At the heart of Banshee is a discussion about identity, about who you were, who you are, and who you want to become. It employs a thrilling forward momentum that fits right in with the violence and the sex, but it also constantly looks at the past as it handles its characters and themes. “The Fire Trials”, for example, is an excellent examination of a post-Rabbit world; although the man is dead, the events of season two still play a large role in how our characters act. And here, the show is at its most impressive: it makes a name for itself with the incredible violence and the steamy sex, but what makes those moments even more effective is the fact that they’re surrounded by really interesting ideas and characters.
This premiere episode is about the difficulties of moving on, about the downward spirals you may get caught in when you become caught up in the past. The very first scene, for example, is a tense and well-directed sequence that certainly has the past in mind; after all, Emmett was killed, and his friends are looking to avenge his death. It’s a really interesting scenario because it displays three different people and their reactions in the moment, and those reactions are later expanded upon–or contrasted–with what we see later on in the episode. It’s a deft handling of character here, and I especially look forward to seeing Brock get his own storylines this year.
The opening killing also ties in with the motivations driving Chayton and Nola. Alex died, and they simply cannot move on from the past without avenging his death. “It’s time we took something back,” Chayton ominously asserts, and there’s also a certain amount of social clash inherent in the statement. I imagine we’ll gain some more insight into who Chayton is, but for now, he’s the badass with the bow and arrow. He takes out a bunch of Marines with just that bow and arrow, and it’s yet another exciting, well-directed action sequence produced by the Banshee crew. Hood vs. Chayton is going to be a blast.
Elsewhere, we see the Hopewell family going through an immense struggle. Carrie wants to move on from the past, but she’s falling back into the same patterns: she’s sleeping with someone else (Colonel Stowe), she’s not being the best parent, and she’s back to being a waitress. Gordon strikes at something when he asks: “What is it with you, some sort of addiction or something?” Yet, at the same time, Carrie’s blunt response–“You would know” is completely accurate. Gordon is barely hanging on, and he even goes so far as to beg Hood to let him keep his daughter. “You ended me marriage. Please leave me my daughter.”
It’s a tough, tough, world for these characters, and even if they see an opportunity to seize a big payday–Camp Genoa and its money, controlled by Colonel Stowe and mercenaries–there’s always going to be an element mired in the past. Whether someone is hooking up with his ex-wife or going about his sheriff duties or taking on an old job, the past always informs who he or she is. As we move through season three, it will be intriguing to see where these characters go, and I’m ready for the ride.
-There are two statements tonight about God: Brock’s “Sometimes you cannot wait for God to put the world right because while you’re waiting, the world is going to shit” and Job’s “I’m starting to believe that God hates me.” The first quote in particular reminds me a bit of Deadwood, which I’m making my way through now; Deadwood is actually a bit more optimistic about it, but the idea is similar: in a Godless society, it is up to humans themselves to embody the grace of God, to do right themselves.
-Clay Burton simply taking off his glasses is terrifying.
– “How do you want that burger cooked?” You go, Carrie.
-It looks like aside from Brock, the show is also going to delve a bit more into Deva’s character. That’s good, because I always felt like she was underdeveloped and more of a plot point. The scene in which Hood explains what she did wrong is a step in the right direction, and he definitely helps her there; being able to make sense of something is essential when you’re in a situation like she’s in.
-The Job-grenade scene is awesome. It’s always fun to see him around.
-Apparently, Kai and Rebecca recently turned it up a notch.
-I feel like this show has filled my Spartacus-shaped hole in my TV viewing.
-I’m hoping to give this regular coverage this year. I might miss a few episodes here or there, but hopefully not.
Photo credit: Banshee, Cinemax