|For other uses, see Punisher (disambiguation)|
Francis David "Frank" Castle Sr. is a violent vigilante and a former member of the United States Marine Corps, who had joined Cerberus Squad while he was serving in Afghanistan. Fearing he was slowly losing his honor under the command of Agent Orange, Castle returned to his family, only to lose them all during a brutal shooting. Castle became the Punisher, as he aimed to clean up New York City of all crime by any means necessary. While seeking to avenge his own family's deaths, Castle also came in conflict with Daredevil. Castle was soon arrested and, despite the efforts of Nelson and Murdock, was sentenced to life in prison. However, Castle was freed with the help of Wilson Fisk and discovered the Blacksmith was in fact the one who had been responsible for his family's murder.
Abandoning his identity, Castle attempted to live the quiet life before he was found by Micro who revealed to him that more people had been involved in his family's death, and they were involved in the illegal Operation Cerberus he had performed in Afghanistan. While hunting down all of those involved, Castle then came back in contact with his friend Billy Russo, who he eventually learned was working with William Rawlins to try to assassinate Castle. Having discovered the truth, Castle then allowed himself to be captured by Russo and Rawlins, until he eventually killed Rawlins and, in a brutal showdown, managed to disfigure Russo's face beyond repair. With Rawlins' crimes exposed, Castle was then finally allowed to regain freedom by the CIA and looked to begin a new peaceful life for himself.
Castle's attempts at his peaceful life were shattered when he discovered Amy Bendix being hunted down by John Pilgrim, before then learning that Billy Russo had also escaped from custody. With Bendix by his side, Castle returned to New York City with Dinah Madani as they attempted to stop Pilgrim and Russo from causing chaos, with the assistance of Madani and Curtis Hoyle. The Punisher eventually managed to uncover a conspiracy that linked Bendix to Anderson and Eliza Schultz, while also fighting back against Russo's Crew. Once he was certain that Bendix was safe from harm, the Punisher tracked down and finally executed the now mortally wounded Russo, before then dedicating his life to the Punisher cause, tracking down criminals wherever he could and executing them.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Cerberus Squad
- 1.3 Return Home
- 1.4 Becoming the Punisher
- 1.5 Trial and Imprisonment
- 1.6 Framed by the Blacksmith
- 1.7 New Departure
- 1.8 Back in Action
- 1.9 Punisher and Micro
- 1.10 New York Bombings
- 1.11 Rawlins and Russo
- 1.12 A New Life
- 1.13 Return to New York
- 1.13.1 Dinah Madani's Protection
- 1.13.2 Updated by Dinah Madani
- 1.13.3 Reunion with Curtis Hoyle
- 1.13.4 Amy Bendix's Confessions
- 1.13.5 Search for Billy Russo
- 1.13.6 Agreement with Amy Bendix
- 1.13.7 Amy Bendix's Card Tricks
- 1.13.8 Recruiting Turk Barrett
- 1.13.9 Arguing with Dinah Madani
- 1.13.10 Spying on Turk Barrett
- 1.13.11 Attack on Kazan's Gym
- 1.13.12 Leaving with Amy Bendix
- 1.13.13 Destruction of Clive's Studio
- 1.13.14 Training Amy Bendix
- 1.13.15 Kidnapping Nikolai Poloznev
- 1.14 Hunting Billy Russo
- 1.14.1 Meeting with Curtis Hoyle
- 1.14.2 Kidnapping of Jake Nelson
- 1.14.3 Chasing Jigsaw's Crew
- 1.14.4 Rescue of Amy Bendix
- 1.14.5 Ambush at the Valhalla
- 1.14.6 Hospitalized
- 1.14.7 Chase of Frank Castle
- 1.14.8 Kidnapping of David Schultz
- 1.14.9 Ambush on John Pilgrim
- 1.14.10 Assassination of Billy Russo
- 1.14.11 Death of the Schultzes
- 1.14.12 Sending Amy Bendix Away
- 1.15 New Chapter
- 2 Personality
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Behind the Scenes
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
Frank Castle was born on November 15, 1978, in the Hell's Kitchen district of New York City. According to him, his parents were too old when they had him and consequently had difficulties to control him. He was also a trouble-maker when he was a young man, with a strong desire to hurt people, which he would later claim that he often did, quickly becoming a highly effective fighter. Castle also played baseball, and his father attended all of his games.
Armed Forces Recruitment
When Castle was just eighteen, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he had eventually met and was then placed under the command of Major Ray Schoonover. Having never held a gun before, Castle was trained by Schoonover himself on how to effectively use a firearm in a military situation. Lieutenant Castle would later take part in the First Battle of Fallujah as well as other combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, eventually earning the title of Scout Sniper, and was inducted into the ranks of the Marine Corps Force Recon, undertaking classified missions behind enemy lines.
While Castle was stationed in Baghdad with Billy Russo, they also met and befriended with Curtis Hoyle, a corpsman. During a mission, Hoyle was attempting to save the life of a young boy, while Castle kept watch with a sniper rifle. However, when Castle saw a pregnant woman coming towards Hoyle, he failed to shoot her, resulting in the woman detonating a suicide vest, blowing off Hoyle's leg, something Castle would feel guilt over for many years. During his service in Afghanistan, Castle witnessed Gosnell suffer facial wounds, and he was awarded the Navy Cross for his service in the marine corps.
While on leave from the United States Marine Corps, Castle was out in a park playing his guitar when he had been overheard by a woman named Maria, who teased him over his playing. Castle instantly fell in love with the woman and, after some flirtation, the pair began a relationship. Three months later, Maria informed Castle that she had fallen pregnant with his first child, with Maria offering Castle the chance to walk away as she was willing to raise the child alone, only for Castle to instead propose to her, resulting in them getting married.
Despite many of Castle's friends recommending against the marriage due to how short their relationship had been, Castle and his new wife began a happy life together living in New York City. Castle had then gone overseas and had come back to meet his second child and his son, Frank Castle, Jr. for the first time, finding he was already walking and, upon seeing his father for the first time, the young Frank, Jr. had screamed at seeing him. Castle's good friend Billy Russo was also introduced to both Maria and the children, as they had become close friends, with Castle's children referring to Russo as Uncle Billy.
Training with Billy Russo
During his time serving in the military in Iraq, Castle came to become best friends with Billy Russo, a fellow marine from New York City, as the pair saved each others lives while in Basra. As they completed one of their trainings together, Castle and Russo both underwent the gauntlet, in which they would walk through all their fellow marines while getting beaten down to prove their endurance as well as their physical strength, as Castle had given Russo a mocking prep talk before he went through the gauntlet first, making it to the end.
Once Russo had finished the gauntlet, it was then Castle's turn as he then endured the punishment of being beaten by his fellow Marines, while being thrown into the freezing mud, eventually making it all the way through and being rewarded with cheers from all the fellow men. Until he made it into Russo's arms at the end of their gauntlet. Castle was helped up onto his feet and told him that he loved him by Russo, before getting punched in the stomach by him, much to the delight of everyone in attendance as these two brothers in arms had celebrated their success at making it all the way through the brutal gauntlet.
Learning about Russo's Past
- "Tell you what, Bill. I think about all that shit you went through, I was one of these kids, I never stopped to think about how lucky I was, you know. The old man was at every single game I played at, every single one. You know, I wish you had that. I'm sorry you didn't."
- ―Frank Castle to Billy Russo[src]
Since his friendship with Billy Russo grew, Castle had been brought by Russo to Ray of Hope back in New York City where they watched those children playing baseball together. Sitting together, Castle had then learned about how much Russo had loved the game as a child, and how he believed he would become the next Joe DiMaggio. However, Russo noted how Arthur Walsh took away Russo's love of their game when Walsh attempted to sexually molest him as a child, while Walsh had been one of his careers at the children's home.
Castle then learned, following Walsh's attack against him, Russo had came to hate baseball as it always reminded him of Walsh, to which Castle had expressed his sympathy towards his friend and brother in arms, noting he had never stopped to think how lucky he was when he was a child to have his father attend every single game he played, expressing a wish that Russo could have enjoyed that. Attempting to lighten the mood between them, Castle would then note that Russo had since become a badass since he joined the United States Marine Corps, which they had both laughed at as their friendship grew.
Meeting Agent Orange
During one of his unit's deployments within Afghanistan, Castle was assigned to a new task force under the supervision of Ray Schoonover and an anonymous civilian commander known to the men only as Agent Orange. Castle sat with Billy Russo and listened as Orange and Schoonover explained they were now part of Operation Cerberus tasked to capture and assassinate enemy targets, with Castle questioning if United States Congress had approved the operation which Orange insisted they had.
Russo and Castle formed the two lieutenants taking command under the orders of Schoonover, leading the unit's two squads. While Castle played his guitar and relaxed with Russo, he was introduced to one of his new squad members Gunner Henderson, a dry yet witty soldier from Kentucky who had deeply respected Castle as a fellow soldier, while Castle noted that he had also heard good things about Henderson from Jack Kimber. While they were talking, Henderson teased Castle by briefly pretended to be more deeply Christen than he was while laughing with Castle over his nervous reaction.
Castle and Russo then discussed their units while Russo noted that Orange had not even bothered to give them his actual name, with Russo questioning if Castle trusted Orange or not. Russo then quoted a poem as they joked about if Castle had actually ever read a poem before, with Castle throwing his football at Russo's face as a joke. The task force participated in the operation, specializing in nightly raids for the purpose of kidnapping, interrogating, and then executing high value targets of the United States of America, with the squad quickly becoming known as the American Taliban.
Among the targets that were captured by Cerberus Squad included a man named Ahmad Zubair, who was brutally strung up and beaten down by the Squad before Agent Orange then entered the room and began questioning Zubair in Pashto, so neither Castle nor any of the other members of the Squad could understand what Orange was saying. Castle therefore stood by and watched as Orange began repeatedly striking the clearly terrified Zubair while wearing a pair of thick leather gloves.
During the torture, Gunner Henderson questioned Orange over what Zubair was saying, as Orange insisted that it was nothing important and demanded that Henderson not question his intelligence. Turning to the Squad, Zubair insisted that he was not a terrorist and that he had a family, while Castle and the rest of the Squad watched Orange grabbing Zubair by the face and then say something more to him in Pashto. Eventually, Agent Orange noted that clearly Zubair did not know anything useful for them, and therefore turned to Castle, who then shot Zubair point blank in the face, killing him instantly.
Castle and Henderson were then ordered by Ray Schoonover to take Zubair's corpse outside and bury it within the desert, with Henderson questioning if they were being ordered to bury evidence. Following Schoonover's orders, however, Castle then removed the bullet from Zubair's skull, without questioning what Schoonover and Orange's true motivations with Operation Cerberus could be. Despite all these killings, the intelligence which was provided by Orange's task force was considered to be highly useful for the military, enabling his own ascension within the CIA while solidifying his reputation.
While he was opening birthday cards from his two children, Castle cheered as he discovered that his wife had bought him tickets to go and see a Bruce Springstein concert when he returned home, which Castle then proudly showed off to Billy Russo. As Castle and Russo then discussed how long until they could return home, Castle teased Russo over knowing that he planned on meeting with several women when he got home, as Castle noted that he should instead choose one woman to settle down with, although Russo claimed he was too handsome not to share himself with multiple women.
However, the pair were interrupted as Ray Schoonover entered their tent to order them to come for a mission briefing. Once there, they were informed by Schoonover and Agent Orange that they had a new target who was believed to have been tracked down and was now hiding out in a compound within Kandahar. Although they were then ordered to go into Kandahar and capture the target, Castle warned against it, believing this was a trap for Cerberus Squad, with Russo agreeing. Orange, however, ignored Castle's objections and insisted that they continue with the mission objective regardless.
Just as Castle had predicted would happen, the surprise raid quickly turned out to be an ambush as their squad was hit with machine gun fire and mortar rounds, which resulted in Schoonover losing his arm while many soldiers were killed. Taking cover amid the firefight, Castle and Russo discussed what should be done as Castle decided that the only opition remaining was for him to storm the Fort alone and clear a path for an evacuation, ordering Russo to give him some covering fire. Castle then charged across the battlefield, reassuring Schoonover while he then made his way up the hill firing upon any insurgents he encountered in order to keep his men safe.
Making his way through the enemy's stronghold, Castle proceeded to use all of his military training and utter fury and charge through the enemy strong hold, killing all those he encountered. As the enemy ran at him, Castle went through his arsenal of weapons, going from his machine gun to pistol as the battle closed in on him, pinning an enemy to the wall and firing multiple shots into his face before continuing to move forward. Sneaking through the hallways, Castle drew his shotgun and killed three more of the insurgents in quick succession, ending up covered in their blood.
Finding himself in an open hallway surrounded by hostiles, Castle continued firing until he took a bullet to the shoulder which knocked him to the ground as he hid behind a pillar. However, Castle remained determined to not only save all his fellow soldiers, but to return home to his family, so he swallowed his pain and got back onto his feet. Drawing his knife, Castle waited for his opening and furiously battled the remaining four soldiers, beating and stabbing them to death until their blood covered his face. However, Castle had successfully cleared the whole area, killing all hostiles, and saved his squad.
Fury at Agent Orange
Reaching to extraction point, Castle and all of the surviving members of Cerberus Squad were evacuated out of the area and taken back to base for emergency medical treatment. As Ray Schoonover was taken away, Castle and all the others were looked at, with Castle himself washed the enemy blood from his face and spat out almost a bucket load of his blood while trying to keep himself calm.
Despite the loud ringing in ears, Castle overheard someone asking for a mission update and saw Agent Orange looking at all of the wounded and severely damaged soldiers, calmly asking if they had successfully killed the target as he wanted. Mortified that Orange was more concerned for Operation Cerberus' mission than he was over all of the wounded and dead men, Castle charged forward and assaulted Orange for the deaths of his men, meaning to kill him as he ruptured Orange's eye-socket with a single punch while the soldiers tried to drag the furious Castle off the now horrified Orange.
The enraged Castle was then dragged off Orange by Billy Russo and Gunner Henderson while Orange fell to the floor in agony, with Russo then pulling Castle aside and declaring that he was not protecting Orange from Castle but Castle from himself. As they both argued, with Castle furiously throwing chairs across the room, Russo informed him that he was quitting the United States Armed Forces, and that Castle should consider joining him. Despite being devastated that Russo was leaving, Castle still remained in service, and would serve again in Iraq before returning home once again.
Back with his Family
- "She looks up and sees me. I see her. By God, that's real. That's real, Red. Boom. In an instant, she's across that classroom floor, she's in my arms. She's squeezing me so tight I swear I was gonna bust a rib, you know? We just stayed there like that, we're holding each other."
- ―Punisher to Daredevil[src]
The day he finally returned home to New York City, Castle was soon tearfully reunited with his children at school as he found Lisa Castle in their yoga class at her school. Upon seeing her father again once again, Lisa charged across her classrooms and into her dad's arms. Castle and his children then went back to the Castle Residence where he was also reunited with Maria Castle and they spent the day together, but Castle soon realized how weary he had become from all of his time being far away from his own beloved family. One night, Lisa pleaded with her father to read her favorite bedtime story 'Penny & Dime', but the emotionally exhausted Castle promised that he would do so the next night.
One day, Castle took Lisa and Frank Castle, Jr. onto a trip to go and see the Statue of Liberty and took joy in reciting a nonsense poem to them, smiling while Frank Jr. argued that was stupid. As they looked at the statue, Lisa noted that her teacher told her that it represented everything good about the United States of America which he agreed with. However, as Frank Jr. had confidently claimed that Castle had fought in the United States Marine Corps in order to kill the jihadists, Castle lost his temper and threatened his son, something he instantly regretted as he apologized to Frank Jr., holding his children close.
Reunion with Russo
During his leave from the Marine Corps, Castle and Billy Russo had reunited in New York City, where Castle invited Russo to join him as he took his family for a day out at Central Park. As Lisa Castle rode on the merry go round, Castle and his wife watched on, with Maria noting that Lisa would soon be too old for it. They were then interrupted as Russo called them over to join him and Frank Castle, Jr. for some food, with Castle and his wife commenting on Russo's friend with their son.
