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Banshee “The Truth About Unicorns” Review (2×05)

8 Feb

56c42f8361bd4ca9cc4832b20ae7f552Well, that was different.

Season 2 of Banshee seems to be intent on toning things down a bit, and “The Truth About Unicorns” is an intriguing, ambitious hour of television that serves as the “calm before the storm”. Not everything here works, and while it’ll most likely go down as the most divisive episode of the series thus far, I have to say that I very much enjoyed it.

I love when shows decide to take risks like these, but I do recognize that the risks do not always reap the rewards. Having said that, this episode is a great exploration of the themes of the series, the constant push-and-pull nature of living a double life, the inherent awfulness of certain situations. For example, even given Carrie’s not out of prison, she’s still emotionally distant from her family; it’s not an ideal situation for her at all, and Hood recognizes her attachment to something she may never grasp again. It seems as if this little road trip is a necessary reprieve for the both of them, not so they can find their love again, but rather to bond over shared hardship.

Of course, this particular reprieve is laced with tension, as Hood continues to hallucinate and act increasingly paranoid. It turns out that the grocery woman is the sniper, but the point has already been made: Carrie and Hood are in a state of limbo right now, both feeling at their calmest and their most paranoid. That’s this world for you.

The episode also features the return of Zeljko Ivanek’s Agent Racine, and he gets one electric scene before being dispatched by a sniper. If there’s one thing in the episode that disappoints me, it’s his death; I was looking forward to seeing the three work together to take down Rabbit, as it would be an interesting team-up with interesting conflicts. In addition, Ivanek’s the kind of actor who adds something excellent to each scene he’s in, and it’s a shame to lose him.

However, after Racine is killed, we get one of the best set pieces I’ve ever seen on television: Carrie, Hood, and the sniper facing off in the wheat. It’s a beautifully directed, very intense scene that’s absolutely perfect for this kind of episode. Take a look at this gorgeous shot:

Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 11.06.37 PM

Ultimately, what this episode comes down to is a strengthening of the central relationship of the show: Hood and Carrie. It asks us what could’ve been, but it also tells us why it can’t be. There’s a dream-like quality throughout that adds to this idea, and Sugar lays it all out at the end; they’re always going to be stuck in this rut because that’s who they are, and that’s the simple truth. And Hood responds, “Fuck it.”

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Excellent work by John Romano, the director of this episode. He creates a Malick-ian feel throughout, and while it’s jarringly different from normal Banshee, it’s gorgeous.

-I have to admit, though: the editing isn’t all that great in this episode. The quick cuts just don’t work for me.

-No sex this week, which is appropriate for this episode.

-Lynn Renee from Strike Back shows up.

-Actually, there’s pretty much no one in this except for Carrie and Hood. It’s a break of sorts, but then again, it’s ripe with character development.

-I look forward to seeing all Hell break loose in the second half of the season.

Photo credit: Cinemax, Banshee

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