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Banshee “Ways to Bury a Man” Review (2×07)

22 Feb

0ff00a6cfc264001c0da8150711427c3Lucas Hood and Kai Proctor have been on a collision course all season, and tonight’s episode of Banshee sets up an impending showdown in the final three episodes of season 2.

It’s nice to see the show returning to its roots, and the key thing to recognize is that it’s only doing so after shaking up the formula a bit. The first half of the current season still delivered the violence and the sex, but everything seemed to be rooted in character, more contemplative and melancholy.

Now, we’re getting the witty, fast-moving pace of season 1, but that character exploration still shines through. Over the first six episodes, Lucas Hood was teetering at a critical juncture in his development, struggling to figure out his purpose in Banshee and debating the morality of his decisions. Now, he’s transforming all that pent-up frustration and anger–Jason Hood’s death+Proctor is not a good combo, as Hood takes on a fatherly role in addition to his duties as a Sheriff–into fuel for his vendetta against Proctor; it’s a character beat that makes perfect sense, and it’s not the kind surface-level conflict you’d expect from an action show like this. Banshee‘s proven that it’s not just an action show, though.

That’s exemplified by the interactions between Hood and those around him. His relationship with Brock, for example, is very compelling, as there’s both a mutual respect and tension bubbling up to the surface in each conversation. Both actors do fine work with this dynamic, and it’s especially nifty how the show manages to tie these interactions into Hood’s team-up with his old pals, Sugar and Job. Hood seems to be pulling all sides of his life along with him on his path toward Proctor, and this once again raises the season-long question of who Lucas Hood is, whether he’s really just a con who’s buried by who he is inside.

As the title–and Sugar–suggests, there are many ways to bury a man. Hood’s created two realities for himself, and they’re now starting to blur, essentially piling onto his psyche with each passing day. Someone like Gordon’s already buried under a mountain of regrets, digging himself deeper with each drink and each night away from his family, at the strip club; what’s interesting about this is that Hood, although we obviously shouldn’t blame him, did play a part in Gordon’s downward spiral (“Are you sleeping with my wife?”).

All in all, this is an exciting episode that sets up various intriguing character situations, and we’ll most likely see those set-ups knocked down in the remaining episodes. One thing’s for certain: the show may be a bit more “mature” now, but it’ll still deliver its story in the bloodiest, most thrilling way possible.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-This episode is actually really hilarious. There are a multitude of subtle touches that lend to that pure fun aspect of the show.

-What a fantastic, unsettling cold open. Holy shit, meat grinder, followed by cut to one of the best opening credit sequences on TV. It’s obvious Rebecca’s in way over her head, which also adds to that “burying” theme; she’s influenced by Proctor in a way that seems to be inescapable.

-“This ain’t a fucking Road Runner cartoon.”

-Certain character beats are repeated here, but I feel like there’s just enough of a twist on things to help them feel fresh.

-Nice work by Ivana Milicevic when Carrie’s comforting Deva.

-I felt bad for the guy who’s all “Vote aye”, then realizes no one’s supporting him.

-That final sequence is extremely entertaining. Explosions=good, and it’s fantastic to see Sugar, Hood, and Job working together like that again.

-Yeah, Brock knows. Not hard to make that connection.

Photo credit: Cinemax, Banshee

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