Spoilers for The Punisher Season 2 ahead. Whether you view The Punisher as a show about veterans, a show about toxic masculinity, or a show about gun violence — it's a comic book series at heart. A casual Marvel fan may not realize how deep this show goes, but the Marvel Easter Eggs in The Punisher set the show apart, much like the anti-hero himself.
The biggest difference between this series and other Marvel Netflix series is that it never once references any of the other vigilantes in the connected universe. I'm not just talking about the Avengers, who sometimes get a vague shoutout by these fictional New York citizens, whose only memory of Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Iron Man is when they swooped in and fought off an alien invasion. The Punisher Season 2 barely mentions Matt Murdock/Daredevil and doesn't acknowledge Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Danny Rand/Iron Fist — the heroes more closely involved with Castle. Only three characters pop up in Season 2 to remind fans that The Punisher takes place in a larger world, and his vigilantism is partially a product of that environment.
Season 2 takes Frank Castle out of New York City, where he meets new characters and gets involved in a new crusade. However, Billy Russo and other conflicts ultimately drive him back home — where he is forced to confront his past in ways that are kind of new, but also kind of the same.
- Amy Bendix is a character from Marvel comics, and she is using the alias "Rachel" when she first meets Frank — likely a reference to Rachel Cole, a comic book character who teams up with the Punisher. Also, Amy is played by actor Georgia Whigham, whose father Shea Whigham was a series regular in the first season of Agent Carter. Not an Easter Egg, but a fun connection!
- While Karen Page doesn't show up until later, Frank references something she said about loneliness in Episode 1. Brett Mahoney, on the other hand, shows up in Episode 4 and remains involved for the rest of the series. Sargent Mahoney first appeared in Daredevil, and also popped up in one episode of Jessica Jones.
- New antagonist John Pilgrim appears in Episode 3. Fans believe he is a reference to Marvel character "Mennonite," who in the comics is a similarly religious villain. Speaking of villains, while Billy Russo's physical transformation in the Netflix series is not as severe as the comics, the therapy mask he makes for himself is more reminiscent of his 2D counterpart.
- Diehard fans of the Marvel Netflix universe will not only be thrilled to know that weapons dealer and crook about town Turk Barrett is not only heavily featured in Episode 5, but we finally get to see his apartment! He also references being "way uptown," presumably meaning Harlem and Luke Cage Season 2.
- In Episode 9, Russo references "Valhalla" in his gang's pep talks. That's the Asgardian afterworld for fallen warriors. Do you think he's aware that Norse gods like Thor, Odin, Loki, Hela, and the Valkyries are totally real in his world, or is he speaking strictly about mythology?
- Something interesting that I noticed about Frank in the second half of the season is that he has no secret identity — he is just publicly known as The Punisher. He dons his suit again in Episode 8, but it's not a disguise. This is kind of a Marvel thing, with some notable exceptions being Daredevil and Spider-Man.
- After sustaining injuries in a fight, Castle is taken to Sacred Saints hospital. Wonder if that is associated with Sacred Saints Cemetary, a location from Daredevil and Defenders. Is Metro-General even open anymore?
- That happens in Episode 11, which is also when Karen Page shows up. She announces herself as representing the firm Nelson and Murdock, which is the only real Daredevil reference. While it sure seems like "Creepy Ed" at the morgue is a recurring character, he unfortunately is not.
- At the end of Season 2, Frank Castle has taken back his mantle as the Punisher. The feds seem... fine with him assassinating criminals, essentially carrying out the death penalty without a shred of due process? It's times like these when I feel glad I live in this world, and not the MCU.