Once the Castles sat down, they listened to Russo telling them about how he had been named after Billy the Kid, as Russo had compared himself to the infamous outlaw while also teasing Castle for having no sense of romance or creativity, noting how Castle had not thought of anything but Frank, Jr. to name his son. When Russo noted how Billy the Kid was betrayed for money and fame, Castle noted that this betrayal was the worst thing anybody could do. As Lisa commented on how Russo was an orphan, and could not know his name's origin, they all laughed as Maria promised they were all Russo's family.
When Russo left, Castle and his family stayed in Central Park, unbeknownst to them that William Rawlins and Ray Schoonover decided to have Castle killed for he believed he leaked the torture and death of Ahmad Zubair. Using his criminal persona "Blacksmith," Schoonover then arranged a deal between Mexican Cartel, Dogs of Hell, and Kitchen Irish and they started a firefight.
Having failed to see what was about to happen in time, Castle was forced to look on helpless, in utter horror as his own wife, son and daughter were all gunned down during the crossfire. Castle was shot down and managed to survive after getting shot at close range in the head, but at the hospital, a Do Not Resuscitate was placed on him by District Attorney Samantha Reyes. Although he flatlined, he came back to life without any medical aid. Upon waking, Castle demanded that the nearby George Bach take him back to his home, away from the hospital, which Bach did.
Becoming the Punisher
Without knowing about the link between Operation Cerberus and the Massacre at Central Park, Castle targeted the three gangs that were involved in the firefight at the park - the Kitchen Irish, the Dogs of Hell, and the Mexican Cartel. Castle started to tracking and eliminating all members of three gangs and other criminals along the way. He took his first shots at the Dogs of Hell, ambushing a small team of them and massacring them all, including Smitty. He later fired a machine gun into Nesbitt's meeting of the Kitchen Irish in Burren Club, killing them all before finding the Mexican Cartel and hanging them on meat hooks. Office of the District Attorney codenamed Castle as "The Punisher," due to his brutality and ruthlessness against criminals.
Castle eventually learned that Grotto managed to survive his initial attack on the Kitchen Irish, and was taken to Metro-General Hospital as the wounds he had received got the better of him. Castle tracked him and charged into the hospital, fighting off a security guard on the way before blasting through the hallways with a shotgun. However, Grotto, who was recuperating in the hospital from his wounds, was only saved by the timely intervention of Karen Page, who rushed him out of the room away from Castle.
Although Grotto was able to get out of the hospital with Page taking him downstairs and putting him in her car to be driven away, Castle had still managed to get onto the roof of the hospital and used a sniper rifle to attempt to take out his target, watching Grotto as he peered out of the car's window. Although Grotto made it to the car, Castle took aim and fired off several shots at Grotto, while aiming away from Page whom he did not wish to harm as he viewed her as an innocent in this situation. Before long, Castle finally managed to find his perfect shot and took aim at Grotto.
Just as Castle prepared to take the shot and execute Grotto, he was interrupted by Daredevil, who rushed onto the rooftop and disarmed Castle, knocking the gun from his hands. The pair engaged in a brutal fistfight during which Castle attempted a few times to shoot his attacker. However, Castle knew that his attacker was not a criminal and when he finally got the upper hand and managed to pull out his gun, as Castle shot Daredevil in the helmet. Castle, however, ensured that the wound was not fatal by aiming directly for the strongest part of the helmet, leaving Daredevil on the rooftop before escaping.
Seeking to find any surviving members of the Kitchen Irish, Castle went to an illegal pawn shop, where he spoke to Clint the owner, offering him a considerable amount of cash for New York City Police Department radios and the shells in his shotgun. Once he had what he wanted, Castle prepared to leave, but the greedy Clint tried to convince him to stay by offering pornographic films. Castle ignored him until Clint told him that he had a film involving a 12-year-old girl. Furious and disgusted, Castle locked the door and proceeded to kill Clint by brutally beating his skull with a metal baseball bat.
Preparing an Ambush
All of the Punisher's murderous activities quickly made him a high-level target of Samantha Reyes and the District Attorney's office, who attempted to attract his attention by offering him another attempt to execute Grotto, who was being protected by his lawyers, Nelson and Murdock. Knowing that this would most likely be an ambush for him, Castle made his own plans about how to protect himself and ensure that his target was killed. So Castle attacked a base for the Dogs of Hell, massacring almost all the members inside the base with his shotgun and taking control of one of the trucks to be used in his plan.
Castle strapped the last remaining member of the bikers to the driver's seat of the truck and made him drive to the meeting point. The police officers under Reyes' command mistook the gang member for Castle. They began shooting at the truck, killing the man, while they were still unaware of Castle's true location as he continued to watch the entire event unfolding just as he had planned. Castle meanwhile perched on a nearby rooftop and once again took aim at Grotto; however, once again, he was interrupted and attacked by Daredevil who attempted to ensure that Grotto was not harmed by the Punisher as the pair began to fight once again.
As Castle and Daredevil continued to fight, Samantha Reyes ordered the New York City Police Department to aim their largest lights at the roof to expose Castle and Daredevil while the SWAT teams began shooting at them. Castle and Daredevil continued fighting as they dodged the many bullets being fired at them. Eventually, they fell through a glass ceiling and Castle saw that Daredevil was suffering great pain. Castle was able to take the wounded Daredevil hostage onto a rooftop for interrogation and a discussion about their differing methods of justice.
Debating with Daredevil
As Daredevil slowly began to wake up, having been tied to a nearby chimney with chains that ensured he was unable to move or escape from his situation, Castle watched close by. When Daredevil awoke, he immediately attempted to pull himself free, all while Castle poured himself a coffee before mockingly greeting the vigilante as he continued to desperately try to free himself from his chains as Castle drank his coffee.
Castle commented on the theory that it was impossible to hear the bullet that kills you being fired, leading to him asking Daredevil if he heard the bullet being shot into his helmet. Daredevil continued to try to free himself, but Castle made it clear that the only way to leave was if he allowed him to. As Castle treated his wounds, Daredevil asked why he was still alive and had not had his mask removed, but Castle ignored his comments, only informing him that he had no interest in his identity and began going through all the boxes of weapons he had stored on the roof for killing the Dogs of Hell.
Daredevil began trying to predict how many missions Castle had done and how long he had been on his crusade of violence against the criminals of the city, but Castle remained silent until Daredevil suggested Castle could walk away from his mission, to which Castle turned the question back on his hostage and questioned if he could ever stop as well, which Daredevil did not answer. During the night, Castle commented on the bells of St. Matthew's Cathedral, leading to Daredevil asking if he was Catholic. Daredevil tried to learn more about him, but Castle just told him to stop digging to try and get some kind of better understanding of his mindset.
Daredevil continued to discuss how New York City affects people. He continued his analysis of Castle, asking if he was born in New York, but Castle only mocked his efforts. As Daredevil tried to comment about Castle enlisting, he was told not to comment on such things he could not understand, noting how soldiers did not wear masks like vigilantes. When Daredevil commented on how he knew how to fight and had almost beaten him, Castle insisted they were not discussing brawling but war, which he viewed as a completely different matter altogether and one Daredevil did not understand.
Despite Castle's warnings, Daredevil continued to make comments about how wartime affected people and how it changed them, but Castle dismissed all these views as Daredevil was not a soldier and had never been to war. As they began mocking each other for their different viewpoints and their different codenames which were both given to them by the newspapers, Castle walked closer to Daredevil and accused him of being a half-measure, a coward and being one bad day away from being a killer like him. However, Daredevil paused and warned Castle that someone was coming.
Castle greeted Jerry who had come to investigate the noise he had heard on the rooftop and Castle claimed to be just up there for a cigarette to avoid his crazy sister, whom Jerry assumed was a woman named Betty. When Daredevil tried to free himself and made more noise, Castle distracted Jerry and quietly and covertly aimed his gun at his head to warn Daredevil to remain silent. The pair realized they had both been a part of the United States Marine Corps which gave themselves great respect for each other as Jerry left Castle alone to enjoy his cigarette and peace and quiet.
As Castle returned once Jerry had gone, Daredevil accused him of taking pleasure from risking the lives of innocent people, noting how he had been ready to shoot Jerry, although Castle claimed that had only been for his benefit. Daredevil continued to accuse Castle of making widows and orphans through his actions. Daredevil noted how Punisher had hung members of the Mexican Cartel on meathooks and fired in a hospital like New York City was his own shooting gallery. However, Castle accused Daredevil of treating the city like a playground where criminals should be treated like mere bullies, arguing that his method was more effective.
Castle knocked Daredevil out and collected Grotto while he was out while attaching a gun to Daredevil's hand. When Daredevil regained consciousness, Castle informed him that there was only one bullet in the gun and that he was wearing body armor, so the only way to stop him would be to shoot him in the head. Castle threw Grotto on the ground before them and explained how he had found him trying to steal a car to escape. Castle made Grotto admit how he had murdered a man and an old woman under the orders of the Kitchen Irish. Castle completed the story by informing Daredevil that the woman had left a husband and children after Grotto had killed her.
Castle demanded that Daredevil make his choice, as he was unwilling to allow Grotto to go free as he was sure that Grotto would kill again if given the chance. Castle began slowly counting down from five and ignored both Grotto's pleas and Daredevil's insistence that he would be handed over to the New York City Police Department. The Punisher gave Daredevil a final choice and a countdown to decide, to shoot and kill him or allow Grotto to die, either way making him a killer, insisting that this was the choice he made every time that he pulled the trigger against a thug or murderer.
Unwilling to give in to the Punisher's cruel and violent test, Daredevil used his one bullet to free himself of his chains and attacked Castle. Although evidently caught off guard, Castle still shot and fatally wounded Grotto before getting beaten down. While Daredevil looked after Grotto in his final painful moments, Castle recovered and took the opportunity to fire upon the Dogs of Hell, shooting a grenade at their motorbikes which caused a massive explosion to alert the gang of his presence while Daredevil tried and failed to save Grotto's life, who died from his wounds moments later.
Once he subdued Daredevil again, Castle took aim at Jimmy the Bear with his sniper rifle, preparing to execute the entire gang in mere moments. However, before he could pull the trigger, the Punisher was forced to continue fighting Daredevil, who managed to get the violent vigilante in a headlock, knocking him out. Unwilling to allow the Punisher to be killed by the gang, Daredevil managed to take him out of the building before the Dogs of Hell could beat him to death until Castle awoke and escaped during the fight.
Hunted by Finn Cooley
Returning to his current base, Castle arrived just in time to witness members of the Kitchen Irish led by Finn Cooley leaving having been searching for Castle with the aim to kill him and recover the money he had previously stolen from them, and taking his dog at the same time. Having seen this, Castle knew that he was being hunted by the Irish and knew that sooner or later, they would undoubtedly find him and kill him, or much worse. Castle decided that he would use the inevitable confrontation to his advantage, despite the risks to his own life and well being.
Castle prepared to set up a trap for the Kitchen Irish, knowing that their main focus would be to find their money and therefore would likely keep him alive for a prolonged period of time until he gave up its location. Castle left the money in his van and attached a bomb to it, which would detonate if anyone attempted to move it. He then hid a razor blade under his skin on his arm, with the intention of using it to escape when he would be tied down and tortured by the mob. He then left the van and prepared to allow the Kitchen Irish to find and capture him so he could find a way to wipe them out.
Castle took time to himself to sit alone in Central Park in front of the carousel where his family was massacred, watching the families play and enjoy their time together. Castle remained in the same spot until the lights were turned off, however, he discovered that he was not alone as members of the Kitchen Irish began to surround him. As more and more people came around him, Castle prepared himself for a fight, despite being highly outnumbered by the mobsters, all of whom were armed although they claimed to want him alive, shooting Castle in the neck with a dart gun.
With the group coming closer and closer, Castle grabbed one of the mobsters and stole his gun, killing several of his attackers and using his hostage as a human shield, with Rory claiming they wanted Castle alive. The Irish gangsters began shooting Castle with tasers which barely slowed him down. Finn Cooley revealed that he was leading the group and that he wanted Castle after he killed several of their members, including Nesbitt and Cooley's youngest son and taken his money. Despite putting up a strong fight and taking down several members of the Irish mob, Castle was eventually stopped by the taser guns being fired at him as he fell to the floor.
Finn Cooley's Revenge
The unconscious Castle was taken to the mob's hideout where once he awoke, Finn Cooley explained that not only had Castle gunned down Nesbitt, the leader of the Kitchen Irish, but he had also killed his oldest son during a shooting. Cooley promised that Castle would die that night as the hole had been dug, but promised him a painless death if he revealed where he had hidden the stolen money. The overconfident Cooley offered Castle painkillers but Castle only mocked his efforts.
Cooley continued to demand all of his stolen money back and when Castle reminded him of his son's death at his hands, which resulted in Cooley furiously losing his temperament as he then began beating Castle, questioning if his killing spree was simply his attempt to find some form of retribution. Castle pretended to be beaten to breaking point and promised to reveal where the money was, but when Cooley got to close, he simply headbutted him and laughed at his pain. As punishment, Castle was tortured, with Cooley drilling a hole into his foot while the Punisher furiously promised to murder all of them.
With Castle still remaining strong throughout all of the brutal torture, Cooley was forced to rethink his plan as he threatened to unleash the same torture methods onto Castle's adopted dog, Max. Not willing to see the innocent animal put in harm's way, Castle finally admitted to where all the money was and Max was taken away to safety. Cooley sent Rafe to check the money was indeed there and explained that he would keep Castle alive until it was returned. However, before the money would be collected from Frank Castle's Van, the bomb which Castle had left exploded, killing Rafe and destroying the cash.
While Cooley was distracted by the disaster, Castle managed to free himself of his restraints with the use of a hidden razor blade that he had previously placed under the skin in his arm and fiercely fought back against the mob. Castle stole his own captor's guns and shot Cooley twice in the back. Despite all his injuries, Castle was able to walk over to Cooley and threaten him with a shotgun, demanding to know who was responsible for the massacre at Central Park. When Cooley refused to answer and mocked Castle's search for revenge, Castle killed him by shooting him point blank in the face.
With Cooley now dead, the remaining members of the Kitchen Irish stormed into the room and began firing at Castle, who was forced to retreat and hide behind a doorframe, shooting back and getting a bullet in his side while the Irish called for reinforcements. Believing himself to be gravely outnumbered and likely to be killed during this final firefight, Castle recited his daughter's favorite poem of "One Batch, Two Batch" to calm his nerves as he prepared for his final gunfight. However, Daredevil suddenly arrived and then charged inside of the room, using his own Billy Club to knock out the attackers.
Castle demanded that together they make all of his torturers pay, but Daredevil then insisted that they would, but must not be killed, which Castle mocked him for due to his own desire to gain revenge through killing. As more Irishmen arrived, Punisher and Daredevil used their combined strength to subdue them all; however, when Castle would attempt to use a gun or hammer to kill his enemies, Daredevil then knocked the weapons out of his hand and insisted that they do not kill anyone during their fight. Castle called Daredevil an altar boy, but soon, all his attackers were defeated and the pair then quickly made their escape back into New York City from the warehouse.
Confession and Arrest
Daredevil carried the severely injured Castle to a graveyard, where he eventually found he could no longer walk and sat beside a grave. Knowing he could not get away from his arrest, Castle took the time to explain why he became a vigilante, telling Daredevil about how he came home from the United States Marine Corps only to witness his wife, son, and daughter massacred by mobsters during a drug deal.
Going into great detail, Castle told Daredevil how his daughter had begged him to read her a book the night before, but he had been too tired and tragically the next day she was gunned down and died in his arms. When the New York City Police Department arrived on the scene, Castle did not attempt to escape and instead allowed himself to be arrested by Brett Mahoney. He was taken on a stretcher and moved to an ambulance for treatment for his life-threatening injuries while the city's news reporters gathered around and photographed the now infamous Punisher being arrested by the police.
