10 Things To Expect in Banshee’s Third Season

Greetings fanshees. It’s been a little while. More than five months since my last shot fired here. I created this wordpress blog just to unleash furious rounds of mind ammunition about my favorite television series, Cinemax’s Banshee. A story about one town pulling the devil out of everybody inside of it. The show sneaked up on many people in January 2013, which is considered the dead of winter here in the Midwest slab of the United States. In a way, it melted a few ice cold trees on my street. The mix of violence, sex, drama, and high stakes that seemed to pulsate from each episode. 20 rounds later, the addiction I have with this show is legit. It’s not a show that I watch “when I have time”. It’s appointment TV. Sit the fuck down. Watch it now. Do laundry, dishes and father-husband duty later. Certain shows make that kind of thing happen. Banshee is a unique pleasure.

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On the surface it is rogue and violent. Take this fight for example.

However, as the episodes came and went, a story was built. A story of identity and the struggle to escape what you have become. Take the lead character, Lucas Hood, brilliantly played by New Zealand actor Antony Starr. His real name is not Lucas, and we may never know what it is. He is a criminal who started out looking for his long lost love of his life, Ana(the powerful and beautiful Ivana Milicevic). What he found was a town, Banshee, that operates on levels that he knows far too well. A place where criminals have the upper hand and natural selection is ingrained in people’s mind instead of a court system or law enforcement. The wolves rule here. Lucas recognized that and took advantage, assuming the identity of a dead sheriff. He makes friends with Sugar, a local bar owner with a dark history. He sleeps with a seemingly innocent young woman with a dash of wildness called Rebecca(Lili Simmons, sexy and haunting at the same time). He butts heads with Kai Proctor(Ulrich Thomsen, perfecting a new shade of villain and nemesis) and other neighborhood tough guys. Lucas’ greatest strength is his will to keep fighting and his demented idea of survival. You can’t kill this guy. A certain Albino had something to do with that.The two seasons of Banshee have transformed Lucas from a criminal seeking a cover into a man who will protect the people he loves. That’s the secret layer of poignancy that has been set. Banshee may be as blunt as a fist at times and wrap its quieter moments around a bloody fist or the sexy curve of a woman’s hip, but it’s got something going. It’s the pool of glass a viewer steps in when watching this show. It’s got a cinematic hook to its madness that hooks you.

With that said, here are 10 things to expect when season 3 of Banshee debuts 2 months from tomorrow. 

10.) Picking up the pieces. Emmett perished in the finale, so there will be the aftermath of that soulful death. Alex Longshadow also died, so the backlash for that will hit Proctor, Burton and Rebecca. Rabbit may be deceased but there are plenty of dominoes to kick over in season 3. The first episode will more than likely be the direct aftermath of these two big departures. Great shows pick off characters from both sides.

9.) Lucas Hood will more than likely be bloodied within 20 minutes. It doesn’t take long for Starr to get into trouble and find himself in a fight. He is Rocky in a sheriff’s outfit, taking a beating and keeping on ticking and coming back. There’s a certain ballet to Lucas’ fighting style. Get punched six times, throw a wide punch, miss, get punched four more times, and then land a few kicks. This guy likes to get hit.

8.) Proctor is mad. He got put in jail by Hood near the end of season 2. The two men have kept their distance(save for one legendary fight) for the most part but Season 3 they will clash. It’s going to happen. An unstoppable force and an immovable object can only be separated for so long. Lucas needs something to go after now that Carrie/Ana is back with Gordon and the Rabbit is dead. Proctor is that drug.

7.) Chayton gets a bigger slice of the pie. Say welcome back to Geno “The Freak” Segers. He got a small part in Season 2.He slapped Lucas around, ruffled a few feathers, insulted Emmett, spared Trieste Kelly Dunn’s life and officially ended the season by knocking out some dude in A Fight Club styled setting and finding out Alex died. He is going to take over the Kinaho Tribe and will team up with Odette Annable’s Nola and do some serious damage. He will make sure Hood and Proctor don’t have all the fun.

6.) Lili Simmons’ Rebecca has joined the dark side and fans will get a dose of confidence from the young beauty in Season 3. For two seasons, she has struggled with her loyalties. When she killed Alex, she joined Proctor’s clan and got dirty. This is for the good of the series. A bad Rebecca creates problems for everyone. I mean…she isn’t hard on the eyes.

5.) Ivana’s Carrie has to go back to playing the good wife in Season 3 after her tumultuous and eventful Season 2. She went from prison to neglected wife to hunting a rabbit with her ex-lover. Season 3 finds her desperately trying to shed her past and her feelings for Lucas. Neither will be successful and more people will die at Carrie’s hand. I worry about her ability to stay alive. Something tells me a big player goes down after the 10th episode of the show has aired.

4.) Sugar’s past comes to light. Good old Frankie Faison will hopefully get some more screen time to dive into the bar owner and tortured soul’s past as a boxer and how it intersected with Proctor. We saw the two visit in jail but I want more. More time with Frankie is always better.

3.) Matty Rauch and Hoon Lee are excellent as the sidekicks(beating hearts and safety pins) to Proctor and Hood. Rauch is all icy cold violence with a devotion unmatched as Burton, the Bow Tie Guy who won’t be denied. Lee’s Job is the comic relief and long suffering friend of Hood, a man he doesn’t know how to quit. It’s about time these two men meet. Hopefully, Job brings a gun or something because Burton is feisty.

