That standoff in the kitchen was top notch.  So, so good for Frank and for Karen.  I loved the subtle communication between him and Karen while he was trying to distract Lewis, from the wire to the understanding of what Karen has in her purse.  Best scene of the series to date.  The elevator follow-up was good and it was interesting.  I'm glad they didn't go there in that moment.  It was better as a moment of decompression and friendship.

The stairwell scene was intense too.  She interrupted his mission and Castle didn't take it well.  I did not expect Billy to try to end things right then. As DEM said above, it is surprising that he showed his cards like that.  If he had killed Castle with that shot then it might have worked, but continuing to hold the gun on Madani completely gave him away.  I suppose he was debating whether he could get away with shooting her too, but the police intervened.  Frank's realization was well played.

The second meeting between Madani and Karen was a good sequel to the first.  Karen got a couple of good moments in there.

Good to see Det. Mahoney again, just to add a little more universe continuity.

ETA: I did not expect Frank to encourage Lewis to kill himself.  I know he was there to kill him, but still.

Edited by MisterGlass
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I've been watching without reading many of the episode threads but I wanted to stop by and say I am blown away by Bernthal's performance in this series.   He is selling the shit out of this role.   As Frank Castle, he's 100% credible, in a way that every predecessor in The Defenders' series failed to accomplish.   The Punisher makes Daredevil and Jennifer Jones seem forgettable, and reduces Luke Cage and Iron Fist to sheer nonsense. 

Pleasant surprise: I thought this series ended at 10 episodes, only to discover there are three more!

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Yes, I thought the kitchen scene was one of the best in the series.

I was sitting on my couch last night, watching this ep on my phone with my headphones in, and that first explosion scared the crap out of me ? I felt like I jumped about a foot!

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I really like Karen, and even more here then usual. She is very conflicted in her opinions like a real person. She dislikes violence, but she is someone who has been kidnapped and had her life threatened multiple times, so she carries a gun and is not afraid to use it. She also hates what Frank does I think but has a ton of sympathy for his situation (and what happened to his family) and probably thinks he had something like a psychotic break when his family was killed so she is willing to acccept what he does to some degree. Compare that to Matt Murdock who I think she has much less sympathy for because i think she feels Matt is just a guy who likes beating people up.

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Sigh. Why can't we just keep Karen on this show? I like her so much better here than pretty much her entire existence on Daredevil. She and Frank are fantastic together.

This is my favorite episode of this series. Intense, pivotal, so well done.

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1 hour ago, garnetarden said:

Sigh. Why can't we just keep Karen on this show? I like her so much better here than pretty much her entire existence on Daredevil. She and Frank are fantastic together.

This is my favorite episode of this series. Intense, pivotal, so well done.

I second that, make her a full series regular on S2 of The Punisher (assuming it happens).

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Bernthal was good if The Punisher is supposed to be an animal driven by the need to escape, with an inability to plan. He sounds like Rocky half the time.  I actually was laughing at all his loud grunting as he ran around. He’s not a hero, he’s a head case. At least in this show. 

Had to try to watch this episode four times before I could finish it. It wasn’t interesting to see pieces of what happens out of order. And I still don’t know why Lewis is on this show and why we should care about him. I guess he is the PTSD public service announcement. 

Edited by Ottis

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On 11/19/2017 at 6:20 PM, DEM said:

This ep had a few strange character beats.  First, had no one talked to Curtis? If they had, it would have been clear why Castle was at the hotel -- i.e., to chase Lewis. Second, why did Madani go straight to Russo about the Anvil agents instead of looking into them first? It beggars belief that someone who's gotten that high up the chain as an elite investigator might not consider that Russo, himself, is dirty. Why tip him off when you know he has the resources to disappear?  Third, why did Russo, who had been cool as a cucumber for 9+ episodes, suddenly show his hand in that stairwell? And then how/why did he stick around to talk to the NYPD later?  Really odd stuff.

I loved this episode and the way it was structured, but I had every one of these thoughts during it, especially the third one. Yes, he probably picked up that Mandini was suspicious but he still should not have shown his hand like that. It surprised me, and not in a good way when he did that. What was he going to do if he did kill Frank? Kill her too? How would he get away with that?

