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Banshee “Bullets and Tears” Review (2×10)

14 Mar

1f069f3ecac745dac5905909ebe5f438“How many lives have you lived?”        “None, really.”

We’re at the end of season 2 of Banshee, and what a ride it has been. After a few slower-moving episodes to open the season, “The Truth About Unicorns” marked an essential turning point in the story, one which led to some of the most thrilling television I’ve seen; I’m bummed that we won’t get anymore episodes until next year.

This season’s really honed in on the character of Lucas Hood and the two worlds he’s occupied, emphasizing the need to find a middle ground that doesn’t infringe upon either one; he needs to come to terms with his past, but he also has to look forward to the future. In this episode, the flashbacks are fantastic, as they not only deliver some really interesting character interactions, but also places that final emphasis on the themes behind our main character’s arc: the fact that Hood was the one who initiated much of the shit that’s occurred. Even when he’s out there saving Banshee from a bunch of criminals, he’s pulling everyone down with him, and has been doing that for a while. The whole season’s been about identity, and him coming to terms with his past is essential.

The flashbacks also do a nice job of contrasting the Ana of before and the Carrie of now, paralleling her desire for closure with Hood’s and outlining different family dynamics. She, like Hood, has to get rid of Rabbit in order to move on, and although there’s a sense of respect for her family, there’s also the knowledge that she’s created a new family for herself.

I wasn’t a big fan of keeping Rabbit alive, but man oh man, this episode really makes a case for that decision. Fittingly, he doesn’t die in a storm of bullets, but rather in a scene in which the show dials back on the violence; he’s reached a point where he’s fully accepted his death, and it’s nice to see all three characters get a moment in which they can, you know, talk it out a bit and acknowledge both past and future. Rabbit serves almost like a cautionary tale of sorts, and his death doesn’t necessarily bring the catharsis of his season 1 death; this is conveyed perfectly by Starr, Milicevic, and Cross, who all do some really great work in that scene.

I also like how, now that Rabbit’s dead, Carrie and Hood still have a lot to figure out; their shared goal, their excuse, is now eliminated, and what’s to come will probably be more difficult than what just transpired. Carrie’s now Carrie–Ana is gone–and she has to continue to reconcile with her family, and Hood’s trying to make things work with Siobhan and really find his place in Banshee. This is all bound to get even more complicated, what with Deva confronting Hood and all.

Of course, this is where my B+ grade factors in. I’m completely fine with all the ideas thrown in at the end–Rebecca and Proctor’s incestuous relationship (season 3 should allow for more of this pairing, now that Rabbit’s gone), Emmett getting gunned down, Rebecca killing Longshadow, and Chayton Littlestone returning–but not shoehorned in, all at once, at the end of a stellar 40 minutes of television. Yes, it may be exciting, but we’re all going to be sticking around for season 3; there’s no need to rush things.

Still, this is a mostly fabulous finale, one which ties up loose ends and previews the future. Times are changing in Banshee, and although that fallen chess piece at the end may keep on spinning, we always have other pieces to move.

GRADE: B+

SEASON GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-It’s great seeing people like Olek and Racine again. Zeljko Ivanek, in particular, was a bit underused this year.

-I really hope Hoon Lee’s still on the show; Job’s an always entertaining character, and they tie him in nicely to the overarching storyline here. Also, that drag queen bit where he takes down a heckler.

-Emmett’s death carries a bit of “shock factor” with it, but it’s also thematically resonant, conveying the cycle that occurs in this town; perhaps the most morally sound guy’s been dragged down into the mud. You can never escape Banshee.

-Wow, Thunder Man does not go quickly.

-That fight in the church is just pure fun, what with the music and the sliding across the floor and Job/Fat Al bursting in and shooting up the place. There are obviously cliches, but the show’s able to take something like Hood’s decision to sacrifice himself–even though we know he won’t die–and make it emotionally resonant, or take something like someone riding in and saving the day, and make it just plain awesome.

-I also love Fat Al’s group of people that Hood and Carrie run into earlier on, all of whom get beat up, but then immediately pull large guns out of thin air and surround them in about 2 seconds.

-That’s it for me, folks. Thanks for reading; the show’s really improved this year, and it only has me even more excited for what’s to come. Ugh, January of 2015 is too far away, and we won’t even have Strike Back in the interim to make the wait easier.

-What do you want to see in season 3?

Photo credit: Cinemax, Banshee

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