Trial and Imprisonment
Meeting Nelson and Murdock
Castle was taken to Metro-General Hospital where his all of his wounds sustained while fighting the Kitchen Irish were treated and he was kept under watch by the New York City Police Department. Castle was assigned Christopher Roth as his attorney, but he was visited by Nelson and Murdock and Matt Murdock explained that they wished to represent him. Murdock explained that they believed that Samantha Reyes now wanted him dead for some reason.
When Castle mentioned their last failure to protect Grotto, he was confronted by Karen Page who showed him a picture of his family and demanded answers. Nelson and Murdock were pulled out of the room by Reyes but Castle informed Brett Mahoney that he wanted them to be his lawyers, requesting to speak to Page without Foggy Nelson present. Once they were alone, Castle demanded to know what Page knew about his family, so she told him that Reyes wanted to run a story about him and his family being involved in a roadside shooting, instead of the truth of a gang shootout.
Castle told Page what he remembered about that day, reliving the horror and regret of failing his family. Castle assured Page that she was not in any danger the night that he shot at her in the hospital while she was protecting Grotto, noting that he only killed those who deserved it and he believed that Grotto deserved to die. When Page asked why he wanted to see her he began asking about the layout of his house as he had forgotten in all the years he had been away from it, telling her the stories of his son hiding cookies and his daughter's toys. Castle thanked her and invited her to ask him questions about the case in order to help them in court while defending him.
Nelson returned to the room and explained that he had lost the death penalty and changed three life sentences down to one with a chance on parol in twenty-five years, although he would still likely be sent to Ryker's Island where he would likely be murdered. Although Page insisted this was impossible, Castle joked that he would enjoy the fight while Nelson told them it was the best deal that they would get. Nelson recommended that Castle take the deal, advising that he tell Reyes that he would have to plead guilty to get the deal done and be over with the case with the best possible result for Castle.
Reyes and Judge Cynthia Batzer were brought into Castle's hospital room alongside Nelson, Page and several armed guards. However, when Batzer asked how Castle pleaded, Castle stared straight into Reyes' eyes and pleaded not guilty so he could destroy Reyes' own career in the courtroom by exposing all of her lies and dealings with his family's deaths. Batzer confirmed the plea and announced that his bail was now denied. Reyes and Batzer then stormed out the room while Nelson and Page were forced to think of a plan ready for the next week when Castle's fate would be decided.
The People v. Frank Castle
The trial was highly publicized, with Judge Cynthia Batzer complaining about how impossible it was to find an at least semi-impartial jury as everyone in New York City had an opinion on Castle until at last both Samantha Reyes and Nelson and Murdock agreed on a jury and the trial was allowed to take place. Castle meanwhile was locked in his cell where he shaved and prepared for the trial.
Castle was later visited in the interrogation room of the prison by Karen Page who suggested that they bring forward a character witness from Castle's time in the United States Marine Corps who could possibly help their case. Castle quickly deduced that they were trying to make a plea for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but Castle insisted that it was an insult to those soldiers who were truly suffering with it unlike him. Castle did, however, advise that they locate Ray Schoonover to be the witness for the case. The pair then sat down to look at his family's murder case to find new evidence.
When the trial was about to begin, Castle sat beside Page while they awaited the arrival of Matt Murdock, who was running very late for unknown reasons. As the trial began, Reyes gave a statement to the jury where she accused Castle of murdering thirty men outside the law, calling him a serial killer who was guilty and now deserved to be finally brought to justice. Foggy Nelson then made his own statement where he noted that Castle was a soldier who had been betrayed by the system after his own wife and children were murdered, accusing Reyes of using Castle as a pawn for a coverup.
Doctor Gregory Tepper was called in to discuss the examination of the bodies found at the Massacre at Central Park. Once Blake Tower had finished his questioning of the witness, Murdock stepped up asking him about his own career and how he had handled the case involving Castle. However, just as Murdock began questioning him, Tepper asked to confess something, so Judge Batzer had the room cleared of the jury, viewers, and Castle. While Castle was gone, Tepper confessed to falsifying documents as he had been threatened by a mysterious woman demanding his confession on record.
The next day, Ray Schoonover was bought in to be a new character witness for Castle, describing their time together in the United States Marine Corps and telling the story of how Castle had saved the lives of many soldiers by single-handedly taking on the enemy soldiers when they were trapped behind enemy lines. When Nelson asked Schoonover to describe Castle, he told the jury that Castle was a man who would gladly give his life to protect others and was a hero. When Reyes then attempted to question Schoonover's story, she only succeeded in confirming it and helping Castle's case.
In order to discuss Castle's brain injuries, Nelson and Murdock called in Andrew Lee to discuss the bullet wound Castle sustained during the massacre in Central Park. Although Castle worried they were making another PTSD case, Lee went on to explain that the wound made Castle relive the trauma each and every day, concluding that Castle's murders were crimes of passion not premeditated. Just as the court seemed to be on Castle's side, Finn Cooley's son burst out yelling, accusing Castle of murdering his father before being escorted out of the courtroom by all of the nearby guards.
While speaking to Page outside of the courtroom, Castle confessed to killing the boy's father and feeling some level of guilt for the killing, although Page still insisted that she would not judge him for it or anything else he had done. Page recommended that Castle take the stand himself and defend his actions in front of the jury, as she felt it was the only chance they had of winning after the outburst in the courtroom. Castle argued that they would not win the case, but Page insisted that they must try and reduce the charges regardless to prove he was not the monster they thought he was.
Confession of Guilt
- "You call me the Punisher, ain't that right? The big bad Punisher. Well, here I am! You want it, you got it! I am the Punisher! I'm right here! You want it, I'll give it to you. And anybody who came here today to hear me whine, to hear me beg? Well, you can kiss my ass! I'm guilty, you hear me! I'm guilty!"
- ―Frank Castle[src]
As Castle prepared to take the stand in the courtroom, he was approached by Roy Olsky who informed him that Wilson Fisk had information about who killed his family, information he would only get if he was sent to Ryker's Island. Castle took the stand and was questioned by Matt Murdock, who asked him to describe what happened the day that his family was killed while he also told the jury that New York City needed men like him to control the crime.
Once Murdock finished his statement, Castle asked Judge Cynthia Batzer if he could make a statement, and proceeded to tell the jury that he would commit the murders all over again, promising that he was not crazy and did not need Nelson and Murdock's help and that he would never be sent to a mental hospital for treatment. Castle became more enraged as he insisted that he enjoyed killing those men and told the people that he was the Punisher and would continue killing whoever he wanted. Castle was removed from the courtroom and sentenced to jail immediately.
Dealing with Wilson Fisk
Transferred to Ryker's Island for imprisonment, Castle was escorted by Roy Olsky to meet with Wilson Fisk. As Castle walked down the corridors of the prison, the inmates watching his arrival yelled out abuse and threw paper and various other materials at him. Castle met with Fisk in the outdoor gym. Initially, Castle declined Fisk's offer for him to kill fellow prisoner and ruler of Ryker's, Dutton, in exchange for forming a beneficial partnership between them to survive in prison.
It was only until Fisk revealed to Castle that Dutton had information on the deaths of his family in Central Park and could likely give him the name of whoever was responsible for the massacre, that Castle accepted his offer. Giving Castle the only weapon he could provide him with, a shiv, he informed that he would take to Dutton's location by Olsky and would have only seven minutes to get the information he needed from Dutton, kill him, and escape. Castle agreed to kill Dutton; however, he remained highly suspicious of Fisk's true intentions.
With Roy Olsky's assistance, Castle was allowed access to Dutton's cellblock where he immediately killed one of his guards by slicing his throat with the shiv before interrogating Dutton on what he knew on the day his family was killed, slowly pushing the shiv into his gut while noting he knew Dutton was there. Dutton revealed that the supposed gang shooting was, in fact, a sting operation to bring out a crime lord known only as the Blacksmith, who did not appear, which in turn caused the gangs to panic and they soon began shooting.
With this information, Castle was told that his crusade of violence would never end before he fatally stabbed Dutton in the gut and then attempted to escape the block. However. to Castle's horror, Roy Olsky had locked the door and were walking away, trapping Castle in a small corridor filled with all of Dutton's most loyal men. As Castle attempted to convince the guards to free him, Wilson Fisk looked down from the upper level and tauntingly thanked Castle for his help in assassinating Dutton, before leaving Castle to be murdered by the other furious inmates who were still loyal to Dutton.
The rest of the inmates, quickly realizing Castle was the one who stabbed Dutton, proceeded to charge at him, planning to beat Castle to death. The defenseless but determined Castle faced them head on, charging in with a battle cry and began fighting back, desperately trying to stay alive. The inmates continued to attack him with various weapons and shivs, but Castle's superior combat training allowed him to quickly disarm the men and use their weapons to stab them or crush their skulls, shrugging off a stab in the arm and strong blows from them as he killed more of the attacking criminals.
Eventually, after a prolonged and brutal battle to the death, Castle remained the last man standing, with dead men covering the floor, his face and once white prison uniform were completely stained with blood. As Castle slowly rose up from the carnage, the prison guards moved through the door, all of whom were dressed in full riot gear and ready to capture him. Once a smoke grenade had been dropped in the room, the exhausted Castle tried to defend himself before he was subdued by the overwhelming number of trained guards and was then arrested once again.
Castle was taken into solitary confinement where he was eventually visited by Wilson Fisk, who ordered the guards to remain outside. Castle then confronted Fisk for attempting to have him killed after murdering Dutton, but Fisk explained that since Castle's survival he had made a new plan involving him since he was impressed by his violent nature. The handcuffed Castle took the chance to attack Fisk, headbutting him, but the wounded and exhausted Castle was swiftly overpowered and beaten down by Fisk.
Fisk then ordered all the guards to remove Castle's handcuffs and informed him that he would set him free, when Castle asked why, Fisk explained that he wished the Punisher to massacre all other criminal empires in New York City so that when Fisk got free, he could easily become the new Kingpin of Crime. Despite his desire to kill Fisk, Castle took the offer and was given a riot gear uniform by the guards which he used to walk out of Ryker's Island without being stopped and be free once again to continue his mission to kill all the criminals who he could hunt down and find in New York City.
Framed by the Blacksmith
Saving Karen Page
With Castle on the run, the Blacksmith began murdering anyone connected to the Central Park massacre, including Samantha Reyes and Gregory Tepper and blaming it on the Punisher. Seeking to clear his name, Castle sought out Karen Page, who had been working with Mitchell Ellison at the New York Bulletin to write a story about him. Finding her at her apartment, Castle knocked out her guards and greeted Page.
Page pulled out a gun as Castle denied having anything to do with Reyes and Tepper's murders. But before he could finish his explanation, the apartment was swarmed with a flurry of gunfire from across the street. Castle managed to tackle Page to the ground and shielded her from the unknown attacker. Once the gunfire had ceased, Castle pulled Page to her feet and together they made their way outside, keeping themselves low to the ground in case any more bullets were fired at them. Castle then allowed Page to go to the New York City Police Department while he stayed hidden.
Castle stayed in Page's car and listened to music until Page was finished being interviewed by Detective Brett Mahoney. When Page returned she berated Castle for stealing her car as he joked about singing along to the music. Page made it clear that she was having second thoughts about staying beside Castle, considering the fact that she was not a lawyer and therefore was now lying to the police. Castle suggested that she could walk away from the danger but she decided to help Castle find and stop the Blacksmith.
Shootout at the Cafe
Knowing that he was being followed by two men, Castle convinced Karen Page that they should stop at a cafe for coffee and food, although Page remained nervous. Page told Castle that she had learned from Samantha Reyes that the Blacksmith was still moving large amounts of heroin across the country and they discussed where he could be. They changed the subject and Castle told Page that he was not surprised that she owned a gun but was impressed by the choice, although she made it clear that she did come close to shooting him.
Page told Castle that she did not kill him despite not liking what he did, she believed it was what needed to happen. Castle changed the subject and asked about her relationship with Matt Murdock, making it clear that he knew that she was in love with him and teased her while asking Susanna for more coffee. Page told Castle that Murdock had hurt people emotionally, leading to Castle telling her about how much his own wife annoyed and upset him but how important it was that he loved her, especially now that she was dead.
Seeing that the Blacksmith's men had finally pulled up outside the cafe, Castle ordered Page to hide in the kitchen with the waitress. Once they were gone, Castle waited for Chaney and Speed to get close to him before he charged forward firing his gun, shooting Chaney twice in the gut before dodging Speed's shotgun blast. Once he'd disarmed Speed, they resorted to brawling with their fists until Speed grabbed a knife, at which point Castle smashed the boiling coffee pot over his head before stabbing him repeatedly.
As Speed bled out on the floor, Castle found Chaney crawling across the floor, attempting to grab his gun. Castle stopped him and took the gun for himself, standing over the bleeding Chaney and demanding to know where he could find the Blacksmith when Chaney refused to answer Castle shot Speed through the skull. Chaney still refused to answer and told Castle to go to hell, so Castle resorted to beating his face in with the butt of the gun until Chaney finally broke and told him that he could find the Blacksmith at Pier 81.
Although Chaney attempted to offer to bring Castle to the Blacksmith himself, Castle ignored him and instead shot him through the head. As the Punisher starred down at the carnage he had created, Page emerged from her hiding place within the kitchen and was horrified to see Chaney's beaten and bloodied corpse. Without looking at her, Castle told her to go to the New York City Police Department and get protective custody, telling her to stay away from him and his campaign of violence. Castle then left the cafe in order to find and kill the man who was responsible for the deaths of his family.
Hunting the Blacksmith
- "Help me, work with me to find the man who gave the order!"
"And then what, Red? We gonna, we gonna bring him in for justice, is that what we're gonna do? Your way's bullshit, Red, it doesn't work, I need him, I need him gone, it's gotta be permanent, it's gotta be finished!"
- ―Daredevil and Punisher[src]
With the information he had gathered from Chaney, Castle tracked the Blacksmith to Pier 81, where a ship was docked. He proceeded to gun down several criminals on the dock who were guarding the ship, before he boarded, and found a significant stash of heroin onboard. Taking numerous cans of gasoline from the docks nearby, he doused the boxes of heroin, while taunting and calling for the Blacksmith. A man emerged with a SIG pistol and shoot at him then retreated, as Castle returned fire with his H&K 416 rifle.
Castle hunted down the last man on the ship, engaging in a brief gunfight. When the man ran out of ammunition, Castle responded by shooting him in the shoulder with his rifle, ordering him to admit he was the Blacksmith and that he was the one who had killed his family, when the man refused to speak, Castle chose to shoot him in the leg with his S&W 1911 pistol. The man pleaded for his life and then half-heartedly admitted to being the Blacksmith and begged for death as Castle pressed his gun into the man's face.
Suddenly, Daredevil arrived on the boat and intervened, telling Castle that the man was lying and was not the Blacksmith. Castle, however, was so bloodthirsty that he prepared to execute the man, so Daredevil knocked the pistol out of Castle's hand before the two engaged in an unarmed fight, which ended with Daredevil defeating Castle and revealing that the man was just a patsy to bait Castle. Furious about being denied revenge, Castle accused Daredevil's methods of failing, telling him that he did not understand the pain of having his wife and children taken away from him, even making Daredevil admit that Castle's methods were sometimes the answer.
Daredevil sensed there was a substantial amount of gunpowder below decks, which would cause a massive explosion if the gasoline from earlier was ignited. As more henchmen arrived, including Gosnell who personally called Castle out for the fight, Castle agreed to leave, but then pushed Daredevil into the water to save him, and revealed himself so they would open fire and the ship exploded in a massive fireball, causing shrapnel to hit and kill Gosnell and his men while Castle was barely able to survive and escape.
Finding the Blacksmith
Castle survived the explosion and when he saw Gosnell was one of the men sent to kill him, he deduced that Ray Schoonover was the Blacksmith. Traveling to Schoonover's home, Castle witnessed Karen Page interviewing him until she made the same discovery, at which point Schoonover drew his gun on her. Castle made Page aware of his presence by putting a familiar song onto her radio and as Page and Schoonover drove down the road, Castle plowed into the side of the car with his own SUV, badly injuring Schoonover.
