Robert, also known as John Pilgrim, is a former assassin for the Aryan Brotherhood who, upon finding religion, attempted to rebuild his life again only for Anderson and Eliza Schultz to manipulate him into committing a series of murders to protect their son's image in the media. However, as Amy Bendix had managed to escape Pilgrim's crusade of violence, he found himself being plunged further into darkness as he continued killing any other witnesses in New York City while his past life came back to haunt him. Once his wife had passed away and with the Schultzes holding his two sons as hostages, Pilgrim found himself without hope of finding redemption from all his past sins, until the Punisher, who had been protecting Bendix, spared Pilgrim's life and rescued his sons from the Schultzes who were executed, allowing Pilgrim to live a peaceful life.
- "You used to be the loudest, most garrulous mofo I knew. Put a couple of these in you, you wouldn't shut up. Always a man for a rousing speech."
"The man you knew isn't here."
"Now, that's the million-dollar question, isn't it? Literally. The man I knew left twelve years ago to make a buy. Disappeared. Along with our money. Where did he go?"
- ―Kusack and John Pilgrim[src]
Robert joined the Aryan Brotherhood in his early life, getting tattoos to display his religious and political beliefs, becoming known by Kusack for his extreme white supremacy rhetorics. During this time, Robert was known as a heavy drinker, as he would not quit after just a few drinks, gaining the admiration of Danny. Kusack gave Robert the task of making a buy with a million dollars, however, the alternator on Robert's truck had gone bad, forcing him to stop at a bar where he killed a man with opposing beliefs in a bar fight, with Robert almost being killed himself during the fight before he was arrested.
Turning to Christianity
While Robert sat alone in his prison cell for killing a man in a bar fight, he had become convinced that his life was done with. However, Robert gained a second chance at life when he was rescued by Anderson and Eliza Schultz. With the help of the Schultzes, Robert came to realize that he was a sinner and turned his life around by converting to Christianity, removing all of his Aryan Brotherhood tattoos, and becoming a pastor named John Pilgrim, choosing to turn his back on the Aryan Brotherhood and his criminal ways.
As the converted Pilgrim, he moved to Georgia, attending the church with the Schultzes run by Potter. During their time at church, Pilgrim had met a woman named Rebecca who he fell deeply in love with, as the two had eventually married before Pilgrim fathered two sons with her, Michael and Lemuel. Pilgrim and his family then moved into their new Residence with the assistance of the Schultzes, who supported them both financially and emotionally. When Rebecca was diagnosed with cancer, the Schultzes had put their own money to her treatment, hiring Scully to care for her, putting Pilgrim further in their debt.
Recruited by the Schultzes
Continuing his newfound devotion to God, Pilgrim rejoined his fellow church goings at Potter's service, as he listened to the Reverend give a sermon in which he claimed that their sins would find them out as God would then to rain righteousness upon them, while church choir sang Wade in the Water, Pilgrim then watched as Eliza Schultz was invited to the stand to give her own speech in which she talked about the importance of their need for brotherhood in their community, while she made close eye contact with Pilgrim as Schultz had spoken about being rewarded if they were to serve their God faithfully.
Following the service, Pilgrim had then stepped outside with his two sons, Michael and Lemuel, as he noticed that Anderson Schultz had clearly wanted to speak with him. Joining Schultz, Pilgrim was told that the Church's choir had desperately hoped that Rebecca Pilgrim recovered soon, as Pilgrim explained that the new treatment that she was undergoing was still taking some getting used to, while Schultz noted that Scully had high hopes that it would soon help her recovery, as Pilgrim noted that he and his family were both indebted to the Schultzes for everything that they had done for his family.
Changing the subject, Schultz then told Pilgrim that he had recently become aware of a threat to their way of life, which they had needed Pilgrim to take care of. Pilgrim had then promised he was willing to do whatever he needed to prove his faith, as Schultz had explained they would bring the details to his home, as they were joined by Eliza who promised to take care of Pilgrim's family while he was gone. Pilgrim learned that the Schultzes had wanted him to kill Fiona and her entire crew, who had all been hired by the Russian Mafia to take damaging photos of David Schultz in his homosexual relationship.
Knowing his mission, Pilgrim then returned into his home in order to change. Despite him trying to be as quiet as possible, Pilgrim woke Rebecca from her sleep, as she questioned how long he would be gone from Georgia. However, Pilgrim avoided the question, asking if Rebecca needed any water, to which she claimed to only need his company and asked where he would be going, as Pilgrim instead recited a Bible verse to his wife about the concept of keeping secrets. Finally, Pilgrim told his wife that he would only be gone for a couple of days as he completed his mission for the Schultzes.
Understanding the situation, Rebecca told Pilgrim that she loved him, as he softly kissed her hands before gently touching her chest and offering his wife a pained smile. Pilgrim then got to his feet and went back to change his clothes, as he then removed his shirt, allowing Rebecca to see the scars from his Aryan Brotherhood tattoos which had been lasered off his arms, chest, and back. Once he had gotten changed and had everything that he needed, Pilgrim left Georgia and headed down to Chicago in order to find anyone connected with the photographs so he could kill them as the Schultzes had wanted.
Pilgrim soon managed to track down the Fiona's Crew and had proceeded to slaughter them all inside the motel, including Fiona and Simon, however, Pilgrim found out that the photos were missing. Needing to find the photos of David Schultz, Pilgrim tracked down and captured Sergei Konchevsky, who had hired their crew, as he proceeded to brutally beat Konchevsky into submission and demanded that he gave up the location of his employers, although Konchevsky insisted they would kill him if he dared to betray them.
Just as Konchevsky had refused to give up these names, his phone began to ring, as Pilgrim told him to be smart as he answered their call. Pilgrim listened as Konchevsky spoke to Amy Bendix, who had explained that Fiona was dead and that she still had the photos that he wanted. As Bendix demanded all the money in exchange for the photos so that she could go free, Pilgrim learned that she had run away to Michigan and was at Lola's Roadhouse, telling Konchevsky to come alone so that they could make the exchange for the photos, before Bendix hung up as Pilgrim looked down at Konchevsky.
Once Bendix had hung up the call, Pilgrim asked if Konchevsky had believed in Divine Providence, to which Konchevsky said he did not know what this meant. Pilgrim explained that he had been unaware of Bendix, yet providence had brought her back into his life, claiming that this was not mere luck. Konchevsky then claimed that because he had kept his promise and assisted him with his mission, Pilgrim should set him free as he had promised to do. However, Pilgrim told Konchevsky that he had only offered him peace, before putting him into a tight chock hold as he had then strangled him to death.
Pilgrim had then hired Marlena Olin's Crew and sent them to Lola's Roadhouse in order to find Amy Bendix and force her to hand over the photographs that Anderson and Eliza Schultz wanted. However, once Pilgrim had arrived into the bar, he found that several Olin's mercenaries, including Eddie, had been killed during a clash with a man who had protected Bendix. As Ferrara had furiously claimed that this was not what he signed up for, Pilgrim found a wedding ring on the floor which had a message from Maria written on the inside.
Pilgrim calmly told Ferrara to find Bendix and whoever she was with and inform him of their location. When Ferrara claimed there were too many dead bodies, Pilgrim recommended that he simply claim it had been a turf war gone wrong. Once Pilgrim had dismissed Ferrara, he was then joined by Olin, who informed him that they had been able to find Bendix's bag which she had dropped during the clash, noting that it contained Bendix's laptop. While Olin questioned if this had been what Pilgrim had wanted, he did not say a word and simply got up onto his feet and walked away, considering the situation.
