This review contains spoilers.
3.9 Even God Doesn’t Know What To Make Of You
Banshee season three has been such an embarrassment of riches that when an episode falls a little flat, it stands out. In the weeks so far we have had the siege, the Burton/Nola fight, the heist at Camp Genoa, Chayton and Hood’s showdown and many more immediately iconic moments on a week to week basis. An episode that lacks such a moment but still manages to balance action, heart and a killer cliffhanger would be a top-notch hour in any other show; but this is Banshee, and we have been so spoilt this year that it was hard not to be a little let down as the show devoted itself primarily to putting things in place for the big finale.
Maybe my expectations were a little high. Somehow I figured, possibly based on the trailer, that we would get some gigantic turning point for Kai Proctor (probably the death of Emily) as well as no shortage of action on the Camp Genoa front. What we got was far from shabby, but as the episode went on I started to feel, for the first time this year, that Banshee was treading water. Again, I’m the first to admit that this is an unfair criticism of a show that has gone above and beyond all expectations this year, but I guess I still wanted more.
First and foremost, Proctor’s decision to stop trying to be decent seemed kind of abrupt. I mean, sure he had been beaten and left for dead, but that’s just a normal day for the characters on this show. After a whole season building up to him deciding to change his ways, being kidnapped and threatened seemed a pretty weak reason for a sudden reversal. I guess you could infer from this that the monster was only resting, that the damage to Proctor’s soul runs so deep that it only takes a little bit of punishment for him to explode again, but any plot development that needs intellectualising in order to make sense hasn’t done its job properly. If we don’t immediately understand the mechanics of the change, we should at least feel it, and Proctor’s ordeal didn’t feel like the kind of thing that would change him back. Maybe if his newfound faith was more strongly established and external forces had been chipping away at it for a while now, but he only really consolidated it last week. It’s a rare case of Banshee’s lightning pacing working against it, and it makes everything the character went through this year feel a little pointless. If Emily or Rebecca had died, for example, I would have believed the change. As it stands it’s hard to feel too invested in whatever havoc he will wreak in the finale, as it’s not coming from an empathetic place. It’s a shame, as Proctor has generally always been somewhat understandable and I really thought his slow transformation was a natural progression for him, albeit one that could be undone by the right blow to his psyche. This, sadly, was not the right blow.
As far as the Camp Genoa stuff goes, I wasn’t too disappointed that all we got was set up. All the good stuff has clearly been saved for next week, and the trailers promise something absolutely outstanding. Additionally, and I really can’t believe I’m saying this; I’m actually a little excited by the idea of Hood and Gordon teaming up to save Carrie. Gordon has somehow turned into a decent character this year, and one who has already proved his worth in a fight. Provided he and Carrie survive the finale, it will be interesting to see what his increasing familiarity with violence does for their shared understanding as a (potentially) reconciling couple.
It’s actually a nice reversal to see Hood having to rescue his friends; remember the season one finale, where everyone teamed up to save him from Rabbit? Carrie, Sugar and Job’s capture immediately raises the stakes in a way that is both personal and, for the audience, upsetting. We have learned to love these misfits over three years of this show, and the idea of losing any one of them is horrible to even contemplate. But this is Banshee, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to always be prepared for the worst. At least we know it won’t ever be dull.
This episode may have fallen short on a couple of points, but this season has accrued so much goodwill that it’s easy enough to forgive. And with the promise of a truly spectacular finale in a week’s time, I’m in the conflicted position of being both desperate to see what happens and also wanting it to last as long as possible. Banshee has become the treat that kicks off the TV watching year, and I’m not ready for it to slink off into hiatus just yet. Thankfully, it’s looking like it will go out in style.
Read Gabriel’s review of the previous episode, All The Wisdom I Got Left, here.
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