First and foremost, if you have NOT watched The Punisher’s second season in its entirety, turn around! This article completely spoils the ending, so if you do not want to find out before you’ve watch, you shouldn’t read this. Rather, wait until you’ve finished all thirteen action-packed episodes before deciding to read this. This is your last chance to turn back around, okay?
When Billy Russo was presented in The Punisher season one, he was Frank’s best friend. We all knew that wouldn’t last and as we saw throughout the season, Billy’s true nature was revealed. Though I believe that Billy did truly care about Frank, he also only really cared about himself and it was perfectly okay in his mind to have had his part in the murder of Frank Castle’s family, because it meant he’d remain in the well-off position he was in. And when Frank beat him to a bloody pulp in season one’s finale, none of us had a problem with it and were all looking forward to how it’d transpire between Russo and Castle in season two.
In season two, Billy was broken down. Maybe he wasn’t as scarred on the outside as people would have wanted, but he was torn apart inside. Memories were fragmented, confusion clouded him, and throughout the entire season, he never regained the moment that changed his life. As a viewer, I was waiting for the moment that it would all come back to him. But, it never did. Rawlins, Anvil, the Castle family massacre, the carousel fight; nothing. To Billy, he was still a Marine with his best friend Frank Castle and the reveal that Frank had done this to him upset him so much. He thought, how could Frank betray him like that?
If you were like me, you wanted to scream at the screen and tell Billy he had done this to himself. That he had played a part in the murder of the family he considered his own. But, Billy was different this season. We never really got the smug, arrogant businessman that we had in season one, so it’s understandable that Billy couldn’t even comprehend that he’d do something like that. Even when he somewhat found out, he couldn’t remember, therefore he couldn’t fathom.
But, Frank Castle killed Billy anyway. In a poetic sense, everything began and ended with Billy and Frank. As Billy lay bleeding, his first instinct was to call Curtis. His old friend. Instead, Frank came. And without any words from Frank, he put two bullets in Billy, thus putting down the final piece to the puzzle. And although this is what should have happened, Billy died never really realizing what he had done to deserve it. Perhaps if it was in season one, when Billy begged Frank to kill him; it’d be better, but Billy didn’t know.
But, does that forgive Billy’s actions? No. His punishment was the injury, but it would have been better if Billy would have finally remembered. Yes, he was told, in a way; but between his amnesia and his therapist manipulating the truth, Billy died a victim. In his mind. If anything, he was almost happy for Frank’s presence in his last moments; but, it really hit when he began to say “whatever I did to you.” Whatever you did, Billy, was not say a word when you knew your best friend and his family, who had taken you in as their own; would be brutally murdered. The man you claimed to care so much about, has to live with the memory of his wife and children bloody and torn apart.
Of course, Frank didn’t care and nor he should. If anything, it was like he was putting down a sick animal; finally letting him rest – which was emulated when Curtis closed Billy’s eyes; ending his suffering. You see, Frank has always been looking out for Billy and this was almost the final moment of that. Yes, it was Frank killing him, but I believe it was just as much for him as it was for his friend. At least, there were no more questions. No more confusion for Billy.
The only confusion is, with Billy not remembering; and so hurt that his brothers are against him, when was the exact moment that everything went wrong? When did Billy decide to sell his soul to Rawlins and decide that his fancy life was better than family? That would be an interesting storyline to explore, but it is unfortunate we will probably never find out.
So, my question is – with Billy not remembering, should Frank have killed him? Let me know!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.