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Banshee “Little Fish” Review (2×01)

11 Jan

banshee-s2-e1-tThe first season of Banshee stumbled right out of the gate, but it slowly grew into one of the most entertaining shows on television; the plot was absolutely ludicrous, but there was a manic energy that injected life into the proceedings, whether it be the brutal violence or the steamy sex scenes. Surprisingly, the show tones it down for the season 2 premiere, and it still delivers a great, more contemplative start to the season.

The big change in season 2 is the introduction of the fantastic Zeljko Ivanek’s Agent Racine, a chain-smoking, cancer-ridden, no nonsense guy whose main purpose is to find Rabbit; to do this, he’s willing to use the people of Banshee as bait. Right off the bat, his character is an intriguing antagonist, a guy hellbent on revenge who’s still a bit bound by the constraints of the law. Yet, there’s something simmering there, and Ivanek brilliantly portrays a man just about ready to crack. In fact, he also succeeds in sticking his nose into the Banshee police department, raising questions about what exactly they’re doing; why are they following the will of a few people? Why hasn’t everything tumbled down yet? Those look to be intriguing questions heading into the rest of the season.

What this show is about, aside from the sex and violence, is the inherent corruption in identity, the tug-of-war between two worlds or two versions of yourself. Take Carrie, for example, who, in my opinion, is a hell of a lot more interesting than Hood; Milicevic does great work as yet another person teetering on the brink, especially having lost her family, her job, and any sense of respectability in the town. For her, it’s a choice between family life and crime, and while she wants to settle down, she also gets her fix from the thrill of, say, robbing an armored truck. By the way, that sequence is pretty damn awesome.

As a whole, “Little Fish” is both set-up and clean-up, and the episode does a nice job of doing things like bringing the Native Americans into the fold, which was a weak element last year. The tone is set for the rest of the season: although everything may eventually explode, there’s a reason behind all the madness. It may be less insane, but it’s a more fully-formed show.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Well, Hood bangs yet another woman, this time Odette Annable’s Nola Longshadow.

-Job and Sugar are fun, as always.

-Hopefully we see a bit more of Kai and Rebecca next week. They are, surprisingly, pushed aside in this episode.

-Cinemax is really great now; with Strike Back ending, hopefully Banshee takes the reins and leads to more high-quality shows.

-I’m glad this show is back. I’ll try to cover the whole season.

Photo credit: Cinemax, Banshee

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