Banshee chugs along and I am beginning to take a shine to it. The funny thing is that I have no idea why. Lucas Hood is now firmly in place as Sheriff of Banshee despite how difficult a feat this would be to pull off in the small town. No one seems to have any questions about anything and just no real intel regarding where there new Sheriff is from except Oregon. No old CO’s calling in for recommendations or sending in maybe a picture from a precinct softball picnic. It just doesn’t seem plausible. Still it has 10 episodes so I will give it 10 epsiodes.
Lucas is settling in as the Sheriff of the Anytown, USA town in Pennsylvania that skirts around the Amish country. I know, I know, the Amish do not exactly scream excitement. For me the Amish peaked in modern entertainment with Harrison Ford’s 1985 flick Witness. You would think that, as a recently released con and impersonating a dead police officer that Hood would want to fly under the radar and at least pretend to be a Sheriff to gain some confidence amongst the townspeople while he runs his long con. Do those crazy things that people in law enforcement do like, you know, not show up to work without your shirt tucked in and with a week of stubble on your face. Antony Starr as Hood just broods and never really shows any relatable quality. The one staple you want in a new show is someone to root for or a bad guy you love to hate. Fortunately the latter is available with Ulrich Thomsen’s chilling portrayal of small town kingpin Kai Proctor. The guy reminds me of a modern day mash-up of Daniel Day-Lewis’ Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview. At barely a buck and a half, the guy steals every scene he is in.
As we saw in the pilot, Lucas specifically returned to Banshee to reunite with his lost love Carrie. I think he went to jail for Carrie, while she got away with the $10 million worth of diamonds they stole from the yet to be seen “Mr. Rabbit.” The problem is we do not know if the stash is hidden or what the real play here is, criminally speaking. Deva Hopewell (Ryann Shane) is presumably the love child of Carrie and Lucas but everything is so damn muddled that I am ready to throw a shoe at the TV. And Deva has a big role in this episode that revolves around a “rave” in a barn. I feel like a fossil asking this but do raves still happen?? Maybe in Amish country? Anyway, we get to meet Hanson, who naturally works for Proctor and is looking for a suitable barn for the rave. Bare in mind this is Amish country so there is no shortage of barns. I thought that was pretty funny; what precisely distinguishes a good rave barn from a bad one?
There is one scene that seemed very out of place; when Deva and a girlfriend accompany a guy named Reed, who is the son of a State Senator, to Hanson’s drug den; a dilapidated meth lab of a house. While they are there they see the dilapidated state and scariness of the world they just entered. Ryann Shane, as Deva, does show some excellent acting chops in these scenes and you really do believe she is fearful and in danger with a dash of the excitement of doing something wrong. There is a wake at Sugar’s bar for the man Hood shot in the pilot and, after pleading with him not to enter and upset the victim’s family who is out for revenge, Sugar appeases Hood with sandwiches. Hood retires to his quarters, but not before catching the eye of a little minx at the wake who he naturally sleeps with inside of ten minutes. They don’t call it “Skin-e-max” for nothing!
The time frames are tough to tell on Banshee and I suppose it is the next day when a respected Amish elder informs Hood and his deputies of the pending rave. As the bearded man is walking away his daughter enters the horse and buggy and it is revealed that the sweet girl in the bonnet is the same girl Hood had relations with the previous night. Nice. Amish score. Very rare. This guy sees more ass than a rental car. While the crack Banshee Police Department prepares for the rave, holding positions outside, Hood simply walks into the crowded party without any backup. This is not Jack Bauer and it just seems silly that a legitimate Sheriff, not in the Old West, would attempt it. Hanson is Hood’s target as he is selling hot doses to kids who are partying and passing out at the same time. While Deva is dancing with the privileged Reed he begins to seize and eventually expires. By the time the rave is broken up by the deputies, Hanson and his men flee by running into a field probably hoping to find another barn.
Hanson escapes but loses a man in the process and arrives at Proctor’s home while he is eating a cut of beef from one of his slaughterhouses. This is the best scene of the episode where Proctor barely blinking takes a finger off of Hanson and feeds it to his dog, amicably sitting at his side. He then gives Hanson a one minute head start to bail before he sets the dog on him now that he has his scent. While it really was a chilling scene of the ruthlessness of this small-town Godfather, all I could think about was that Proctor continued eating his steak with the same knife he cut Hanson’s digit off with. It’s OK to be brutal but come on; be sanitary.
Lucas drives his presumed daughter home to Carrie’s, where they have their first real exchange. Even though it is meant to be a tender moment, Hood comes off more distant than ever. His endgame seems only to be Carrie and frankly, besides the sexual vibe between them, she seems to have moved on. Right now Banshee is a malaise of clichés and the unfrightening nature of Amish country does not lend to its criminal element. If anything I would like to see a little more of a cohesive and structured narrative. I don’t need believable; I just want to be entertained. And right now I am thinking if I drove through Pennsylvania, Banshee would be a pretty boring place to stop.