WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Marvel’s The Punisher, now streaming on Netflix.
Viewers, and Frank Castle, believed they knew what led to the tragic deaths of his wife and two children: They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught in the crossfire of three rival gangs while innocently enjoying a sunny day in Central Park. OK, it wasn’t exactly “simple,” as we learned over the course of Daredevil‘s second season that the meeting of the Kitchen Irish, the Mexican Cartel and the Dogs of Hell was a failed police sting designed to ensnare a drug lord known only as the Blacksmith. The event gave birth to The Punisher’s one-man war against the criminal underworld, and led to the discovery that the Blacksmith was actually Castle’s former commanding officer, Col. Ray Schoonover.
However, Marvel’s The Punisher upends our understanding of the so-called Massacre at Central Park, revealing a conspiracy previously only hinted at by Schoonover — one that stretches back to Castle’s tour of duty in Afghanistan, and ensnares a former National Security Agency analyst and an obsessive Homeland Security investigator, for starters.
Let’s break down the Kandahar conspiracy, and how it led to the deaths of Castle’s family.
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