Banshee, Season 1, Episode 4: Half Deaf is Better Than All Dead, Review

Starting to get good . . .

After last week’s terrific episode that made me dig this new Cinemax series, Banshee returns this week with a little more backstory. The show seems to have found its stride and is staying with the heavy violence and nudity that is its hallmark. Banshee is definitely one of those series that takes some getting used to as far as checking your reality meter at the door the same way you have to on some new series. But I am starting to feel the buildup of what they are going for in Banshee from a gestalt point of view.

Naturally, the opening is a sex scene between Carrie and her husband Gordon, the District Attorney. Carrie is clearly having a hard time focusing between the sheets with her husband because clearly she is conflicted about Hood being back on the scene. Carrie’s love for her doting D.A. husband and the man she let take the fall for her is eating away at her. Cut to Hood in the middle of a hallway in a museum in Harrisburg, PA with a case around his torso carrying a stolen painting (like Nicolas Cage with the Declaration of Independence in National Treasure) and the alarms blaring. He runs as fast as he can, but both sides of the hall close and he is boxed in. At first I thought this was a flashback scene because why would Hood, already impersonating an officer of the law want to jeopardize anything by going on a score by himself. Immediately Hood calls Job (Hoon Lee), his computer whiz Asian transvestite from the good old days. Job is owed money by Hood but still manages to use his skills on the computer. When Carrie beeps in, Hood takes the call and asks her to pick him up as Job finally hacks his way to an exit for the Sheriff. What follows is an excellent foot chase scene and a very cool use of the Steadicam. After a prolonged running Hood boxed in with no place to go, Super Suburban Mom Carrie shows up in her SUV with driving skills like Steve McQueen and makes for a clean getaway. OK then.

The next day Hood finds Kat Moody. The widow of the man he shot a few episodes back gives him a stern warning that the other Moody brothers are sure to seek their revenge. (Hood naturally bangs the widow later in the episode even though he killed her husband.) Waiting in Hood’s office is the now dead Reed who died at the rave and is also the state Senator. Irate and sickened, he wants justice and for the drug dealer Hanson to be found. But being a minion of Procter will make things difficult. Deva is called in to the precinct to help ID anyone she may remember who worked with Hanson and definitively fingers an Aryan Nation white supremacist named Arno Webber. Hood and his Deputy find Webber in what appears to be a government housing community run by the Hitler youth. After finding Arno he shows Hood and Deputy Yawners a hand that he has been keeping on ice as his get out of jail free card. The hand is that of the late Hanson and Arno discloses that he took a smartphone video from a distance watching Proctor and his right hand man put the drug dealer through a wood chipper.

After showing the video to the D.A., he orders that they put Arno into protective custody to avoid Proctor getting to him first. After they pick up the small town crime lord, Hood’s patrol car is sideswiped by the Moody brothers sending them all down into the creek with Deputy Yawners knocked out cold. Proctor is strung up and the boys begin to debate who and how to kill Hood. I started hearing “Dueling Banjos” until Hood springs into action and takes down the three rednecks one by one. He even pulls a Reservoir Dogs and tears off one of their ears. Through Hood’s persuasive jailhouse sense, he gives the Moody’s a chance to run off that they are happy to take. Proctor is the bigger fish on the line in Hood’s eyes.

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Using the Moody brothers’ truck, Hood, Yawners and Proctor (in custody) drive back to police headquarters where his lawyer awaits. There is a very erotic scene of Carrie at home in the bathtub having some “me time” as she is having difficulty not thinking of Hood. While back at Sugar’s bar Hood and the old timer discuss future jobs the Sheriff may be planning. Naturally, the aforementioned widow, Kat Moody, is waiting for Hood to get home so she can get her freak on. You know how widows are with the guys who killed their husbands. After Carrie finishes her task she musters up the courage to drive to where Hood is staying but leaves when she sees Kat leaving. Back at the Cadi (the Police HQ that used to be a Cadillac dealer), Proctor is behind bars singing some type of Amish hymn over and over much to the chagrin of Officer Kelly who just wants to get some shut eye. The pimply faced twenty-something Mayor of Banshee visits Proctor and it becomes certain that the Mayor’s father and the crime boss have some kind of history. Even behind bars Proctor manages to be scary and inflict damage on the young Mayor.

The next day in court Proctor’s attorney enters a plea of not guilty and bail is set. Proctor has gotten wind that the D.A. has an eyewitness for the murder of Hanson and has put Bowtie Burton on it. Job shows up out of nowhere to reunite with Hood and he/she is definitely going to be a fish out of water in Banshee more than the Sheriff could ever be. As Deputy Brock is watching Arno in an out of the way motor lodge, a noise startles him. As the tension mounts, a massive vehicle crashes through the wall thus ending the episode and leaving us hanging. I think that this was a classic middle of the season episode that is still establishing its footing. The good news is that Cinemax has already renewed the Alan Ball produced series, which means the network has a great deal of faith in the program. I am starting to as well.