Castle dragged Schoonover out of the car and forced him to walk through the woods, while Schoonover told Castle that he wanted him to have drowned when he destroyed his heroin. Schoonover mocked the massacre of Castle's wife, son, and daughter and noted that all of that was connected with events in Kandahar. Page then arrived and begged Castle to stop, but Castle ignored her pleas and dragged Schoonover into a nearby cabin. When Page insisted that he would be dead to her if he killed Schoonover, Castle told her he was already dead.
Once they were alone, Castle began looking at the various weapons which he could use to slowly torture and kill the man who took his family from him. Schoonover continued to taunt Castle's moniker as the Punisher, and how he had to teach him how to use his first firearm at age eighteen. Schoonover told him to prove that he was the Punisher and that he did not need him anymore, at which point Castle remembered Schoonover's lesson about one shot, one kill, before executing Schoonover with a single bullet through his skull.
With Schoonover now dead and his blood staining the walls of the cabin, Castle began exploring the room further. He eventually found a secret room within the cabin that contained Schoonover's impressive armory filled with military-grade weapons. Castle began looking over the various weapons closely, which included a minigun as well as a bulletproof vest that had all previously belonged to Schoonover. As Punisher inspected the various guns, he looked at the bulletproof vest, noticing that the design on the front resembled a skull.
Castle returned to his family's home with Ray Schoonover's stolen arsenal of weapons and looked around before sitting in at the kitchen table with a The New York Examiner newspaper featuring an article on his trial, with the x-ray of his skull as the front image. Using this image as inspiration, Castle went into the garage with the bulletproof vest he found in the armory and began spray painting an image onto it. Castle, donning his bulletproof vest with a spray-painted skull-like symbol, embraced the mantle of the Punisher.
Castle then returned to New York City to assist Daredevil in his confrontation with the Hand. Using his sniper rifle, he dispatched four assassins in quick succession, giving Daredevil an opening to fight and eventually defeat Nobu Yoshioka, launching him off the roof of the building to his death. As the battle concluded, Castle watched from the roof, seen by Karen Page down below as she was protected by the police, Castle gave a nod towards his ally while he promised to see Daredevil another time before walking away.
With all those who had a hand in the deaths of his family lying dead in morgues, in the streets and other places throughout Hell's Kitchen, the Punisher accepted closure and proceeded to burn away the last memories of his former life, setting his home on fire. Armed with the weapons from Ray Schoonover's armory, Castle prepared to leave the city to eliminate the last gang members who were involved in Massacre at Central Park. Before he could leave, Castle found a CD signed by "Micro," with footage of the execution of Ahmad Zubair. Castle then burned his house and left the city to continue his crusade.
Months after helping Daredevil take down Nobu Yoshioka as well as the rest of the Hand, the Punisher continued to hunt and kill all of the gangs who had been responsible for killing his family. Heading to Alabama, the Punisher had ended up chasing down two members of the Dogs of Hell, shooting at them with a shotgun until they crashed. As these men lay in pain, the Punisher then recited Penny and Dime before running them over with his van and killing them both.
Castle then traveled into El Paso, Texas, where he eventually tracked down Cartel Sicario, the final surviving Mexican Cartel member who had believed he had finally escaped from the Punisher's wrath as he had gotten over the border to Juárez. Taking a position far away from Sicario, the Punisher set up his sniper rifle and watched while sicario celebrated his return with his allies before preparing to be pleasured by two prostitutes as his reward. Patiently waiting for a perfect shot, the Punisher then fired a single bullet, which struck sicario directly in the forehead, killing him instantly before the horrified prostitutes.
Upon returning to New York City, the Punisher tracked down Mickey O'Hare, the last remaining member of the Kitchen Irish who had been attempting to catch a flight from JFK International Airport and return home to the safety of Ireland. Castle soon found O'Hare in the airport bathroom and then furiously charged into the stall to confront him on his own, knocking him down and locking the door behind him, with a horrified O'Hare terrified by seeing the skull painted onto Punisher's Vest while he begged Castle to spare his life, desperately questioning what would actually be the direct result of the Punisher killing him.
The Punisher, however, then calmly admitted that he knew that killing O'Hare would not really bring his wife and two children back, but had made it clear that this no longer mattered to him, as he now desired O'Hare's death. Upon hearing two other men entering the bathroom, the Punisher stopped the desperate O'Hare from calling for help by knocking him back and had then strangled him with his own tie until O'Hare had eventually chocked to death. Since those two other men assumed they heard gay sex in their stall, they walked out before the Punisher left O'Hare's corpse, zipping his hoody to hide the vest.
With seemingly all the gangs destroyed who had been involved in the terrible Massacre at Central Park root and stem, as well as all of the individuals such as Dutton and Ray Schoonover also now deceased, Castle believed that his family had finally been avenged once and for all. Believing that he no longer had a war to fight for, Castle then gave up the mantle of the Punisher, symbolically burning his vest since he considering every single person he had killed to avenge the mindless death of his family. Castle met with Curtis Hoyle, as he informed him that he was still alive and assumed the name of Pete Castiglione.
Building a New Life
Six months later, Castle got a job as a construction worker and attempted to keep himself out of harm's way, avoiding stress as best he could. Castle would often arrive to work early and work late into the night hammering down concrete walls by himself, quickly earning him the ire of some of his coworkers. While furiously beating at a wall with his hammer, Castle was harassed by Paulie and the other workers, being called the Gimp.
When it came to lunch time, Castle was mocked again by the group of workers, while still furiously smashing at the same piece of wall with the sledgehammer. As the other workers laugh at him, Castle was informed by Lance that it was lunchtime before throwing a piece of concrete at his head which he ignored. After continuing his beating at the wall, Castle took his lunch and went on top of the roof of the building, unwrapping his sandwich and looking at the other workers going out to lunch.
Upon finishing his work at the construction site, Castle would return back to his small apartment and ready Moby Dick, the novel which had been lent to him by Curtis Hoyle as a way to cope with the stress of his own mind, although Castle found himself struggling to focus on reading it. As Castle attempted to sleep, however, he found himself haunted by dreams of the Massacre at Central Park during which he had lost his entire family, having visions of Maria Castle waking him from his sleep before Castle would then remember that his family had been taken from him, bringing back painful memories.
Working early in the morning, Castle was confronted again by Lance and all his friends, regarding him working late nights and taking away their own over time. As Castle continued to ignore everything they were saying and kept striking the wall, Lance responded by kicking over his lunch box over into the dirt, which then caused Castle to turn around and look Lance furiously in the eye as he tightened his grip on his sledgehammer. Lance threatened Castle to not make an enemy out of him before walking away, purposely stepping on Castle's sandwich.
At lunchtime, when Castle went up to the roof to watch Lance and his friends leaving work. While Castle was sitting alone, Donny Chavez came up and offered him one of his sandwiches out of sympathy for Lance ruining his. After he reluctantly grabbed a sandwich from Chavez, Castle's scars were discovered by him, covering up to avoid any suspicion. Despite Chavez's efforts to strike up a friendship as they discussed his career in the United States Marine Corps and Chavez family, Castle still kept his distance, not wishing to hurt Chavez if the truth was ever exposed about all the secrets which Castle had been hiding.
In the evening, Castle visited St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church where Hoyle organized a group therapy session for other veterans. As the group therapy session went on, Castle stood in the hallways and listened to Hoyle's advise to other veterans and even Lewis Wilson's input on doing terrible acts of war meaning nothing during times of peace. Once everyone had departed and Hoyle stayed to put all the chairs away, Castle happily greeted him, complimenting his actions on the meeting.
Castle then returned Moby Dick novel to Hoyle, noting that reading had helped him, despite of reading it slowly. While pouring some coffee, Castle listened to Hoyle about how his friend Wilson was driving taxis in New York and that he suspected that he was talking to himself in the mirror, remarking on how everyone wants to be anyone but themselves. Being asked about what makes him happy, Castle insisted that happiness was just a kick in the balls waiting to happen, as Hoyle responded to by questioning if Castle was kicking himself in the balls first.
After Hoyle told Castle that he still had half of his life to live, he told Hoyle that he was already dead, although Hoyle insisted that he could still live out a full life as Pete Castiglione, being noted that he already punished anyone responsible for the deaths of his wife and children. When Castle simply thanked him for the coffee and prepared leave the Church, he then turned back to Hoyle as he questioned how often he thought about their time in the Marine Corps together. Once Hoyle had responded, Castle claimed that his past operations were played out differently, before they shared a joke and Castle left the Church.
Back in Action
The Gnucci Job
Still furiously beating down the walls with his sledgehammer, Castle kept on working late on his shift, while Lance and his friends tease him as they walk past him before going to Murphy's for a drink. When the next day had past, Castle sat on the ground nearby Lance and Paulie, overhearing that they were discussing plans for an upcoming heist. Castle was then confronted by Paulie, who was kicking the wall behind him and asking what he had heard about their planned heist.
Sure enough, Lance confronted and taunted Castle, angry at putting his noise wherever it did not belong. Castle did not say a word, picking up his hammer as Paulie had blocked his way. As Castle was questioned by Lance, he was threatened to use his sledgehammer against Lance, daring that if he used it then Lance would be willing to fight him. Before the two could come to blows, another coworker was badly injured, leading them to leave Castle alone. Donny Chavez asked Castle for any medical skills he had from the United States Marine Corps, but he simply walked away.
That evening, Castle watched closely towards Lance, Paulie, and Leo while their shift was over, suspecting that they might do something about the heist once Chavez was recruited. Returning back into his apartment, Castle read the The Crack-Up before sleeping, causing him to eventually fall asleep. Having nightmares from his wife getting shot in the head, Castle frantically woke up and decided to work late on the construction site again. Now furiously breaking down the wall again, Castle kept on beating it with his sledgehammer while remembering his children at Central Park.
Taking a rest from beating the wall, Castle spotted Lance, Paulie, and Leo returned to the construction site and chase Chavez into the building. Before they could bury him alive in concrete, however, Castle notice what they are doing and warned them to turn their mixer off, while still holding his sledgehammer. While they refused to turn it off and were unintimidated, Castle was threatened by Lance, eager to kill him when he pulled out his gun. However, Castle immediately immobilized Lance with his sledgehammer, defeated Leo, and hit Paulie in face with it.
Once Leo had got up from the ground, Castle used his sledgehammer to knock him out and land on the concrete mixer. Once Paulie drew his gun and attempted to kill Castle, he evaded Paulie's bullets as he dropped his sledgehammer and hid behind a pillar while Paulie fired randomly at him, missing every shot making an escape. While Lance attempted to crawl for his gun, Castle intercepted and brutally crushed his arm to deal with Paulie. Just as Paulie had started the car and attempted to drive away, Castle followed him downstairs, firing a single shot which hit Paulie square in the side of the head, killing him instantly.
After dropping Paulie's corpse into the cement vat from upstairs, Castle confronted Lance, picking up his broken sledgehammer and listening to his offer of taking the stolen Gnucci money, only for Castle to torture until Lance divulged where their hit went down. Once he learned that they had robbed an underground card game run by the Gnucci Crime Family at Linello's and were killing Chavez for accidentally revealing his identity during the heist, Castle bludgeoned his hammer down to Lance's head and threw his corpse into the mixer.
After stopping the mixer and pulling Chavez to safety with a rope being tied to the bag full of money from the robbery, Castle wrote down to Chavez to leave town and left the premise as quickly as possible to go after Gnucci Crime Family by traveling to a gambling den in Linello's. As the crime family began to arm themselves to go after their stolen money, Castle turned off the circuit breaker and quickly dispatched the mobsters before they could retaliate, and once Tony Gnucci turned on the lights, he killed him with his own gun. Leaving the scene behind the building, Castle was watched by someone during his escape.
- "You got the wrong guy."
"Yeah, I don't think so. Unless I'm not talking to Frank Castle? You know, let's not waste time. You're Frank Castle, right? Frank Castle, the dead man?"
"Makes two of us now."
"You're more right than you know. You're not the only ghost in this town, Frank."
- ―Frank Castle and Micro[src]
Taking the time to clear his mind, Castle went on a cruise and sat down quietly upon thinking his past. Castle took a moment remember being on the same cruise with Lisa and Frank Castle, Jr. so that they could see the Statue of Liberty. As Castle looked at the statue and witnessed another family, he recalled upon looking at the statue and even threatening his son, something he apologized for and holding his children close.
Paying a visit at Graniteville Diner, Castle went inside the diner and ordered his food once he sat down. Castle told the waitress what he wanted and was asked if he was going to stay, noting he that it all depends on the eggs. After being ridiculed of looking like a hipster, Castle looked at his newspaper about the murder of five people and a suicide from Linello's, being reported by Karen Page from the New York Bulletin. While eating is breakfast, the waitress informed Castle that someone describing his exact features managed to ask for him on their land-line, much to his disbelief.
Getting more suspicious on the sudden phone call, Castle walked over to the waitress and grabbed the phone. When Castle answered, he claimed that the caller had the wrong guy, to which Micro had used Castle's real name and noted that he was seemingly a dead man following the explosion at the Blacksmith's ship. Being told that he is not the only ghost in town, Castle was questioned by the caller about the disk that was left in his home. Instead of answering, Castle questioned if Micro was his name, which he confirmed as Castle suggested that they speak face to face.
However, Micro told Castle that their confrontation would be dangerous and had suggested that Castle needed to learn what had really happened first. Once Micro hung up the phone, Castle packed up his bags and left the diner, paying his bill as he went. Waiting outside of the diner, Castle bolted through an alley once a large truck went by and ran inside a building, climbing its stairs with a sidearm in hand. Now that he is on the rooftop, Castle found it empty and slowly walk forward when he saw a flash coming from across.
Looking closely at the flash, Castle found a flashlight, cell phone, and mirror placed for him by Micro, which caused the flash from afar. Castle then picked up the phone and saw the note attached to it, telling him not disappoint Micro. Looking back at the diner, Castle noticed Micro waving to him atop the roof ans signaled him to call him on the phone that he is given before he left the premise. Castle looked forward at him and was in disbelief that he was tricked by Micro.
Checking Loose Lips
Going back into his apartment, Castle watched the disc that Micro had left for him. Putting inside his laptop, Castle watched the disturbed contents of the disc and was angered by it as it shows a recording of an incident in Afghanistan where he was part of Operation Cerberus and showed the murder of Ahmad Zubair. Castle would go to visit Curtis Hoyle and questioned if he spoke. He informed that a man under the alias "Micro" was aware of what he had done and that he knew he was alive.
Castle would disguise himself as a homeless man, managed to cross paths with Karen Page. After gifting him with money, he thanked her by name, which he revealed himself to her. Castle was invited in her home. Sharing a beer, the two conversed on passed time since their last interaction. As Castle questioned if she mentioned his survival, Page denied it, saying that she would never compromise him. Castle would then convince Karen to help him find out who this "Micro" is, which Page would start digging through the archives at the New York Bulletin and find a reference to Micro, but no story attached.
Castle would meet Karen again to get information on "Micro." However, before she gave the name to Castle, she wanted to know what he intended to do. Castle promised that if Micro proved to be no threat to him, then he will not kill him. Page told Castle his name was David Lieberman.
Visiting Sarah Lieberman
Castle headed to the Lieberman Residence, where he engineers being hit by Sarah Lieberman's car. Lieberman took him into her house to treat his injury and they started to take over their deceased family members. Micro watched on his computer and panicked, calling Castle on the phone he left him. Castle deactivated the phone, causing Micro to head over to the house. However, he did not confront Castle.
Castle then shaved his beard and hair, and when he left his apartment he changed his walk to throw off gait recognition software. Heading to Carson Wolf's home, he attacked him and knocked him unconscious. When Wolf came to, he was tied to a chair and Castle began to torture and interrogate him about Lieberman's whereabouts. Wolf insisted that torture will not work; Castle shot him in the leg. During the torture, Wolf managed to free himself and grabbed Castle's gun. While holding Castle at gunpoint, Wolf revealed some information about why Castle's family was killed then pulled the trigger. However, Castle knew that torture would not work so had made sure the gun was unloaded. Wolf revealed the information with duress and then Castle killed him.
