Kris Wall reviews the first episode of Banshee season 4…
Warning : Full spoilers to follow.
I love Banshee, I just had to get that out there immediately !
As Banshee begins its fourth and final season, lets recap the events of season three that have lead up to now. The season opened with Lucas Hood leading deputies Brock and Siobhan on a quest of violent revenge to avenge the murder of Deputy Yawners by white supremacists at the climax of season two, an act that Frank Castle would have applauded, but immediately put him even more at odds with a concerned Brock than he ever was before. Meanwhile Carrie’s criminal past came to light and completely exiled her from her husband, Gordon, and her children, Deva and Max. The hulking warchief, Chayton Littlestone, and the Redbones returned, laying waste to the Banshee P.D in retaliation for the death of his brother, forcing Lucas and Kai Proctor to form a fragile alliance to survive (One which would end in savage violence not long after). The siege on Banshee P.D ended with Chayton killing Siobhan, brutally snapping her neck in front of Lucas, shortly after she found out he had been lying about his identity. The loss of his new love sent Lucas on a downward spiral that made him a danger to everyone around him, especially Job and Carrie, where his careless and traumatised actions nearly led to them all being killed on a heist while infiltrating the military base of PTSD addled Colonel Stowe, barely escaping after he took them all on at the same time in the back of a getaway van.
Elsewhere in the town of Banshee, Clay Burton took on Nola Longshadow, who was looking for revenge for the death of her brother at the hands of Rebecca. It was one of the most spectacularly brutal and astoundingly choreographed fights I’ve ever witnessed outside of The Raid, with both characters dealing and receiving a staggering amount of damage that ended with Burton ripping out Nola’s windpipe, and every viewer completely exhausted and gasping for breath. Kai Proctor tried to go straight and even settled into a relationship with Emily, the ex-wife of Deputy Brock, which went down as well as expected. Rebecca began dangerous double dealings with a rival crime syndicate behind Proctor’s back in a power play that backfired terribly, leaving Proctor shamed (again) in front of his family. Meanwhile Gordon was sinking ever further into drink, despair and strippers as Carrie got closer still to her ex, Lucas, and Banshee P.D received an excellent new recruit in the form of Kurt Bunker, a reformed white supremacist looking to atone for the sins of his past.
And then came the violent conclusions to the season, a spectacular carnival of carnage that only a show like Banshee could get away with, let alone pull of so well. Lucas’ obsessive hunt for Chayton led him and Brock to New Orleans, where he got the vengeance for Siobhan he was seeking on the warchief by blowing his head in half at point-blank with a shotgun. Then came Lucas and Gordon’s thrilling assault on Colonel Stowe’s military base to save Carrie and Job, with Gordon sacrificing his own life to save Carrie so they could take down Stowe. Dalton, a shadowy figure from Lucas’ past returned and kidnapped Job, making away in a helicopter to whereabouts unknown. Kai exacted retribution in a manner only he could. Kurt’s brother, Calvin Bunker, came to the fore as the leader of the white supremacist movement in Banshee, setting him up for one of the final season’s big bad and pitting the brothers on a violent collision course. Lucas’ criminal past came out to everyone and he gave up the badge, making Brock the Sheriff of Banshee, though he seemed reluctant. The final shot of the season saw a down and out Lucas, completely defeated and out of options, sat next to Kai Proctor, his former nemesis, possibly a new ally heading into the final season, setting up an intriguing new dynamic on the show. Got all that, good, now catch your breath as you’re going to need it.
It has to be said that season three of Banshee is right up there with the second season of Hannibal as my favourite season of any TV show there has been, it was a staggering televisual high in storytelling, character development and thrilling action, which also served up not one but two of the most memorable villains I’ve seen in a TV show, so the benchmark is set for this final season to go out on a high.
Well that was certainly a packed opening episode, there were lots of things going on, the playing field has changed dramatically, flashbacks filled in the gaps and there were set ups for the next seven episodes to come, so let’s get into it. ‘Something Out of the Bible’ started with Brock (Matt Servitto), now the town Sheriff, patrolling the outskirts of Banshee, coming up on an old abandoned farmhouse and discovering a seriously world-weary and bedraggled looking Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), sleeping rough and seemingly living in a post apocalyptic world that the rest of the town is yet to catch up to.