2.) “Until Next Time”….Matt Servitto’s final words to Hood in Season 2 provided a preemptive strike from the deputy. Basically, hey pal I can’t have you going all gung ho and coming back to find a badge. I have a feeling Hood and Servitto’s Brock will finally throw down in Season 3. It doesn’t look good for Matt but hopefully Starr goes easy on him.

1.) Hood as a dad. Yeah, the final scene with Hood and his daughter, Deva(played so right by Ryann Shane) resonated with me for weeks. “Hi dad”. That’s all it took for viewers to see Starr’s Hood melt into a thousand pieces. This is the story line I want to see develop in Season 3 the most. All along, Lucas has known about his daughter. He has never known how it feels when the street goes both ways. Now that the cat is out and the mystery is gone, how do the two people exist? How far does he go in his quest for action and his thirst for violence now that a young lady calls her daddy? Starr and Shane are wonderful together onscreen and I hope they get plenty of time to watch this father/daughter tree(crooked as ever) grow in 2015.

There you go, Greg Yaitanes and Jonathan Tropper. Have some fun! Along with Loni Peristere and other gifted directors, these creators are going to rock us again. Banshee is better than a movie because it lasts 10 hours and it’s better than other TV shows because it doesn’t play by any rules. The mysteries are gone. Carrie’s identity is out there. Hood as a father is out there. The good and bad sides crossed the line in different ways in the first two seasons. The mystery is gone. The real action can now begin. How pumped are you, fanshees? Season 3 of Banshee is in 2 months and 21 hours.

Thanks for reading and for more instant takes on Banshee among other things, follow me on Twitter here.

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Thinking About Banshee: Season 3 Briefing

imageedit_1_9718949627It’s been over two months since I wrote about the Cinemax’s golden ticket called Banshee. The brutal dose of Friday night cinematic television that makes every new year seem so grand and a show that sinks its hooks into you so deep that when it stops(March 15th was our last prescription), the bittersweet sadness is never ending. That’s the sweet and the bitter about TV shows. Unlike a movie, you get to stay with them for weeks and dissect their intentions and soak up the storytelling, visuals and character development. Suddenly, the finale ends and that is all. The show tips its cap for the season and runs off to….start shooting the next dose.

Banshee is special because the cast and crew shoot during the spring and summer and get to watch the season with the fans as it uncoils in the winter premiere. Show stalwarts like Hoon Lee, Ivana Milicevic, Lili Simmons, and Matthew Rauch are right there with the “fanshees” as the bullets fly and the punches land. Other shows simply don’t do it and that’s unfortunate. A wise actor once told me most actors are afraid to pull down that curtain in front of themselves outside the show. Call it vanity, or whatever you want. What the cast of Banshee does is special because they are part of a hit show and aren’t afraid to show us the details of their craft. They do without exposing any key secrets. Creator/Showrunner/Head Twitter Honcho Greg Yaitanes isn’t going to tell us what happens at the end of Season 3 but he is going to implore his crew and actors to show us pictures and drop some hints. Banshee is a show that has so much soul that the smallest hints leave the biggest fans hungry for more.

The last time I talked to you, I was looking back at Season 2 as I cleaned off the blood from my emotions and the nerve endings in my head re-attached. In a season finale that gave as much as it took from you, the hour was long lasting and STILL hasn’t left my head.

Among the highlights-

*Ben Cross’ Rabbit gets a flashback to when he dealt his own kills, traded wits with Agent Racine and had control over his daughter and crew. By the end of the episode, he was gone but his effect reverberated throughout the entire season and will do so again in 2015. Cross couldn’t have played the unique villain any better. An actor worth watching in any film or show gave us a different kind of bad guy. A man who had serious internal wounds from making a decision that cost him a man he thought of as a son and a daughter he would never know again. The Rabbit may be gone physically but mentally he will always hang around.

*Lili Simmons’ vulnerable yet deadly Rebecca finally joined the dark side. Some fans were surprised by her move but I could see it coming all the way back when she picked up that knife at that fair during the biker attack and sliced a man open. She knew what she could become and the urge was there. All she needed was the right guidance and a creepy methodical uncle and his henchman to open the door the entire way. Rebecca began season 2 by finally shedding her past and leaving her Amish family behind. A mid season search for her brother culminated in her last goodbye, and one of the best things about Simmons isn’t her beautiful body or the manner with which she uses it. It’s her eyes. Watch her eyes in every emotional scene and if you look close, a building is collapsing in there. She is an underrated actress and badass. She is also stunningly beautiful. If Marilyn Monroe didn’t make cavemen chisel on walls, Lili will make them do it pretty quick. Or launch a thousand ships. Rebecca had a chance to help Lucas and bury Ulrich Thomsen’s Kai in the final two hours. She chose instead to bury Alex Longshadow six feet under, down by the weight of his ancestors or the weaknesses he had towards beautiful women and hollow power. I could have swore Kai would sink the knife into Alex, but in the end Rebecca did it for him and step onto the Death Star of Banshee with Rauch’s Burton watching closely.

*Speaking of Matty Rauch’s quietly powerful incarnation, Burton should get more screen time in Season 3. That’s not a bet. That’s a command. Somebody will hear me. Rauch can do so much with so little. He isn’t given a ton of dialogue but instead relies on his physical mannerisms, painfully accurate smiles or even the deepest form of telepathic “fuck you” looks. I have a feeling in Season 3 we will get that legendary Lucas-Burton clash. If you hear an earthquake coming from Charlotte, it’s probably those two men bashing each other’s brains in. That is what I want to see. Lucas’ Rocky take on Burton’s cold hearted killer. Rauch told me in our chat/interview earlier this year that Burton will do anything to save Proctor and that they have the closest relationship on the show when it comes to pure loyalty. With Proctor the target of Lucas and his deputies now, a collision course is inevitable for Burton and the sheriff.

