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Published January 14, 2019

‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ Season 2: Frank’s Enemies List

The number of people who have a beef with Frank Castle is growing this season.

While some of the characters in Frank Castle’s world are on his side, there are plenty who have their own set of problems with him on “Marvel’s The Punisher.” Former friend Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) became the target of Frank’s vengeance when his role in the murder of Frank’s family was revealed. At the end of last season, that revenge was exacted on Billy’s face. Going into season 2, Billy is now trying to recover physically as well as emotionally and mentally – all while Frank becomes his target. Krista Dumont (Floriana Lima), is the therapist who is trying to help Billy. But can she actually help him? This was one of the mysteries Marvel.com tried to tap into when speaking to the cast during a visit to the set.

As if a violent, betrayed, and now unstable friend wasn’t enough to threaten Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), another new antagonist is joining the fray, thanks to Frank’s new connection with Amy Bendix (Giorgia Whigham). John Pilgrim, played by Josh Stewart, will arrive to provide a quietly dangerous presence to the story this season.

Billy and Krista

While everyone was predictably secretive about details, it was pretty open knowledge that Billy Russo was in bad shape the last time we saw him. Barnes described his condition when we come back to him at the beginning of this season, saying, “I think they tried quite carefully to have all the specific injuries from exactly what happened to him designated to leave a scar. He gets shot in the cheek at one point so there’s a bullet wound hole in the cheek. At the end of the first season, we hear the doctor saying he’s undergone many hours of surgery for the stab wound in his stomach but also the stab wound on his face. He’s had a plastic surgeon try to fix him. With all these stories, they’ve gone with a hopefully more grounded version of what that imagery would be. And there are a couple interesting facets of that. We’re talking about a deeply narcissistic character in the first season with his mask of appeal in terms of doing his hair and wearing nice suits, and all that has been stripped away from him.”

But Barnes was quick to add that Billy’s scars will run much deeper than his skin. “He’s had his head very much traumatized in the same way that veterans receive these kind of head traumas and psychological traumas,” Barnes noted. “He’s dealing with both of those things in a very similar way to how veterans might coming back from war. That’s sort of what he believes he’s gone through. He’s got brain damage and severe issues with his memory. I won’t get into specifics of what he can and can’t remember because that ruins the story, but he’s trying to piece together who he is.”

Lima, whose character Krista Dumont is the one trying to help Billy do just that, explained a bit about her approach to treating him, noting, “She’s worked with veterans before, she’s done this before. She’s dealt with PTSD. She comes in the second episode and we see her with Billy who she’s been working with for months. She’s coaching him through all the things that Ben just mentioned, all of his putting together of puzzles. She has specific techniques and some insights on how to pull out everything he is struggling with.”

Billy and Krista

While on our set visit, we learned a bit about Krista from the costume department, and that she was a very buttoned-up person with a wardrobe to match. “That was definitely something that [costume designer Lorraine Calvert] and I talked about and what we really wanted to -- I pull from my wardrobe a lot, usually with any character. I did feel like she was very put together. Very calculated, very -- not so much covered up, but professional -- I mean, she has a reason why she wants to be just that way, portrayed that way.”

Another interesting element to consider about Krista Dumont is that while she’s treating Billy, she’s also learning about Frank Castle – and everything she’s learning is coming from one of his victims.

Barnes spoke about Billy as a victim -- albeit a somewhat unsympathetic one -- who lost everything, remarking, “People love to get to know characters and feel like they really know them and they’re comforted by the fact they could probably predict how they’re going to behave in situations. … There wasn’t much vulnerability to Billy Russo the first season. It was a lot of Burberry and hair gel first, human being second. Then in this [season], all that’s gone. He’s in a gown and he doesn’t want to look at himself. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, and he doesn’t know if there’s anyone in the world who will listen or understand, and I think that’s a beautifully vulnerable position to be in. … In the first season, we did something that hadn’t quite been done, which was ambiguity as to whether Billy’s a villain or not, and then reveal that he actually is quite a bad guy deep down. Now we get to see that alternate side of him, which is, well, maybe he’s not all bad. I don’t know. Maybe they’ll end up being partners. I don’t know.”

John Pilgrim

While Billy and Krista follow their own story that leads them into Frank’s path, John Pilgrim is also headed Frank’s way. Stewart described his character as “a Christian fundamentalist who had sort of a very violent side of him that’s very deep, deep.”

“What’s true is true to him, and what is right is right to him, and what God says is what God says to him, You know what I mean? I think if I get too much more into it then it’s going to start giving things away. But fundamentally, I mean that’s it. He’s very by the book. So, with his past I think that was probably the only way that he could come out of that and balance that side of him. It’s not something that he can half ass. It’s kind of like -- I guess -- an addiction. You can’t kind of want to be sober and kind of not. So it’s all or nothing with him.”

While his description may not conjure up the most sympathetic character, Stewart maintains the humanity of John Pilgrim, stating that “We all can be in a desperate place, I think, at the drop of a hat.”

Stewart added, “I’ve played a lot of dudes that maybe aren’t the most wholesome. But before someone is whatever they are, they are a person. That comes from somewhere. Anytime you can explore where that comes from, we can all relate to ‘I’m not getting paid this month and I got two kids.’ Now what are you going to do?”

Stewart was very secretive when it came to Pilgrim’s background and was cautious not to reveal anything about his backstory. But something that did color his performance was his previous relationship with Jon Bernthal, whom he said he’s known for years. Explained Stewart, “Anytime you have someone’s rhythm as a person, it’s so easy to find that rhythm as a performer, as an actor. That’s why you see so many people work together over and over and over again. Because you know their rhythms. I can be on top of them as they’re stopping their scripted dialogue just because I know the way they’re tailing off, the way of their inflections, all that sort of thing. Beyond that, acting is looking in somebody’s eyeballs and listening to them. When you’ve looked in somebody’s eyeballs and talked about real-life stuff, on any level, then you’re looking in their eyeballs and you’re talking about something scripted, it’s not hard to transfer that real life over.”

Billy raging

How will confrontations with Billy, Krista, and Pilgrim play out with Frank? You’ll have to watch “Marvel’s The Punisher” Season 2 to find out!

“Marvel’s The Punisher” Season 2 arrives on Netflix this Friday, January 18.

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