Kris Wall reviews the fifth episode of Banshee season 4…
It’s becoming harder each week to write short and concise reviews of Banshee, this final season just has so much going on that leaving anything out feels like glossing over a key point. There’s still a strange feeling of unease behind all of Banshee’s cool right now, we’re just 3 more episodes from the endgame, everything should have built to a point now where the stakes are unimaginably high, all the conflicts and plot strands should have begun swarming together into massive maelstrom of violence. Instead it’s just kind of…….meandering there, the separate plot strands are still entirely separate from each other, and last weeks massive factory takedown didn’t really bring any of it all together in the way I thought it would have. I’m still remaining hopeful and optimistic that the creators are keeping their cards very close to their chest for these last few episodes, but that creeping feeling of unease is starting to get bigger with each passing week. Episode five, nicely titled ‘A Little Late to Grow a Pair’ took its foot off the gas of this seasons main story, the murder of Rebecca Bowman, to allow other conflicts to come to the fore and have their moment to build towards the finale. It was definitely another packed week of events, but this week was definitely was all about the escalating conflict between Kurt and Calvin Bunker, along with the newly released Randall Watts. I was initially worried that this plot thread had cooled off dramatically since the climax of season three, but here it was dragged front and center and was definitely the highlight of everything that happened this week.
I mentioned last week that Calvin would need to think fast if he was to come out on top and survive after the factory burned down and his father in law Randall, the true leader of The Brotherhood was released from prison and showed up at the his family home. This week acted as a sort of ‘Falling Down’ style episode for Calvin as Watts dragged him from one humiliating and demeaning situation to the next, until he ended up at full ‘I’m going home’ mode, or in this case, ‘Everyone in this town is now in a hell of a lot of trouble’ mode.
Starting out with Watts showing a refocused commitment to The Brotherhood’s deal with Proctor, Calvin is first humiliated for his mistake and then forced to execute a member of their own, Pony Joe, who was supposed to be looking after the factory when Carrie burned it down. Banshee is continually upping itself in the brutality stakes lately, and this week could possibly be the most savage yet, as Calvin reluctantly used a truck to rip Joe in half at the waist while he was chained to a tree by his legs. I’ll fully admit that I had to look away as the body burst and his legs were dragged away, but more importantly it was the beginning of Calvin’s downward spiral for the next hour.
Watts then paid Kurt a visit at his home, with Calvin in tow, while he tried to bring Kurt back into the The Brotherhood, favouring him over Calvin. Due to Banshee’s unpredictable nature, I was initially concerned that Kurt would rejoin them as a way of avoiding possible backlash over the factory burning down, so it was awesome to see Kurt refuse the offer and dedicate himself to putting Watts back inside prison, to which Watts responded by threatening Kurt with a 24 hour window to either rejoin, or basically die.
Then there was the massive Aryan supremacist party to celebrate Watts’ release, where he gave a grandstanding ‘New Aryan Revolution’ speech that planned to take The Brotherhood down a more money and business focused route, rather than Calvin’s true beliefs, and it was here that the two clashed hardest and you could see Calvin switch, especially the damning face to face comment about Calvin’s wife probably being better off with Kurt (We already know she is), a real low blow from Watts that put Calvin’s plans from thoughts into actions. Kurt also showed up at this party with a sniper rifle, looking to end Watts in a less procedural manner, luckily Brock was able to track and stop him from making a disastrous move.
The final scene this week had Calvin drinking alone in his basement when Watts enters. The tension in this scene is immediately palpable, quickly climbing to almost unbearable as Calvin demands Watts’ leaves the family home. Watts expects Calvin to make him a drink and begins edging closer, by which point you’re almost watching through your fingers. Watts eventually gives in and goes to make a drink himself, insulting Calvin for the last time as Calvin quickly and brutally plunges an ice pick into the back of Watts’ neck, killing him immediately and taking him out of the game, yet another potential big bad introduced one week and taken out the next. The episode ended with a naked Calvin standing over Watt’s body, using a heavy industrial saw to cut the body up. I’ll be interested to see what Calvin’s next move is once The Brotherhood finds out Watts is suddenly dead.