*The Chayton Effect. Geno Segers has joined the cast as a regular this third season and with the death of Alex, Chayton could be moving into a higher place of power. For enemies of the Kinaho Tribe, this is simply bad news. Sure, you can be frightened by the fight club like final scene of Season 2, where Chayton destroys a man in the ring before taking a life changing phone call. You could also remember that all a monster like this needs is more bodies and reach to take over a fair amount of land. A brutal thug given a higher power is about as close to unleashing the devil as it gets. I don’t think anyone likes this development but fans are going to love it.

*The Carrie-Lucas-Gordon triangle of sex, violence and deadly pasts won’t simply go away. Carrie won’t stop giving Lucas Ana eyes whenever they are around each other. She won’t stop doing scores and feeding her desires. Gordon won’t forget about the young woman living in her house is actually Lucas’ kid and not his own. Lucas can’t stop thinking about the love of his life. I don’t think there will be a barbecue with these three people attending together. This story angle won’t be closed until the end of the show.

Other things to think about as Season 3 is entering the serious stages of filming.

*How will the power be distributed in the Proctor-Burton-Rebecca tripod of doom? Don’t expect a rosy transition.

*How will Proctor get revenge on Lucas? Going after Carrie and Deva is a good start.

*What about that FBI presence and the missing person that is Agent Racine? The outside authority is always going to be a thorn in people’s sides.

*The Ukrainian mob should be finished with due to the brothers death and the tons of dead bodies in that church but you never know. I mean, they are Ukrainian.

*How long will Job last in Banshee? Lee’s outsider doesn’t like the town but can’t seem to trust a future where his friend isn’t in harms way.

*How long will Brock keep standing by as he watches the unconventional Lucas get justice with his own two hands? Sure, the two men ended Season 2 on good terms but with the death of Emmett striking the department and leaving it weakened, how long will Brock allow Lucas to keep going on? Man, Matt Servitto is aces in my book.

*What will the relationship be like between Lucas and Deva? Father and daughter in this cruel world that includes plenty of people who want to bring violence upon the foundations of family. I have a feeling the truly gifted Antony Starr will be learning new ways to look heart stricken and conflicted come January.

The best line from Season 2 still belongs to Simmons-“I have all the thunder I need.”

 

I can’t wait for Season 3. How about you? Sound off and tell me what you think in the comments section below. You never know…a few Banshee residents may see the comment flow and add their own reaction.

Banshee may not be happening on Friday’s right now, but you can be sure the production in Charlotte is hitting a high note. This show’s doors are never truly closed.

Looking Back at Season 2: Dose #1

I thought this would be easy. I didn’t think it would be detrimental to my Saturday mood. However, no new Banshee to watch bums me out. Welcome to the first week of banshee-town-limit-sign2014 without a fresh slice of the Cinemax treasure. For the rest of the year, we will have to work with leftovers, origins, moments and future rumblings of the show until the legs are found again and it comes back on the air in January 2015. This is what amazing television does to the soul. It provides you with the week to week jolt of story, action and drama only to leave you pondering what just happened and what comes next. The show wouldn’t be as special and the world isn’t full of enough stunt people for Banshee to run year round. The good news is Greg Yaitanes and the cast will be setting up shop in April to start shooting Season 3. We will get hints, pictures, tweets from the cast. They will do everything but put makeup on our face and fake blood on our arms. The bad news is we won’t see Lucas, Ana, Rebecca, Kai, Sugar, Job, Burton, Siobhan, Brock, Deva or Gordon until next year. What do we do until then? Talk about the show. Constantly. Go up to strangers at restaurants and keenly intersect Banshee into the conversation.

“How are those eggs and pancakes? They’d be better if you were recovering from an adrenaline packed hour of cable series television. Care to join me.”

Tell people in Church about the show. Leave out the gun battle in episode 20. Tell people at baseball games about the show. Remind them that the best swing in Pennsylvania belongs to Kai Procter. Tell people at gas stations about the show. Make sure you don’t provoke a well dressed British guy with a sports car who really knows how to stretch the word “Jason”. Talk about Banshee everywhere because it deserves  the attention. It’s not LOST or DOWNTOWN ABBEY but it’s damn fine television. The best thing about Banshee is that it knows exactly what it is while leaving plenty of room to expand on its many story lines going forward. Also, this show doesn’t waste our time. Every Friday, it’s full tilt all the way. How many shows produce one of those coasting hours of television that leave you staring at a watch and an empty bottle of wine in disgust? I am talking to you Grey’s Anatomy. Yaitanes, Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler are determined to deliver a mini movie inside every episode of Banshee and that should be celebrated. Why am I talking off the cuff here about the show? Well, I miss it. I miss it a lot.  So I am going to come here and just spill about it until I feel better.

Without much further delay, let’s look back at some of the things that happened in Season 2. Impact kind of things. There will be a few editions of these before Season 3 starts filming and I start hyping that. Here is the first batch.

