In a somewhat surprising move, Netflix's The Punisher ended its first season not with a bang, but with quiet introspection. Instead of closing things out with Frank strapping on his skull-painted vest, ready for action, we saw him open his heart out at VA meeting, contemplating what might come next.
Instead of immediately setting the character on his next story, this ended the season with a bit of a clean slate. Now, however, as the series gears up for its second season, details about certain characters have begun to surface. While this gives us an idea as to where The Punisher might be heading in Season 2 and which comic book stories it might look to for inspiration, we're hoping the series pays off on the very first episode of Season 1's set-up of a future problem for Frank.
The first episode of The Punisher served as a prelude of sorts, a bridge between the character's introduction in Daredevil and the launch into his own story. Most of the episode saw Frank working construction and keeping to himself. But it wasn't long until he got pulled back into the thick of it all thanks to a friendly co-worker getting himself into a bit of a bind involving the Gnucci crime family.
To casual viewers, the name didn't mean much, but to Frank's comic book fans, it was signpost. The Gnuccis are at the center of a massive storyline in The Punisher comics, one in which the leader of the crime family, Ma Gnucci, returns for retribution against Frank Castle.
In the episode, in order to protect his new friend from a grim fate, Frank had no choice but to kill every Gnucci family member present during a poker game. Frank spared no one, but a camera did manage to catch him at the scene, which is how Micro would eventually come to find him and set the events of the season in motion.
Some fans might have found themselves wondering whether the Gnuccis would return seeking vengeance somewhere in the first season, but so many things happened that Frank's quest for truth and retribution took up the entire story arc. Now, Frank Castle has not only been outed as being alive, people know he's been active as The Punisher. This means that it's a safe bet that the Gnuccis are aware he was the one responsible for killing some of the members of their organization during that poker game.
As Season 2 begins, there is nothing that could prevent the Gnucci crime family from declaring war on Frank Castle. We don't yet know which members of the family Frank killed, but one of them could very well turn out to be one of Ma's sons, which would make things infinitely more personal, creating a twisted mirror of Frank's own situation, where he sought vengeance after losing his family.
We don't yet know whether the Gnuccis will play a role in Season 2, or in what capacity if they do. They could work both as the main antagonists of the series, or as a recurring presence throughout the series. Either way, it's good to see that the writers planned so far ahead as to lay the groundwork for potential future storyline right at the show's start.
Available now on Netflix, The Punisher Season 1 stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Daniel Webber as Lewis Wilson, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Farah Madani and Paul Schulze as Rawlins, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion James.