Banshee episode 5 review: The Kindred

Banshee serves up more compelling character development in this week's episode. Here's James' impressed review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.5 The Kindred

On the surface it seemed like The Kindred was going to be Banshee’s first filler episode – a biker gang, The Kindred, descend on the town like a bunch of Harley-driving locusts and chaos ensues – but scratch beneath the surface and once again, there was an awful lot going on here, least of all the chance for Trieste Kelly Dunn’s Deputy Siobhan Kelly to come properly into the light for the first time. 

Sheriff Lucas Hood and his newest partner in crime, Sugar Bates, appear to be in the midst of planning an armoured car hijack as this episode opens, along with Banshee’s newest arrival and dairy herd hater, Job. Frankie Faison’s Sugar Bates has seemed to be the character with the least purpose so far in Banshee, apart from sheltering Hood when needed, but this episode is a turnaround for the character. For the first time we see him do a little more and he has some nice scenes that lend themselves to the theme of this instalment, which we’ll come to later. For now, his banter with Hoon Lee’s Job is priceless. Once again, I’m going to heap praise on writers Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler – they’ve created a show that can make their audience laugh one minute and wince the next. 

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Knocking off Banshee casino’s payroll though is going to have to take a back seat as Hood is needed in his “official” capacity as town Sheriff to oversee the annual Spirit festival, the history of which is hurriedly explained to us by Deva Hopewell. He seems about as thrilled with this task as Rebecca Bowman is at selling pies. Lili Simmons makes a welcome return this episode. 

Lucas also has the small matter of FBI agent Dean Xavier turning up to delve into just how the one witness in the murder case against Kai Proctor that was made last episode, has just disappeared. Anthony Starr does his wild, manic, piercing eyes thing again in the first meeting with Proctor and Xavier. Let’s not forget that every time someone like this arrives in Banshee, it’s another potential person to perhaps expose Hood for whom he really is. Xavier’s appearance in this episode is the first way in which Banshee highlights it’s key theme this week – the name of the episode ‘The Kindred’ doesn’t just refer to the invading gang of motorcycle enthusiasts, but the townspeople of Banshee too. This week is littered with examples of small town solidarity under threat from outsiders. 

One nice example of this is the quiet scene shared by Ana and Sugar Bates during the festival. Bates is only too aware that Ana came to the rescue of Lucas Hood at the beginning of last episode. It’s a tender moment between two characters who’s paths you gather haven’t really crossed before, but now united in finding that they may not be all that different from each other. At the risk of inducing groans, kindred spirits. 

Getting into the plot this week, the Kindred bikers take a shine to Ana and decide to make some unwelcome advances. Now we know that Ana is a woman who can handle herself (Hood’s disbelieving query of “one guy?” following this incident tells us enough) but five guys is a bit too much. Sugar steps into help but goes down in the second round and it’s down to Deputy Kelly to put a bullet in Ana’s attacker. 

The results of this encounter are felt through out the rest of the episode. Kelly is naturally distraught following her first ever killing in the name of duty and her head is spinning with the facts of the scene she was confronted with. She converses with Hood, telling him that Ana had seemed wild and crazed, rather than frightened when she happened upon her. Last week, Ana began to let her public, wife of the D.A., mother of two face begin to slip a little, but it was done in private. This attack incident has forced it out into the open, and it already hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

Last week we got to see a little more from Banshee Sheriff Department’s Deputy Emmett Yawners. This week his fellow Deputy Siobhan Kelly gets even more of a proper introduction. There is a lot of good stuff from actress Trieste Kelly Dunn in this episode. She infuses the Kelly character with a personality that we’d seen so little of thus far. Following the demise of one of their number, the Kindred bikers take out a personal vendetta against Kelly. Dunn turns Deputy Kelly through this ordeal from a proud and strong Police officer to a person finally broken down by the bullying inflicted upon her. As her house is firebombed, Dunn puts in an anguished performance. Desperate to live up to her role in the Sheriff’s department, Kelly crumbles, as anyone would, at this final act of revenge. 

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This is a brilliant performance from Trieste Kelly Dunn. Banshee is hardly short on strong female characters, but Dunn marks Kelly out as one of that number. In a most revealing moment when Lucas Hood volunteers to stay with her through the night to kept a watch out she replies with a feisty “When the time comes for you to spend the night, it won’t be to protect me.” It’s a real eye-opening moment for the character, and most unexpected. It even takes Lucas Hood aback. To his credit, Hood shows some uncharacteristic restraint when it comes to the ladies of Banshee here and it tells us something about the way he perhaps views Kelly, as a colleague, or maybe a little sister, rather than another notch to add to his already battered bed post. 

Siobhan Kelly is also the recipient of this episode’s post credits scene. Seen looking at herself in a mirror, she purposefully fingers a previously hidden scar on her shoulder. It would appear this character has plenty of unseen scars that we’re going to be seeing more of in the future. Just like that, Banshee has added to its not unimpressive pile of dark secrets. 