Pilgrim and Olin had then joined their tech assistant and had him play back all the CCTV footage from the clash, as they watched Bendix's savior fight back against their mercenaries, as Olin then noted that Pilgrim had not told her that Bendix would have help and that he had been a good fighter, clearly having been highly trained to have been able to best all of the mercenaries. Pilgrim had dismissed this man as simply somebody's dog that had been let off his leash, claiming that a man this skilled would not be hard to find as there would be others out there searching for him, who either loved him or feared him.
Threatening Beth Quinn
Following the brawl at Lola's Roadhouse, Pilgrim learned that one of the people wounded had been Beth Quinn, as Pilgrim went into the Hospital to see her. When Quinn woke up, she found Pilgrim looking over all the cards and flowers that had been sent to her, as Pilgrim commented that she had a lot of people who cared about her, taking note of a card written by her son, Rex Quinn. While Pilgrim noted that having a son was a blessing, he commented on his strong name before explaining that he had wanted to discuss another name.
Needing her to understand their situation, Pilgrim told Quinn to think about all of the names that he had just read of the people who loved her before she answered his questions. Pilgrim had told Quinn that he needed to know the name of the man at the bar, noting that this man had brought Quinn straight into the hospital after she had been wounded by Marlena Olin's Crew. Quinn questioned if Pilgrim was a cop, noting that she had already told the police that she did not know his name. However, Pilgrim did not believe this answer, as he noted that this man had risked his life to get her to hospital.
Pilgrim told Quinn that he believed that she was a good person and her life had been spared by the grace of God so that she could still continue being a good mother to her son, Rex, as Quinn had begged Pilgrim to leave her son out of the situation. Once Pilgrim told Quinn that he needed to find this man, she told him that he was just a guy she had met at a bar and they had spent one night together, insisting that she did not know anything more than this. However, Pilgrim still did not believe Quinn, as he noted that this man's sins had brought her to this place and, once again, asked for this man's name.
Finally, Quinn told Pilgrim the man's name was Pete, as she insisted that this was all she knew about him. Pilgrim studied Quinn's face closely before claiming that there was something that Quinn still was not telling him, threatening that a vow made before God should not be taken lightly. As Quinn began to cry, Pilgrim simply told her that she owed nothing to this man, before she claimed that his full name was Pete Castiglione. Having gotten all the information he needed, Pilgrim took the terrified Quinn's hand and promised to pray for her healing, before he handed back Rex's card and walked out.
Hunting Pete Castiglione
- "Ask, and it shall be given unto you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
- ―John Pilgrim[src]
Having uncovered the name of Pete Castiglione, Pilgrim and his Tech assistant went to the Good Rest Motel, where he learned Castiglione had paid cash to spend one night at the Motel, as the Tech obtained the key to the room and gave Pilgrim access. While Pilgrim continued holding onto the ring from Maria that he had found, as his Tech noted that Castiglione's bed had not been slept in, which confirmed he had spent the night with Beth Quinn, while his Tech had then continued researching Castiglione and commented on what a miracle modern technology was.
Pilgrim listened closely while his Tech explained that Castiglione had been born in New York City, and appeared to have no criminal record or any ties to the government or the United States Armed Forces. As the Tech suggested Castiglione could have been a bystander, Pilgrim had insisted that this was not the case, claiming that Castiglione was something else entirely. Pilgrim then questioned if his tech had really believed that technology was a miracle as he had previously stated, to which he claimed that the world would stop without technology, to which Pilgrim calmly told him to leave and not to swear again.
Using the information that they had, Pilgrim sent Marlena Olin's Crew to track down and assassinate Castiglione and Amy Bendix. While Pilgrim lay on the bed and prayed for assistance with his search, his Tech Assistant had eventually informed him that the Larkville Police Department had just added Olin, Castiglione and Bendix's prints on their system, which confirmed that they were currently being held in custody at their Larkville County Sheriff Station. Hearing this, Pilgrim said a prayer to himself, while noting that if one was to ask it shall be given unto you, before closing his eyes with great satisfaction.
Dealing with the Police
Intending to deal with the situation personally, Pilgrim had traveled to the Larkville County Sheriff Station, where he remained in his car and watched Evans leaving the Station. Pilgrim remained sat in his car alone for some time, keeping a close eye on the Sheriff Station where his targets were located, as he allowed the police to question them. Eventually, Pilgrim entered the Station once Ferrara had arrived, while Pilgrim had stood behind Ferrara as he told Dobbs that they would take the prisoners, claiming it would be a routine extraction.
Pilgrim and Ferrara were greeted by Roy Hardin who then questioned if they had intended to take Amy Bendix and Pete Castiglione, which Ferrara confirmed as he claimed that Bendix and Castiglione were connected to multiple homicides following a drug deal that had gone wrong. Although Hardin was surprised that Ferrara did not also want to take Marlena Olin into custody as well, he informed them that they could not take custody of any of their prisoners until they had been correctly arraigned. Although Ferrara continued to try and reclaim the prisoners, Hardin had explained that they would need a warrant.
Since Hardin and Dobbs had refused to hand over either Bendix and Castiglione, Pilgrim finally spoke up and asked Hardin if he had taken an oath before he joined their Larkville Police Department, as Hardin then confirmed that he did make an oath before God and he did not intend to ever break that oath. Hearing that the oath had been made before God, Pilgrim smiled as he told Hardin that he had respect for him because of this, noting that nobody needed to get hurt if they did not have to. Hardin questioned what Pilgrim's name was, but Pilgrim had become distracted as he had seen Bendix inside the station.
Instead of answering Hardin's question, Pilgrim quoted a Bible verse in which he claimed that whoever seeped the wind, would reap the whirlwind. As Pilgrim silently looked both Hardin and Dobbs up and down, he turned around and walked out of the station with Ferrara. On the way out, Pilgrim told Ferrara and leave, as he ran away while Pilgrim put his hat back on and calmly stepped away, before raising his hand and giving Marlena Olin's Crew members, who had all been watching the situation from the woods, their signal to cut the power to the station, putting Hardin and his fellow officers into complete darkness.
With the Larkville County Sheriff Station now in complete darkness, Pilgrim regrouped with Marlena Olin's Crew members as they all armed themselves and surrounded the station while keeping themselves hidden in the woods. Pilgrim had kept a close watch over the Station as he then witnessed Ken Ogden attempting to get some help by running back into his car. Unwilling to allow this, Pilgrim carefully fired a single shot, hitting Ogden in the gut, causing him a potentially fatal injury.
While Ogden was helped back into the station by his fellow officers, Pilgrim had stepped out of the shadows in order to speak with Roy Hardin. Pilgrim told Hardin that due to the gutshot he had given him, Ogden would only have two or three hours left until he bled out, as Hardin noted that Ogden had a wife and child, although this did not phase Pilgrim. Pilgrim told Hardin that they were protecting godless people, as he demanded that they hand over Amy Bendix and Pete Castiglione, promising that if they did then they would leave them all alone. With that, Pilgrim turned and walked back into the woods.
Having given Hardin and everybody in the Station some time to treat Ogden's wounds, Pilgrim proved his strength as his mercenaries had begun shooting into the station, shattering the glass as Pilgrim stood calmly and watched the chaos. Although Hardin's men attempted to shoot back, they were unable to see Pilgrim's mercenaries in all the darkness and could not get a shot. However, this action was merely a distraction, as Pilgrim's men went around the back of the station and successfully freed Marlena Olin from her cell, escaping while Hardin and Castiglione had both tried and failed to shoot them down.
