Banshee: Ways to Bury a Man review

Banshee season 2 continues on Cinemax with another expectedly violent (and unexpectedly humorous) episode. Here's David's review...

An over-the-top, in-your-face series like Banshee has all the subtlety of an 18-wheeler crashing through a meth lab. But in a good way, of course. Like Kai Proctor tells frenemy Alex Longshadow in “Ways to Bury a Man” sometimes the best way to go over a mountain is through it. But more on that—and the meth lab—in a bit.

Let’s discuss Jason Hood, whose mortality was never in question from the moment he tracked down the man masquerading as his father. If there was ever any doubt that Jason might not make it out of Dodge alive, the troubled, on-the-lam youngster definitely sealed his fate after he slept with Proctor’s niece Rebecca—not once, but twice. As we soon find out in “Ways to Bury a Man,” Jason is unceremoniously turned into grade D nacho-flavored ground chuck. And, as one might imagine, this does not sit well with Lucas Hood. He may have rescued the boy from vengeful drug dealers, but he ultimately couldn’t save a dead man’s son from his own poor choices (and dialed-up libido). Lucas Hood, who acted as Jason’s de facto father, is spurred into action as the town’s would-be sheriff.

Another frenemy confab ensues, this time between Hood and Brock. Resentful and suspicious of Hood’s questionable methods of law enforcement, Brock is nonetheless intrigued by Hood’s sudden vendetta against the shunned Dutchman (Note to self: form a garage band and call it The Shunned Dutchmen). The deputy unknowingly echoes Sugar’s advice to Hood: you can’t take a man like Proctor head on. To his credit, Hood heeds their advice. He channels his rage and frustration into performing what Brock considers real police work.

Deputies in tow, the Banshee PD hits Proctor where it hurts—in one of his many illegal endeavors—starting with the Savoy strip club (known locally as Banshee’s Home for Wayward Husbands). It’s a sound plan, but inevitably Hood and Gordon Hopewell cross paths. At this point it’s safe to say these two men are well beyond being frenemies. Accusations are lobbed, punches are thrown, and Siobhan shows up in time to save the new mayor from a savage beatdown of a man he suspects to be his estranged wife’s lover. Truly, Gordon has hit rock bottom.

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Ever since the end of season one, Gordon’s confusion and anger over Carrie’s secret past has morphed into a full-on shame spiral that’s left his self-respect in shambles. His kids are left more or less to fend for themselves (and survive on breakfast cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). Scrappy as Deva is, though, she’s still only 15—hardly old enough to deal with one of Max’s severe asthma attacks. Gordon is MIA, so it’s Carrie to the rescue. This development is a logical choice, both for Deva and for the series. Since leaving prison, Carrie’s storyline has fallen a bit flat. Luckily for her, Max’s asthma attack has breathed new life into her character.

As for the beleaguered Kinaho chief, Alex Longshadow’s unlikely alliance with Proctor is more out of desperation than convenience. And Proctor does what he does best by consolidating his power through brute intimidation. The tribal council, bullied and threatened behind the scenes by Proctor and his goons, backs down from their vote of no confidence in Alex. Let it be said that Rebecca’s alliance with her uncle is less productive—clearly she’s in way over her head. Watching someone you’ve slept with get run through a meat grinder would mess with anyone’s head.

So, back to that 18-wheeler. A bit of detective work by the BPD (and an obligatory brawl with some surly white supremacists) uncovers Proctor’s connection to the aforementioned meth lab. Job and Sugar (frenemies without benefits) are enlisted in Hood’s grand plan to destroy the lab and send a decisive message to Proctor. It’s a great moment, one that literally lights up the screen with an explosive fireball that levels the lab. It’s also an important victory for Hood.

Some closing thoughts:

-There were a few welcome moments of unexpected humor, from Emmett (his quip about forgiveness is excellent) and especially from Brock. Humor, especially in a brutal series like Banshee, is a great way to humanize its characters. Normally the funniest lines are reserved for Job (who delivers sarcasm-drenched zingers with aplomb), but I wouldn’t mind to see the barbs divvied up (even if it’s at the expense of Brock’s safety and sanity).

-Deva’s character has really evolved over the last several episodes. Max, though, not so much. From the moment he was introduced in season as The Kid with Asthma, I had a feeling the youngest Hopewell was nothing more than a walking plot device.

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-I really like Hood and Siobhan as a couple but I have a feeling things won’t end well between them. Hopefully I’m wrong. I’d really hate to see Siobhan become collateral damage.

-Did Rebecca’s dreamlike underwater meditation remind anyone else of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate—or am I dating myself with this reference?

-Would it kill anyone in this town to ever use Band-Aids on their cuts?

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4 out of 5