This may not be the Banshee season-ender we were expecting, but it’s certainly the profoundly violent and emotionally draining episode we deserve.
Spoilers ahead for “We All Pay Eventually.”
Unlike last season’s finale, the single-minded “Bullets and Tears,” in which the entire episode revolved around Hood and Carrie’s final showdown with Rabbit, “We All Pay Eventually” seeks to wrap up loose ends to three storylines. It’s a bold and ambitious move, and each dramatic resolution is given its proper due.
First up is Proctor’s showdown with the Black Beards, who tortured and nearly killed Kai over a perceived deal gone bad. This proved to be a major turning point for Proctor, who’d just lost his mother and saw control of his business affairs slipping away from him. But no more. Now, with Burton and Rebecca at his side, he journeys to Philly to make a peace offering (a sword!) and strike a new business deal with Hector Morales and the Salvadorans. What ensues is a shootout at the not-so-OK Corral. What begins with Burton removing his glasses soon ends with a lot of dead Black Beards and a decapitated Frazier. (His beheading isn’t nearly as gruesome as the gunshot that took out most of Chayton’s head, but it comes pretty close.)
Up next is Hood and Gordon’s two-man assault on the decommissioned Camp Genoa. Job, Carrie and Sugar are still trapped inside, sniping at one another as they try desperately to assuage their mounting panic and nurse their battered bodies. Their predicament seems hopeless, at least from where they’re sitting; they can only assume that help is on the way. Luckily, Hood and Gordon are well-armed, and are more than up to the task of taking on Stowe’s men. The action quickly splinters into three fronts, with Carrie taking on Stowe, Job taking on Murphy, and Hood and Gordon basically taking out everyone else.
We’ve seen Carrie hold her own in a fight before, but this is a down and dirty, take-no-prisoners brawl with Stowe. Ivana Milicevic is very convincing in this scene (as she is in all fight scenes) trading blows with a man who is more than her match. Chayton may have been evil, but Langley Kirkwood’s Stowe is vicious and unsentimental.
Hoon Lee is also exciting to watch as he goes one on one with Murphy, Stowe’s silent right-hand man. Their matchup is fast, furious, and efficient, but in the end only Job is left standing. Anyone who wouldn’t want someone like Job in their corner is crazy. He’s the whole package, baby, a hacker with a heart of gold who can drop you with a roundhouse kick. What’s not to like?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sugar, who gets a few licks in and even lands the kind of impressive haymaker that would make any heavyweight proud.
But the real takeaway from this battle is not Stowe’s evisceration. No, it’s what a badass Gordon Hopewell is. We saw a bit of this when he brawled alongside Carrie, laying waste to assailants half their age. This time, however, we see the Gulf War veteran and ex-Marine in action, taking out Stowe’s men with quiet, eagle-eyed efficiency. Considering he was a drunken sad sack at the beginning of the season, this is an impressive trajectory for a character who was in desperate need of rescuing. This being a finale, though, there are inevitably casualties that hit close to home, and this time Gordon’s number is up.
Last but not least in this trifecta of finale-fueled violence is Kurt Bunker. Initially, I didn’t know what to make of Bunker when he first approached Hood for a job. On a show like Banshee, it’s easy to imagine something more nefarious to this mysterious job seeker; but just the opposite was true. Bunker certainly proved his loyalty in “Tribal” as he helped to hold off the Red Bones. We know from that same episode that Bunker is battling the demons of his past, and tonight, we get to see first-hand the toll this struggle is taking on him. In what I’d consider a show-stealing performance, Tom Pelphrey portrays a man who is battling enemies within and without. Bunker is both frightened and frightening in a barely contained, rage-fueled confession. Which begs the question, how can he save his brother Calvin from a life of hatred if he can barely save himself?
Some closing thoughts:
Considering Hood is the emotional center of Banshee, there’s an awful lot we don’t know about him. Which is what makes flashbacks to his reconditioning so interesting. We’ve heard of Dalton, and now we get to meet the shadowy man behind the name. Dalton wants Hood to conquer his fear and finally harness his true potential. That Hood was possibly once part of an elite unit goes a long way to explaining his resourcefulness and resolve.
We learn Hood’s parents are named Catherine and Dennis. We also learn that a younger Hood’s defense of his abused mother led to patricide. Interesting details, yes, but we still don’t know Hood’s real name. His continued anonymity is part of the fun.
The last shots of Banshee’s finale present us with Proctor and Hood, bruised and battered. There’s bad blood between these two, but ultimately no hard feelings. Seeing Proctor’s mouth curl up with the hint of a sly smile is an apt final image.
Banshee itself is a lot like Kai Proctor. It’s lean and scrappy, explosive and unpredictable. Week after week, Banshee has given of itself to its loyal viewers, pouring heart and soul into tales of good people in a town gone bad. And, like Kai Proctor, Banshee has a knack for survival, having wisely been renewed by Cinemax for a fourth season.
Some thoughts for season 4:
I assume we’ll be seeing more of the Salvadorans’ Morales next season. You really have to admire the cajones of someone who brings a sword to a gunfight.
Hood gives up the badge but will he really leave Banshee? I know this may be dubbed “too soon” by many readers, but with Gordon now but a memory, would it be so outlandish for Hood to become the Hopewell family’s surrogate father?
With absolutely no leads, how will Job be found? This is especially troubling when you consider Leo is a fellow hacker who knows how to cover his tracks. He may not be as talented as Job, but he’s currently the one holding all the cards.
As for Bunker, I fear not only for his safety, but for his sanity, too. He is a good person who has done bad things. Now, his past has caught up to him with a vengeance. Surely we’ll see him respond in kind next season.