You may have wondered, why did they linger so long on this moment? Why was it so important for us to see Lewis trying to uncage two budgies that it took up several solid minutes of film time in a medium where every microexpression that doesn’t serve the narrative and time limit gets left on the now-metaphorical cutting room floor?

Spoilers for The Punisher s1 follow, so hit J to skip this post if needs be.

These birds, you should probably be able to guess, are a visual metaphor. Lewis thinks they should go free, but even with their door and the window open, they’d rather stay inside than fly away, in spite of his cajoling.

In his mind, he’s setting them free to go live and fly in the wild like birds should. He wants them to be free and happy.

In reality, if those budgerigars were captive-raised like most pet budgies, they’d probably end up starving to death, freezing to death, or being eaten by a cat or falcon. They’re not the wild animals he thinks they are. They might even have their wings clipped. And they had a caretaker, before Lewis shot him in the head. Maybe not the best caretaker in the world to judge by how tiny their cage is, but they had someone looking out for them nonetheless, and they know where it’s comfortable and safe.

Lewis thinks he knows best for everyone. He thinks he’s fighting for Americans’ freedoms by murdering innocents and shifting the blame onto others. He thinks that the US government is a cage from which he needs to set people free, even if he has to murder the birdkeeper to do it, but he doesn’t stop to consider that what he thinks is freedom in his gun-crazed, radicalised mind—which is, silencing the Left and abolishing gun regulation—is terror and death to others. He doesn’t stop to consider that the parts of government he thinks he needs to free people from (the Left) might be protecting the vulnerable, like those with clipped wings (disabilities). 

And he doesn’t understand why those who are accustomed to the cage (system) they live in might be okay with trading some freedom—like the “freedom” to fly around until a peregrine obliterates you with its talons at 200 mph, or the “freedom” walk around openly carrying military-grade weaponry in the streets until someone else doing the same starts a firefight and you get a bullet to the brain—for safety and comfort.

It doesn’t occur to him that yeah, maybe those birds might not have the best life of any bird ever, but they were doing pretty good, and he’s not going to make things any better for them by murdering their caregiver in cold blood and leaving them with a choice of starving in their cage or starving out of doors.

Lewis, you selfish asshat. You don’t know or care what’s best for those birds. You just want to force your narrow worldview on them.

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This one goes out to our Lord and Savior, Bob:

Bob, you’re our Lord and Savior.

Dearest Jane Fans –

I want to begin this letter by telling you about the magic of Brett Dier.  He took a character – built from the beginning with secrets and moral lapses – and made him so likable, so funny, so sincere in all the right ways, that most of our writers’ room became #teammichael by the end of the first season.  And I honestly don’t think I’ll ever love a moment on our show as much as I loved Michael’s vows to Jane…  Which is to say, this was a devastating episode for us to write.

It was also a decision made very early on, when I thought about our story as a whole.  And even in season one, I knew it would be a hard thing to actually do, which is why there was a line (which many of you noticed) about how Michael would never stop loving Jane.  And the Narrator confirmed, “For as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never did.”  Honestly, I put that line into the script at the last minute to hold our feet to the fire, to make sure we went through with it.  Because even back then, the writers could all see the magic of Jane and Michael together.  Not to mention Rogelio and Michael!    

The other reason I put that line in the script was to prepare you… a little.  If the writers and actors loved Michael so much, then I knew it would be devastating for the fans.  So then, the only surprise we had left, was when…

And again – that goes back to the magic of Brett Dier.  Originally, I thought Michael would die earlier.  But Brett is such an incredible actor – he gave us such great comedy and drama and first-rate exposition delivery (!), often all in one scene.  And he and Gina… well, there’s that word again – magic.  So, we changed some things in the writers’ room.  Jane and Michael got married.  They had sex. They moved into their first home. And I’m so glad we did that and I’m so glad all those firsts for Jane were with Michael.  But this is a telenovela, as we so frequently remind you.  And we are only at our midpoint.

You’ll recall, back in the pilot, Jane was on a path.  Things were mapped out.  And then she was accidentally artificially inseminated and everything changed.  Well now, everything is changing again.  How does our romance-loving hero move on, how does she get back the light and the hope…?

Well, it’s certainly not quick.  And that’s why we’re now three years later in our story.  We’ll be flashing back to those three years and filling in gaps, but mining emotions realistically is something we work hard on and we knew the immediate pain of that loss would overwhelm our storytelling.  After talking to grief counselors, this felt like the right time to reenter Jane’s journey.  She’ll always feel Michael’s absence (and trust me, we will too), but it opens up our storytelling in new and exciting ways, while allowing for the light and bright Jane world that we love to write.  

Which brings me to something I feel really badly about.  The timing.  I’ve had so many tweets lately about how Jane is a bright spot these days. And I know you just watched a gut punch of an episode.  So, I just wanted to reassure you that Jane’s optimism will rise up.

Thank you guys so much for watching the show, for caring so passionately, and for going on our journey. And thank you so much to Brett. For his talent.  His passion.  His humor on set.  Michael will be missed in Jane’s world, just as Brett is already missed in ours.  

With love,

Jennie Urman

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Okay but are we not going to talk about how Pidge’s room went from soft warm aspiring astronaut with kitty slippers and a mermaid to disastrous technology hoard with clothes all over everything and a questionable alien animal she picked up at a literal space trash dump

At least she has some fairy lights tbh