Banshee‘s season 2 finale, “Bullets and Tears,” was an amazing hour of television that easily transcended the small screen. It left me wanting more—more backstory, more mythology, more answers. And yet, at the same time, this pulse-pounding, heart-rending finale also left me wanting less—less tragedy, less mournful farewells, less emptiness for those whom we have lost.
I’m a sucker for a good flashback, and tonight’s episode delivered them in spades. Up to now, we’ve only seen fleeting glimpses of the doomed diamond heist that drove Ana into hiding and led to Hood’s time behind bars. But in tonight’s episode, the events leading up to that fateful night 17 years ago are fleshed out in all their terrible glory. As we watch Rabbit, Olek, Ana and Hood toast the success of a recent heist, it’s with a bittersweet melancholy that we finally understand that these four were, at some point, like family. But every family has its secrets, and this surrogate family is no exception.
Olek, with a sharp eye for details (and an eye towards Ana), wonders how certain credentials for the truck job were obtained so quickly and easily. Hood explains that he “knows a guy.” A mobster like Rabbit “knows” some guys. He knows lots of guys, in fact, but this person of Hood’s is an unknown quantity. Rabbit is not a man who likes secrets, and he does not suffer betrayal well. Which brings us to the Capitol Diamond heist, which Rabbit pitches to Ana and Hood as “one last job.” Hood is leery; he thinks the phrase “one last job” is fraught with foreboding. But Rabbit isn’t worried about the risk—after all, Hood “knows a guy.”
Sure, the diamond heist is a setup, but this is a story of two betrayals. Rabbit has been wronged by Hood and Ana’s secret romance, yes, but the doomed lovers hope to use the stolen diamonds to start a new life together. Ana tells Hood that no one steals from Rabbit, but Hood has it all figured out. Anyone who has watched Banshee from the beginning understands the weight of this scene. Seen previously only in fleeting flashbacks, “Bullets and Tears” finally fleshes out this conversation (and, indeed the events leading up to the diamond heist) in a way that makes its viewers complicit in Hood and Ana’s subterfuge. Whether we want to or not, we bring our own collective baggage back through this time machine. Like Ana, we fear for the immediate future, knowing the young lovers don’t stand a chance against the machinations of Rabbit’s vendetta. Rabbit does offer his daughter a Get Out of Jail Free card, as it were, by allowing her a last chance to confess her sins. It would seem that Rabbit isn’t all bad—just mostly bad.
Likewise, Hood and Ana aren’t all good—they’re just mostly good. But that’s not enough for them to effect their escape. And that’s where Job comes in. I’ll say this about Hood’s guy—he knows how to make a first impression—in full drag queen mode, no less. He may be performing for a packed club, but he doesn’t miss a beat as he takes down a drunken, racist heckler. Backstage, he sizes up Ana. He already knew she spelled trouble for Hood; meeting her simply confirms it. But friendship runs deep, and Job has set them up with new identities: Tom and Carrie Palmer. Ever with an eye for detail, Job even has them driving matching leased Hondas. Happiness is theirs for the taking—on paper, at least. But as we already know, nobody steals from Rabbit.
In the end, it’s Olek who tips off the police to the heist as Rabbit quietly looks on. And just like that, with one phone call, Hood and Ana’s happy future together is no more. We know the rest—Hood sacrifices himself so that Ana can escape from the cops and from her father. His surrender is love in its truest form.
Which brings us to the present. Ana and Hood may have spent the last 15 years apart, but they are united now in what may be their final showdown with Rabbit. We know they are willing to die if need be, but that doesn’t stop them from seeking out an old friend of Hood’s a local arms dealer known as Big Au.
Their reunion goes well, to say the least. That Big Au owes his life to Hood is something the arms dealer thinks about every day. Whatever Hood and Ana need is theirs for the taking and on the house. All that Big Au asks for in return is that Hood, whom he refers to as Soldier Boy, keep his problems above Canal.
Still sidelined by his concussion, Job is forced to sit this one out. He doesn’t know if he will ever see Hood and Ana again. He offers them a bit of sage advice about Rabbit, perhaps for the last time: “This time make sure he stays dead!”
