Kris Wall reviews the second episode of Banshee season 4…
Full Spoilers for The Burden of Beauty ahead…
If there’s one thing that Banshee has become exceptionally good at, it’s defying viewer expectations. Just when you think you have this show figured out, it suddenly (and often violently) pulls the rug out from under you as it streaks off in a completely different, but no less thrilling, direction entirely. Banshee does not play by your rules, Banshee doesn’t really care for your rules either.
The Burden of Beauty opened on another flashback as Rebecca staggered into hospital, beaten and bloody before collapsing to the floor. Definitely a startling sight to grip attention right from the off, and something that has eased my concerns about the two year time jump that I had in last weeks episode, as it’s now clear the writers are going to be filling in that two year time frame with flashbacks landing some pretty big reveals, and I’m pretty excited to see what these characters got up to that led them to this point.
You really have to feel for Brock sometimes, his new role as town Sheriff is quite the poisoned chalice. Something I completely missed from last weeks episode was Brock having doubts about his precinct being corrupt and compromised, something which was confirmed this week when we learned that the arrival of Deputy Cruz was Proctor’s decision, and she’s been feeding confidential info from the precinct straight back to Proctor, while they’ve been out doing cleaning up Proctor’s dirty work. I thought both Matt Servitto and Tom Pelphrey were excellent this week, you can feel and see that both Brock and Bunker are good men trying to do good things, but fully knowing that their department has been compromised to its core, and they’re trapped in a cycle. Brock is only in power because of Proctor, and Deputy Cruz is Proctor’s eyes and ears within the precinct. While Brock looks more resigned to his fate, Kurt is clearly only going to be playing ball in this for so long.
Brock is called in to break up a skin flick shoot that The Brotherhood have set up in town. Something that quickly escalated, triggering a big fight where we got to see Cruz formidably kicking ass and taking names, while Bunker came face to face with his former brothers who now think he’s a traitor to them. The fallout of this scene had Burton and Proctor showing up at the factory The Brotherhood have been running for Proctor while he’s been in power, with Burton giving Calvin Bunker a bit of a beatdown for allowing The Brotherhood to siphon off funds from their supplying / distribution income to set up their skin flick side operation in town. A hugely exciting scene because we can see a definitive rift forming in the alliance between Proctor and The Brotherhood, the sheer rage and humiliation on Calvin’s face at having to stand and take that beating isn’t something that is going to be forgotten in a hurry, and retaliation can’t be far away.
Lucas finally visited Carrie for the first time since coming out of his self-imposed exile. Finding out that Carrie never stopped looking for Job all over the country, even when Lucas had lost hope. Carrie asking Lucas if he missed Deva, only to find out that Deva has secretly visited him at his hideaway and not told Carrie. Just a wonderfully emotional scene between the two mentally and physically scarred criminals / former lovers, something that Banshee can do so well in-between all the carnage and mayhem, with both Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevic bringing their A game to the scene to hit you straight in the feels, not least Lucas telling Carrie he was ‘sorry, for everything’ before leaving at the end. Yes, there’s just something in my eye, I have allergies to great TV!
We later flashed back to Rebecca and Lucas taking on Boedicker to help cover Rebecca’s tracks after Boedicker began moving in on Proctor’s territory through one of her deals. This was another pretty brutal scene, with Rebecca getting beaten and cut by Boedicker’s clan before she turned the tables by pushing Boedicker’s son onto the wild dog they were trying to feed her to, with the dog ripping his throat out. Then just as Boedicker is about to shoot Rebecca, Lucas charges in AND CLEAVES HIS HAND IN HALF !!! Like literally in half, down the middle, between the fingers, with a big freaking scythe. It was probably Banshee’s most shockingly horrible moment I’ve seen yet, my hands hurt even thinking about the scene, but I liked that it worked to explain the mystery of how Lucas already knew Boedicker and how he lost his hand from last weeks episode. Rebecca burned Boedicker’s operation to the ground, but not before Lucas takes a bullet to the chest from one of the clan.