Take 5 with Banshee Season 2

1) New Faces. Geno Segers’ Chayton Littlestone. Zeljko Ivanek’s Agent Racine. Julian Sands at Rabbit’s brother. Andrew Howard’s Army of One. All had their chance to shine this year. Chayton survived to see Season 2 and earned the final scene of the season as his Kinaho monster heads home to Banshee after destroying a man in an underground fight. Segers only had a handful of scenes but was able to create this larger than life bad guy with a soul. He wasn’t just physically powerful. His James Earl Jones voice carried farther than his punch and his words on the ideas of captivity, slavery and injustice sprung a few thoughts in our heads. I am excited for more of him while feeling sad there will be no Emmett-Chayton battle. Ivanek is a devilishly cool character actor and gave Racine an ashtray full of hatred for law breakers. I respected the writer’s treatment of his character as more than simply a scrummy bureau suit. We were treated to origin tales and flashbacks showing just how hard he chased the Rabbit. He even knows Lucas Hood’s real name. Too bad he took a bullet from Rabbit’s female assassin in The Truth About Unicorns.  Sands was gunned down by Lucas in the finale but not before he delivered a fine performance as Rabbit’s loyal brother. Another actor with a commanding voice. It was good to see the actor working again. Howard didn’t last more than an hour(fight with Antony Starr and your odds of living for multiple episodes instantly decrease) but he left a mark. Someone on Banshee likes Jason Statham movies becuase Howard’s look, voice and the way he moved reminded me of my favorite action star. Howard’s tussles with Hood were almost as good as his chats with him. The writing for that bench scene outside the Cadi was one of my favorite parts of the season. ARMIES OF ONE!

2) Emmett was too good for Banshee, and while I am not surprised Demetrius Grosse wanted a more action packed response from the fallen officer in his final moments, I found the scene to be as powerful as anything I’ve seen all season. In a way, Grosse and Rus Blackwell(Gordon) quietly stole the best moments of this second season. Emmett’s downfall was his noble soul and belief in GOD which made him think crossing a state border would shed him of the devil that burgled his soul. His shining moment in Episode 7 was finished well by his final act of heroism. Accepting his fate, closing his eyes and stepping in front of his wife before being gunned down. As Matty Rauch told me, “If you are going to do something like that, that’s the way to do it.” Emmett’s demise reminded me of a great movie. In the Valley of Elah, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Tommy Lee Jones as a father who goes looking for his A.W.O.L. son. A soldier friend of his son told Jones something that resonates with me to this day. “Heroes don’t belong in Iraq.” In my mind, “good men don’t belong in Banshee.” Emmett paid the ultimate price for being a noble spirit.

3) Alex Longshadow’s death brought Lili Simmons’ Rebecca full circle. Remember at the end of the first season this lady inadvertently killed the mayor by hitting a button on a cell phone. This season saw her completely shed her Amish past and join Kai in his enterprise. This was her initiation after a couple episodes left her hanging in the balance as far as loyalty is concerned. We now know that when push comes to shove and lives lie in wake, she will plant her feet next to her uncle. With that devotion comes the unusual and complex yet easy to understand sexual attraction Rebecca has for Kai. He is the first person in her life to tell her to be herself and not conform to her upbringing. Alex was prepared to keep Kai in jail for a long time after entering a business agreement. Rebecca used her greatest tool and that is her sexy body and ability to make sharp men crumble in her presence. Also, she is smart and knows to put a bullet in a brain to ensure a death. The minute Alex hit the floor and Lili unleashed the greatest line of Season 2, “I have all the thunder I need,” she had officially broken bad.

4.) My Favorite Episode of Season 2. While it’s not easy to choose from ten great children, my favorite was The Truth About Unicorns. It was different, beautifully shot and truly embodied the idea of this show taking you as well as the characters away for an hour. Lucas going to pick up Carrie from jail and show her the house he built for their dreams was just what the adrenaline packed season needed after 5 grueling rounds. This episode proved to the critics of the show that it can retrace its steps, pay off on promises presented and slow down and tell an emotional story without a punch. While the hour ended in blood shed, the set up was amazing and if there is one hour of Season 2 I watch first this spring it will be this one. I love the way it is shot. The proposed shots of the Lucas/Carrie embrace and her running to the house that live inside Lucas’ head as the real events play out. The turn and sexy death stare of Ivana in the alley. Seeing these two tortured lovers spend a day together was like living inside a dream we all knew would end with the opening of our eyes into a painful reality. With Methodic Doubt’s ragingly poetic score hitting a high note, Lucas and Carrie stood up and saw the burning house in flames. It signified the moral of Banshee. Good intentions rarely meet reality.

5.) Tip your cap to Antony Starr, the true rock of Banshee. Ivana told me yesterday that Antony is the rock of the show and it couldn’t be closer to the truth. Starr is the face of the series and the one that keeps it going and powers the story. Starr was an unknown New Zealand actor before he found this town and thank goodness the producers and creators picked the guy. His portrayal of Lucas has gained power and steam every episode and his ability to be intense without being melodramatic is signature. I haven’t seen this kind of confidence in an actor in an action fueled role since Bruce Willis waged war with terrorists in LA in Die Hard. The stare, the ability to break down inside a scene and show the vulnerabilities of a deadly guy is downright amazing and under-appreciated. Starr’s work here just got better and better in Season 2 because we got to see the criminal slowly inch closer to a cop and a troubled man find some kind of peace in the end. One of the traits of the show is finding these gifted actors laying around the world like misfit toys and inviting them into these perfect roles. Nobody embraces that method more than Starr.

