Spoilers ahead for The Punisher Season 2. The premiere of The Punisher Season 2 shows Frank Castle trying to outrun his past, taking up a stool in a bar far away from New York City and trying to deescalate trouble that rises in the Michigan bar, ranging from predatory men to trained killers. Arguably the kindest person he meets is Beth, a bartender at a run-down rural watering hole that Frank spends a few evenings at, but by the end of the season fans are left trying to discern what happened to Beth the bartender during The Punisher Season 2.
At the beginning of The Punisher, Beth is atypically normal for a character in a Marvel series. She's a single mother, trying to raise a young, precocious child on her own between shifts behind the bar. She seems to live a pretty typical life until Frank Castle, ever the lone wolf, rolls in and forms a kinship with her. After they sleep together, Frank even takes her and her kid to get pancakes. He even reveals his real name to Beth, having been going under the name Pete while off the grid. It looks like Frank is falling in love and while some might feel like he's cheating on the memory of his dead wife or Karen Page, it's kind of nice to see. Maybe he's going straight, ya know?
The Punisher spends a lot of time endearing Beth to the audience, and then at the end of the first episode someone shoots her and she's left in the hospital and Frank never hears from her again and the audience doesn't find out what happens to her. Seriously, it's so messed up.
The audience gets one more look at Beth following her injury that comes as a result of getting caught up in some Castle-related crossfire at her bar. A suspicious pastor going by the name of John Pilgrim starts asking Beth where he could find Frank Castle. Beth holds her ground and doesn't let John Pilgrim get any information out of her — great job, Beth!
It sure seemed, at this point, that Beth could become Frank's ally, if not love interest, especially considering that the show spends a significant portion of the first episodes introducing her and fleshing out her character. But no, the last we see her she's laying in the hospital and that's it.
Beth's story concludes with a figurative mountain of unanswered questions. Does she have a full recovery? Is she able to go back to that bar or is it closed now that like at least 5 people have died there in a bloody shootout? Is she expected to pay for her medical bills out of pocket, because there is no way that dingy bar offers any kind of comprehensive health coverage. Is her child okay?
Later in the series Frank mentions to Curtis that he had met a nice woman, which is a nice little tragic detail to his tragic story but like, did Frank even try to help pay for her surgery or call her? Frank's brief relationship with Beth is a disappointing end for a character full of potential, and a depressing reminder that Frank only seems to leave people worse off than they were when he found them.
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