This review contains spoilers.
1.4 Half Dead Is Better Than All Dead
After spending three weeks setting up its central conflict between new sheriff, but not really a sheriff, Lucas Hood and small town Mr big Kai Proctor, Banshee takes a change of outlook for episode four with an instalment focusing on Ivana Milicevic’s Ana/Carrie Hopewell. There’s still the usual mix of blood, bruises and boning but this is a real journey episode for the Ana character. Though maybe not as far as she would have hoped.
Before we get to that, there’s the welcome return of Hoon Lee’s Job – still Lucas Hood’s go to guy when he’s in a jam. That jam happens to be finding himself locked in a local museum while trying to steal a painting. Why Hood is still pulling jobs when he’s supposed to be masquerading as the head of Banshee’s law enforcement doesn’t really add up but we’re starting to realise that some of what makes Banshee so compulsive each week is these character’s abilities to surprise us with their actions. But we’ll get to that too.
Despite the alarm bells ringing and the police closing in, Job takes time from his speedy security system hacking to berate some locals with a plate who have taken exception to his rather outlandish demeanour. So far, in the little we’d seen of Job, he’d come off as a bit of a bitchy whinger, albeit a funny one. This scene shows us that Job may be every bit as lethal as Lucas Hood. Dispatching three guys in a matter of seconds, it’s easy to see why a man like Hood would know a guy like Job. Towards the end of this episode Job finally makes his way to Banshee for a humorous reunion with Hood. It’s a nice moment and shows us a rare side of Hood, as Job is only one of two people we’ve seen so far that can make him smile with affection.
Which brings us to Ana. Choosing this unfortunate moment to finally air her grievances to Hood with a late night phone call, when she realises where he is and what is going on, it awakens something inside her. Hood is the itch that Ana just can’t stop scratching and this is the moment that her resolve begins to crumble. In a highly exciting scene, she comes to his rescue with some Fast and Furious-style driving.
Half Deaf Is Better Than All Dead’s opening scenes are the first time Banshee has returned to the high carnage, action movie style that opened its debut episode. Bullets fly, cars flip through the air multiple times as the characters scream at each other. For as great as this show is at being a character-driven pot boiler, when it wants to do the video game type thrills and spills, it knows how to do it well.
Once everyone’s calmed down a bit, Hood has to go and ruin it again with Ana. Much like he did last episode when he saw the fighting scars on her hands, Hood’s joy at having his Ana return to him makes him smug and arrogant. She puts her defences back up immediately. It’s a moment when Ana lets out the frustrations that she’s been feeling since Hood showed up in Banshee, and back in her life. This Sheriff thing, she tells him, is “one long bungy jump without the cord”. For now Ana is still the voice of reason, even if she is slipping up occasionally. She’s saying what we’re basically all wondering. How long can Hood get away this?
An interesting point comes out of this little conversation though. Ana chastises Hood for pulling such a stunt that would attract the attention of Mr. Rabbit. Given that we found out last week that he is Ana’s father, there is no hint of this from either of them. Does Hood not know that the man out for their blood and diamonds is Ana’s father? He’s in for one hell of a shock if he doesn’t.
Remember that moment between Lucas Hood and Senator Schumacher at his son’s wake? We wondered then if it may develop into something more and hasn’t taken long. The Senator naturally wants justice over the death of his son and tells Hood to get it done with a “F**k jurisdiction”. If Hood has proved one thing in his short time as Banshee’s Sheriff, it’s that he’s plenty willing to do that.
Pulling in Deva Hopewell to look at some mug shots in the hope of identifying who may have been involved with the drugs which led to Senator juniors passing gives Hood a lead but doesn’t do much for his relationship with Ana. Storming into the police station she informs Hood that he needs to go through her “If you want to see or speak to my daughter.” Ivana Milicevic plays this line very carefully. There is ever so slightly too much emphasis on the word ‘my’. Was she being extra cautious so as not to use the word ‘our’ in her anger? Banshee keeps tugging away at this idea that Deva is actually Hood’s offspring.
Deva has given Sheriff Hood and Deputy Emmett Yawners the lead they need though and after finding culprit Arno Webber during a bout of self tattooing, there’s more Grand Theft Auto-style running before Yawners floors him. We hadn’t seen that much of Demetrius Grosse’s Deputy Yawners up until this episode. Whereas Deputy Brock Lotus has made his disapproval of Lucas’ unique methods of policing well known, based on the torture that Yawners meets out to Arno here, he’s perfectly at home adopting Hood’s tactics, perhaps having seen the results it’s been getting so far.