That’s it for this round. Come back next for 5 more hits on Season 2. Until then, click and read my interviews with Hoon Lee and Matthew Rauch from the past week.  They are true gents, first class actors and reminded me why my ambition to be a full time writer, film critic and commentary prose slinger is a good one to have.

*http://www.vulture.com/2014/03/banshee-hoon-lee-interview.html

*http://doseofbuffa.com/2014/03/20/1320/ (Matthew Rauch Interview)

You canalso re-watch Season 2 or start from Episode 1 and relive the entire story. When it comes to this show, the slightest bit of juice will do.

Thanks for reading.

Season 2 Finale Review: Bullets and Tears

Banshee brought the bullets and the avid fan base are surely bringing the tears this morning as we wake up to a harsh reality that Banshee has shut down its town for theBanshee.S02E10 reminder of 2014. A bittersweet day because we knew there were 10 episodes, but no one told us they would fly by so quickly. That’s great television for you. It comes, goes, and doesn’t take any remorse in throwing the kitchen sink at your imagination before departing.

The finale of Season 2 was action packed, soulful and closed the chapter on the Rabbit. Lucas and Ana got their man and ended it. Before leaving Banshee, they told each other it was one way or the other. Either they die trying or the Rabbit gets buried. It all ended on a calm sweet bench outside a church that basically ate more bullets than Normandy did on D-Day. Let’s recap.

After only appearing a couple times throughout Season 2, Ben Cross got to kick start this hour of television off as we went back in time to see a younger Rabbit dealing out justice to a crooked FBI agent who tried to steal from the gangster. Bad move, knife to the throat and a quick Olek cameo.

The finale brought back a greatest hits of dead bad guys from the show, which included Olek and the deadly Albino Joe Gatt. This show never forgets where it came from and isn’t afraid to go back in the past to close a story thread down.

Instead of merely having our two heroes barge into the church and open fire like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, we got a history lesson on how this all started.   Back in the day, where Olek and Rabbit had full heads of dark hair and they formed an efficient team with Lucas and Ana, all seemed to be running well. The entire time, the two lovers were plotting an escape yet didn’t stop to think the creepy father and adopted son suit were seeing it all the way. Cue the robbery gone wrong, Rabbit tipping off the cops, and Lucas going away for 15 years for stealing fake diamonds.

This episode gave us a chance to see Job’s initial getaway plan for Lucas and Ana, which included new identities and passports and everything. This left me thinking how many times Job made a new life for someone who never got to actually live it(poor Jason Hood). Lucas taking Ana to meet a singing dancing Job for the first time. Thank you Hoon Lee for being fearless in your portrayal of a character who is a lot more than comic relief.  This episode was like the Unicorns episode mixed with last year’s Mixture of Madness finale. A look at what could have been and never will be.

The crew went and found Lucas’ old friend, who apparently carries a grocery store styled collection of weapons to the point of you handing him a sheet of deadly guns and him agreeing to it like you just ordered take out Chinese food. An ailing Job was left at the hotel, but we all knew he wouldn’t stay there.

Lucas and Ana walked into the Temple of Doom, got made, and opened fire anyway on what seemed to be an endless line of Ukrainian shooters. Our heroes ran out of ammo, and gathered behind a cement pole that apparently was built to withstand 4,500 lead punches. It is here where we got another glimpse of Selfless Lucas. He screamed at Ana to run away, connect with her family and forget about Rabbit. Antony Starr gave Ivana Milicevic  that intense look that only Starr can create. Facial hair shaking, voice trembling, and all together a man telling the woman he loves how this has to end. Lucas intended to fight a group of high powered weapon holding thugs with a single knife. Somehow,I think he would have managed to connect a punch. However, it wasn’t needed because Job showed up with Lucas’ Walmart gun toting ally and blew the bad(worse) guys away in a stunning display of raw action and emotion.

Thank you Greg Yaitanes and Jonathan Tropper(director and writer team for the final two hours) for using the powerful Carrie/Lucas theme music from Methodic Doubt’s soundtrack. Instead of searching for a song that could possibly work in this moment 19 and a half hours in the making, the creators went to their most dramatic musical score and the scene was elevated.

The men exchange greetings. Lucas and Ana find Rabbit outside and give him a moment to say his peace. What a job by Cross here.  You can tell he is taking the younger actors to school and that’s quite alright. Rabbit telling them about his amazing wife and how after she died, everything shutdown. Love Rabbit’s wife echoing Ana’s words to Lucas, “just breathe” in this sequence. Another fine example of this show digging new layers underneath the plot and story device.

While I expected Lucas to gun Rabbit down, his daughter gave him the opportunity to end it and he did. Rabbit took his own life after saying his peace. If you think that was it and the episode was over, please think again.

Back in Banshee, we find out everything is fine. Emmett has left town, nobody has broken the law but the minute I saw them kill Rabbit,  I thought to myself this couldn’t be it. Something bad has to happen. Banshee can’t end with our main antagonist gone and flowers starting to bloom in the background as The Hopewell’s eat ice cream cones and Lucas lights up a cigar. NO WAY.