Reactivating the phone, Castle was contacted by Micro. Castle, now with leverage, arranged a meeting. He sent Micro to a location, then called him to send him to another location, and so on to ensure that he was not followed. The final stop was the Mount Zion Cemetery when Lieberman was "buried." However, Castle has enlisted Curtis Hoyle to meet Micro. Hoyle told him that Castle has rethought the entire situation and did not want to meet. Furthermore, if Micro will try to contact him again, then Castle will visit Sarah again.
Interrogation of Micro
Despondent, Micro returned to his hideout. However, it was a ruse Castle used Hoyle' distraction to sneak into the trunk of Micro's car. Castle then got out and punched Micro. Micro woke up to find himself naked and restrained to a chair with zip-ties. Castle started to interrogate him until a three-minute countdown starts. Micro revealed that it is a fail-safe system – if the countdown reaches zero, then it would trigger explosives in the building that would kill them. He needed to enter a code and retinal scan to cancel it.
Micro told Castle that Operation Cerberus was totally off the books. No record of it exists, meaning that it was not approved by United States Congress and therefore illegal. Castle agreed to work with Micro on one condition, all targets will be killed, with no exception or pleads for a trial, which Micro agreed to.
Punisher and Micro
Resupply the Armory
Acting on information from Micro, Castle went to see Turk Barrett and from him, steal a shipment of weapons he supposedly got from the Greek Mob. However, the Greeks stiffed him on the deal and the shipment went elsewhere the only weapon he has is a pink Ruger which is a mobster's "sweet 16" birthday present for his daughter. Castle knocked Barrett out. At the hideout, Micro watched a video of his family when Castle returned. He was angry at the situation and told Micro to find him weapons.
Castle cleaned and maintained Micro's gun. He was called by Sarah, her insurance company needed a signed statement about the accident so they can move forward with the claim. Micro got Castle to promise to help her in exchange for the information on a weapons cache. Micro informed Castle about the Homeland Security operation at the Red Hook Pier to take down the Greeks and the weapons shipment. Castle headed to a body shop where Mazur's gang is torturing two men. One is dead, but Castle took out the gang and stole two vehicles, a sports car, and a van.
Micro began to have second thoughts after seeing the aftermath of Castle's battle, but Castle refused to let him off the hook. Dinah Madani commanded the Homeland Security operation from a mobile command center. Micro hacked the Homeland audio and video feeds, creating a looped video feed from the follow car and piping the song "Feel the Love" into the comms system. With the distraction in place, Castle jumped on the roof of the truck carrying the weapons and stole it. Micro arrived in the Mustang and they traded vehicles. Eventually, Madani figured out the video is looped and headed out on her own. Madani found them and gave chase, but Castle blocked her and started to play chicken with her. As the cars were about to collide, Madani's car was hit by Micro in the van. Castle pulled Madani from the wreckage. She recognized Castle and asked if he killed Carson Wolf. Castle said he did, and she should stay out of his way.
Saving Gunner Henderson
Watching the Kandahar footage, Micro asked Castle who filmed it. Castle revealed that the cameraman was Gunner Henderson. Micro decided to find Henderson since he could know Agent Orange's name or other useful information.
Micro found Henderson in a cabin in Kentucky. Castle went alone to find Henderson while Micro stayed with the van. When Castle was investigating the cabin, Henderson shot him with an arrow. He convinced Henderson to talk with him and that he is not a threat. Henderson revealed why he filmed the execution of Ahmad Zubair and discovered that Morty Bennett supervised the operation.
Meanwhile, a helicopter with Anvil agents landed in the woods. Assisted by Micro who spotted targets with a drone, Castle and Henderson took out the tactical team. Rawlins, who oversaw the operation, discovered that Castle is still alive. Both Castle and Henderson were badly wounded. Henderson died of blood loss, and Castle was rescued by Micro, who gave him basic medical treatment and brought him to the hideout. Micro asked Curtis Hoyle to help Castle. At the hideout, Hoyle removed the arrow from his shoulder and patched him up.
Castle imagined a Thanksgiving dinner with both the Castle and Lieberman families but they were surrounded by masked soldiers from the Cerberus Squad. Despite Castle's pleas, both families were slaughtered. Micro enlisted Curtis Hoyle's aid in treating Castle. Waking up, Castle's first thought was for Henderson. Micro informed him that his friend died and Castle worried about making good on his promise to Henderson. Micro told him that he has made arrangements for Henderson to receive a decent burial.
Reunion with Billy Russo
Castle got's a call from Billy Russo where the two would meet with each other. Coming to the outskirts of New York City, Castle and Russo were reunited as Russo offered his condolences for the deaths of Castle's family. As they sat down for a beer together, Russo questioned why Castle had not reached out to him, noting that Dinah Madani was aware of Castle's survival. Russo then told Castle about Anvil, with Castle teasing him over Russo's love for wearing fancy suits as well as cars and Russo's sexual relationship with Madani.
Castle told Russo what he knew of Operation Cerberus and their illegal actions in Kandahar, noting that he was now aware that Agent Orange, Ray Schoonover and Morty Bennett were selling heroin and using the profits to fund their illegal assassination missions, mentioning that Henderson had been killed when he had tried to blow the whistle on the entire operation. Seeking to end Castle's search for those responsible for Cerberus, Russo then offered him the chance to go work for Anvil overseas, noting that although Castle's family were gone they were still brothers.
With the offer to take a new job with Anvil overseas still on the table, Castle left to think it over and decide what would be the best move for him; however, Russo began planning for his friend's assassination, fearing that Castle could expose Cerberus Squad and ruin everything he had been building since leaving the United States Armed Forces.
Castle and Micro planned their infiltration of the Fort Bryon where Morty Bennett is stationed in order to use him to get Agent Orange's name. Aided by Micro and his drone, Castle clipped the chained fence guarding the outside perimeter and managed to maneuver through the shadows, avoiding detention from foot soldiers. Meanwhile, Bennett dined and vented his frustration to his Mistress, whom he engaged in erotic role-play.
With the arrival of Castle, she alerted Billy Russo and Anvil unit of his presence, Bennett attempted to grab his gun, but Castle pinned him to the wall and threatened him. Warned of approaching soldiers by Micro, Castle demanded that Bennett kept silent in a closet before dropping two smoke grenades and concealed his face. They silently searched for their target before being taken out one by one by Castle, who chose not to kill any of them. One agent found and aimed their rifle at Bennett by mistake, only for Castle to appear from the darkness and knock the man out. Eventually, Castle took out the final agent, non-lethally shooting him. At this time, Micro finished hacking and said Castle to escape. Castle leaped out of the window while the final agent continued shooting at him.
The base was put on alert in order to find the intruder. Castle successfully got to the exit but confronted with a young soldier who told Castle to surrender. He shot soldier in the arm and escaped on his van. Castle and Micro managed to escape the area and retreated to the hideout to await new intelligence from Bennett's phone.
Having used a bug in Morty Bennett's phone, Micro tracked him down to the CIA Safe House. Castle and Micro arrived at the location and then Castle prepared his sniper rifle to find his target. Finally, he spotted Agent Orange, who came close to the window. Castle took his advantage and took a single shot right in the direction of Orange's head. However, he survived because the window's glass was bulletproof. The whole compound went to full alert and Castle and Micro managed to escape.
Helping the Liebermans
Arriving at the Lieberman house, Castle found out that Sarah Lieberman had unplugged the Internet to punish Zach Lieberman for his behavior, causing the cameras to go offline. However, she then admitted that she undermined herself by allowing him to go out. Sarah asked Castle to stay for a glass of wine.
Castle reactivated the Internet router in the Lieberman Residence. Unfortunately, this allowed Micro to see Lieberman drunkenly kissed Castle. While Castle gently rebuffs her advances, he returned to Micro's Hideout to find that Micro was now extremely drunk.
Micro and Castle talked about how they each met their wives. Micro came to the decision that the only way back to his family is to involve Dinah Madani. Castle would be the witness she needed to take down William Rawlins. Unwilling to allow this to happen though, Castle responded by punching Micro out to stop him.
Micro wakes up with a hangover but still thinks going to Madani is the best option. Sarah calls Frank for help with Zach. She is freaking out that she found a knife in his bag. Frank has a talk with Zach and manages to scare the kid enough for him to finally break down and admit that he is sad and scared.
Zach and Frank throw a football around, and Micro comes by. Frank tells him to leave before Zach sees him because it could lead to his family being killed. Frank promises to talk to Dinah.
- "There's nothing in this world I hate as much as a goddamn bomb. Goddamn cowards. They think they're gonna scare people into making them do what they want. They're wrong. It just pisses people off, you know, brings them together, makes them stronger. New York doesn't forget. Whoever this is, they're in for a world of shit."
- ―Frank Castle to Micro[src]
Castle and Micro had continued to watch Dinah Madani through the window from a nearby rooftop in preparation for approaching her, noting how Madani seemed to still be mourning the death of Sam Stein. As they watched, the street below is rocked by an explosion. Castle and Micro watch the news where he stated his hatred of cowardly bombers. Castle said they are putting their plan to contact Madani on hold because of the current situation.
Castle later read a newspaper article by Karen Page, whom the bomber had directly mailed, speaking out against the bomber, which he regarded as reckless provocation. Subsequently, Micro revealed that Page was on the Ricky Langtry Show with Senator Stan Ori, the latter of whom dragged Castle's name through the mud by bringing up his murder spree. The bomber called the show to spout his rhetoric, ending his call with sic semper tyrannis. Castle then suspected that Lewis Wilson from Hoyle's support group was the bomber on the radio and had Micro look up his address. Once obtained, Castle ignored Micro's suggestion to tip off the authorities or call Hoyle, knowing the latter would try to fix Wilson.
While staking out Clay Wilson's house, Castle then called Page to warn her against going after Wilson. Page suspected he knew something and insisted they do things the right way but Castle advised her to remain under FBI protection and hung up. Micro then informed him that he pinged both Wilson and Hoyle's cellphone at O'Connor's apartment, forcing Castle to head there.
Rescuing Curtis Hoyle
This section needs a rewrite
Castle arrived at O'Connor's Residence to find Curtis Hoyle tied up and rigged with mines. Castle attempted to find a way to disarm the explosives, until Lewis Wilson, watching from a rooftop, called him.
Since Castle could not figure out how to disarm the bomb, Hoyle told Castle to leave him and admitted that he was living a lie. Despite looking like he had things together, he is as miserable and scared as the other United States Armed Forces veterans. Part of him thought it would have been better to die rather than just lose his leg. Hoyle had called the New York City Police Department so that there would be a witness to the explosion, but Castle wanted Hoyle to tell him how to disarm the bomb.
This section needs a rewrite
- "An anonymous tip led police to this house in Queens where Castle was fleeing the scene. Police were unable to apprehend Castle, but this image was caught on a dashboard camera. Facial recognition software confirms that the man you are looking at is indeed Frank Castle. He is alive."
- ―Pat Kiernan[src]
Castle told Lewis Wilson the story of how Curtis Hoyle lost his leg, and how Castle was to blame for not shooting a suicide bomber in time because she was pregnant. Lewis finally told him to cut the white wire and then escaped. Castle disarmed the bomb then flees before the New York City Police Department arrive. However, he is spotted and chased. Cornered by a squad car, Castle knocks out the two police officers and steals the cruiser.
News breaks that the Punisher was still alive, the cop car that he stole captured a clear image of him via its dash camera.
Royal Hospitality Situation
Castle managed to track down Lewis Wilson to the Royal Hospitality where he intended to assassinate Senator Stan Ori. Avoiding Anvil agents stationed in the hotel to guard Ori, Castle infiltrated inside and called Billy Russo. Castle informed him that Wilson is targeting Ori, who Russo is currently providing protection for. He asked Russo to evacuate Ori and leave Wilson for him to deal with.
Karen Page arrived for her interview with Ori. She also says that Ori pushed Page into Wilson's arms to escape. Wilson then took Page hostage to escape while wearing a bomb vest, heading to the elevator he prepared earlier. When Lewis is clear of the floor, the surviving agents targeted Castle. Castle managed to avoid the hostiles and followed Wilson to the stairwell. In the stairwell, Castle was confronted by Dinah Madani who ordered him to surrender. However, Castle knew that Madani could not shoot him and went downstairs to chase Wilson.
Before he could leave, Castle was suddenly shot by Russo who wanted Castle killed. Madani shifted her attention to Russo and came to the realization that Russo led the mercenaries and killed Sam Stein. The New York City Police Department arrive and restrain Russo and Madani while wounded Castle fought back and used a fire hose reel to escape.
Castle followed Wilson and Page to the basement kitchen where he attempted to talk him down and used the story about how he helped Curtis Hoyle as a signal to Page to grab the white wire on Wilson's deadman's switch. She yanked the wire out to disarm the bomb, then uses the gun in her bag to shoot him in the foot. Wilson then locked him in a storage room, before Wilson used his own explosives to commit suicide. En route to the elevator, Castle was confronted by Brett Mahoney and the Emergency Service Unit who ordered Castle to surrender. Castle did not listen to Mahoney's orders, using Page as a human shield to get him to an elevator. Inside, Castle used the emergency hatch to escape into the shaft, reaching the roof to escape via a zip-line.
Rawlins and Russo
With everything in place for the incoming battle, the Punisher donned his Skull Vest and waited in the shadows while the Anvil agents had then arrived inside Micro's Hideout with their guns raised, as they all searched for their target. Keeping still, the Punisher kept himself from being found on their motion sensors, while waiting for the mercenaries to split up during their search, as he then managed to get behind one of their mercenaries and put him into a chock hold before brutally breaking his neck, ensuring that had nobody heard the death before the Punisher then silently went in search of his next target.
Using a booby trap that he had already set up, the Punisher had then managed to tie a noose around one mercenaries throat and lifted him into the air, until he chocked to death, before stabbing two more men in the throat, still without raising the alarm. As the Punisher brutalized the corpses, the mercenaries made it to Micro's computer system as they found footage of William Rawlins torturing Ahmad Zubair playing on a loop. While they were distracted, the Punisher cut off the head of one of the mercenaries and strapped a grenade to it, before simply tossing the bloody head at them as they all looked on in horror.
Before the men realized the danger, the grenade exploded, killing two more people before the Punisher had then used the distraction to his advantage, storming out of the shadows and engaging in his surprise gunfight with the mercenaries, who were all too disorientated by the explosion to realized what was happening. As the mercenaries finally regained their bearings, the Punisher took cover before shooting at a flash grenade he had hidden inside a light, blinding a man before he gunned him down. When one man had almost shot him, the Punisher pushed him back and shot in twice in the gut and then in the face.
Due to his own superior knowledge of the layout of their hideout, the Punisher was able to get around the mercenaries who could only fire blindly at where they thought he was. Grabbing the shotgun he had hidden earlier, the Punisher shot one mercenary into his Bulletproof Vest twice, knocking him into another mercenary who he shot point-blank in the face. As the other man then attempted to crawl away in agony, the Punisher calmly stepped over to him and shot him into the back of the head. However, Jack witnessed this and began shooting the Punisher in the back on his vest, forcing him to take cover.
While more men began shooting at the Punisher, he took cover as he waited for them to reload, allowing them to believe that they had him cornered, while in reality, he had allowed them all to move to deadly positions. During the standoff with the mercenaries, the Punisher had furiously called out to Billy Russo, who he assumed would come into their ambush personally. As the Punisher vowed that he would watch Russo die, he got no answer from his former friend so he responded by then setting off a series of bombs that had been set up around the hideout, which had killed multiple mercenaries in those blasts.
As the surviving mercenaries recovered from the multiple explosions, the Punisher then grabbed his FN M249 SAW that had been hidden beside him and began furiously gunning down multiple men, with all the shots being powerful enough to tear through all their bulletproof vests. As one man took cover behind a pillar, the Punisher continued shooting at him, forcing him to stay hidden, before the Punisher then dropped the gun and had plunged his knife into the man's chest. The Punisher witnessed Jack helping another mercenary to his feet, as he gunned down the other man, leaving only him and Jack standing.