I’ll be honest, I actually managed to feel sorry for Calvin this week, and it’s credit to Chris Coy’s fantastic performance as Calvin that he’s able to draw such a response from the viewer, given that Calvin is actually a pretty horrible guy. It’s just that here, he’s being outclassed by Watts, a man so truly awful that he’s even more reprehensible than Calvin is. However, Coy is managing to dig deep in the character and find the humanity in Calvin, creating an almost empathetic monster who is the most fascinating villain on the show to date, and in a show that includes Chayton Littlestone, that’s pretty impressive.
Elsewhere in Banshee this week:
Proctor had a pretty eventful week as he burned down Lucas’ hideaway before demanding Lucas find the killer and bring him to Proctor. He also embarked on a new deal with Watts, who Burton didn’t trust, but Proctor assured him that The Cartel are a much bigger problem on the horizon, which all but confirms my belief that The Cartel will be the hell that rains down on Banshee and either unites or destroys them all. Best of all this week though was Proctor’s cold and cruel destruction of his own families ties to Banshee. After they show up at his office demanding the body of Rebecca, he destroys their farm and their business by having Burton run them out of town………And how awesome was that scene with Burton and the chainsaw though ! I seriously didn’t know which way that scene was going to go, and it’s all credit to the glorious performance of Matthew Rauch making Burton so unpredictable that it was a hugely exciting and nail biting scene to watch.
The wonderful scene between Lucas and Job at Carrie’s home. Following on from a great scene early on where Carrie left Job with a list of chores to do around the house, and Job arguing that he was convalescing and that he ‘Doesn’t do windows’, was really fun and was great to see the quick wit of the Job we know and love start to come back to the fore. Lucas paid his old friend a visit while she was gone. As I’ve said before, it’s the relationship between Lucas and Job that was immediately one of my favourite draws to this series, and it’s the great performances of both Antony Starr and Hoon Lee that really sells the ‘through hell and high water’ friendship that these two have shared over the years. A very powerful scene amongst all the craziness as Lucas tried to apologize for giving up the search for Job, I really thought Job would remain annoyed about it, so having him talk about Lucas’ 15 year incarceration where Lucas never blamed anybody for it (except Rabbit) was a beautiful moment, just a really cool way of making things even between them.
Cruz inched ever closer to Carrie when she matched up the footprint clue from factory crime scene to a female boot size. It seems that Cruz pretty much knows who her mark is now as she ended up at the gates of Carrie’s property where she encountered Job, in a delightfully barbed back and forth while she questioned all the surveillance at the property. After Cruz leaves, we saw Job shaving off his hair and returning to the bald badass we knew before his incarceration, a bit of an ‘air punch’ moment as Job gears up to get stuck into the hell that is sure to be coming.
Brock managed to provoke the serial killer into moving in on his next victim, after Brock lost his cool while giving a press conference to address the hunt, and the killer directly. Looks like the killer might be playing it safe this time though, as the person we thought he was stalking at the flower shop actually turned out to be one of his acolytes who was willing to give herself up to him in order to serve.
Lucas edged slightly closer to the killer, Declan Bode (Frederick Weller) when clues lead him to a fetish club in Banshee (There seems to be something for everyone in such a small town). At the same time, Agent Dawson showed up just ahead of him and got herself into a spot of bother which ended in Lucas jumping in to help her just in the nick of time. In truth, this whole thread didn’t really add much to the serial killer storyline, other than to bring Lucas and Dawson together and show them kicking ass. Eliza Dushku is still excellent, she’s smart, funny and kickass, making her the perfect foil for Lucas, and I did enjoy her propositioning him to be her help while she’s in town, as well as their flirtatious, alcohol fueled back and forths.
Only three more episodes to go. Hopefully next week sets up the stakes for the final two episodes to knock it out of the park, I remain hopeful.
Kris Wall – Follow me on Twitter