The Punisher Season 2: Billy Russo's Mind is the Real Jigsaw

Billy Russo Jigsaw Wounds

Billy Russo is a changed man in season 2 of The Punisher, both physically and mentally. And, though he's never officially referred to as Jigsaw in the Netflix series, he is portraying the character in a more internal way.

Every hero has his arch-nemesis. Batman has The Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and Spider-Man has the Green Goblin. For The Punisher, not many of his enemies make return appearances - since he shoots to kill - but there are nevertheless some villains who manage to elude death (or recover from it) and survive to fight another day. In the comics, that nemesis is Jigsaw, one of extremely few bad guys whom Frank Castle has been unable to permanently put down. The character of Billy Russo was reimagined for Netflix's take on The Punisher; rather than a simple mobster, this version of Russo was an old army buddy of Frank - arguably his best friend - who went on to create a private military company, successfully turning bloody war into big business.

Related: 15 Things You Completely Missed In The Punisher

As the plot of season 1 unraveled, it was discovered that Billy was, to say the least, not on Frank's side, and their grievance ended with the vigilante antihero beating his former ally nearly to death and smashing his face against a glass mirror. As the season ended, Russo's face was completely covered in bandages, and the character was left in a coma. During our visit to the set of The Punisher, we spoke with actor Ben Barnes, who returns as Billy Russo. He revealed that Russo's horrific scarring will be portrayed differently than in past iterations of the character, such as Dominic West's take in 2008's Punisher: War Zone, encompassing both physical and mental damage from his character's righteous beatdown at the hands of Frank Castle. Regarding Russo's injuries, Barnes said:

"We don't refer to the character in the series as Jigsaw. We've gone for a more grounded version of what that imagery would be, but there are other interesting facets to that, one of which is we're talking about a deeply narcissistic character in the first season. He has a mask of appeal, in terms of his hair and his nice suits, has been stripped from him. It's about what he sees when he looks in the mirror, not necessarily what other people see. It's not necessarily a horror show, it's about something more internal."

Billy Russo Jigsaw Wounds The Punisher

Comic book movies and television shows often avoid using codenames, or only fleetingly referring to them as an Easter Egg for hardcore fans. In the case of Jigsaw, this seems to be a deliberate choice made from a storytelling perspective, rather than an attempt to distance itself from the source material. Barnes added:

"He's got brain damage and severe issues with his memory. I won't go into specifics of what he can and cannot remember, but he's trying to piece together what happened to him and who he is. There is a metaphor used, at one point, that his brain is the jigsaw, and they're trying to put the pieces together."

Jigsaw is a broken man, in every sense of the word. He was physically beaten to within an inch of his life, had his business crumble beneath his feet, got his face carved to ribbons, and received heavy brain trauma, resulting in severe memory loss. He has been reduced to an empty shell of his former self, and the act of putting the pieces back together will form the backbone of his storyline in the new season, which is due to debut in January. What's more is that a new addition to the series is Supergirl's Floriana Lima, playing Russo's psychotherapist, Krista Dumont - a character who has worked with veterans with PTSD. While the actors were diligent in their silence regarding their storyline, it's clear that she will play a large role in Russo's development into... well, into whatever he ultimately becomes.

More: The Punisher: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jigsaw

Season 2 of The Punisher will stream on Netflix in January 2019.

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