In the confusion of the battle, the Punisher mistook the masked Jack for Russo, as he had then furiously thrown his knife at the mercenary, embedding it into his shoulder which allowed the Punisher to charge forward and engage with his enemy one on one. Kicking him across the room, the Punisher witnessed Jack rip the knife from his shoulder as he then attempted to defend himself, but the Punisher had soon proved himself to be the superior fighter, while he managed to disarm Jack and stabbed him in the gut, before brutally ripping the knife out and throwing him over the table, which left Jack defenseless.
While Jack attempted to get on his feet, the Punisher, still believing it to be Russo, slashed at his legs to cause him more pain. However, all of the sounds of Jack's screams of agony soon made him realize that it was the wrong man, as the Punisher called out into the Hideout for Russo, and got no answer, as he realized that Russo was not in here. Walking through the Hideout to inspect all of the bodies, the Punisher found a wounded man attempting to crawl away, as the Punisher had removed his helmet and mask to check his identity and, when he had confirmed it was not Russo, proceeded to shoot him in the face.
Frustrated that he was not able to locate and kill Russo, the Punisher then overheard the badly wounded Jack attempting to crawl away to safety. Walking over to him, the Punisher first removed Jack's mask before questioning where Russo was. As Jack failed to answer him, the Punisher simply shot him into the leg before he then questioned where Sarah and Zach Lieberman were, only for Jack to insist that he had not been given that information. Believing that Jack really did not know, the Punisher accepted his answer and calmly executed him by shooting him in the head, before searching his pockets for a phone.
Surrounded by the corpses of all of the Anvil soldiers he had gunned down the Punisher took Jack's phone and used it to call Russo. As he sat in silence, the Punisher listened as Russo mockingly answered the call, knowing what had happened to all his men, as the Punisher noted that the Russo he had served within the United States Marine Corps would have been brave enough to come to the ambush alone, although Russo simply commented on how he had men of his own who could be sent to the fights. The Punisher warned that eventually, they would face each other one on one, although Russo denied this.
Having noted how the Punisher was now a wanted man, Russo then questioned him over what exactly was on all of the computers, only for the Punisher instead questioned where Lieberman's family were, as Russo promised they were with him and could be put into danger soon. Hearing this, the Punisher explained how the computers held the secrets about Operation Cerberus that Russo and Rawlins were trying to bury, as they made the deal to exchange Sarah and Zach for Micro and the Punisher, as Russo had then promised to make all the arrangements for their exchange while the Punisher hung up.
Reunion with Leo Lieberman
Having cleared out all of the Anvil agents, Castle then gotten back in contact with Dinah Madani, as he requested that she come alone to a secure location. Castle kept himself out of sight as Madani arrived alone and greeted Micro, who was waiting for Castle alongside Leo Lieberman. Once he was certain that Madani had come alone, as he requested, Castle stepped out of the shadows, and joined them, with Micro noting that they had been worried that he might have been killed during the gunfight against Anvil.
Castle teased Madani about pulling her gun on him again, following their last encounter at the Royal Hospitality, before he made it clear that if Micro trusted Madani, then he did as well. Having seen Leo in the Van with her father, Castle stepped over to her side and told her she had done well to survive. However, Leo noted that Castle always knew her father was alive the entire time, which Castle confirmed and apologized for. As Leo had noted that she did not know what to call him, Castle reintroduced himself, with Leo noting that he was scarier than Pete had been, which Castle had acknowledged was true.
Homeland Security Interview
Having agreed to work with Dinah Madani, Castle was then taken to the Homeland Security Headquarters, where he then agreed to do an interview directly on the camera, exposing everything that he had uncovered, regarding the Rawlins Conspiracy. Sitting down with Madani, Castle gave his name for the record, scoffing as Madani gave him their legal statements that he had to agree to before he would testify. Castle was asked to confirm his time in the Marine Corps, before being asked about his final mission.
Castle told Madani about their Operation Cerberus, which he called a covert CIA operation, claiming that their mission was to apprehend, interrogate and assassinate targets in Afghanistan. As Madani asked him to confirm why there were no records, Castle became frustrated, as Madani already knew that. With Madani requesting the answer on tape, Castle explained that the operation was illegal and was funded through the sales of heroin out of Kandahar, noting that the operation was run by Ray Schoonover and Morty Bennett, as well as the former SAC of Homeland, Carson Wolf, all of whom were now deceased.
Castle then also confessed to killing Schoonover and Wolf, although he noted that Bennett was murdered by his allies, since Castle put a target on Bennett's back. When Madani asked Castle who this target was for, Castle looked directly into the camera, and said that William Rawlins was the man in charge, and had ordered Bennett's death, as he named Rawlins' rank in the CIA, as he claimed that Cerberus was founded by Rawlins. When asked who else was involved, Castle then named Billy Russo, telling the camera that Russo was a fellow marine who had worked for Rawlins, noting that Madani already knew this.
Castle was then presented with a photograph of Ahmad Zubair, as he confirmed Zubair was one of Cerberus Squad's targets, confessing that they had followed Rawlins' orders and kidnapped Zubair in front of his terrified wife and family, before he was tortured and executed. Madani asked Castle to admit that he had witnessed everything that had happened to Zubair, while he confirmed that it was Rawlins who gave these orders, with Castle commented that there was already the video, that Gunner Henderson recorded that showed Zubair's torture and execution, admitting that the video had damned all of them.
Madani then asked if Russo had executed Zubair once Rawlins gave the order, which Castle denied, as he confessed that he was actually the one who pulled the trigger and killed Zubair, much to the shock of Madani, as he once again noted that this video had damned them all. Castle and Homeland Security then came to an agreement, for them to stage their exchange for Sarah and Zach Lieberman, in which they would try to capture both Russo and Rawlins. However, Castle and Micro came up with his separate plan allowing Castle to be captured, in order for him to get a chance to murder Rawlins and Russo.
Rescue of the Liebermans
- "I'm not gonna let anything happen to your wife and son. I'm just not, so whatever happens here, we stick to the plan, okay? We stick to the plan. Yeah?"
"Yeah. Just, I gotta tell you, Frank, I know I can be difficult. What you're doing for my family, I'm not gonna forget that."
- ―Frank Castle and Micro[src]
Having made an arrangement with Billy Russo, Castle and Micro had gone to the location and awaited the arrival of the Anvil agents, with Micro noting that they were late, although Castle insisted that they were already there and watching them from afar. Castle had then listened while Micro theorized that they could shoot them down from there, and questioned if his wife and son were already dead, to which Castle then reassured him that they were clearly needed alive.
Castle reassured Micro that having footage of Ahmad Zubair's death along with the countdown at the Hideout had clearly done what they intended, which was why Anvil had not killed them. As Micro had still doubted their plans, Castle then ordered him not to have any second thoughts, telling him to quiet down his thoughts. However, Micro had then noted that Castle did not really have to do any of this for him or his family, to which Castle promised that he would not allow anything to happen to Sarah and Zach, ordering Micro to stick to their plan, no matter what happened, which Micro had reluctantly agreed to.
While Castle quietly pulled out the wire that was hidden in his jacket pocket, Micro expressed his gratitude to him over everything that he was doing for his family. However, they were then interrupted as the Anvil agents arrived on the scene, as Sarah and Zach were taken out of the van. Castle reminded Micro to stay calm as he watched their masks being removed, and the Lieberman's looked at each other for the first time in a year. Castle and Micro watched as the Anvil agents stabbed the cans of petrol that they strapped onto Sarah and Zach's backs, threatening to burn them with flares if anything went wrong.
Castle answered Russo's phone call, as he instructed him and Micro to get into the van or he would have the two Lieberman's burnt alive. Castle then mocked Russo for failing to get past Micro's computers, which was why they had both not been shot down, only for Russo to insist they focus on the exchange for these Lieberman's. Following all Russo's instructions, Castle and Micro had walked forward, while they passed Sarah and Zach, with Castle telling Micro to just remain focused despite Sarah looking straight at him and also attempting to touch his hand, as the continued to approach the Anvil agents.
However, as they had arranged, the exchange was interrupted by the arrival of Homeland Security, getting led by Dinah Madani. This then resulted with a shootout, during which Castle had allowed their Anvil agents to knock him unconscious and drag him back inside the van. Although Castle was captured, the rest of the plan went according to plan, as Sarah and Zach were then rescued by Madani's agents, and Micro was able to fake his own demise during the chaos, since these Homeland agents shot his Bulletproof Vest, causing all Russo's men to then drive away from the scene with only Castle in custody.
Tortured by Rawlins
- "You are nothing but a grunt! You do not get to take me down. You are gonna beg to me. Blood loss is gonna make you weak. You're gonna slip in and out of shock. You will know pain and fear. Fear, Frank. Your ribs must be cracked. I'm gonna take all the breath out of your lungs, out of your lungs, until you can barely whisper and the last word out of your mouth is gonna be 'please, please, please'."
- ―William Rawlins to Frank Castle[src]
Castle was captured by Billy Russo who wanted to unlock Micro's computers which were on a countdown clock. Castle asked Russo did he trust William Rawlins, similar to how he trusted Morty Bennett before his murder. Rawlins answered that he and Russo had some mutual interest. Rawlins put on his Leather Gloves while Castle asked were they the same ones he used to torture Ahmad Zubair, Rawlins replied that these were special and for Castle's interrogation only. Rawlins proceeded to slap Castle around and punch him repeatedly while the latter mocked him. Rawlins stopped the torture after two hours of beating Castle, taking a break while Russo convinced Castle to enter the codes into Micro's computer. Rawlins told Castle he was deeply disappointed on how he broke so easily under torture.
However, Castle was using their overconfidence to get the blade he hid under his chair, which he used to furiously stab Rawlins in the chest. Russo attempted to stop Castle but the latter continued and bit Rawlins on the neck, causing the agent to scream in agony. As the two wrestled, Russo struck Castle with his gun, leading to Castle letting his grip go. Rawlins proceeded to kick Castle in anger and knocked him unconscious. Enraged, Rawlins mocked Castle for being nothing but a military grunt and did not have the right to kill him and continued to torture him.
Russo interrupted Rawlins and told that they should focus on wiping everything on Micro's computers and will kill Castle himself. Rawlins refused, stating that he wanted to kill Castle for everything he took from him and have the latter begging for his life. Russo questioned what Rawlins had meant by Castle taking things from him, as Rawlins had inadvertently revealed that Marion James had taken his position from him.
Rawlins continued to torture Castle by pushing his finger into his wound; causing Russo to drag Rawlins away. Rawlins reminded Russo that he pulled Russo out of the mud after Afghanistan, and reminded Russo that he murdered Homeland Security agents and gotten this far by him. Russo claimed that he wish Castle had killed him back in Kandahar, causing Rawlins to laugh in his face. Russo proceeded to place a gun to Castle's head, leading to Rawlins to pull out his handgun, ordering Russo to step away and not take away his revenge, stating that Castle owed him an eye.
Unbeknownst to Rawlins, Russo had cut Castle's cord, allowing him to kill the agent. Russo left Castle's side and took away Rawlins' gun, who continued his torture by injecting Castle with adrenaline to keep alive long enough. The Anvil agents left after the hacker succeeded to wipe all of Micro's files as Rawlins proceeded to test Castle's heartbeat. Rawlins grabbed the weapon he would get his revenge on Castle, holding a blade to stab out his eye for payback.
Castle stopped Rawlins, knocking him on the ground, learning of Russo's betrayal. Rawlins stabbed Castle into his side, but the latter took it out of his side and stabbed the agent's throat and shoulder. Russo watched from afar, allowing Castle to kill his former ally. Castle told Rawlins that he was a reminder of the crimes he committed and the punishment that came for them. Castle proceeded to punch the agent repeatedly, ending his life by pushing his thumbs into his eyes. Castle then fell to ground beside Rawlins' corpse, tired of holding his own from his torture and killing the CIA agent.
Protected by Dinah Madani
To be added
Seeking to find Billy Russo as soon as possible, Castle realized that he would likely decide to confront Curtis Hoyle in order to learn if he had known of Castle's whereabouts. Castle's prediction was correct as he took up a sniping position directed at Hoyle's Apartment where he had Hoyle move Russo by a window where Castle could shoot him. However, at the last moment, Russo predicted what was happening and dived for cover, which caused Castle to miss his shot.
In the chaos, Russo was able to shoot Hoyle in the shoulder as they both vanished from Castle's view, although Castle still kept his close watch on the window which Russo was hiding under and shot at his knife when Russo had wanted to check if Castle was still out there. In order to find out what was happening, Castle then called Hoyle who informed him that he had been shot in the shoulder and was bleeding badly. Castle had then asked Hoyle to put Russo on the phone, with Russo noting how they knew one another so well that they had been able to predict exactly how the other would react to the situation.
As Castle tried to get Hoyle safe, he noted that nobody else needed to die, to which Russo vowed to hurt anyone Castle ever cared about to get to him. As Castle had promised on his honor as a Marine to let Russo walk if he let Hoyle go, Russo noted that he could let Hoyle bleed out, as Castle promised to call Homeland Security if he did that. Russo then demanded that Castle empty his sniper rifle first. As Russo got up, he suggested they meet at Central Park for their final battle, wanting it to be where Castle's entire family had been gunned down, before Russo had then simply walked out of the door.
- "I'm not gonna let you die today. Dying's easy. You are gonna learn about pain. You're gonna learn about loss. Every morning I look for 'em, Bill. I look for 'em but then I remember. It's gonna be the same for you. When you look at your ugly, mangled face, you're gonna remember what you did. You'll remember, Bill!"
- ―Punisher to Billy Russo[src]
Staying true to his word, Castle headed out into Central Park, having donned his Skull Vest and armed himself with multiple weapons for his showdown with Billy Russo. Upon arriving, Punisher kept himself hidden in the shadows until he witnessed the Carousel being activated, giving Punisher flashbacks of his family. Getting his mind back on the mission, Punisher checked through his rifle scope and discovered that Russo had kidnapped Carl and Hayley and tied them to the horses, with wounds that they were bleeding heavily from.
Just as Punisher watched the kids suffering, he received a phone call from Russo who questioned if he was already out there in the woods, before mockingly reminding Punisher of how Carl and Hayley did not have long left until they would both bleed out from their wounds, as Russo then gave Punisher a reminded of the ticking clock he had to save them before he hung up their call. Unwilling to allow two more children to die because of Russo's actions, Punisher then proceeded to fire off several grenades into the air, intending to distract Russo for a brief but vital moment while he made his move to get closer.
However, Russo spotted Punisher coming at him and began firing at his former friend, as the two exchanged gunfire before Punisher was struck into the leg, forcing him to take cover. While Punisher was in cover, Russo continued shooting at him, as the Punisher waited for an opening and fired back. However, Russo managed to retreat onto the Carousel itself, giving the Punisher time to bandage up his leg before returning to the fight. Sticking to cover, the Punisher ensured that Russo was out of sight before then stepping onto the Carousel himself while keeping his weapon raised and ready to be fired.
With the Punisher now on the Carousel, he was then suddenly hit by multiple flashbacks of his wife and two children playing on that same Carousel on the day that they were all massacred in front of him. As all these images flashed in front of his face, the Punisher focused on the cries of desperation from Carl and Hayley and then continued to attempt to find Russo onboard the Carousel. During his search, the Punisher heard Russo mockingly call out to him, claiming that guys like them needed this type of conflict and that they were never good people and deserved nothing better than what they had gotten.
Checking the mirrors around the Carousel, the Punisher managed to find where Russo was hiding as the two began exchanging gunfire, using the horses as cover before the Punisher made a tactical retreat, forcing Russo to hunt him down. Russo then continued mocking his former friend, claiming that nobody would mourn them and that they were the same kind of man. At that moment, Russo managed to find the Punisher as they shot at each other again, with Russo hitting the Punisher right in his Bulletproof Vest, while the Punisher shot Russo directly in the face, causing Russo to fall onto his knees in pain.
While Russo pulled the bullet from his cheek, the Punisher recovered and drew his handgun, having dropped his assault rifle, until Russo, furious at having his handsome face permanently scarred, yelled out to the Punisher to end their fight once and for all. While the Punisher kept his weapon raised up, Russo shut down the Carousel ride and aimed his gun directly at Carl and Hayley's heads, promising that if the Punisher did not come out into the open, then he would execute the kids without a second thought, forcing them to desperately beg for their lives until the Punisher finally came around the corner.
