Banshee episode 2 review: The Rave

Banshee delivers a slightly more restrained, character-driven episode this week. Here's James' review of The Rave...

This review contains spoilers.

1.2 The Rave

At the conclusion of Banshee’s raucous opening episode we were left with the impression that small town Mafioso Kai Proctor had finally met his match in new pseudo-Sheriff Lucas Hood. By the time the credits flashed across the screen at the end of The Rave we were left feeling almost sorry for Hood as the man tasked with the job of bringing Proctor into line. In a largely character-driven episode, Banshee showed its audience just how bad a man Kai Proctor actually is.

At the core of Banshee’s second instalment was the scheming of Proctor to get Hood on side, but before we got to that a few more pieces of Lucas and Ana’s criminal past fell into place. Opening with a flashback sequence/dream which sends Hood on one of his, so far unexplained, mad dashes through the Banshee woodland, Lucas and Ana discuss their intent to pull the wool over the eyes of their New York employer Mr. Rabbit. We already know that all didn’t go according to plan, and just why is likely to be teased out in the coming weeks. As Lucas assures a nervous Ana that “everything’ll be fine”, there is a curious look in Ana’s eyes. Did she already know that everything would be far from fine?

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Although she is fractionally in the background of this episode with emphasis on Hood and Proctor this week, Ivana Millcevic continues to build Ana/Carrie into a character that we’re not entirely sure we trust as yet. For all her attempts to persuade Lucas that she has moved on from the life they once shared, there’s further evidence that she hasn’t been able to let go when she meets a friend for a spot of self-defence practice that proves she hasn’t lost her edge. In stark contrast to this there is a very nice, tender moment she has with her son Max later on that shows just what a conflicted person she has become. Hood reappearing has surely reinforced that.

Lucas Hood, we are left in no doubt for now, is sticking around in Banshee for Ana. He can’t leave her alone and she’s not the only one he’s getting a frosty reception from. Deputy Brock Lotus is still not over-enamoured with his new boss and the friction between the two is one of the best things about this episode. Although Lotus manages to just about keep a lid on his frustrations at Hood’s methods of police work, you’re beginning to wonder just how much longer he’ll be able to do this. At the moment Lotus is approaching Hood with the mentality that he won’t be Sheriff for all that long the way things are going and that he’ll slip into the role once promised to him. This Banshee storyline is likely to only get better as Lotus realises that Hood isn’t going anywhere fast.

Elsewhere, Deputy Siobhan Kelly is the first to perhaps notice the cracks in Lucas’ façade. His confusion at the amount of paperwork that proceed his shooting incident last episode doesn’t make for a knowledgeable Sheriff.

Plot-wise, The Rave is something of a slow burner. Kai Proctor is keen to bring Sheriff Hood under his wing and engages in an awkward conversation with him following the offer of a bribe in the form of some Kobe beef steaks. Hood isn’t biting (though we never do find out if he ate the steaks) leading Proctor to warn him he should “take care of them. They can go bad pretty fast.” There’s a heavy emphasis that he’s talking about more than just the beef. Hood has folk on his side though. Sugar Bates, the proprietor of the bar where the original Hood took a turn for the dead and new Lucas’ landlord, warns Proctor that Hood is “game like you’ve never seen.”

Meanwhile Lucas Hood is dealing with the fallout from his poolside party shooting of Cole Moody. It’d be a pretty bold man to eat the food at the wake of the man you’d just strolled into town and killed, but we’re already beginning to see that this is precisely the sort of thing that wouldn’t bother Hood, and that he thrives on the results it may bring. Predictably, the remaining Moody brothers don’t take too kindly to Hood’s presence (even if they are holding their function in the bar he lives above) and another violent stand-off occurs.

Antony Starr seems to be having a tremendous amount of fun playing Lucas Hood in these scenes. His grin gets wider and his eyes get wilder as he charges his performance with a manic intensity. He is Wolverine without the claws. These moments see the Hood character at his most bold and confident, a way to release the anger that is dwelling inside. Hood becomes so bold during this sequence that a local young lady just can’t help but take her clothes off for him.

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This isn’t just Banshee’s way of cramming a bit of nudity into The Rave though as it serves to introduce us to the new character of Rebecca Bowman. When Hood meets her again later in the episode, she is fully clothed in traditional Amish get up and pretends to be meeting him for the first time. Tantalisingly glanced, Rebecca should develop into one of the show’s interesting characters… not that it’s been short on them so far.

The title of this episode was The Rave because the story centred around one of Proctor’s men setting up a rave in a barn (how very 90s) with the sole purpose of selling pills to the local teens. It seems the manufacture of class A’s is another pie that Proctor has his fingers in. Into this rather shady world stumbles Ana’s daughter, Deva Hopewell, and from the get go it’s pretty clear she’s in over her head. The rave scene itself is very well done. It’s presented in a neon blur of madness that conveys the confusion that the drugs create.

When Lucas Hood and his Banshee P.D. show up, the Sheriff deals with the doormen in his own way i.e. by beating them to a pulp. They arrive just in time as this party is going to hell as several people react badly to the pills that have been readily available. Whereas Banshee had been creating a feeling of dizzying euphoria in the previous rave scenes, it now turns this into a horror movie style panic with ease. 

Deva Hopewell was a character we saw a little of in the pilot episode but she’s more present here. Knowing full well who she is, Hood chooses to go to her aid during the mayhem over catching the bad guys fleeing the scene. Later he connects with her when he takes her home to her parents in another one of Banshee’s nicer, more restrained moments. But are they her parents? In a further embellishment of an idea that was introduced in the pilot when Hood swiped Deva’s wallet and discovered Ana had lied about Deva’s age being 13, there is a hint here that she might actually be Lucas’ daughter? Actress Ryann Shane is very good as Deva in this episode. It’s a risqué kind of role but she seems to be handling it very comfortably. 

The last, and perhaps stand-out, note in episode two though goes to Ulrich Thomsen’s Kai Proctor. Much as Starr is building us a classic anti-hero in Hood, Thomsen is constructing him a formidable opponent. Upon discovering the immense mess that his man has made of the unsanctioned rave, he deals out a silent reprimand by chopping off the guy’s finger and feeding it to his dog. Without even breaking chew on his dinner, he then sets the hound on the guy after lying about giving him a sixty second head start to run for his life. This is the moment we begin to feel slightly sorry for Lucas Hood having to deal with this man. Proctor is about as dangerous as they come. 

The Rave doesn’t bounce along in quite the way the pilot episode did and Banshee delivers a more restrained episode, but not by much. The main characters are all built on and the show continues to get the viewer to invest in its protagonists. Banshee is still impressive, slow burning stuff at this stage. 

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On a closing point, we see a little in this episode of Banshee’s slight comic relief in Job, Hood’s NYC confidante. His one scene is humorous but reveals that the real Sheriff Lucas Hood was something of a mystery – no close friends or relatives. Was this Sheriff all he seemed to be? 

Read James’ review of the previous episode, here.

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