 

On 11/25/2017 at 11:46 PM, thuganomics85 said:

Man, Matt Murdoch might be blind (and... kind of out of it, I guess), but even he would have been able to see the chemistry between Frank and Karen in that elevator.  This is definitely a case where they probably had no idea just how good Jon Bernthal and Deborah Ann Woll were going to be in DD S2, so they are certainly going full steam ahead here!  There relationship really is one of the best ones in this franchise.

For real. I hope they don't go back to Karen and Matt, they had no romantic chemistry at all to me but had a good friend chemistry. Their romantic moments made me cringe.

 

Got to wait until Saturday to finish the series, I don't know if I can! So good.

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20 hours ago, festivus said:

For real. I hope they don't go back to Karen and Matt, they had no romantic chemistry at all to me but had a good friend chemistry.

One of the most cool things in this series was the standoff in the kitchen and the way Frank helped Karen rescue herself.  Matt would've used some kind of "blind ninja" moves like somehow bouncing a kitchen knife in such a way as to sever the correct wire or something.  Matt would be thinking of Karen as a victim/hostage to be rescued and not as a resource he could help to leverage her own rescue.  It's another indication of the way Frank respects Karen in ways that Matt does not.

Also, while I was disappointed that Karen didn't go on "Trish Talk" I do crave seeing them together.  I think at this point I need to see Karen and Trish at a gun range together, maybe with Frank and Jessica looking proud while Matt looks angry and Foggy looks a little bit scared.

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1 hour ago, johntfs said:

It's another indication of the way Frank respects Karen in ways that Matt does not.

To be fair, I am not sure Karen respects Matt either. They really are kind of crappy for each other.

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1 hour ago, johntfs said:

One of the most cool things in this series was the standoff in the kitchen and the way Frank helped Karen rescue herself.  Matt would've used some kind of "blind ninja" moves like somehow bouncing a kitchen knife in such a way as to sever the correct wire or something.  Matt would be thinking of Karen as a victim/hostage to be rescued and not as a resource he could help to leverage her own rescue.  It's another indication of the way Frank respects Karen in ways that Matt does not.

Yeah, that was a great scene. I liked Karen in season one of Daredevil but I think she fits better on this show now. The parts with Matt and Karen in season two after Frank left were just painful for me.

31 minutes ago, Kel Varnsen said:

To be fair, I am not sure Karen respects Matt either. They really are kind of crappy for each other.

True that.

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19 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

To be fair, I am not sure Karen respects Matt either. They really are kind of crappy for each other.

It's hard to respect someone who doesn't respect you.  The thing with Matt and Karen comes down a bit to first impressions.  When Matt met Karen, she was a poor sad waif of a woman accused of a murder she didn't commit, someone he had to rescue.  To Matt Karen is a typical superhero girlfriend, a clot of lover, pet and accessory.  He feels an obligation to protect her and keep her safe, because that's what a superhero does.

With Frank it's very different.  Karen was the one rescuing him, emotionally anyway.  She gave him that family picture and pushed him into going to trial to learn the truth behind his family's murder.  Frank also feels an obligation to Karen, but his obligation is that he owes her a debt of honor that he can never fully repay.  She supports him, defends him and helps him.  He's at least halfway in love with her by now.  He also doesn't judge her, unlike Matt. 

If Karen ever revealed how and why she killed James Wesley to Matt, he'd likely be horrified and judgemental.  Frank's reaction would be something like "Good for you, Karen.  You protected the people you love.  That's better than I did with my family."

Edited by johntfs
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On ‎2018‎-‎01‎-‎12 at 12:25 PM, johntfs said:

If Karen ever revealed how and why she killed James Wesley to Matt, he'd likely be horrified and judgemental.

I agree on the horrified front, but definitely not on the judgemental angle. I don't buy that. Karen was kidnapped and held against her will, her life on the line and killed Wesley in self defense. He was absolutely dangerous and threatening her life. Matt would see that and feel GUILTY that he didn't keep her safe, that he had somehow failed to protect her.  He cares about Karen, I don't believe for a moment he'd hear her story and judge her for a split second choice that very likely saved her own life.

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49 minutes ago, Vella said:

I agree on the horrified front, but definitely not on the judgemental angle. I don't buy that. Karen was kidnapped and held against her will, her life on the line and killed Wesley in self defense. He was absolutely dangerous and threatening her life. Matt would see that and feel GUILTY that he didn't keep her safe, that he had somehow failed to protect her.  He cares about Karen, I don't believe for a moment he'd hear her story and judge her for a split second choice that very likely saved her own life.