Once he was out in the open, the Punisher told Russo to let the kids go free, only for Russo to keep his weapon on them and demand that the Punisher throw his gun and knife aside. With no other choice, the Punisher did as Russo instructed as Russo lowed his weapon from the kids, threatening that if they did not shut up he would shoot them both. As the Punisher still demanded that Russo let these kids go, he was told that attachments were a weakness as Russo then shot him in his skull vest, knocking the Punisher onto the ground, although the Punisher had claimed that Russo had once had the Castle family.
Just as Russo mocked the Punisher's name, calling it a crock of shit, they were interrupted by the arrival of Dinah Madani, who had come to capture or kill Russo. However, Russo was altered to this as Carl called out to Madani for help, as Russo spun around and managed to shoot Madani directly in the skull, as her lifeless body dropped to the ground. Witnessing this, the Punisher had furiously charged at Russo while his back was turned as they wrestled for Russo's weapon, with neither managing to shoot the other until their gun had been thrown aside and they then continued fighting with just their bare fists.
Although Russo's speed proved superior for a while as he smashed the Punisher's face into the steel poles and kicked him to the ground, the Punisher managed to use his brute force to gain an advantage as he countered Russo's punch before lifting him straight up into the air and slamming him onto the ground. From here, the Punisher began repeatedly punching Russo in the face, until Russo was finally able to avoid his strike, causing the Punisher to painfully hit the hard floor, as Russo then punched him right into the throat, knocking the Punisher back as Russo drew his knife, prepared to kill his former friend.
However, the Punisher was swiftly able to disarm Russo and pushed him back against one of the mirrors before he attempted to plunge Russo's own knife into his eyeball. While Russo held back the knife, he looked the Punisher directly into the eye and smiled, before then drawing his own Hidden Blade, which penetrated the Punisher's arm. With the Punisher now severely wounded and with Russo armed with two blades, he was now on the defensive as Russo swung these two blades at him repeatedly, cutting into his skull vest while the Punisher landed several more counter strikes during throughout their clash.
Eventually, Russo managed to gain a full advantage during their fight, knocking the Punisher into the mirror and cracking it, before stabbing his Hidden Blade into the Punisher's shoulder, causing him to drop to the floor in agony while the mirror behind him fell apart. While Russo looked down upon his former friend, he mockingly told the Punisher to look at himself as he was pathetic, before ripping the blade out of his shoulder and preparing to finish him off once and for all. However, the Punisher managed to find the broken shard of glass and stabbed Russo in the gut with it, causing Russo to then stop in his tracks.
With the broken shard of the mirror now imbedded into Russo's gut, the Punisher got back onto his feet while he looked his former friend directly in the eye before pushing him away, allowing Russo to pull the shard out as his blood poured out of the open wound. Although Russo tried to regain his strength and fight back, he had become too weak as the Punisher took full advantage, punching Russo into the mirror. Having cracked the mirror, the Punisher decided to take away Russo's most valued asset, as he grabbed Russo's face, dragging it down a broken mirror, tearing Russo's face apart as he screamed.
Having been pulled away from the mirror, a horrifically scarred Russo had attempted to fight back, only for the Punisher to break his arm and slam him face-first into the mirror. Having collected Russo's own knife, the Punisher gave him a moment to look at his mangled face, before holding the blade to Russo's throat. Unwilling to live like that, Russo begged him to kill him, as the Punisher considered every life that Russo had taken or destroyed through all of his selfish actions with William Rawlins. However, the Punisher decided to give Russo a worse punishment and removed the knife, choosing not to kill him.
Despite Russo begging for death, the Punisher told him dying would be too easy, before kicking him, face first, into the mirror. Grabbing ahold of Russo's hair, the Punisher proceeded to smash his face into the cracked mirror repeatedly, ripping his face to shreds while telling Russo that he would learn about pain and loss. Before Russo had lost consciousness, the Punisher told him about his grief towards his own dead family, and how every morning he would search for them. The Punisher promised that whenever Russo looked at his reflection and only saw ugliness, he would always be reminded of his day.
Having smashed Russo's face in the mirror a final time, the Punisher had left his bleeding body behind and instead went to care for Carl and Hayley, cutting them down and setting them free. Once the kids were safe, the Punisher then went to Madani's aid, finding that she was bleeding heavily from that gunshot wound into her skull. As the Punisher sat with Madani and held her head in his lap, he had heard the sound of the New York City Police Department coming to their location, but made no attempt to escape. Carl and Hayley then sat down beside the Punisher and thanked him for saving their lives.
A New Life
Some Kind of Justice
In the aftermath of the fight in Central Park, Castle had then been taken back into custody by the Homeland Security and spent the next three days in Sacred Saints Hospital. During Castle's long and ongoing recovery from all his injuries sustained during their clash, Rafael Hernandez and Marion James had then later joined Dinah Madani, as she recovered in their hospital having been shot in the head by Billy Russo. Kept in handcuffs, Castle was brought to speak with them, as Hernandez ordered Castle's handcuffs to get taken off.
Now that those handcuffs were taken off, Castle then commented on Madani's survival and questioned if she saved his life, as James had stepped forward, commenting that they would not take away his life. Castle was told from James that he would be getting a free pass due to the debt the country owed to him due to William Rawlins' betrayal, as he confirmed if this was the pay off in order to ensure that he kept his mouth shut about Rawlins and the CIA, to which James had then confirmed. James had explained that Lewis Wilson and Russo would be the only ones involved with all of those recent terrorist attacks.
As Hernandez went on, Castle was told that the prints and DNA had been wiped from the system and replaced with those of a dead man. Castle then questioned if they had considered having him killed, only to be told that it had been Madani's idea, as all of those men that she knew needed be punished, were dead. After his issue had been dealt with, Castle was told by James to enjoy his new freedom. Castle had asked Hernandez about Russo following his disfigurement, being told that Russo was in a coma and all the doctors were still unsure of how much damage his brain had actually suffered during the beating.
Goodbye to Micro
Following David Lieberman spending the next three days giving all of his depositions and testimonies for Homeland Security about his and Castle's actions during the Rawlins Conspiracy, Castle reunited with Lieberman, once he had recovered from his last encounter with Billy Russo and given freedom from Rafael Hernandez and Marion James, Castle had agreed to drive Lieberman back his former home, where his family were preparing their dinner to welcome him home.
As they waited outside the house in the van, Castle and Lieberman sat awkwardly, with Lieberman noting that he had been thinking all about this moment throughout all of those meetings with Homeland Security, but now he had just become nervous at actually returning home, while he questioned if he was being an asshole, which Castle jokingly confirmed. Once Lieberman decided to go inside his house, Castle was invited to join him, but declined his offer to come inside the house and be a part of their family, noting that Lieberman knew why he could not, to which Lieberman accepted his choice.
- "If you're gonna look at yourself, really look in the mirror, you got to admit who you are. But not just to yourself, you've gotta admit it to everybody else. First time, as long as I can remember, I don't have a war to fight. And I guess, if I'm gonna be honest, I just... I'm scared."
- ―Frank Castle[src]
With his conflict seemingly concluded, Castle had then headed over into St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, as he had finally made the decision to join in with Curtis Hoyle's regular therapy sessions, in order to deal with the trauma of losing his family. While setting up all the chairs for the veterans who would also be joining them in the session, Castle was visited by Hoyle, who had jokingly commented that Castle was clearly a shit magnet of the highest order, following everything that he had experienced, which Castle did not deny.
Castle had then questioned if opening up like this would actually be a good idea, Hoyle reassured him that he would be safe there, while he promised that everything he said would stay confidential. Castle took Hoyle's advice, as he stayed until the rest of the United States Armed Forces veterans had shown up. As Castle spoke to their group about his feelings since leaving the Armed Forces, he had noted that since he had killed William Rawlins, and defeated Billy Russo, he no longer has any sort of objective or mission to fulfill, Castle admitted to being scared for not knowing what the rest of his life may hold for him.
Drinks at Lola's Roadhouse
More than a year after being given his second chance and getting his criminal record expunged, Castle left New York City and went on the road in search of a better life for himself as he attempted to avoid further violence, eventually stopping to rest at the Tides Motel in Michigan, where he had planned to stay for one night and then move on. That evening, Castle had decided to stop by Lola's Roadhouse, as he watched Shooter Jennings' performance and requested another beer, turning down an offer for the tab.
While Castle remained at the bar, he witnessed Amy Bendix come to the bar and ordering a soft drink from Beth Quinn. When Bendix had noticed Castle looking her, she questioned what he wanted from her, while referring to him as "rough road," which Castle merely chuckled at. Since Bendix continued looking at him, Castle glanced over to her again, as she again questioned what he wanted, to which Castle had just claimed that Bendix was the one who had actually been looking at him, before he questioned if Bendix was doing okay, only for her to just pay Quinn for the drink and then walk away from the bar.
Once Bendix had walked away, Castle and Quinn shared a joke by commenting on her manners, with Quinn also referring to Castle as "rough road" which he laughed at. Once Castle later returned to the bar having been to the bathroom, he noticed that Quinn was getting harassed by Johnny, who had been insisting that she drink with him. Although Castle had initially attempted to keep his distance to avoid trouble, he eventually stepped in when Johnny's advances became more sexual and demanding, as he then ordered Johnny to let go of Quinn's arm and simply allow her to continue with her work.
However, this only annoyed Johnny, who let go off Quinn's arm and insulted her, with Castle sarcastically calling Johnny classy for those insults. As a result, Johnny had approached Castle, intending to start a fight, as he began poking at his chest. Despite his best efforts not to get involved, Castle responded by grabbing Johnny's fingers and bending it backwards, causing him considerable pain before pushing him away, which enraged Johnny. While Castle stayed calm, Johnny smashed a beer bottle and had then attempted to use it as a weapon to stab Castle, although he was able to easily avoid his attack.
Before the fight could continue, Ringo then violently grabbed Johnny and smashed his head onto the bar, before then threatening to drag Castle out with him if he did not walk away. However, Quinn stepped in to defend Castle, telling Ringo that he had been protecting her, as Ringo dragged out Johnny and allowed Castle to stay. While Quinn complained about having to deal with other men like Johnny, Castle requested another beer, as Quinn had given him one for free. Quinn introduced herself to Castle, who instead introduced himself as Pete Castiglione, maintaining the cover story that he had been given.
As the evening wore on, Castle continued speaking with Quinn, as he had explained that he was staying in the Tides Motel and was simply passing through the state, although Castle still remained careful not to share too many details about his plans. Quinn teased Castle about his intentions to simply pass through different bars, calling him a man of mystery, noting how he had come to the bar, defended her honour against Johnny and he had now seemingly intended to just vanish in the nights, and she would never see him again, while Castle had then insisted that Quinn did not actually need saving from anybody.
Having finished his last beer, Castle had then collected his jacket and prepared to say goodnight to Quinn and go back to his motel room, explaining that he would be leaving the Tides Motel first thing in the morning, in order to drive to another state, and continue his new life on the road, as Quinn had then questioned if wanted to have another beer, although he insisted that he had enough to drink already. When Quinn had then made it clear that she wanted him to have the private drink with her, Castle then considered her offer for a moment, before he explained that he would like that, much to Quinn's delight.
Night with Beth Quinn
Castle and Beth Quinn had then left Lola's Roadhouse together, as Quinn walked them up to her car, before asking Castle to promise her that he would not be an asshole, to which Castle had then jokingly commented that this would be the sort of promise that any asshole would lie about. To reassure Quinn, Castle noted that he also had a bed at the Tides Motel and suggested that he could sleep alone there instead and bid her goodnight, although Quinn had then told him to join her in her car, as she drove them.
Once he had arrived at Quinn's Apartment, Castle had taken note of the guitars that she had on display, as Quinn explained that she had played during her high school years. As Quinn gave Castle his drink, she explained how her life of regrettable life decisions had led her to the place she was in now, as she invited Castle to sit down with her. Castle then listened as Quinn noted that the time came when things needed to change, as he commented that sometimes life made those decisions for you. Looking at the toys around the Apartment, Castle asked if Quinn had a son, which she confirmed, noting his age.
Quinn asked if her having a young son bothered Castle, to which he questioned why it would, as she had noted that it could be too much reality for a traveling man. Castle listened as Quinn told him that her son was the best thing which had ever happen to her, noting that the father was not around, before she questioned if Castle had his family waiting for him, to which he claimed that he would never have gone back with her if there was. Quinn had noted that she believed Castle, claiming that she did not usually make a habit of bringing men home, with Castle saying that did not either, as they laughed together.
Having shared a laugh, Castle and Quinn had gone into her bedroom, where they proceeded to made love. As they then sat together, Quinn commenting on the scars across Castle's arms, with Castle recalling Amy Bendix's comment, calling it a rough road, which Quinn laughed at. When Quinn asked what happened, Castle explained that he had been in the Marine Corps, before Quinn commented on the wedding ring that Castle now wore as a necklace. Castle had then told Quinn about his late wife and two children, confessing that there were dead and noting this was not an accident, as they were taken from him.
Quinn expressed her sympathies to Castle, while asking how long it had been since he lost them, with Castle noting that this sometimes feels like it only happened the day before, and sometimes it felt like a million years earlier, as Quinn held onto his hand. Quinn then rested her head on Castle's chest, noting that his moving around must get lonely, while Castle remembered Karen Page's comments that they were always lonely, and just tried not to be, which Quinn agreed with. Quinn then commented that she did not feel lonely while she stayed around Castle, as he noted that he felt the same way with her.
With Quinn lying on his stomach, Castle was lost with thought, while she commented on how pleased she was that he had come to Lola's Roadhouse, only for Castle to then correct her that his name was not Pete, but was actually Frank. As Quinn had expressed her confusion, Castle just explained that his past could embarrass powerful people, without mentioning Homeland Security directly, which had resulted in him using the name "Pete Castiglione," as Castle also denied being a criminal. Quinn questioned why Castle would tell her all this, to which he claimed that he wanted this relationship to be an honest one.
Quinn questioned if these incidents from his past explained Castle's scars, as he claimed that it did for some, before acknowledging that Castle did not have to tell her the truth. As Castle noted that his past was simply in his past now, he promised that his issues would never come up to her front door. Quinn had then admitted that she should throw Castle out, but noted that she did not feel the need to, calling these decisions stupid. Quinn had noted that Frank suited him better than Pete, as they shared their laugh before Quinn had cuddled up to Castle, as Castle thought back to Billy Russo and his late wife.
Bonding with the Quinns
That following morning, Castle awoke early and got himself dressed, without waking Beth Quinn. Once Castle had put his boots back on, he looked back at Quinn, who was asleep, as Castle touched his wedding ring and remembered his wife, before leaving the bedroom, intending to leave Michigan and to not see Quinn again. However, just as Castle got to the front door, he noticed Rex Quinn playing in the living room, as he reassured Rex that his mother was upstairs.
Castle had then introduced himself as Pete to Rex, before Beth came back downstairs, as Castle stood by awkwardly while Rex explained that his Grandmother had given him the key and told him not to wake his mother. Rex then questioned who Castle was and why he was in their Apartment, to which Beth claimed that Castle was a friend who needed a place to sleep. In order to lighten the mood, Castle jokingly reassured Rex by suggesting that he could be a fan of the New York Rangers, since he had noticed that this was not a team that Rex had supported, while they agreed that the Rangers were a bad team.
Castle had then overheard Rex explaining that his Grandmother had sent him back into their Apartment without any breakfast, while Beth apologized for the awkwardness of the situation, although Castle had also apologized for attempting to leave without saying his goodbyes to her. However, since Rex had complained that there was no food or juice in the apartment, Castle suggested that he could take them out for breakfast at any cafe, as Rex had then suggested Donatello's for pancakes, despite Beth insisting that Castle did not have to go out of his way to help, until she finally agreed to let Castle treat them.