First, we get to see a side of Rebecca we all knew existed. A deadly kitty cat with sharp nails and an ability to be a force to reckon with. Lili Simmons has slowly grown into this character. At first, she was simply a Femme Fatale with a beautiful body but as soon as she cut that biker at that fair invasion, we saw a bit of evil in her. She unintentionally blew up the mayor at the end of season 1 but this season has set her up as a true weapon in Kai Proctor’s arsenal. Burton is creepy, but Rebecca is a seductress. In the pilot, she dropped that Amish headband and started to change right there. Her seduction of Alex Longshadow was something the Konaho chief never saw coming. Rebecca walked into his headquarters, got on top of the table and as soon as she got the man between her legs, I sensed she was going to take him down. Sure, he fought back and nearly killed her. Alex thought he was the Thunder Man, but firing out the best line of the entire hour, Simmons exclaimed ‘I got all the thunder I need” after walking over a bullet riddled corpse. The entire time, Rebecca had been playing Alex and everyone else in Banshee. She was always going to protect her uncle from true harm.  Yes, she saved the stripper from Burton but this was different. The stripper’s evidence wasn’t substantial enough. Alex was the potential knife in Proctor’s plan. Rebecca stopped him for good. What a wild change of events!

At the same time as that struggle, we saw another sad fateful scene unfolding. Emmett and his recovering wife, on the way out of town, didn’t get far. Emmett telling his wife this is great and such a good idea was about as big of a shovel toss of dirt on his character there could possibly be. First, he tells Lucas how good of a man he is. Then, he tries to get his family away from madness only to be gunned down by the one member of the white trash gang he seemingly destroyed. I wondered a couple episodes ago that Emmett didn’t do enough harm to his eventual murderer. He hit him with the steel rod and that was it. He didn’t know who kicked his wife in the stomach but it never mattered I guess. Emmett proved a horrible theory true last night. Good men simply can’t survive in Banshee. You have to carry an ounce of wolf mentality and evil in your system to get anything done or to stay alive. When he looked at Lucas, I am sure he saw something in there he couldn’t identify with. Emmett was a a perfect man undone by vengeance who then ran into a streak of violent remorse.  With no disrespect to Anthony Ruivivar’s Alex, the show won’t be the same without the larger than life Demetrius Grosse.

Talk about powerful endings.  Lucas sitting in his office, again. Brock, coming in again, reluctantly handing over the badge to Lucas. Ask me and Brock/Gordon are going to be as big of a thorn in our sheriff’s side next season as Proctor or anyone else. Then, Deva walks in with the innocence pouring out of her face. One word, “Dad” and Lucas is fried. This man has gotten stabbed pretty bad by an Albino and a Rabbit, taken beatings from a large Indian and tussled with a MMA fighter. All of that pales in comparison to him realizing the weight of that one word being directed at him. Good luck, buddy.

Proctor will be out of jail next season. He will resume the role of primary antagonist for Hood. Ulrich Thomsen had an amazing season. He is an evil guy and kills people and uses women like pawns, but there is a vulnerability to him that is fascinating. He does have soft spots to go with the rougher edges. Next season will be interesting.

And finally, CHAYTON LITTLESTONE. Back in the saddle. We see him pummeling a fellow fighter in an underground fight club type setting in New Orleans. Chayton kills the guy, takes a call and finds out Alex is dead. Time to go back home and wreak havoc on the sheriff.

The Rabbit is gone but Kai and Chayton await. Lucas Hood’s life never gets easy and it’s best to stay that way. Good television always involves character hardships.

Lucas and Siobhan are back on and Ms. Dunn Kelly made it out of the season alive. Good for her and and the sheriff. Our protagonist needs a woman that can just be with him without the past staring them down. I am a guy who wants to see Carrie and Lucas be together in the end, but right now that’s not possible. Lucas and Siobhan works. Sure, she knows NOTHING about his real life, but in this town, that’s par for the course.

Season 2 is complete. Season 3 starts production in April and will probably air in January 2015.

I have a confession to make. I had the chance to watch the finale early. I watched it twice this past Tuesday. I was given the opportunity by HBO and Vulture to conduct a Q & A with Hoon Lee, and that opportunity led to a 55 minute epic chat. This piece on Vulture was the result. Check it out. Lee is as cool of a customer as they come.

Thanks for reading this whole season. I will include production updates here and a look back at Season 2 in the coming weeks.

A Banshee Styled “Homecoming”

Any true fan of the show can see this wrecking ball of a second season start to take its heaviest swings this week, as Season 2 started to close its doors. Leave itBanshee-2.09 to Banshee to save the best for last. A few things happened this week and before we could settle into our couches, a main character took a drastic leap and nearly paid the ultimate price…

*I am talking about HOON LEE’s Job. Instead of telling his criminal cohorts he was going all Rambo on Rabbit and his clan, he went to NYC and tried to end it himself. That plan nearly ended in dread with Job literally catching a cab. One of the great things about the show is the way they give individual members of the cast these spotlights without shunning the rest of the cast in the process. Before the credits could start, Lee was in the church going against Rabbit’s brother and a slew of gangsters armed to the teeth. We didn’t know if he was going to make it or not, but tell me you weren’t smiling when Job went all Jason Bourne on those 3 thugs as he suddenly burst out of that chair. Antony Starr isn’t the only hero who can scrap on this show, ladies and gentlemen. Another side of Job emerges and we are all the better for it.

*Back home, Carrie takes another step back into the lives of her family, spending the evening with Gordon, Deva and Max. One of the best things about this season is the evolving of a number of characters, including Rus Blackwell’s Gordon. He has truly run the gauntlet and taken us along for the ride down the rabbit hole of betrayal, regret and utter turmoil. When he told Carrie they could have something better, even the biggest Lucas/Ana loyalists had to be a little happy for that proposed future.

