Tonight’s ‘Banshee’ had more serial killing — and one of its best scenes ever

Senior Television Writer
05.13.16 20 Comments

A review of the penultimate Banshee – and thoughts on recent episodes of the series – coming up just as soon as my boss catches me saying something inappropriate in the workplace…

“Eventually, the lie took over. I believed it. I was the sheriff. I was a cop, and I liked it. I fuckin' loved it… Somehow, it just felt right.” -Hood

You may recall at the start of the season, I worried that the serial killer storyline was the one thriller cliche that even this show couldn't breathe new life into. If anything, my frustration with the arc only grew over time, as it just kept moving through the same beats every one of these stories has going back at least to Silence of the Lambs – up to and including the moment where it seems like the heroes are about to move in on the killer, only they're going through another door in another place entirely. This was exactly what it seemed to be, the entire time, presenting each moment without the sense of fun or daring that so often characterized Banshee through its earlier seasons. I'm just glad it's over with one episode to go, so the finale can focus on material that actually feels like part of the show, rather than a random 11th hour intrusion by a guy with devil horns.

Now, that story did lead to one of the best and most important scenes in Banshee history, albeit one that could have been inserted into any other kind of life-or-death situation (say, replace Bode and his followers with Calvin and the Brotherhood): Hood and Brock chained in a basement, preparing for their deaths and finally having a candid talk about who and what Hood really is. This was everything we could have hoped for on this subject, with great performances from Antony Starr and Matt Servitto, particularly as Brock struggled to accept the ridiculous truth of his last few years. This is the kind of thing that should have constituted the bulk of these final eight episodes: the characters confronting all the insane things they've said and done since Hood rolled into town, and all the damage done because he insisted on living this lie. There would still be bad guys and fight scenes, because Banshee, but without the show periodically turning into Criminal Minds: Beyond Amish. That Veronica managed to keep her composure throughout nearly all of her ordeal – much to Bode's annoyance – was about the only smart and unusual choice made in that arc, and good riddance to the whole thing.

Outside of the Bode resolution, “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself” did a nice job advancing or concluding the season's other plots. Job getting revenge on the hacker who fingered him to his kidnappers was particularly satisfying, and not just because that fabulous outfit and makeup suggest Job has managed to mostly rebuild himself after his horrific ordeal. That he left the guy alive was perfect; we know Job is just as much of a physical badass as his partners, but what makes him special is his skill behind a keyboard, and framing his nemesis for all of his own crimes seems the most fitting revenge.

The show has had to skimp a bit on the fight budget this year, though we occasionally get long action sequences like Cruz's invasion of Carrie's home last week. Here, we got a pair of Burton scenes where virtually all the violence took place off-camera – first with him pulling Cruz down out of frame and doing something that generated an instant rain of blood(*), then with the camera doing a 360-degree turn through the Brotherhood clubhouse so that most of the Nazis were dead before we were facing Burton again – and while it can be disappointing to not get the full Burton, both sequences did a nice job of letting our imaginations and understanding of Burton's ass-kicking bonafides fill in the blanks. Hopefully, he gets one last big on-screen bit of combat in the finale – Carrie or maybe Hood seem the only characters left who can give him a real run for his money – but with the Brotherhood and the cartels both out there (and Calvin in a doom spiral after the very public murder of his boss), we shouldn't lack for people in need of killin'.

(*) What kind of dry cleaner must Burton and Kai use, given how often their very nice suits get soaked in blood? Or do they just toss the stained garments out and start over every time?

Despite Dr. Hubbard urging Carrie to find closure with Hood, I'm not expecting them to ride happily off into the sunset together. Jonathan Tropper said as much when we spoke at the end of last season, so the question becomes how many characters will make it out of the finale alive – and how many of those who survive might wish they hadn't.

If nothing else, the finale should feel more like pure, concentrated Banshee than the rest of this season, which had to keep putting usual business on hold so we could watch women squirming and screaming as Bode prepared to cut their hearts out.

What did everybody else think? And what one thing are you most hoping to see in the series finale?

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