Nicole Rivelli /Netflix

Frank Castle Lost Everything He Loved Before 'The Punisher'

Frank Castle's past is integral to the character. His identity as the Punisher was formed in the wake of intense pain that transformed him into the antihero so many viewers have become invested in. Frank may have gotten revenge for the ills done to his family in past during his time on Daredevil, but that didn't mean he'd recovered from the horror of it. But what happened to Frank Castle's family on The Punisher? It was the defining moment of his life, the thing that set him on the path he's still traveling in his solo series.

Before he ever showed up on anyone's Netflix screen, Frank was a soldier and a decorated war hero with a wife and two young children, a daughter and a son. He had only just returned home to them when they were cruelly taken from him again. A day after his return, the family went to Central Park where they ended up caught in the middle of a shoot-out between three gangs: the Kitchen Irish, the Dogs of Hell, and a Mexican cartel. The gang meeting had been arranged by the D.A.'s office to try and oust a drug lord named the Blacksmith, but the Blacksmith didn't appear and chaos ensued instead. Frank's entire family was killed, and he almost died as well.

When he'd recovered from his injuries, Frank was no longer the man he'd been before. The senseless murder of his family had changed him, and he became obsessed with avenging their deaths and taking out all the criminals he could find in New York City. Though he was a vigilante just like Daredevil, Frank wasn't interested in costumes or mercy; he took down criminals with extreme violence, which became a defining feature of the character both in the comics and in live action adaptations.

But no matter what he did, he was still haunted by his family. Before he would kill someone, he would repeat a specific phrase ("One batch, two batch, penny and dime") that came from his daughter's favorite book, which he had been too tired to read to her the night before her untimely death. Frank devoted all his energy to killing every last member of the three gangs who had been responsible for the shooting, but his ultimate mission was to find the Blacksmith.

The Blacksmith was closer than Frank may have thought. The mysterious drug lord ended up being Frank's old commanding officer Colonel Ray Schoonover, who had been one of the few people to openly support Frank throughout Season 2 of Daredevil. Though it was just an awful coincidence that Frank and his family were in the exact place the D.A. was hoping to entrap Schoonover (who holds a sting operation at a Central Park carousel, I ask you?), Schoonover did indicate that they might still be alive if Frank had agreed to take part in the drug trade, so the deaths of his loved ones may have been partially intentional, though Schoonover was killed by Frank before he could elaborate any further.

Frank killed Schoonover, which meant he'd taken out every last person associated with the murder of his wife and children. Technically he'd done what he set out to do: he'd gotten his revenge. But just because his mission was over didn't mean Frank was done. He couldn't exactly return to a normal life after slaughtering half of Hell's Kitchen and breaking out of prison. He left Daredevil behind, but he continued with his plan to end crime wherever he found it — albeit in the bloodiest way possible.

But just like Frank couldn't give up his vigilantism, he also couldn't wholly move past what happened to his family. The trauma of their deaths stayed with him even though he was finished with actively seeking out their killers. Frank's family would always be a part of him, no matter what.

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