This review contains spoilers.
3.8 All The Wisdom I Got Left
One of the things that sets Banshee apart from other pulp/action shows is the strength of its villains. It would be extremely easy to just spit out a succession of increasingly ridiculous pulp figures; in fact, with characters like the obese billionaire from episode three and the fight manager this week, the show does exactly that. But those characters are never front and centre. They’re just fun window dressing for a crazy world. It’s characters like Kai Proctor and Chayton Littlestone that take Banshee above and beyond. They are empathetic and fascinating figures who the audience actually care about; so when they finally meet their fate, it’s more complex and satisfying than the violent death of a simple moustache twirling bad guy.
All The Wisdom I Got Left was devoted primarily to Hood’s pursuit of Chayton through the swamps and streets of Louisiana. This material didn’t disappoint, but even the home front stuff was pretty damn compelling this week. First and foremost, the rift between Proctor and Rebecca seems to have reached the point of no return, as Rebecca’s reckless decisions lead to her uncle’s kidnapping. At this point I’m almost certain that Emily isn’t going to survive, something that will destroy Proctor’s newfound decency and set the morally fracturing Brock on what is bound to be one hell of a rampage.
Rebecca’s corruption has been so interesting in that it isn’t a simple case of her slowly becoming her uncle. She may be determined to become a powerful player, but her hubris and inexperience has come back to bite her. She underestimates everyone around her, and that is extremely dangerous. Just look at her attempted seduction of Burton; as if something so base ever could have worked on him (something I was sure of before it turned out he had a very particular reason for his disinterest). She is far too intoxicated by her brief tastes of power to realise that without Proctor, she’s nobody.
We also saw a brief tease at the end of the season’s other major lingering subplot; the vengeance of Colonel Stowe. He’s clearly a lethal adversary and I’m not sure that our band of thieves is quite ready for the mayhem he will certainly unleash on them. As beloved as characters like Job and Sugar are (and this week we got a larger than usual serving of their delightful double act), Banshee has proved it has no qualms about dispatching fan favourites with alarming brutality, and at this point I’m legitimately scared to see what happens next week. It’s hard to imagine Stowe’s retribution will go down without bloodshed.
But really, all of this was just a bonus for this week’s main attraction; the showdown between Hood and Chayton. I had thought they would save this for the finale, but to build a whole episode around it and give them such a distinct background to wage their war against was a brilliant way to handle it. I was a little disappointed by how easily the Redbones were dealt with after the siege, but Chayton was always the main attraction, not his faceless army, and here we got to see him at his most relentless. The fights were typically tense, white knuckled affairs and the final chase through the streets and graveyard was edge of the seat stuff. To the last, Chayton stood up for what he believed in, taunting Hood about his lack of purpose, whispering his tribal song even as Hood’s shotgun literally tore chunks out of him. And the final shot? Only Banshee would take something so similar to the demise of a certain drug dealer in Breaking Bad then amp it up to 11; blowing off half of Chayton’s head. It might have looked at little too CGI, but it was hard not to get caught up in the sheer chaos of it all. A character like Chayton deserved a spectacular death and the show more than rose to the challenge.
As promising as Stowe is, it’s hard to imagine he can top Chayton as a truly memorable, compelling villain. The Native American giant almost gave the great Kai Proctor a run for his money, and the presence and power that Geno Segers bought to the role on a weekly basis was an absolute treat to behold. He has been a big part of what makes Banshee season three such an exciting new high watermark for the series, and he will be missed. Still, if nothing else Chayton proved the ongoing strength of the ideas Banshee applies with each season, and it’s hard not to be excited by what they might come up with next.
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