As promised, Castle took Beth and Rex to Donatello's for pancakes, where Castle had asked Beth about how often she worked at Lola's Roadhouse, as she explained that she did the weekends, and during the rest of the week she taught piano and guitar, while Castle listened with interest. Beth explained that the job at the bar was what kept all the lights on at their home and kept Rex dressed, before they noticed Rex was pouring excessive amounts of syrup on his pancakes, which they shared a laugh about. As Rex had suggested that Castle should come to the apartment more often so that he could get the pancakes more often, Castle had expressed his gratitude for the statement.
Rex then questioned if Castle and his mother would ever be getting married, to which they had both insisted that they were only friends, before Rex then questioned if Castle and Beth had had sex the night before, which shocked Castle. While Rex simply insisted that he was old enough to know about sex, explaining how his friend Paulie had showed him several videos on the internet, as Castle listened on with amusement, while Beth insisted that they would be talking about this later. Changing the subject, Castle asked if Rex was a hockey player, like Frank Castle, Jr. had been, which Rex excitedly confirmed.
When Rex asked if Castle actually had a son and where he was, Beth tried to end the conversation by telling Rex that Castle may not want to answer these questions, before Castle had then just explained that he did not get to see his son in the way that he wanted to. Seemingly understanding, Rex had commented that he never got to see his dad anymore, noting that he had not seen him since he was younger, with Castle noted that he was sure that his father missed him, despite Rex saying he did not know him. When Rex asked Castle if he missed his son, Castle had told him that he missed his son every single day.
Having finished eating their breakfast, Castle was then driven back to the Tides Motel by Beth, as he had acknowledged that he should say goodbye to her like an adult this time, which she appreciated. Castle noted that Rex was a good kid, while they shared a laugh about him seemingly knowing a little too much about the world, although Castle insisted that Rex was more interested in playing hockey. Castle then noted that if he was ever back in Michigan, he would give Beth a call, before they exchanged a hug and Castle gently taped on their truck's window to say a goodbye to Rex, stepping towards the motel.
Before she left, Beth had noted that Shooter Jennings would perform at their bar again that night, suggesting that Castle could still return, before they drove away. Once the Quinn's had gone, Castle stepped back to his room and collected his belongings. However, once Castle stepped out, he accidentally bumped into Amy Bendix, who accused him of following her, although Castle only questioned if she was okay, confused by her panicked reaction. Castle then watched Bendix walk away, before throwing his belongings back into his Van, and prepared to drive away from Michigan, currently intending to never return.
Later that night, Castle drove out of town but realizing he had a chance at a normal life, quickly turned his van around. Returning to Lola's Roadhouse, Castle ordered another drink and Beth Quinn thanked him for changing his mind. Suddenly, Castle noticed the mysterious girl he had been running into, along with several suspicious-looking individuals pursuing her. Investigating, Castle fought his way into the women's bathroom and confronted her attackers. Arming himself with his belt, he quickly subdued two of them and questioned why they were following her. The girl refused to answer, but Castle nevertheless offered to escort her out of the roadhouse. Unfortunately, two of the hitmen recovered, but Castle managed to pin one to the stall with her own knife while the girl knocked out the other with a broken sink.
Exiting the bathroom, a fight soon broke out between Castle and the rest of the mercenaries, losing his wedding ring in the process. Ringo helped Castle fight some of them, only to be stabbed and shot several times. Quinn was shot in the shoulder, but Castle grabbed her shotgun and finished off the final two attackers. Acting quickly, Castle and the girl drove Quinn to the nearest hospital, only to be stopped by more hostiles in hot pursuit. Luckily, Castle gunned down the attackers and smashed his way through the roadblock, reaching the hospital just in time. As paramedics escorted Quinn away, she begged him to look after Rex Quinn. Castle and the girl then drove off into the night, determined to learn the truth behind the attack.
Lying Low in Larkville
- "It's my fault. I guess I'm old-fashioned. If it had been a man those assholes were goin' after, I'll tell you what, I would've bought a beer, I would've sat back, I would've watched the show. But see, they came after you. A little girl. I had to get involved. It's my own damn fault."
- ―Frank Castle to Amy Bendix[src]
Eventually, after driving all night, the duo crossed the state line into Ohio. At the girl's insistence, Castle stopped at Tides Motel in Larkville to rest. Giving her some blood-covered money, Castle watched the girl argue with the Debbie for a room before she returned.
Settling in, Castle formally introduced himself as Pete, while the girl told him her name was Rachel. Castle then went to the bathroom to patch himself up. Seeing that he'd been shot in the buttocks during the fight, Castle asked for Rachel's help to remove the bullet and stitch the wound, much to her disgust. Having driven all night, Castle then decided to get some sleep, but not before tying Rachel to the bed to prevent her from leaving and gagging her with duck tape.
Later that day, Castle interrogated Rachel, demanding to know why she was being hunted and refusing to believe her cover story as a college student. Once again, Rachel refused to talk, even after Castle found some suspicious film canisters in her back pocket. Knowing more mercenaries would be upon them soon, Castle tied Rachel back to the bed. At the front desk, Castle asked Debbie for an extra room across from their current one. She begrudgingly agreed, but charged him extra for it, to his irritation. Returning to his room, Rachel questioned his motives, but Castle simply grabbed a crowbar, opened the closet, and began punching a hole into the second room.
Castle predicted that Marlena Olin, who had another crew of mercenaries arrived at the Tides Motel. Castle would make a hole to another room where they hid and they ambushed Olin's crew, killing three of them. Castle then emerged into the gunfight with Davy armed with a rifle, killing him after several unsuccessful attempts.
Later in the shootout, Castle would see Olin attempting to use a gun on her. Which, Castle would knock down Olin who finished with the last hostile and said Bendix that they need to go. Castle put the unconscious Olin in his van to interrogate her later, but she suddenly woke up and managed to grab Castle's gun, shooting him in the arm. Castle shot her in the leg and attempted to force Olin to talk. However, Castle's van is stolen by Rachel. Before she could drive away, the Larkville Police Department would arrive and put Castle and Olin, was put under custody.
At Larkville County Sheriff Station, Castle was going under the name "Pete" has no file, no known address, nothing. Castle said that all the sheriff needs to know is that the people paying Marlena Olin are going to want her back and to make all of this disappear. Castle and Olin are locked up in a cell with Bruce Ogden. In the cell, Castle is confronted by Roy Hardin who would ask both of them questions about the event at the Tides Motel. Castle would warn Hardin, noting that her mercenaries will kill everybody in the station, however, Hardin simply ignores both of them.
Castle is taken out of this cell and questioned, which he tells them everything about the situation. Castle tells him about his encounters with Olin's mercenaries at Lola's Roadhouse and the Tides Motel, much to Hardin's disbelief. Castle tries to convince Hardin to hand him over to mercenaries or everybody in the station will die, however, Ken Ogden proposes to take vehicles to drive away from the station and call for assistance. Hardin agrees with Ogden and orders him to contact the state police.
However, Castle and the Larkville County Sheriff Station is attacked by John Pilgrim and his mercenaries who are retrieving Olin. Castle is let free and would help Hardin and the rest of the sheriffs. He would manage to kill several hostiles, Castle would proceed to eliminate the whole group of hostiles. But, is almost shot and killed by Pilgrim before Homeland Security intervenes and Pilgrim decides to retreat.
When Homeland Security's assistance, Castle is informed that Billy Russo has escaped from the custody and she needs Castle to put him down once and for all. As Hardin returns Castle his things, as well as film canisters, Castle agrees to help Madani, only if they will take Bendix with them. Madani accepts Castle's conditions and three of them leaves Ohio and returns to New York City.
Return to New York
Dinah Madani's Protection
Castle was then flown into New York City by Dinah Madani, who put him and Amy Bendix inside her Apartment for their protection. While Castle looked out of the window of the apartment, Madani prepared to meet with Rafael Hernandez, who she denied the actual details of Castle's return to. Madani had also advised them to decide on their living arrangements, while she would stay at her hotel, while she had also promised that she and Castle would then discuss Billy Russo once she got back.
Madani ordered Castle not to actually leave the apartment, which he had reluctantly agreed to. Once Madani had then gone to meet with Hernandez, Bendix then began questioning Castle about whether or not she was ever going to help them, or if he was going to help her, questioning if Madani was Castle's ex, which he ignored. Castle had still continued to ignore Bendix as she had commented on Madani's apartment, before she had questioned why Castle had access to the Homeland Security Helicopter that could fly them out of Ohio, before she then made it clear that she knew his actual name was Frank.
Instead of answering her questions, Castle simply told Bendix to take Madani's bedroom, while he would be sleeping on the couch. While Bendix went into the bedroom, Castle then attempted to relax on the couch, as he turned on the television, flicking past a nature channel. However, Castle had then turned onto WHiH World News, as he had then watched the reporting all about Russo's recent escape from the Sacred Saints Hospital, with the reporter noting that Russo was likely armed and dangerous, as Castle stared at the image of Russo on the screen, as he considered what his next actions would really be.
Updated by Dinah Madani
Eventually, Castle had managed to relax while he was watching their television, as he fell asleep onto the couch, until he was woken back up as soon as Dinah Madani then returned into the Apartment. When Madani then asked Castle for an update about their current situations, as had simply insisted that she would not really want to know that, while Madani then admitted that she had already sabotaged her own career with United States Department of Homeland Security already just by helping him and bringing him and Amy Bendix there.
However, Castle then scoffed over this comment, noting that he had called her to get her help when he was at the Larkville County Sheriff Station and was completely ignored by her, but now she had brought him back to New York City because she needed him to deal with Billy Russo, noting that this was likely because she was not allowed to go after Russo. Castle listened as Madani had noted that it was thought that Russo would eventually die during his six week long coma, while he was being treated at Sacred Saints Hospital, only for him to prove everybody wrong by surviving, as he eventually woke back up.
Castle had continued to listen as Madani explained the surgeries that Russo had undergone following their showdown, noting all his brain trauma and his facial reconstruction, and somehow Russo had defied the doctor's expectations by not only surviving, but actually learning how to function again, despite these injuries. Madani then presented Castle with Russo's Journal, which was filled with all his sketches of Skull Imagery, making it clear that Russo was haunted by images of the Punisher, as Madani had suggested that Russo had actually been pretending to not remember what happened to between them.
With Madani still insisting that Russo had pretended to have lost his mind, while he actually remembered everything, noting that he was only thinking about the Punisher, Castle then claimed that this what he wanted. Since Castle was not taking it all seriously, Madani then presented him with his Skull Vest, noting that the blood that was on it belonged to him, her and Russo, noting that while Castle got closure, Russo did not, with Madani also insisting that the only closure Russo understood would be a bullet in the head. However, Castle had then noted that Madani also had her chance to kill Russo and failed to.
Madani then told Castle that she had gone over to see Russo inside the hospital every day, waiting for him to admit what he had done to them. When Madani had noted that they had both trusted Russo, she claimed it this could be the real reason why Castle had also failed to kill him, although Castle insisted that killing Russo would have been too easy for him, which Madani doubted was the reason. Castle then questioned if he was there to kill Russo for her, although Madani had instead asked for the names of anything that might help her to locate Russo, although Castle noted that this conflict would never end.
Reunion with Curtis Hoyle
- "Last thing I ever wanted was for you to be hurt by this."
"I know, but here we are."
"Yeah, so Billy's running, right? He can't go to you, he can't go to me, so where does he go?"
"What did he do last time? He didn't run, he didn't hide, he went to settle scores. But if he don't remember us, who would it be?"
- ―Frank Castle and Curtis Hoyle[src]
Intended to do his own research into the current situation, Castle had prepared to leave Dinah Madani's Apartment, without anybody there ever noticing he was gone, as he checked to see if Amy Bendix was still asleep, before locking her bedroom door to ensure that she did not run away. With that, Castle then left the apartment and walked back into New York City, intending to speak with Curtis Hoyle, as he trusted that Hoyle would actually be able to give him the honest truth about their situation and what to do.
As Castle had arrived at Hoyle's Apartment, he had witnessed Hoyle holding a gun to the front door, which he only lowered once he was sure who was there. As he was welcomed inside, Hoyle asked Castle about him giving up the peaceful life, as he questioned what he had been up to, with Castle claiming that it was a long story. As he went to the fridge to get them his beers, Hoyle complained that they never met up in Florida to go fishing like normal friends, with Castle simply noting that he did not know how to fish, despite Hoyle's attempts to convince him and Castle note that he went fishing with dynamite.
When Hoyle placed his gun down onto the table, Castle asked about why he had it, to which Hoyle noted that if Billy Russo ever began to remember everything, he feared that he could become his first target. Castle had questioned if Hoyle really believed that Russo had lost his memories, with Hoyle noting that Castle had cracked his skull during their showdown, so it was hardly surprising. Castle listened as Hoyle explained that he was listed as Russo's next of kin, and he had gone to Sacred Saints Hospital to see Russo in person, as he commented about how bad Russo's mental and physical condition had been.
Castle noted how Madani thought that Russo had been putting on an act, which Hoyle disagreed with, noting how Russo had believed that they were still with their United States Armed Forces and that he had spoken about Castle like his brother. Hoyle had then told Castle that, all those memories he wanted Russo to live with, he had knocked out of his head, with Hoyle claiming that as the result, everybody except Russo had to live with those memories. Hoyle had told Castle that he should have simply killed Russo, which Castle agreed with, as Hoyle commented on how they were trying to run from those feelings.
Hoyle complained to Castle that he wanted to live his own life, which did not include having to carry a gun in his apartment, which Castle understood. Changing the subject, Hoyle then told Castle about how he was dating Delia Robinson, which pleased Castle, although Hoyle insisted that he did not want Robinson to get anywhere near the war with Russo. Castle promised Hoyle that the last thing he had wanted was for him to be hurt, before questioning where Russo would run to if he could not go to them, with Hoyle noting that Russo would go to settle scores, as they figured Arthur Walsh would be his target.
Amy Bendix's Confessions
Once Castle had returned back inside Dinah Madani's Apartment, he then found Amy Bendix in a panic, as she had desperately attempted to escape from the bedroom that he had locked her inside. As soon as Castle unlocked the door, Bendix began to furiously punch him in the chest, as she had demanded that he never lock her inside a room ever again, while Castle had backed away and allowed her to express her anger against him, even allowing Bendix to slap him.
Once she had calmed down, Castle sat with Bendix as she described how she woke up every morning and could smell the hot sauce from the tacos she had brought to Fiona's crew before finding them dead, noting that blood also had a certain smell to it. Castle offered Bendix his coffee to calm herself down, although Bendix had noted that this was not how caffeine worked. Although Bendix tried to change their subject by suggesting that Castle should go to the hospital to get his hand looked at, Castle instead suggested that she should try and talk to him about what she was feeling and what she had witnessed.
Bendix told Castle about how she had gone to get tacos for Fiona's crew but had found them all dead, so she had hidden under the bed and then witnessed John Pilgrim returning. When Castle asked who Pilgrim was, Bendix began to panic and suggested that they should leave New York City before Pilgrim found them, noting that this was what Fiona would have done, as she explained to Castle who Fiona was. As Castle suggested that if Fiona was doing the kinds of jobs that got people killed, then Fiona would not have really cared about them, Bendix defended Fiona, noting that Castle did not know her.
Dismissing Castle's questions about how she had started working for Fiona, Bendix then continued discussing how she had watched her friends bleeding out in their motel room and she had been unable to run away as Pilgrim had come back into the room. When Castle then asked what had caused this, Bendix explained that Fiona had given them the job in Chicago to work as the catering for a funeral and take pictures of the guests, as they took a picture of David Schultz kissing his male partner in private, while noting that she had felt weird about doing it but dismissed these thoughts as they no longer mattered.
Looking at Castle's reaction, Bendix accused him of not understand what she had gone through, noting how Pilgrim had killed everybody she had ever cared about as she asked if Castle knew how this had felt, which he did not answer. When Bendix had suggested that they leave before Pilgrim could kill them, and use Shantel as a resource to get out of the city, Castle claimed that this would be impossible since Pilgrim would never stop until he found her and killed her, noting that Pilgrim clearly had connections. As Bendix had then asked what they could do, Castle told her it was time to bring the fight to Pilgrim.