With Brock bringing Lucas into Banshee P.D, we discover one of several big reveals in quick succession throughout this episode that the show has jumped two years ahead from the climax of season three, Hood and Proctor never worked together, Hood just……..disappeared?. Banshee P.D has a new state of the art precinct with a much bigger team, including new Deputy Cruz (Ana Ayora), as well as Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey). Initially we’re led to believe that Brock has brought in a now fugitive Hood, when the second bombshell lands that Rebecca (Lili Simmons), niece of Kai Proctor, has been found murdered on the banks of a river, her body cut open in what looked like an organ harvest, the third victim of an apparent serial killer. While I was disappointed we didn’t see bigger ramifications to Rebecca’s double-dealing (or maybe they’re yet to be revealed), it worked as a good setup to bring Hood back into the fold as the GPS on Rebecca’s car showed her last known whereabouts at the farmhouse where Lucas was living, placing Hood on Brock’s list of suspects. Hood tells Brock that he hasn’t seen Rebecca or anyone for nearly eighteen months, but that the farmhouse is part of Proctor’s land. We later learn via flashbacks that Rebecca was the one who helped Hood by showing him the farmhouse and giving him a place to stay.
Elsewhere in the town of Banshee, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is now town mayor, still served by his ever loyal right hand man, Burton (Matthew Rauch). While Proctor was in the public eye discussing the death of Rebecca with the press, Burton was off sending a stark warning to the white supremacists in town, who he’d caught doing business on their territory. One of my favourite characters in this show is Burton, I love the way that Matthew Rauch is able to portray him as an almost buttoned down business type, who just so happens to be capable of incredible acts of violence when the time calls for it. We also saw the return of Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy), who is clearly a bit of a psychopath when he walks into the office of his boss and has a vision about brutally murdering him, before leaving work to go and crush the head of the man that Burton had caught, crush with a massive vice of course, which Burton then followed up with a stark warning by using a bat to splash some brains all over the place. Banshee has always been capable of scenes of shocking violence but that was one of its most eye-opening. It’s also nice to know that even though Kai is town mayor, he’s still up to no good.
We also saw Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) who is undergoing court mandated counseling, the death of Gordon looming large over her, which in turn has made her Banshee’s own Punisher, walking the streets at night and beating up its criminals. Seriously, the beatdown she gave that one guy in the alleyway made me cover my eyes. We thought that Kurt was going to take the fight to his brother and the supremacists immediately, following them burning off his Nazi tattoos with a blowtorch last season, but he appears to be playing the long game by having an affair with the wife of his brother. I really like Bunker as a character, he’s easily the best addition to the show and only a show like Banshee could make a white supremacist such an endearing and human character, but the two-year time jump didn’t serve his story well, as we’d been left at the point of an explosive conflict at the end of last season that just appears to have……..simmered down now. Hopefully there’s more to this story as it was probably the plot strand I was most excited about heading into these final episodes.
There was no Job (Hoon Lee) at all in this episode. Sugar (Frankie Faison) appeared briefly to heap some guilt on Hood over the kidnapping of Job. In another flashback we see Hood and Carrie mount an infiltration of a mansion, which turned out to be the home of Dalton (David Harbour), who revealed that he was just the middle man to a much bigger player, and that Job was a high value target that was dead from the moment he was taken. I refuse to believe Job would have been given such an unceremonious end, but I did enjoy seeing Hood put a bullet in Dalton’s head before we came back to present day. I’m more than curious to know who has taken Job now, especially as I thought Dalton was being set up as this season’s second villain, I was surprised to see him taken out this soon.
Throughout the episode we all got to look at Lucas’ time in the two years that had elapsed, which involved a lot of drinking, a hell of a lot misery and despair, and even an attempt to take his own life. Perhaps more important though, we saw that he had been having fleeting connections with Rebecca throughout the time. The episode ended with Lucas entering back into Banshee and humanity, cutting off his caveman beard and hair, getting a pretty awesome car from Sugar, and ready to aid Brock in the search for Rebecca’s killer, which he began by torturing Boedicker (Mark Colson), who he has had a run in with before which saw Boedicker lose a hand, and who may or may not have had a hand in Rebecca’s death. Luckily for Hood, Brock showed up just in time to save him from Boedicker’s gang. We got a cliffhanger tease of the mystery when it turned out that Rebecca had driven to Hood’s farmhouse hideaway on the night she went missing, but was grabbed when she left the car.
My big concern going into these final episodes is that Banshee has a hell of a lot of plot strands currently going on and only seven episodes left to wrap them all up in a satisfying conclusion. Events are stacking up quickly, Job is still missing, both Hood and Proctor are key suspects in Rebecca’s death, Calvin Bunker is walking a fine line between loving family man and all out crazy person, the FBI might be wading into Banshee next week along with new season recruit, Eliza Dushku, but Kurt’s story has already suffered as a result from the time jump. Still, it remains hugely exciting, and there’s really nothing else on TV quite like Banshee at the moment. This final season has hit the ground running at a breakneck pace as it hurdles towards the finale. Bring on next week!
Kris Wall – Follow me on Twitter