Having gotten Olin freed, Pilgrim listened as she told him that while she was happy for him to kill everybody in the station, she wanted to be the one to put a bullet in Castiglione's head. Olin had then given Pilgrim a rundown of the station's layout and how many members of the Larkville Police Department were left to fight, promising that she would be out of the United States of America as soon as the job was done. Pilgrim handed Olin a gun and told her to show him the layout once again, before putting her into a chock hold and strangling Olin to death, as she had realized too late that the gun was empty.
Pilgrim ordered his men to once again fire their weapons at the police station, giving covering fire that allowed two of his mercenaries to get close and attempt to use Molotov cocktails to burn the station down. However, just as these men went to throw these cocktails, they were shot out of their hands by Castiglione, causing a massive fireball that burned the mercenaries to death. Pilgrim watched on as Castiglione gunned down all of his mercenaries one by one, using the darkness to his own advantage, as Pilgrim was then forced to finish off one of his own wounded men in order to stop him screaming in agony.
Intending to shoot down Castiglione once and for all, Pilgrim charged through the forest until he was able to find his target and lined up his weapon. Just as Pilgrim had lined up his shot and then attempted to shoot Castiglione in the back, he was suddenly blinded by the light from the Homeland Security Helicopter which had just arrived on the scene, as the voice of Dinah Madani called out to Pilgrim to drop his weapon and surrender himself. Having missed his opportunity to kill Castiglione, Pilgrim had turned around and escaped from the scene, forcing Pilgrim to allow everyone in the police station to be free.
Disappointing the Schultzes
Having failed in his mission to apprehend Amy Bendix and take back the photographs, Pilgrim then returned to the Pilgrim Residence back in Georgia from Ohio, where he felt incredible shame for his failures. Heading down into his basement, Pilgrim had then decided to punish himself by repeatedly whipping his back with his own belt, biting down onto a piece of leather while he struck himself. Pilgrim's self-punishment was then interrupted when Lemuel Pilgrim had informed him that the Schultzes had arrived in order to speak with him.
Pilgrim had then rejoined Anderson Schultz in his dining room as they discussed what had gone wrong, with Anderson noting that what had been taken by both Bendix and Pete Castiglione still had to be addressed, as he informed Pilgrim that they had been tracked down to New York City. While Pilgrim felt uncomfortable at just that mere mention of New York due to his past there, Anderson claimed that he believed that Pilgrim's faith would help him get through a return into New York, as Pilgrim noted that it was an unclean place. Despite this, Pilgrim noted that the Schultzes had given him a good life.
As Pilgrim promised to do what needed to be done, they were then joined by Eliza Schultz who had explained that Rebecca Pilgrim was resting. As Pilgrim thanked the Schultzes for everything that they had done for him and his family, Eliza insisted that it was simply the least that they could do, noting that if they continued to look out for one another, then God would smile down upon them. The Schultzes then took each other's hands and had offered Pilgrim to join them in their prayer, which he did, confirming his continued loyalty to them as well as his willingness to then tracking down Castiglione and Bendix.
Having been given his mission, Pilgrim went upstairs to speak to his wife, as she questioned how long he would be away for this time, to which Pilgrim promised that he would not be gone for long. Pilgrim listened as Rebecca told him that she had spoken with Eliza and told her that the last thing she wanted to see before she died from cancer, was Pilgrim. As he struggled to keep himself from weeping at his beloved wife's bedside, Pilgrim attempted to argue that he had obligations that he needed to keep, to which Rebecca questioned if he had more obligations to his own wife, or to the Schultzes.
In their attempt to comfort each other before they said goodbye once again, Pilgrim and his wife quoted the Bible to each other. However, as she saw that Pilgrim's need to fulfill his debt to the Schultzes was too strong and that he would leave for New York regardless, Rebecca told him that if he completed the task quickly and kept his faith within God strong, then she would still be there, waiting to see him one last time. As Pilgrim cried, he was then forced to walk away from his wife and children, in order to return to New York City and continue to hunt down Castiglione and Bendix, as demanded by the Schultzes.
Return to New York
Meeting Dinah Madani
Once Pilgrim had returned to New York City, he had immediately set about tracking down the allies of Sergei Konchevsky who had been the ones to originally hiring Fiona's gang to take all the embarrassing photographs of David Schultz. Pilgrim had tracked Russian Mafia members down to Kazan's Gym, where Pilgrim entered late at night and murdered everybody there with his silenced pistol before Pilgrim calmly walked out of the gym and then disappeared.
Having killed Kazan and the Russians, Pilgrim returned into his hotel room, where he quietly prayed to himself, before reading the Bible which Rebecca Pilgrim gave him, which he had placed by a picture of his beloved wife and two children. Once he felt prepared, Pilgrim had then looked over the information about Amy Bendix, as well as her protector who he had discovered, was actually Frank Castle, who had been using an alias of Pete Castiglione. With his information on Bendix and Castle, Pilgrim looked at Dinah Madani, who was an ally of Castle's and had also covered up his return back into society.
Pilgrim went into New York and to a cafe which he knew Madani had often visited to get her daily cup of coffee. As Pilgrim sat alone, he found himself becoming distracted by all of the noise around him, as well as the people who he had believed to be sinful, fuelling his quiet hatred of New York. Eventually, Madani did come into the cafe where she ordered her usual cup of coffee, as Pilgrim kept a close watch on her in the reflection of a mirror. Once Madani had left with her coffee, Pilgrim then got up as well and followed Madani out into the streets, while keeping his distance to not alarm her about his presence.
However, Madani realized that she was being followed and, once she turned a corner, waited for Pilgrim to come after her as she drew her gun, noting that she had seen him at the cafe already and demanded to know who he was. Pilgrim remained calm, raising his hands and claiming that they had a mutual acquaintance from Ohio, explaining that he was referring to Castle and making it clear that he knew that she had helped with his cover-up to become Castiglione. Pilgrim had then noted that men like Castle had to earn their right to the new life, as he then questioned what Castle had done to earn his new life.
Pilgrim promised Madani that he would keep her secrets, provided that she would tell him where he could find both Castle and Bendix. However, Madani responded by taking Pilgrim's picture, which he happily posed for, before she threatened to have Pilgrim arrested, to which he noted that she could not charge him for any crime. Pilgrim then told Madani that her guilt and shame would eat her alive if she did not repent her sins before God. With that, Pilgrim noted that they would likely speak again soon as she was an easy woman to locate, before calmly turning around and walking away into the streets.
Following his talk with Madani, Pilgrim had then tracked down Nikolai Poloznev, the final ally of Sergei Konchevsky who had been the one to arrange for the photographs of David Schultz to be taken in order to blackmail the Schultzes and take over of their son's entire political career. Having tracked Poloznev to a building, Pilgrim waited outside the elevator and fired two shots, killing Poloznev's two bodyguards. Seeing that he had was no possible escape, Polozven simply closed his eyes and accepted his fate as Pilgrim shot him in the head, killing Poloznev instantly before Pilgrim walked away from the scene.
Updating Anderson Schultz
- "It's better that I do it myself."
"It's good that you have such faith in yourself, as do I, but we can not afford pride at this moment. Castle shot up a street in broad daylight. We're way past the time for keeping things quiet."
"It's risky, me opening old doors."