*Before the two could finish a long awaited deed in the bedroom, Lucas got wind of Job’s dangerous endeavor and knocked on the Hopewell’s doors to recruit his female Sundance kid. Holy matrimony revisited would have to wait. A rabbit was loose and founded in New York, so this was Lucas and Carrie/Ana’s chance to finally step on the neck of a man who has unleashed a heavy amount of debris on their lives. Before they could do that, Banshee fans got the hot and fiery moment that had been anticipated since the pilot. Carrie dropping a bomb on Gordon that Lucas indeed was Deva’s father and thus, he couldn’t put a bullet in the sheriff’s life who had brought a tornado of hell into his life.  What an individual moment of stellar acting from Blackwell, a man broken into tiny pieces with one sentence.

*Ivana Milicevic has taken leaps and bounds of growth as an actress on this show, especially during this second season. Before Banshee, she was a decent actress who never got the right part to showcase her acting abilities.  She is a beautiful woman but also one who can climb into a torn character and shine a light in there for viewers to see. Some have said Carrie hasn’t gotten the right amount of screen time this second season. I say the woman has made good use of her time and added a heavy layer of artistic cement to the depth of her character. The prison scenes, the attempts to connect with Deva, and now her one last goal of burying her father. Banshee is so good at giving our eyes a visual pleasure that we simply forget the depth of the story behind the action, sex and high stakes.

*Emmett is taking a much needed break to Florida but trust me Fanshees the man will be back in Season 3. Demetrius Grosse also grew this season as a full bodied character and elevated his noble deputy from side piece to major player that culminated in that episode 8 hulk smash. He also saw something in Hood that many of us fail to remember. While he is a badge who can’t quit the criminal drug, Lucas is a good man. Well said Emmett, see you next year.

*What will happen with Siobhan and Lucas and this sexy lovefest romance? My prediction was the lady deputy being killed off but I think that is less likely now. Matt Servitto’s Brock has been a close observer of our protagonist  from the beginning but I have a feeling Trieste Kelly Dunn will be the Season 3 thorn in Lucas’ side. That will be the surprise we don’t see coming.  Siobhan could be the one who casts Lucas out into the spotlight as a fraud as soon as she settles her attractive feelings for him. That’s just a guess.

*A message from your lovely Manshee here. BRING BACK CHAYTON for the Finale please! In the series of images that plays out every episode before the “Previously on Banshee” we see the big guy raise his arms in what seems to be an underground Fight Club styled barn. Hopefully that plays out this Friday.  Free Geno Segers!

*Kudos to Ulrich Thomsen for pouring out his heart on a prison table when his mother surprised him with a visit. In Banshee, even the bad guys get a chance to show humility. Sure, Kai Procter has smashed a man’s balls with a baseball bat, tried to shove a glass through a man’s face, and churned a young man’s dead body into fresh ground chuck, but he has a heart too. He won’t be denied in Season 3. For Lucas Hood, the psychopaths are lining up to take him down.

*Matthew Rauch’s Burton has also grown this season, speaking a few lines while looking a bit lost and troubled in his deadly ways. This guy is a special talent and even though he does a lot of evil killing, he is another Banshee resident with more to his world than we have even a clue about.

*Will Alex Longshadow flip on Procter? It’s hard to tell because if he does, we get no Procter revenge. Somehow I think Alex won’t rid his world of Kai just yet. It seems too neat to happen in this troubled world. Nice to see Rebecca stand up to Burton and give Alex a little taste of heaven. That girl can change minds with a flip of her hair and a twist of the hips. Lili Simmons acts like she knows it too and lets the confidence speak for itself.

*The hospital scene had an old school suspense vibe to them. I love those kind of shootouts. Slow, boiling and full of thrills. We finally got to see an extended run of Milicevic with a gun in her hand doing what she does best. Shoot bad guys while looking like the Black Widow of badassery!

This Friday, it all comes to a close. Who lives and who dies? Will the Rabbit meet his end and who will he take with him? Who is the help Job and Lucas are talking about? Who survives to see the light of 2015 and Season 3?

Let me say this. It has been my pleasure bringing these recaps to your attention this year. I am glad I started doing and through it, I have gotten some great opportunities. Ones that I will be shedding light on later this week. I hope you have appreciated the coverage as much as I have bringing it to your computers.

In the comments below, tell me what you want to see happen this Friday.

 

Repaying Evil Via The Bare Knuckle

This week on Banshee, we got everything we wanted.  Revenge fueled violence, questioning morals and a future left with uncertainty. Just another week in this crazy town.

Demetrius Grosse got a spotlight long deserved.  Ever since the drug store episode which ended on a football field with Emmett’s wife calming him bansheedown with news she was pregnant, we wanted to see another episode dedicated to easily the largest man in town(Sorry Chayton).  In Evil For Evil(taken from a bible verse, as explained by our hero late in the hour), showed us how a calm religious man can allow his emotions and aggression get the better of him if people close to him are harmed.

To some, the act of horror displayed to his wife and the follow through punch of revenge may have been a bit too tacked on or formal. For me, it was a perfect way to symbolize a show that provides a weekly dose of action porn with a depth lingering behind it.  For every drop of blood that is spilled on the show, a certain measure of pathos and meaning fall with it. The critics and casual watchers may miss the impact of the drama but the more you watch the show, the easier it is to lie directly under its true intentions. Cinemax isn’t trying to be a calm cool customer like FOX or NBC. They are dirty, violent, vulgar, rotten, nasty, bloody and best of all, honest as a knife about what they are providing every Friday night here.

