While Banshee is certainly renowned for its hyperbolic violence, this series is just as comfortable reveling in quieter character moments. Last week’s showdown between Burton and Nola had me on the edge of my seat, but knowing Hood’s cover was finally blown was the real show-stopper. And in tonight’s episode, “Real Life Is the Nightmare,” Hood is forced to read the writing on the wall. He’s had a good run, but all good things must come to an end.
Make no mistake, Hood has every intention of leaving Banshee, but not before he says his proper goodbyes to the people he cares about the most. We see some very fine acting from Antony Starr in these scenes, especially with Deva. Hood knows he can’t be the father his troubled daughter needs. He’s damaged goods, a man unloved by his own father. I truly felt for Hood in this moment; Deva represents the life he could have had, once upon a time. He knows the only way to connect with the daughter he hardly knows is to lay himself bare. And Deva, to her credit, acknowledges his vulnerability by offering him amnesty. It’s not redemption, but it’s not damnation, either. Hood may be a liar and a thief, but he wants what’s best for Deva.
Hood wants nothing but happiness for Carrie, too. She’s grappling with her own demons (and, one could argue, an early mid-life crisis). She’s lost her family, her pride, and now she’s about to lose the real love of her life. She understands the deck is stacked against Hood (and probably always was), but it doesn’t make their parting any less painful. She’s the one person in all of Banshee who knew Hood when, before he became a sham sheriff, when they conspired against all odds to outsmart a gangster. Carrie’s life is the flipside of what could have been—she had it all, and watched it all slip away. This isn’t poetic justice; it’s simply heartbreaking.
And while Gordon Hopewell is no stranger to heartbreak, hitting rock-bottom served as his wake-up call. No more being the victim, no more wallowing in his own misery. His children desperately need their father, and Banshee, which has been going to hell in a hand basket, needs its mayor to step up. And step up he does by throwing out Kai Proctor’s plea deal. And who knows, perhaps he’ll find romance after all with Alison, Banshee’s district attorney. The show certainly seems to be hinting at their eventual union. I for one quite like Afton Williamson, and it would be nice to see Gordon wind up with someone who’s more in the moment than Carrie.
As for Hood, perhaps he is too much in the moment when it comes to playing sheriff. That he doesn’t have closure with Siobhan is one thing, but knowing that Kai Proctor got the best of him is simply too much for him to bear. Which leads us to an unexpected brawl so intense that I wondered if we might lose another Banshee resident. I wouldn’t put it past this show to kill off Hood or Proctor—but then I wondered how the death of either character would affect the show. In the end, I realized I really didn’t want to find out; luckily, the show complied by sparing them both.
It’s Hood’s scenes with Siobhan that bookend this episode that really pack a punch, though. He never tried to play her for a fool, never wanted her to become collateral damage. He fell in love with a woman he grew to care about quite deeply. Perhaps Siobhan senses the truth in this, amidst Hood’s many lies. The show gives Siobhan an out with him that doesn’t feel like a cheat. She won’t rat him out as long as he resigns. But in the end, it’s a no-win situation for both parties. Seeing as how tonight’s episode ended on a hell of a cliffhanger, with Chayton and the Red Bone gang staging an all-out assault on the police station, it’s anyone’s guess who will survive.
Some closing thoughts:
We’re four episodes in and asthmatic Max Hopewell is finally back in the picture. (The kid has good taste in video games—kudos to his sister, a burgeoning thief, for breaking the law on his behalf.) I’m looking forward to some sibling interaction in future episodes.
Banshee gives us some Sugar in tonight’s episode. Sure, the Dalai Lama of Mayberry has gotten screen time this season, but he and Job get to do a bit more than exchange quips. Their stealing of an important algorithm will likely bear fruit in future episodes, assuming Job doesn’t bug out of Banshee with his laptop and a bottle of booze.
And speaking of odd pairings, who would have thought Burton and Rebecca could play so well together? She’s certainly come into her own this season, but I was surprised she didn’t come to her uncle’s aid.