- ―John Pilgrim and Anderson Schultz[src]
Having been unable to complete his mission and obtain the photos of David Schultz, Pilgrim had met with Anderson Schultz at a driving range to discuss their situation, as Schultz complained that his golf club was not good enough and questioned if he had misplaced his faith, making clear reference to his dwindling faith with Pilgrim. Schultz had explained how he was nervous about Frank Castle being arrested and then using the information that he had in their favor.
As Pilgrim questioned what he meant, Schultz simply asked if he had faith in him, which Pilgrim insisted he did so Schultz explained that these were testing times and therefore they needed to take a radical step to help them locate Castle and Amy Bendix. Schultz then told Pilgrim to use his old contacts within New York City to set a bounty on Castle and Bendix, intending to turn the entire city against them. However, Pilgrim noted that it would be better for him to do the job himself rather than risk him getting back into contact with the Aryan Brotherhood again, whom he had wished to keep far away from.
However, Schultz simply dismissed all this, noting that while he was glad to see that Pilgrim still had such faith in himself, they could not afford pride in this situation. Schultz went on to note how Castle had been involved in a public shootout against Billy Russo, and therefore they were far beyond the point of being able to keep their situation quiet. As Pilgrim noted the risk involved with getting in contact with the Aryans, Schultz noted that he was not the man he once was, as he told him that if he completed their mission, he would be reunited with Rebecca Pilgrim and their two sons, as Schultz commented on how much all their families needed them to return back home.
Setting the Bounty
Following the orders of Anderson Schultz, Pilgrim had then traveled around New York City and put out a bounty for five million dollars to bring him his targets. Pilgrim had eventually gone into the nightclub owned by Danny who was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who almost immediately recognized Pilgrim as the man who had put up the five million dollar bounty all across New York. Pilgrim questioned if Danny wanted to talk about the bounty or not, which he insisted that he did and then invited Pilgrim to sit down with him.
Pilgrim then presented Danny with pictures of Frank Castle and Amy Bendix, with Danny noting that he had believed Castle was already dead and acknowledging why Pilgrim was offering so much money for them both. Pilgrim told Danny that he wanted Castle and Bendix alive, noting that he could either inform him where they were or bring them to him directly. Danny questioned if he really wanted them alive, to which Pilgrim noted that only one of them was needed, as Danny promised that he would put the word out, as Pilgrim handed Danny a phone to contact him on once Castle and Bendix were found.
Having sent out their bounty on Castle and Bendix, Pilgrim had then returned into his hotel room to await news that his targets had been located. While lying on his bed, Pilgrim eventually got the call from Danny who promised that he had news, noting that while he did not know where Castle and Bendix were, there was somebody who did know where they could be found. Agreeing to meet back at the club, Pilgrim looked down at a picture of himself with Rebecca Pilgrim and their two sons, as Pilgrim vowed that he would return to them soon, before taking his gun and leaving the hotel room to meet Danny.
Returning to the nightclub, Pilgrim met with Danny and questioned if he had news for him, to which Danny simply smiled and told Pilgrim that he was the news. Pilgrim's attention was then drawn to the back of the room, as he then realized that Kusack was there and waiting for him. Kusack invited Pilgrim to join him at the table, referring to him by his original name of Robert, as Pilgrim sat down with Kusack, who offered Pilgrim a glass of the best whiskey he had, comparing it to what they used to drink years earlier when they were friends.
As Kusack offered Pilgrim a drink and noted that he had not changed that since they last saw each other, Pilgrim noted that he had since leaving the Aryan Brotherhood. Kusack agreed with the statement, as he noted how Pilgrim had once been the loudest and most garrulous man he had ever known was he started drinking, while Pilgrim noted that the man Kusack had once known was no longer there. Kusack then became serious, questioning what had happened to the man he had once known, noting Pilgrim had left there twelve years ago with his money in order to make a buy and had simply never returned.
Pilgrim told Kusack the story of how the alternator on his truck had gone bad, forcing him to stop inside a bar where he killed a man with opposing political beliefs during a fight at the bar, noting how he had almost killed himself during the fight before he was arrested. Pilgrim explained how he then met Anderson and Eliza Schultz while he was awaiting his fate in his cell, which had resulted in Pilgrim turning his back on the Aryans and turning to Christianity. As Kusack explained that Danny had remembered Pilgrim from his youth, having admired his devotion to the Aryans, telling Pilgrim that he had been a God.
However, Pilgrim disagreed with Kusack's comment, noting that he had been a sinner and now he had been born again, with the people who would inherit the earth, which Kusack mocked as he got to his feet and removed his jacket. Pilgrim watched as Kusack rolled up his sleeves, ready for a fight while more Aryan thugs came out to back him up, with Kusack noting that Pilgrim knew what the price was for betraying the Aryan Brotherhood. Pilgrim recited a prayer about the blessed merciful, while Kusack told him that he would not be getting any mercy, only for Pilgrim to claim he was not praying for himself.
Before Pilgrim could react, one of Kusack's thugs then punched him hard across the face and took his gun, as Kusack ordered his men to man Pilgrim messy. As the thugs grabbed him, Pilgrim then began defending himself, as he avoided one man's punch and headbutted him in the face, resulting in two of the man's teeth becoming lodged in Pilgrim's skull. The other men soon began ganging up on Pilgrim, who struggled to gain an advantage, as one man had punched him across the face before a second man then slashed Pilgrim across the stomach with his knife, which had caused him to bleed heavily.
However, Pilgrim had been soon able to take possession of the knife, using it to slash a man's throat open before embedding it in another man's stomach and tearing through him, spilling out his insides. All of Pilgrim's wounds began taking a toll on him, as he had found himself being beaten into a table, resulting with his jaw becoming dislocated. Despite being repeatedly punched by a man wearing knuckledusters, Pilgrim still managed to gain control of the fight and put the man into a headlock, before cracking his neck while stealing away his knuckle dusters, before Pilgrim had proceeded to kick the man's head in.
Once Pilgrim had killed all of his men, Kusack personally joined their fight, putting Pilgrim into a tight headlock and furiously attempting to strangle him. However, Pilgrim was then able to grab onto Kusack's thumb, breaking it and pulling his arm from his neck. As Kusack cried out in pain, Pilgrim kicked him down onto the floor before picking up the knuckledusters from the floor. As Kusack was unable to defend himself, Pilgrim had then proceeded to brutally punch him in his face repeatedly with the knuckledusters, knocking out all Kusack's teeth as Pilgrim refused to stop punching him until Kusack was dead.
Now covered in the blood of his former friends and allies, Pilgrim had looked around the room as Danny tried to escape, only for Pilgrim to pick up a gun and calmly shoot Danny twice in the back, killing him. Ignoring the amount of agony he was in, Pilgrim quietly walked back over to the table and collected his hat. Needing his way to cope with the pain and trauma of what had just happened, Pilgrim then took up Kusack's offer for a drink, taking his first drink within twelve years, as Pilgrim then took the entire bottle and even found some cocaine in a pocket of one of the dead men, which he also took for himself.
- "You gotta understand your own true nature. And you gotta use it. You gotta understand, really understand, what is that you have to change. Who among us can look at themselves without shame?"
- ―John Pilgrim[src]
Pilgrim eventually made it back to his hotel room, with his face and knuckles almost completely covered in the blood of Kusack and the other members of the Aryan Brotherhood who had attempted to kill him. Emotionally broken from the attack, Pilgrim comforted himself by drinking from the bottle of whiskey and snorting the cocaine that he had taken. Having numbed his pain with alcohol and drugs, Pilgrim had then begun to look over all of his injuries that he had sustained during the attack, pulling the two teeth of one of the thugs out of his own head, after he had head-butted the thug in the mouth.