The shootout in the hospital may have been loud and messy, but this time, Hood and Ana’s assault on the church is quiet and efficient. Rabbit’s brother, Yulish, however, stymies their plan, stalling them just long enough for armed reinforcements to arrive. Outnumbered and low on ammo, Ana and Hood have risked too much to simply give up. The best they can do, though, is run for cover as the bullets begin to fly. They manage to fire off a few shots, but it’s simply not enough. Echoing that fateful night 15 years before, Hood is once again willing to sacrifice himself for Ana. Armed with nothing but a knife, Hood tells Ana that once he makes his move, she needs to run for the back of the church and return home to her family. Ana won’t hear of it, but Hood has made up his mind—he is ready to die for all the right (and wrong) reasons. It’s the ultimate self-sacrifice. And I will admit, as Hood lunged into the open, I truly believed he had met his end. But the gunfire we hear is that of the cavalry—Job and Big Au to be specific. Even a last-ditch attack by Yulish is in vain as Hood brings the priest down low in a final hail of bullets.
As for Rabbit, he’s the big game in this scenario. He is already waiting for them on a bench in the church courtyard. Upon learning of his brother’s death, Rabbit knows his number is truly up. As it turns out, this is the same courtyard in which Rabbit and Ana’s mother were wed, once upon a time. Ana says her final goodbyes before removing all but one bullet from her clip.
And just like that, after drawing together the past and present, Banshee resolves its biggest storyline with a single bullet. The look on Hood’s face suggests shock and sadness more than it does relief. With Rabbit gone, he and Ana are finally free. But what kind of lives are they really returning to? Once Hood and Ana return to Banshee, they’re returning to their uncertain realities. Ana is dead; it’s Carrie now who goes back to her family.
As for Hood, he knows he and Carrie can never be together. But that doesn’t mean that Siobhan is a consolation prize—far from it. Hood finally understands it’s time to embrace not only this fresh start, but to embrace a woman he is allowing himself to fall in love with. Their heartfelt embrace is one full of hope and promise.
But we’re not quite in the clear just yet as Banshee refuses to end its second season on a moment of quiet reflection. It’s here, in the finale’s closing moments, that the seeds for season 3 are planted in fertile ground.
Alex Longshadow and Rebecca are taking their tryst to another level. As they get down to a different kind of business in the tribal council’s chambers, Rebecca’s motives are immediately clear—she’s the forbidden fruit and a femme fatale all rolled into one. Her only interest in the tribal chief is seeing him dead. But being the naïf she is, it’s a messy, blood-soaked affair. Alex may think he’s the mythical Thunder Man, but even he can’t withstand a bullet to the head.
The biggest shock of the night is reserved for Emmett and his wife, Meg, who are literally on the road to a fresh start. But when they stop off at a roadside food stand, a van pulls up. The door slides open to reveal Pat Sharp’s friend’s friend, who guns down Emmett and his wife in a hail of bullets before disappearing into the night. No one can outrun their past missteps forever. Emmet enacted his form of justice, and was repaid in kind. As we learned tonight, in the end, when it comes to vendettas, even the winners are losers in some small but vital way.
Some closing thoughts:
-Rebecca informs Proctor (who was freed on a technicality, as he knew he would be) that she killed Longshadow “for you.” Dare I ask what else Rebecca is willing to do for her uncle?
-Brock resigns, as well he might. He knows that Hood is not what he seems. I have mixed feelings about Brock, and I for one hope that he returns.
(whoops! You caught us there, folks!)
-Now that everything is out on the table, it was only a matter of time before Deva learned the truth about Hood. She turns up at the police station, with a cautious “Hello, dad.” Whoa.
-Because this finale is the gift that keeps on giving, we’re taken to an underground fight club in New Orleans. Remember Chayton Littlestone, the Kinaho outlaw who escaped from police custody? Now that Alex Longshadow is gone, it looks like Chayton has some unfinished business back in Banshee.