It doesn’t take long for Hood to break a guy like Arno Webber with regards to the whereabouts of his associate Hanson. You may remember Hanson. We last saw him being sliced into little bits by a chainsaw wielding Kai Proctor during episode two’s post-credits scene. In a very neat twist, which shows just how well Banshee is put together, we learn that this scene came courtesy of Arno’s phone. It would seem that Hood well and truly has some hard evidence against Kai Proctor.
I would say at long last but it hasn’t really been that long, but this is a start for a case against Kai Proctor, a man who’s been absent from this episode so far. When Hood and Yawners turn up to arrest him he’s doing some training by visciously bashing a wooden pole, a dog and his right hand man, Clay Burton, looking on. Proctor gets more Bond villain each week, but that’s quite fun.
There’s some cracking dialogue in the following scene between Hood and Proctor as Kai is piled into the back of a police car. Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler continue to excel in this department each week. You wouldn’t expect a man like Proctor to seem unduly worried about the small matter of being arrested. He uses this time to try and once more get inside Lucas Hood’s head, now that the niceties have been dropped. It’s an absorbing scene for the viewer F**KING HELL! WHAT WAS THAT!
Forgive the caplocks, but I’m trying, probably unsuccessfully, to convey the jolt that Banshee delivered when the Moodys’ truck ploughed into the side of the Police cruiser. It’s the shock moment of the series so far. We’re being drawn so well into Proctor’s mind games with Hood that it smacks us with just as much surprise as it does the characters.
The siblings of the man Hood killed at the close of episode one have come for their vengeance. Now, the Moodys are no strangers to Banshee. They know who Kai Proctor is, but rather than realising that nothing good could possibly come of tying up and berating one of the two most dangerous men in town, one of them chooses to see it as a bonus.
An alliance isn’t exactly formed between Hood and Proctor to take on the Moodys but maybe it wasn’t necessary at this time. Marcus Moody loses an ear in the fracas that ensues and this is another scene which tells us a lot about the reality that Banshee seems to inhabit. Combined with the high octane chase scene earlier in this episode, this fight scene and the subsequent casual way that Hood tosses Marcus his severed ear afterwards is lending Banshee a distinctly comic book feel. It’s a far cry from the agents of Shield or the fantasy elements of Game of Thrones (though if dragons start to show up, that would be a twist!) but Banshee is developing an alternative reality of it’s own, where the characters have some fantastic abilities.
The imprisonment of Kai Proctor and hearing followed by quick release on bail isn’t too much of a surprise. I don’t think anyone was convinced this was going to be the downfall of Proctor. There’s a nice moment when Banshee’s young mayor – a character we’d nearly forgotten about – visits Proctor at the county jail, which adds to the storyline behind him and sets out his motives for wanting to see Kai punished. It’s father issues leading this one, but, sigh of relief, Proctor isn’t the Mayors father. Banshee did enough reveals of that kind last week. This is a good scene though, even if Ulrich Thomsen threatens to go a bit Darth Vader at one point with the line “You have no idea what real power is.”
There are a few disappointing absences from Banshee’s fourth episode. Lili Simmon’s intriguing Rebecca is nowhere to be seen and though Brock Lotus returns, he doesn’t do a great deal until the closing moments, again showing that Kai Proctor is not a man to be trifled with. This week’s post credits scene is blink and you’ll miss it. Kai Proctor, back to camera, showering away his ordeal, a guttural, blood curdling scream being released. It seems to be saying “Now, he’s really mad!”
For all this though, Banshee episode four really belongs to Ivana Milicevic’s Ana. In a great, and at times, brave performance from the actress we see her take Ana on a transformative journey. Her flashbacks show an affection to her relationship with Hood that we haven’t seen before, and certainly one that we haven’t seen evidence of from Hood in his numerous amorous encounters with Banshee’s female population so far. In a wonderfully directed sequence that goes a bit Lost in Translation, we see Ana surrender herself to her old feelings and way of life.
Of course, turning up at Lucas’ only to see him escorting the widow of the man he shot from his bedroom does spoil it a bit. Hood’s probably going to have to wait longer than he may have now to get his Ana back, her smile replaced with those defences returning once more. Maybe not all the way though?
In much the same way as fellow Alan Ball show True Blood, Banshee’s end credits play over a different song each week. Episode four’s choice is a haunting track, strung out, reflecting the emotions of Ana. It brings to a close an episode which slowed down on plot but gave us a rich insight into Banshee’s lead female character.
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