Pilgrim removed his shirt and examined the wound he had received when he had been slashed across the stomach with a knife, which he was still bleeding from. Without medical resources at hand, Pilgrim simply tore apart his bed sheet and created a makeshift bandage, painfully wrapping up his wound tightly. With his knife wound having been wrapped up to stop the bleeding, Pilgrim was then forced to deal with his dislocated jaw, as he put his hands into his mouth and forced his jaw back into position, causing Pilgrim considerably more pain, as he remained locked in his room and continued drinking.
Having spent several hours alone in his room with just his drink and drugs, Pilgrim was called by Eliza Schultz, however, Pilgrim chose to ignore the call and instead snorted his cocaine to ease his emotional and physical pain. As Pilgrim heard the sound of music and laughter coming from the room next to his, Pilgrim stepped out and knocked onto the door, carrying his gun and still covered in blood. When Bob Wick opened the door, expecting their drug dealer, Pilgrim saw that Wick was partying with multiple prostitutes. Indulging his past nature, Pilgrim put the gun in Wick's mouth and entered into the room.
Pilgrim proceeded to kill Wick and forced one of the prostitutes back into his room where she began performing oral sex on Pilgrim while he continued drinking. Pilgrim ignored what the prostitute was doing as he began ranting about how he did not understand the concept of brotherhood, claiming it was nothing more than a defense against your weaknesses as you surrounded yourself with people as pathetic as yourself. Pilgrim compared brotherhood to the hall of mirrors that needed to be smashed, claiming that people had to understand their true nature so that they could look at themselves without shame.
Looking down at the prostitute, Pilgrim had imagined her as Rebecca Pilgrim and demanded that she get out. While he continued his binge of alcohol and drugs, Pilgrim recalled his wife and their two sons, as he began to see visions of his wife before they married. Pilgrim then recalled how, when he had realized that he was in love with Rebecca, he had told her how his name was really Robert and how he had a dark past back in New York City, which Rebecca had just accepted, resulting in Pilgrim proposing to her. When Rebecca asked Pilgrim if he still felt like the man he once was, Pilgrim told that he did not.
Visited by Eliza Schultz
Having spent hours in a drunken and drug-fueled slump, Pilgrim had finally woken up, as he tried desperately hard not to sober up, as he then immediately began drinking yet again. Driven by a need to speak to Rebecca Pilgrim to find some comfort, Pilgrim then called the Pilgrim Residence, only for Eliza Schultz to pick up the phone, much to Pilgrim's surprise. Pilgrim questioned if he could speak with his wife, as he missed her calls, as Schultz claimed she was resting.
Suspecting that something was wrong, Pilgrim questioned who tried to call him, as Schultz simply claimed that she promised Rebecca to try and get ahold of him as she was worried about him. As Schultz claimed that they had all been worried about his wellbeing as he had not been in contact for some time, Pilgrim assured her that he was alright. Schultz told Pilgrim to stay by the phone, which he promised to do as Schultz questioned if he was alright, to which Pilgrim simply assured her that he was alright but simply needed to hear his wife's voice, as he had discovered he was weak without her support.
Pilgrim spent several hours sat alone in his hotel room, waiting for his phone to ring so he could speak with his wife. However, to Pilgrim's surprise, his phone did not ring but somebody knocked on his door. Suspecting an ambush, Pilgrim got his gun and carefully opened the door, finding Schultz had come to see him. Knowing immediately that Schultz would not be there if there was not a news to tell him, Pilgrim dropped down onto his knees as Schultz informed him that Rebecca had died, as he struggled to accept the loss of his wife following the visions he had been having of her, claiming she brought him back.
Deep in mourning for his dead wife, Pilgrim was then offered comfort by Schultz who had claimed that Rebecca had been like a daughter to her, and Pilgrim was like a son to her. As Schultz claimed that she was feeling the same grief that Pilgrim was feeling, he noted that Rebecca had been his wife, and therefore he should have been with her in Georgia rather than New York City. Although Schultz tried to claim that Rebecca would have understood why he was not there, Pilgrim noted that Rebecca had wanted the last thing she saw in this world to be her husband, which he had failed to provide her.
Hearing this, Schultz attempted to convince Pilgrim that this was not his fault but the fault of those who had been trying to harm her family, such as Frank Castle. However, Pilgrim insisted that Castle had never actually done anything to him personally, as he began to question if the Schultzes actually cared about him and his family at all. Pilgrim listened as Schultz then told him that his fight was for more than just himself, but for a future for himself and his two sons, as Pilgrim then insisted that the only thing his sons needed, was for him to be home with them so that they could all grieve the loss of their mother.
Schultz continued trying to convince Pilgrim that his focus needed to be on completing the mission, claiming that his sons needed him to be certain of his path and that if he failed to complete their mission then he would be filled with shame and regret. Schultz promised that she and Anderson would continue protecting Pilgrim's sons like they protected their own son, as long as Pilgrim finished his task, as she insisted that everyone depended on him, claiming that the hopes of everyone who loved him rested on Pilgrim doing what was expected of him, as Schultz questioned if Pilgrim had understood all this.
Getting up to his feet, Pilgrim had insisted that he understood what Schultz was saying to him, but had still questioned why Schultz was using his sons to test his loyalty, only for Schultz to compare these tests to the tests that God had given onto Abraham, while noting that Abraham's sacrifice had allowed his family to prosper long after his death, claiming that this would be the case if Pilgrim did what had been expected of him. Once Schultz had left the hotel room, Pilgrim was filled with rage, as he had then begun to trash their entire hotel room, throwing the furniture across the room out of pure fury.
With few choices left for him, Pilgrim followed Eliza Schultz's orders and continued his mission, as he left his hotel room and had traveled to Sacred Saints Hospital where Frank Castle was now being treated for all of the injuries he had sustained in the wake of his recent battle against Billy Russo and his Crew. Just as Pilgrim had entered into the hospital, the fire alarm was set off, causing everybody there to evacuate. However, Pilgrim ignored this as he continued making his way up the elevator and towards his target, ignoring a clown.
Despite Pilgrim managing to make his way past all the New York City Police Department officers who had been ordered to guard Castle during his treatment at the hospital, once Pilgrim got to the room and attempted to kill him, he discovered that Castle had vanished due to the assistance of Karen Page and Amy Bendix. Realizing this, Pilgrim had then made his way outside of the hospital, now determined not to allow Castle or Bendix to escape him again. Pilgrim realized that Castle had been recaptured by Brett Mahoney, who commandeered an ambulance and was now attempting to bring Castle to prison.
Pilgrim managed to steal a police car and chased down Mahoney's ambulance through New York City, as he soon managed to catch up with Mahoney and, having managed to get alongside the ambulance as Mahoney had trusted seeing a police car, Pilgrim then drew his gun and began firing into the ambulance, intending to kill Castle once and for all. Pilgrim and Mahoney both attempted to push each other off the road, while Pilgrim continued shooting at the ambulance, until he had successfully push Mahoney and Castle off a bridge, causing serious damage while also injuring both Mahoney and Castle.
As Pilgrim got out of the police car, he raised his gun in order to force all of those passers-by to flee in terror. However, before Pilgrim could continue shooting down at the ambulance to ensure he killed Castle and Mahoney, he was suddenly struck by Dinah Madani's car, which knocked Pilgrim off his feet. As Madani attempted to arrest Pilgrim on behalf of the Homeland Security, Pilgrim managed to keep himself out of sight until he got around Madani and stole her care, managing to escape from the scene, while leaving Castle and Mahoney alive as Castle had managed to escape from Pilgrim's wrath once again.
