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Banshee: A Fixer of Sorts Review
January 27, 2015
Banshee’s third season is already going for broke—and it’s only the third episode.
Spoilers ahead. If you’re not fully caught up on this show, this review is not for you.
Lucas Hood is a man with no name but a hell of a past. And that past has finally caught up to him in a big way, courtesy of intrepid FBI Special Agent Robert Phillips (Denis O'Hare), the eponymous fixer. Agent Phillips admits he wasn’t even trying to find Hood—it was a missing agent he was tracking down. And we all remember Agent Racine (played so ably by Željko Ivanek), don’t we? He met his end last season courtesy of Hood and Carrie. Which would explain why Agent Phillips found nothing but Racine’s charred remains. But as Phillips puzzled his fellow agent’s demise, the trail soon led to Banshee’s bogus sheriff. Discovering the truth about Hood, it would seem, was simply gravy. At the end of the day, Phillips is just trying to do his job by bringing Hood back to New York. Hell, even Hood himself understands this about the man. But more on this—and Raymond Brantley’s rolling 18-wheeler of death—in just a bit.
In a night of jaw-dropping moments, the scene that truly had me on the edge of my seat was not the shootout at the Savoy (which was a true nail-biter), but the knock-down, drag-out matchup between two true Banshee badasses: Clay Burton and Nola Longshadow. Who we’re meant to root for in this fight is really beside the point; it’s the fight itself that matters. And what a fight it is—which is saying something, considering this series is certainly no stranger to show-stopping brawls. The brilliant fight choreography and gore reminded me a bit of Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies—specifically Beatrix Kiddo facing down the Crazy 88 in the House of Blue Leaves. (If you enjoy a show like Banshee, I have to imagine you’re familiar with Tarantino’s work.) Like Tarantino, Banshee’s creators dabble quite artfully in violence, upping the stakes with character-driven drama and leavening the tension as needed with quick bits of humor. But this showdown between Burton and Nola takes mayhem to a whole other level—especially knowing that only one of these fan-favorites would walk away from this fight. For a while there I honestly thought Nola would come out on top. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing. But once Burton’s glasses came off, I knew for sure Nola Longshadow was not long for this world. One has to imagine that Chayton and Burton are now destined to face off, and if so, I can’t imagine Burton walking away from that one.
And if Burton can’t stand toe to toe with the Red Bone leader, what chance does Deputy Billy Raven have against Chayton? Billy knows it, too—after all, he did kill his brother, Tommy Littlestone. It’s only a matter of time before the Red Bone gang comes for Billy and his family. Like Deputy King says to Chayton in tonight’s episode, “You treat violence like it’s the solution.” And on a show like Banshee, that violence is destructive, a never-ending cycle.
As for Hood, the show’s truest (and best) antihero, everything he has built up for himself in Banshee is about to crash down around. When the truth comes out, the beating he suffered at the hands of Brantley’s goons will seem like a walk in the park compared to facing down the real Banshee authorities. Every doubt or suspicion that Brock and Siobhan entertained will bear itself out in spectacular fashion. Not only is Hood not the sheriff, he’s a vigilante ex-con playing his new friends and coworkers for fools. This is one corner he can’t escape from unscathed. And I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to next week’s inevitable confrontation between Hood and Siobhan. The heartbreak on her face alone would stop anyone in their tracks.