I think it's a bit more complicated than that.  Wesley had threatened her, but his main threat was against everyone around her.  Karen killed him to protect them.  And part of "them" was Matt himself.  She also shot him and then followed up by shooting him several more times to make damned sure he was dead.  I think Matt would decide to "forgive" Karen for doing what she did.  He'd be judgemental, but mostly judgemental toward himself because he failed to save Karen from killing Wesley.  Frank Castle wouldn't forgive her, because his take would be that there's nothing to forgive, that she absolutely did the right thing in that moment.  Any sorrow Frank felt about Wesley's death would be focused on Karen feeling bad about it.  To Frank, Wesley would have been a vile piece of shit who deserved worse than what he got.

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8 hours ago, Vella said:

He cares about Karen, I don't believe for a moment he'd hear her story and judge her for a split second choice that very likely saved her own life.

I do.  I love Matt Murdock, don't misunderstand, but he has a very high-horse sense of right and wrong, and in his eyes killing is always wrong, no matter the circumstances.  That's why he feels justified in throwing people down three flights of stairs and whatever else he does on a regular basis, because he's not killing them and therefore hasn't crossed a line.

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6 hours ago, Taryn74 said:

I do.  I love Matt Murdock, don't misunderstand, but he has a very high-horse sense of right and wrong, and in his eyes killing is always wrong, no matter the circumstances.  That's why he feels justified in throwing people down three flights of stairs and whatever else he does on a regular basis, because he's not killing them and therefore hasn't crossed a line.

I often wonder if Matt follows the people he beats on home to make sure that the don't have brain bleeds or collapsed lungs or anything else that could be fatal.

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I suspect that Frank recognizes Karen as someone who has crossed to his side of the "killing" line.  He certainly doesn't "know" it, but I recall the conversation he and Karen had in the diner in the second season episode, ".380."  Frank comments on the gun Karen briefly held on him back in her apartment, noting that many first-time gun buyers would have chosen something flashy, huge or otherwise not especially wise, but that Karen's choice of a .380 "shows thought."

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On 11/19/2017 at 7:20 PM, DEM said:

This ep had a few strange character beats.  First, had no one talked to Curtis? If they had, it would have been clear why Castle was at the hotel -- i.e., to chase Lewis. Second, why did Madani go straight to Russo about the Anvil agents instead of looking into them first? It beggars belief that someone who's gotten that high up the chain as an elite investigator might not consider that Russo, himself, is dirty. Why tip him off when you know he has the resources to disappear?  Third, why did Russo, who had been cool as a cucumber for 9+ episodes, suddenly show his hand in that stairwell? And then how/why did he stick around to talk to the NYPD later?  Really odd stuff.

I agree with all of the above.

Overall, I was not a fan of this episode and think it's one of the weaker ones because of the plot holes identified above, and I despise putting the end at the beginning of a tv episode, movie, whatever if it's used in a traditional manner like this episode did. It takes all of the emotion out of the episode for me. I knew Karen, Madani, Russo, and the Senator were never in any danger because it showed them recounting their stories. 

However, if they hadn't used that type of narrative, the scenes between Russo and Madani and when Karen gets kidnapped would have had some emotional response from me. I loved the scene of Frank and Karen in the elevator. Holy crap. Kudos to both actors for conveying an amazing range of emotions without any dialogue.

I also liked Lewis's death scene; super tragic. As someone who knew a vet who couldn't deal with the real world after war and committed suicide, I had a total soft spot for Lewis and thought the actor did an amazing job as well. Poor Lewis's dad. He tried so hard to help him, but didn't have any idea how much the kid was hurting inside.

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For real. I hope they don't go back to Karen and Matt, they had no romantic chemistry at all to me but had a good friend chemistry. Their romantic moments made me cringe.

I agree.  After The Defenders, I don't see how they can....

Spoiler

I commented to my husband at the time, if they try to put Matt and Karen together in the future, it will seem like Matt is settling for Karen - not choosing her and that is hard to root for.  I mean, he chose to sacrifice himself for Elektra rather than to live for Karen (and Foggy).  Clearly, Matt's feelings for Karen are less. 

Now, after seeing the chemistry between Karen and Frank, putting Matt and Karen together would make even less sense.

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