Having managed to get away, Pilgrim then pulled over in Madani's car and began checking the engine, ensuring that he had removed and destroyed the tracker hidden inside the engine. Pilgrim had also checked on the wounds that he had received during his ambush by Kusack and the Aryan Brotherhood, as the wound on his stomach had opened back up again when Madani had struck him with her car, causing Pilgrim to bleed heavily. Once Pilgrim bandaged himself up, he threatened some kids before checking Madani's travel history to find potential leads on Castle and Bendix's possible location.
- "I have no quarrel with you, but I also have very little time. So, if they are your friends, and you're thinking of showing them your loyalty, of protecting them, it would be better if you didn't."
"Still, I don't know anything about any Castle or girl."
"Like Peter, you deny this man. You know, there was a time not long ago, I would have judged you before even sitting down with you."
- ―John Pilgrim and Curtis Hoyle[src]
Following the directions in Dinah Madani's car, Pilgrim had arrived at a scrap yard where there was just a single caravan. Stepping out of the car, Pilgrim took his gun and had limped towards the caravan, as he noticed that the door had recently been shot with a shotgun. Pilgrim then entered the caravan with his gun raised, finding Curtis Hoyle there who demanded to know who Pilgrim was. Looking around the space, Pilgrim had noticed the shotgun on the table and questioned if Hoyle had been expecting trouble.
As Hoyle had noted that there was no way to predict when strange men like Pilgrim would come through your door, he commented that Pilgrim did not look so good himself, which made Pilgrim smile, to which Pilgrim noted that it had been a testing day for him. Keeping his gun aimed at him, Pilgrim then offered Hoyle the chance to sit down, as Pilgrim had lowered his gun and began looking around the caravan before taking a seat himself. Seeing that Hoyle was inching across his sofa, Pilgrim warned him that if Hoyle attempted to steal the shotgun, then he would simply shoot Hoyle in the kneecap.
Sitting down, Pilgrim questioned how Hoyle knew Madani, to which Hoyle had smiled and claimed that Madani simply visited Hoyle in the caravan for sex occasionally, which Pilgrim smiled at before noting that he believed Hoyle was lying to him. Hoyle offered Pilgrim to take whatever he wanted from the caravan and go, although Pilgrim had instead asked Hoyle about Frank Castle and Amy Bendix, as Hoyle claimed that he did not even know who they were. Pilgrim told Hoyle that since he did not come there to kill him, he wanted to give Hoyle a final chance to stop protecting his friends Castle and Bendix.
Despite this, Hoyle still claimed to know nothing, as Pilgrim had told Hoyle how once in his life, he would have judged Hoyle without ever getting to know him, but now he could see him clearly, and without hate. Pilgrim then took out the pair of knuckledusters which he had taken from Kusack's henchmen during his ambush, telling Hoyle that while he admired his bravery, he did not believe him. Pilgrim noted that this caravan was not a place where people like him lived, but it was for people who were hiding, and therefore he believed that Hoyle was protecting Castle and Bendix out of some form of friendship.
However, just as Hoyle was still denying any knowledge of Pilgrim's targets, they were interrupted as Bendix had burst into the caravan looking to tell Hoyle that they had rescued Castle from Sacred Saints Hospital. Seeing Bendix arriving there, Pilgrim momentarily paused in shock as Bendix realized what was happening. As Bendix rushed to grab the shotgun, Pilgrim attempted to apprehend her, only for Hoyle to rush forward and tackle Pilgrim. As the three began to fight across the caravan, Hoyle knocked Pilgrim's gun out of his hand as Bendix attempted to reclaim the shotgun and Pilgrim fought against Hoyle.
Just as Pilgrim had overpowered Hoyle and then knocked him down, Bendix had gotten ahold of the shotgun and fired a blast of bullets at Pilgrim, who managed to hide behind their cabinet but took multiple pellets in the legs, causing him to scream out in pain. Seeing that she had failed to kill Pilgrim with the shotgun blast, Bendix desperately attempted to get away as Pilgrim grabbed her legs, only for Hoyle to come back into their fight as he dragged Pilgrim away from Bendix, ordering her to run for her life. Hoyle then proceeded to throw Pilgrim across the caravan and then began punching him repeatedly.
Pilgrim continued fighting against Hoyle as Bendix used a secret exit to get away and run for safety, while Pilgrim desperately attempted to push Hoyle away from him so that he could give chase, in order to finally complete his mission. However, Hoyle refused to allow Pilgrim to get away, lifting him up and smashing Pilgrim through a table and against the walls, despite Pilgrim trying to land whatever defensive punches that he could throughout the fight. Finally, Pilgrim had then armed himself with his knuckle duster and punched Hoyle in the face repeatedly, until the now dazed Hoyle could barely defend himself.
With Hoyle briefly dazed, Pilgrim was then able to throw him through the wardrobe, before striking him across the face with the shotgun. The hit then knocked Hoyle unconscious, but Pilgrim, despite being armed with the shotgun and now standing over the defeated Hoyle, decided not to kill him, due to his respect for what Hoyle had been trying to do. With Pilgrim now seriously injured, he stepped outside the caravan and realized that Bendix had managed to escape his grasp once again, as blood dripped out of his stomach wound and the shotgun pellets in his leg, questioning what he should do.
Eliza Schultz's Threat
Having failed once again to capture Amy Bendix, Pilgrim drove back to his hotel in Dinah Madani's car, as he painfully got out and walked to the elevator to return into his room, still covered in his own blood from all of those many injuries. Once he got back to his room, Pilgrim had begun treating his latest injuries from his clash against Bendix and Curtis Hoyle, as he had moaned in terrible agony while removing all the shotgun pellets from his bleeding leg one by one.
Once Pilgrim had finished patching up his injuries and began putting his clothes back on, he then heard an unexpected knock at the door, as Pilgrim then picked his weapon back up and prepared to defend himself. Limping to the door with his gun raised up, Pilgrim opened it and looked outside, finding nobody was there. Pilgrim looked down the hallway, searching for whoever had knocked, but could not see anyone there. However, before Pilgrim could walk down the corridor and continue his search, he heard his phone ring in his bedroom, as he lowered his gun and went back inside to answer the phone call.
Picking up the phone, Pilgrim heard Lemuel Pilgrim's voice, much to Pilgrim's delight as he lowered his gun and sat down, telling his son how good that was to hear his voice. Pilgrim asked how Lemuel and Michael Pilgrim were doing, while Lemuel noted that they missed him and had questioned when he would return to Georgia from New York City. Pilgrim promised Lemuel that he would be home soon and they would be reunited and could all bury Rebecca Pilgrim together, while Pilgrim told his son to look after his brother until he returned, which Lemuel agreed to do as Pilgrim told Lemuel that he loved him.
However, to Pilgrim's surprise the phone was then taken away from Lemuel by Eliza Schultz, while she told Pilgrim that they had wanted him to remember exactly what it was he was fighting for. Schultz then informed Pilgrim that the Punisher kidnapped David Schultz, noting that David was never meant to be brought into this conflict and that Castle took David as Pilgrim seemingly had taken Bendix. Knowing that his sons were at risk, Pilgrim lied to the Schultzes and claimed that he did indeed have Bendix, as Schultz then gave him a number to contact Castle and make their trade with Bendix and David.