Back to present day, Lucas headed to a club frequented by the brotherhood to locate the nephew of Aaron Boedicker, who had links to Rebecca, at the same time Brock and Bunker show up for the same reason. I loved seeing Lucas forewarn Brock that seeing cops would send the suspect running, which Brock promptly ignored, while Lucas casually waited for them to force the guy towards him, ending in Lucas speeding away with the suspect in his car, leaving an exasperated Brock in his rear view. Upon interrogating him at Sugar’s bar, Lucas learned that Rebecca was having an affair with the nephew, and was afraid of Proctor’s retribution than she was of Boedicker’s encroaching dealings, which drags Proctor even further into this tangled web of murder.
Let’s quickly round-up the rest of the episodes’ events:
- Proctor overturning the convictions of the supremacists involved in the skin flick shoot. My guess is that Proctor is still aiming to keep Calvin and The Brotherhood onside, but Proctor repeatedly allowing felons back on to the streets isn’t sitting right with his lawyer, nor me. Ulrich Thomsen is excellent at making Proctor an utterly compelling villain.
- Proctor secretly working as a supplier for the cartel was a huge moment for this final season, and one that feels like it could rain down hell on not only Proctor, but all of Banshee, if the deal isn’t met. That whole scene with the cartel head (Guest star Nestor Serrano) and Proctor was laced with calm menace and quiet danger, working well to place the show in a larger world where there’s bigger threats than even Proctor, which was summed up by the great line to Proctor, ‘You’re a dangerous man, but a dangerous man in Banshee to the cartel, is to nothing but a mosquito’…..Brilliant stuff.
- Yet more Proctor stuff with Proctor and Burton finding Lucas’ suspect and seeing Proctor kill Boedicker’s nephew in a jealous rage after Lucas told him that Rebecca had had relations with him. Clearly becoming the mayor of Banshee hasn’t changed Kai for the better in any way. The brutal death using the strings of a smashed smashed made for pretty horrible viewing too. All the while Burton calmly and coldly watches it happen, such an ice cold man, yet completely awesome.
- Bunker, exasperated at the lack of yet another conviction, casually dropping the police files to Carrie outside the courthouse of the guy running the skin flick ring that Proctor let off, allowing her to do more of her devastating nighttime vigilante work, escalating from smashing the bones in someones hand to dust last week, here she stuck a knife straight through this guys crotch. Then finding out she has a Punisher style cabinet of weapons at her home. I wouldn’t want to be a criminal in Banshee with Carrie around.
- Calvin Bunker forming a power play against Proctor, no longer happy to play the middle man while Proctor gets richer off his efforts. Given that this show has already had a string of great and memorable villains in previous seasons, Chris Coy’s performance as Calvin here is ensuring the final season also has a powder keg of a madman about to cause some serious havoc. What’s great about Coy’s performance is the duality of his character, the way he can easily show Calvin as a loving father and husband in one scene, and then the violent and fearsome leader of The Brotherhood in the next, which is something we never really saw in the other villains like Chayton or Stowe.
- It turned out Rebecca was overselling her injuries to the hospital at the beginning in order to gain admittance and steal supplies to treat Lucas’ gunshot wound. A nice little fake out for that storyline as I thought we were really witnessing Rebecca’s last moments there. The mystery continues !
Finally, the huge cliffhanger reveal of Job being alive and held prisoner by a shadowy captor was a brilliant way to end the episode, my heart was pounding with excitement. While it quickly ended the speculation from Dalton over Job’s possible death (even though we all knew he wouldn’t really be dead), it added an exciting new mystery to the final season over who this new power player on the show could be. The Burden of Beauty built a lot of momentum from last week, leaving us with the feeling that the show is now confidently building towards its big, and most likely explosive, conclusion. Next Friday already feels so far away !
Kris Wall – Follow me on Twitter