Deputy Siobhan Kelly isn’t the only Banshee resident to feel the wrath of the Kindred bikers. You really do have to feel sorry for the girl with the orange rucksack. There she was, enjoying the Spirit Festival parade when wham!, she gets dragged several hundred yards by her hair after getting grabbed by a biker from out of nowhere. 

The biker attack on Banshee’s street parade is another vicious and brutal scene from this show. It all goes a bit Mad Max for a short while as Hood tries to restore order in amongst the dizzying confusion. It’s a really well-shot scene for portraying the madness that escalates like a freak storm hitting the town. 

Naturally Banshee’s townsfolk want to know what their Mayor and Sheriff are going to do about it. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s youthful inexperience and the fact that the Sheriff is actually a former professional thief with no real policing experience don’t give them the answers they’d hoped for. Seeing an opportunity and seizing it with both hands, enter the man who can – Kai Proctor. In a move that justifies his claim from last week that the Mayor doesn’t know what real power is, Proctor simply and effortlessly calms and wins over the crowd. The Mayor is flattened in a scene in which Ulrich Thomsen owns the room. It shows us that Kai Proctor may have one distinct advantage over Sheriff Hood, and that’s his charm. It’s like watching Shere Khan at work. 

One of Banshee’s population who proves she knows how to defend herself is Rebecca Bowman, who gets a little knife-happy during the attack by the bikers. Her Amish elders are appalled at this behaviour and seek the advice of Lucas Hood as to what her punishment should be. Anthony Starr is great in all his scenes with Lili Simmons as we get to see a side of Hood that can’t really believe what he’s being presented with. Given his previous encounters with Rebecca, Hood finds it incomprehensible that her family can have so little idea as to her real nature. 

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Having confiscated her knife, Rebecca decides that another naked visit to the Sheriff’s quarters is the best way to retrieve it. This isn’t just a way for Banshee to squeeze in Lucas Hood’s weekly rocks off session, it’s a scene in which the two characters establish a deeper connection with each other. Upon being questioned on her double way of life, Rebecca explains to Hood “It’s like I’m trying to be two people”. It’s a feeling that Lucas Hood is only too aware of, and while it doesn’t lead to a confession over his true identity, it’s a moment in which you feel these characters relationship grow into something more. It’s another moment in keeping with the theme of finding togetherness in this episode. 

Perhaps the most unlikely moment of alliance though is when Proctor visits Hood having learned the location of the bikers hide out from one of their number, who is trussed up in the boot of his car. Armed with this knowledge, and what seem to be retractable batons, Lucas Hood goes to do what he knows he can for the town of Banshee. Imparting a Wolverine style beating to the Kindred bikers, Hood becomes the super human character we’re seeing when he fights. We’re starting to accept this grandiose nature to the fight scenes in Banshee now and they are really good fun. This is a moment when we realise that Hood has become entrenched in Banshee, whether he meant to or not. Anyone willing to walk alone into a pack of revenge hungry, hell’s angels must have something they care about hanging in the balance. 

With the week’s storyline wrapped up, The Kindred still has a couple of great moments to deliver. In a real ‘woah’ scene from Ivana Milicevic’s Ana, the public face is dropped even further when she puts a local gossiper in her place. It seems her proximity to Lucas Hood will only send the Carrie side of her personality further into the background as time goes on. As she and Hood then observe Deva Hopewell at the festival, Hood comments “She’s a good kid.” Ana smiles and it seems like the words “She’s yours” are on the tip of her tongue, but she can’t say them. Banshee is dangling this revelation at us on a weekly basis, so much so that it’ll be more of a twist if Deva doesn’t turn out to be Hood’s daughter. 

Observing them though is Gordon Hopewell, who it seems might finally be getting a clue that his wife and the new Sheriff are no strangers. So far, Hopewell has laid the foundations of a good working relationship with Hood in his ongoing vendetta on Kai Proctor. You wonder just how long that may last if he ever finds out about Ana and Lucas’ history, and how that might be manipulated by others. 

The Kindred ends with FBI agent Xavier discovering that the incriminating evidence against Kai Proctor from last week has mysteriously vanished. It’s not quite so mysterious to us though. After all, Hood did ask Proctor “What’s in it for you?” when Kai told him the whereabouts of the biker gang. That Lucas made a deal with Proctor is perhaps the most surprising allegiance in an episode stuffed full of them. 

After spending four weeks fighting each other, Banshee’s fifth episode showed us what happens when these characters are threatened by something outside of the town limits. A number of relationships were established or moved on with characters finding they have more in common than they previously thought (duel identities is becoming a town hallmark), and some with murkier results than others. They really should add a line to the town sign so it reads “Welcome to Banshee – Do Not F**k With Us!”

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