While Pilgrim was sat in the hotel room once used by Bob Wick and considered what he was doing to do about his current situation, he was suddenly alerted to the sound of the Punisher kicking down the door of his other room. Without making any sound, Pilgrim waited until he could hear that Castle had stepped into the center of the room before Pilgrim had then began shooting wildly through the wall. However, as Pilgrim went to reload, Castle began shooting back.
As Pilgrim and Castle had both reloaded their guns, they lay down in silence and then waited for a hint at where the other one was so they could shoot them down. Eventually, Pilgrim had heard a thud which momentarily distracted him, as Castle fired through the wall and ran out of the room. Pilgrim then switched rooms before Castle could storm inside and gun him down, as Pilgrim found his bag of weapons and grabbed a pump actions shotgun, firing multiple blasts through the wall in a desperate attempt to shoot Castle. However, Castle had still continued shooting back until the shotgun ran out of shells.
Not wanting to give Castle any advantages, Pilgrim then grabbed his machine gun and began shooting through the wall, forcing Castle to stay under cover. However, as Pilgrim continued shooting, eventually his gun ran out of bullets, as Castle did not hesitate to charge at the damaged wall, smashing his way through it and attempting to shoot at Pilgrim, who had managed to run out of the room just in time. As Castle took cover, he and Pilgrim continued shooting at each other, with Castle diving for cover behind their wardrobe and bed to ensure that Pilgrim never got a clear shot while they continued shooting.
As Castle managed to find his stash of guns and used a machine gun to shoot at him, Pilgrim made a tactical retreat, only to then discover that Amy Bendix was there, armed with her shotgun. Before Bendix could react, Pilgrim was able to move the shotgun out of his range, firing it into the ceiling, before disarming Bendix and holding his gun to the back of her head, just as Castle charged out of the room with his weapon raised. Pilgrim used Bendix as cover while demanding an exchange of Bendix for David Schultz, before he and Bendix entered the elevator, as Castle had promised that she would be alright.
Pilgrim and Bendix then both heading down towards the basement, leaving Castle to fight the New York City Police Department who had arrived on the scene. However, once Pilgrim had forced Bendix back inside Dinah Madani's car, he witnessed Castle arriving there, having beaten down the police and caught up with them. While Pilgrim then attempted to drive away as quickly as possible, Castle leaped onto the front of the car, desperately attempting to stop Pilgrim's escape, only for Pilgrim to slam on the breaks, which had then thrown Castle off the car before driving off, leaving Castle unable to catch up.
Waiting with Amy Bendix
- "You're really planning on going after him in this state? You're crazy. He's gonna kill you."
"Maybe. Or I'll kill him. God will decide which of us is righteous."
"You honestly believe that? He's the Punisher. He is gonna, like, righteously pull your spine out of your throat."
- ―Amy Bendix and John Pilgrim[src]
Having managed to get away, Pilgrim and Amy Bendix then pulled up their car in a dark corner of New York City. Once they were both safe, Pilgrim then called Frank Castle and had questioned how they wanted to exchange David Schultz for Bendix, as Castle informed Pilgrim that Schultz was back at the caravan, and so if Pilgrim wanted him then he should come back to the caravan where he had been earlier and collect him personally, before Castle had then hung up.
While Pilgrim took a breather, Bendix had questioned if he was really planning on going after Castle while he was in such a poor physical state, telling him that he was crazy as Castle would undoubtedly kill him. However, Pilgrim was unfazed by this, noting that he believed that God would decide which of them was righteous and then grant victory to him. Hearing this, Bendix questioned if he really believed this, insisting that the Punisher would still manage to brutally murder him if they came to a fight, which Pilgrim still did not disagree with as he had then looked the clearly terrified Bendix directly in the eye.
Bendix then asked Pilgrim what was righteous about everything he had done up to this point, including the murders of Fiona and Sergei Konchevsky, noting that the Bible forbids the killing of all others, and Pilgrim had murdered multiple people who had never done harm to anybody, as Bendix claim that Anderson and Eliza Schultz had been using him to do their dirty work, turning his faith against him. Pilgrim sat in silence as Bendix offered him a chance to change his direction by turning against the Schultzes and setting her free, but Pilgrim still refused, claiming that it was too late, despite him wanting to.
Showdown with the Punisher
Following the instructions, Pilgrim pulled up to the caravan site where he was greeted by Frank Castle, who came out alone as Pilgrim still continued holding his gun to Amy Bendix' head. While Castle then checked that Bendix was okay, Pilgrim had ordered her to get onto her knees, as Castle informed Pilgrim that David Schultz was inside the caravan with C4 strapped to his head, which Castle was willing to detonate unless Pilgrim finally handed Bendix over to him.
Castle questioned why Pilgrim was doing all this, to which he hinted that there was something that Anderson and Eliza Schultz had owed him. When Castle then questioned if he believed that they could be trusted, Pilgrim confessed that the Schultzes had his sons, as Pilgrim questioned what Castle would do with the chance to save his family from being killed, as Castle admitted he would have done anything. Getting Pilgrim's name, Castle him that Bendix had become like his own daughter, vowing that he would do anything to protect her, as he told Pilgrim to aim his weapon at him instead and let Bendix go.
With that, Pilgrim had allowed Bendix to get up and watched her hug Castle before he ordered her to leave him and Pilgrim, which Bendix agreed to do. Once Bendix took Dinah Madani's car and left, Pilgrim had requested the phone that was supposedly linked to the C4, only for Castle to confess that Schultz was not actually in the caravan. As Pilgrim demanded to know where he was, Castle then admitted that he did not know since Curtis Hoyle had rescued Schultz and handed him over to Brett Mahoney. Horrified by this, Pilgrim attacked Castle, who managed to tackle Pilgrim first and knock him off his feet.
Pilgrim and Castle began fighting on the ground, while Pilgrim's gun was knocked out of his hands while Castle began beating him down, only for Pilgrim to grab a piece of metal and smash it across Castle's head. While Pilgrim grabbed a steel pole, Castle got ahold of his gun and attempted to shoot him dead, only to realize that the gun had been empty the entire time. Pilgrim proceeded to smack Castle with the steel pole, knocking him off his feet as Pilgrim attempted to beat him down, punching him hard in the face which knocked Castle onto his back before kicking Castle's head through a sheet of glass.
As Castle struggled to stand, Pilgrim took full advantage and began throwing him across the ground. Grabbing the nearby chain, Pilgrim wrapped it around Castle's throat as he demanded to know where Schultz was, pulling Castle's head back to the point that he could not breathe, before repeatedly punching Castle in the back of the head as Pilgrim continued to question where Schultz was. Despite being beaten down, Castle managed to gather his strength back, grabbing ahold of the chain and pulling it down, taking Pilgrim off his feet. The two exhausted enemies then took a moment to catch their breath.
Once the two were back onto their feet, Castle armed himself with a steel pole while Pilgrim wrapped the chain around his knuckles, as Castle questioned if Pilgrim still needed a minute, to which Pilgrim insisted that he was waiting on Castle. The two then charged at each other, with Castle furiously swinging the steel pole which Pilgrim was able to block with the chain around his hand before he struck Castle hard in the face. The two proved themselves to be equally matched as both managed to beat down the other but had still refused to back down, as Pilgrim dived over Castle to knock him over once again.
Since Pilgrim believed he had gotten that advantage over Castle, he had charged at him once again in order to punch him with his chain wrapped fist, only for Castle to swing a large steel canister at Pilgrim, knocking him back into a car with considerable force. This blow had dazed Pilgrim, allowing Castle to hit him yet again with full force, but Pilgrim had continued getting up, determined not to lose their battle. However, Castle then hit him three more times with the steel canister, leaving Pilgrim dazed and unable to stand, before Castle hit him once more, finally knocking him down for good and ending the fight.
With Pilgrim covered in blood and unable to defend himself anymore, he looked up as Castle stood over him with the steel canister. Seeing that Castle was ready to beat his head in with the steel canister and end his life, Pilgrim gathered up what strength he had left and asked Castle to wait. Struggling to breathe, Pilgrim then asked Castle not to harm his sons when he went to kill Anderson and Eliza Schultz. As he was looking up at the bloody Castle, Pilgrim had then told him that he knew who Castle really was, comparing him to a Whirlwind, before Pilgrim accepted his fate and waited for Castle to end his life.
However, Castle chose not to kill Pilgrim, sympathizing with Pilgrim's desire to save his family from anyone who wished to do them harm. Pilgrim then joined Castle and Bendix as they traveled to the Schultz Mansion where Pilgrim went upstairs and then rescued Michael and Lemuel from the Schultzes. The Pilgrim family then all waited outside while Castle shot Eliza through the back of the head and simply left Anderson to kill himself. Having confirmed that Anderson and Eliza were dead, Pilgrim put his sons in the car, giving a final look at Castle before driving away, finally leaving that life of violence behind.
- "Brotherhood is a hall of mirrors... looking back at you, reflecting your own self back at you. But there comes a time... you gotta smash the mirror... and look inside and decide, who am I? What kind of man am I?"
- ―John Pilgrim[src]
Being a ruthless and cruel killer for Aryan Brotherhood early in his life, John Pilgrim later became a quiet and restrained man as well as a loving husband and father. Kusack noted him for his extreme belief in white supremacy, and Danny viewed him as an unscrupulous devil without a conscience. Despite being forced to return to his violent nature during the chase for Amy Bendix, he did not seem to feel any pleasure doing so. Instead, he carried out his mission without any display of emotion at all both when killing people and when suffering heavy injuries himself.
However, Pilgrim now seemed to despise violence as he sought to avoid it at several opportunities, for instance when he tried to convince Roy Hardin to give Frank Castle and Bendix up in order to avoid any further bloodshed. With his faith in God, Pilgrim values life very much although he would not hesitate to use violence and even deadly force if he considers it necessary for achieving his goals, hoping to return to his wife and sons as soon as possible.
- Expert Combatant: Pilgrim is highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat as well as in the use of several melee weapons such as knuckledusters and knives. He managed to take out Kusack and his men despite them being armed with a variety of melee weapons themselves. Also, Pilgrim holds himself up in a fight with Frank Castle for a long time even though being heavily injured due to the fight with Kusack's men and the fight with Curtis Hoyle and Amy Bendix. Pilgrim also shows a somewhat pain-resistance, as he does not give up to fight against both Kusack's men and Frank Castle despite having suffered several heavy injuries. Pilgrim's complete lack of any emotional reaction to any injuries, however painful they might be, discourages enemies from further attacking him such as the last survivor of Kusack's crew who then chose to run instead of facing Pilgrim. Though Pilgram shot him to death never the less.
- Knife Expertise: Pilgram is skilled in using a knife in combat. This is seen when he killed one of Kusack's men with his own knife.
- Expert Marksman: Pilgrim is extremely skilled in the use of a wide variety of firearms. He is also extremely accurate, managing to shoot Nikolai Poloznev in the head along with his two bodyguards. He also shot down Danny as he was running away.
- Expert Tactician: Pilgrim is a skilled planner. Able to track down Amy Bendix and set up ambushes. He is also known for improvisation. Using other weapons to his advantage, as seen with his battle with Kusack's men and his fight with Frank Castle.
- Knuckledusters: Pilgram used one of Kusack's thug's brass knuckles against Kusack himself.
- Knife: Pilgram used one of Kusack's thug's knife against him and another thug.
- SIG Sauer P320: Pilgrim carried this handgun outfitted with a suppressor when he travelled to New York City to deal with those involved in the scandal related to the pictures of David Schultz. He entered into Kazan's Gym and killed Kazan and the rest of Russian Mafia members that had not been killed previously by Frank Castle, and also ambushed Nikolai Poloznev, quickly killing his two bodyguards before killing Poloznev himself.
- SIG Sauer P250 Compact: Pilgrim kept this handgun in his motel, and took it with him when he tracked down the trailer through Dinah Madani's car GPS. Inside there, he keep Curtis Hoyle while trying to obtain the location of Frank Castle and Amy Bendix. When Bendix arrived, he lost the gun in a fight against Hoyle, and took it before leaving when Bendix escaped and was left beaten. While inside his motel, Pilgrim resorted to use it when he heard that Frank Castle had broken into the adjacent room, beginning a shootout through the wall, and discarding the gun when he retrieved a shotgun from his bag of weapons.
- KRISS Vector: Pilgrim used this weapon to open fire on the ambulance where Brett Mahoney was transporting Frank Castle until he made it fall off the road. He also used it to scare away the drivers that had stopped for assistance, but he had to leave it behind when he was hit by the car that Dinah Madani used to chase him. Pilgrim retrieved a second one from his bag of weapons during a shootout against Castle, discarding the shotgun he had just used, and shooting at Castle through the wall. Castle broke through the wall and engaged again in the room, but Pilgrim managed to leave and took Amy Bendix as a hostage at gunpoint. Pilgrim then took the weapon to a hostage exchange, but he quickly lost it while fighting Castle.
- Mossberg 590M: Pilgrim took this shotgun from his bag of weapons during a shootout against Frank Castle. Pilgrim heavily shot at Castle through the wall, but he eventually discarded it in favor of a submachine gun.
- Czech Small Arms SA vz. 58: Pilgrim used this rifle to shoot Deputy Ken Ogden when he was trying to leave the Larkville County Sheriff Station to get help. Using a scope and a suppressor, Pilgrim shot Ogden in the stomach through the windshield. Later, when Frank Castle gunned down almost all of his men, Pilgrim managed to sneak behind him, and was about to shoot him with the rifle when Dinah Madani arrived in a helicopter and forced him to flee.
- Battle Arms Development Tanker: Pilgrim kept this rifle in his bag of weapons, though it was Frank Castle who ended up using it during a shootout against him.
- Pilgrim Residence: Abandoning his violent past, Pilgrim moved to Georgia where he lived with his wife and two sons at their own house. Pilgrim spent a lot of time at the house, taking care of ill Rebecca and their children. Anderson and Eliza Schultz visited the Pilgrim family, tasking him to return to New York City to eliminate the last ones who were able to expose them.
|Appearances for John Pilgrim|
In chronological order:
- John Pilgrim is based on the Mennonite, a violent assassin who left his work to be with his wife Mary. Desperate for money to save his wife, Mennonite was hired by the Mafia to kill the Punisher.
Behind the Scenes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Punisher: 2.01: Roadhouse Blues
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Punisher: 2.02: Fight or Flight
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The Punisher 2.03: Trouble the Water
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Punisher: 2.04: Scar Tissue
- ↑ The Punisher: 2.08: My Brother's Keeper
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Punisher: 2.06: Nakazat
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 The Punisher: 2.09: Flustercluck
- ↑ The Punisher: 2.07: One Bad Day
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The Punisher: 2.12: Collision Course
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 The Punisher: 2.05: One-Eyed Jacks
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 The Punisher: 2.10: The Dark Hearts of Men
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 The Punisher: 2.11: The Abyss
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 The Punisher: 2.13: The Whirlwind