I am not a religious man at all. I don’t bring GOD down here to the events on earth. I keep him upstairs as a possible myth to be solved after I leave this rock. If anything, he will be a man I nod to before stepping into the darkness. That’s not a smack on other’s beliefs. Those are mine. I simply don’t have time to figure out the logic of the guy and what purpose he serves us here in life. It is my belief that we control our destiny and what happens to us every day. Emmett, a good man torn by inner struggles due to race and his past, believes in God and in the reluctance to hold back when given any confrontation. Last week, he didn’t hold back against a pack of skinhead racists and delivered some fine justice. This week, those acts came back to haunt him and his family in a very unfortunate and deadly way.

Banshee casts that illusion of hope so well in some form every week. In episode 5 with “Truth About Unicorns”, where a fairy tale was being played out before killers, deadly pasts and burning houses brought the curtain down. In episode 6, where we see a future with Jason Hood escaping the dangerous web of criminality only to have it revoked by Proctor. Last week, a little family trouble with the Hopewells turns into a far more serious circle of fate when young Max health issues elevate to the most severe level. When it gets dark in Banshee, only the devil has time for a drink and that means everybody else is a fingernail length away from death. The show’s confidence in showing different shades makes it more than your weekly softcore porn lead in program.

The other element this show showcases on occasion are issues of race. In the same manner they dealt the Amish boy/Indian girl romance, this time we get a little White Supremacist rage. The skinheads abused Emmett’s wife, smashing her in the face and kicking her in the stomach. The look on Emmett’s face as he found out his future son wasn’t going to see the light of day, is a quiet powerful form of acting that can’t be taught.  Well done Grosse. One of the best mediums in the entertainment business is the monstrous man with a delicate touch of vulnerability and nobility. Grosse fills that out here perfectly.

Director Loni Peristere and writer Doug Jung do a great job of framing the climax of Emmett running wild by showing us distilled frames of his beatdown early on in the episode. That way, the following 40 minutes plays out like a quiet town leading up to a thunderstorm. We know the big man will get his revenge and all this strategy does is get us thinking how he will do it. Thanks to Procter’s hidden lair full of every kind of weapon known to Genghis Khan, General Custer and John Rambo, Emmett had some toys to play with. Peristere’s history of visual effects work comes into play with one of Emmett’s victims. If you haven’t seen a caved in cheek bone, this is your chance. The show doesn’t spare any carnage but leaves you with a moral.

Emmett summed up the whole plight of man when he told Lucas about the abuse he had taken his whole life and what led up to this outburst. Grosse didn’t have to shout it or overact the scene. He just sat there and gave a confessional to a man he knows shares similar tendencies. It was a powerful scene about the problems that still plague our world and craft us as human beings every day. The ability to sustain and endure every kind of punishment without retaliation is a tool most men don’t know. Banshee showed us this week that even the most noble of men can unveil an evil that destroys everything.

With the episode being played as a double edged sword of revenge, Lucas continued his half criminal/half sheriff rundown of Procter and his illegal businesses. He seized his bar, blew up his warehouse of drugs, shut off the power to his meat factory and now placed him in jail. All in less than 2 episodes. Mess with this guy’s fake son and all bets are off, Kai!

This will set up a final pair of hours that sees the Rabbit and his brother unleash Ukrainian madness on our group of protagonists as well as Procter and Burton bringing down hell on Hood and his people. He picked the two psychopath option and that card will very well be played into Season 3. For now, revel in the details.

*Effective no bullshit opening with Hood saving Ana and Job’s asses followed by a meet up in Sugar’s bar that played out like a dad letting his three kids fight it out.  Ivana Milicevic’s sly humor when Lucas talked about “his deputies”. Classic.  While she has only been a supporting player this season(with a cast like this, it was to be expected), Milicevic has made good use of her looks, lines and seize her moments. She has grown as an actress right in front of our eyes.

*Matt Servitto is an invaluable member of this cast. Dry wit, stern presence, and generally the thorn in Hood’s side.

*I still say Siobhan isn’t going to make it out of the season. In order for Lucas to really feel pain, something has to be taken away from him. A woman who has told him to walk a straight line and can see through the cracks of his facade. Ana can’t go so it will be Siobban. Just a hunch.

*Little Rebecca swinging between both sides of the law. Good and bad.  When she mentioned the stripper leaking information, she took a full step into the dark side. The things that she has seen will have an effect on a woman. Helping blow up the mayor, seeing your brother beaten and kidnapped, watching a man slice the throat of the man you slept with a few times before watching his body be disposed of via the ground and pound method. Rebecca is scarred beyond belief.

*No one is more adept at breaking and entering than Hood. The end.

*Lucas working Alex for a real source to help take down Procter.  I don’t think so ladies and gents. At his core, Alex is a criminal too and just doesn’t know it yet.

I can’t wait to see how this season wraps up. Who lives? Who dies? Who leaves empty and broken? With a finale titled “Bullets and Tears”, no one is truly safe. On this show, nothing is promised but a dark steady array of clouds.

Thanks for reading.

Also, when will we get to see Chayton Littlestone again? There has to be another confrontation between him and the sheriff’s department.

Lucas Takes The Fight to Procter

Ever since episode 1, when he stepped into the shoes of the sheriff and put on the badge, our anti-hero protagonist Lucas Hood has set his sights on taking down Kai b749309212964f8bcf8147aea9fc8f3dProcter. Call it a bad man keeping a far more evil soul from the door(hat tip to True Detective creator Nick Pizzolatto there). During the season 1, they had their confrontations, a fight, and large amount of bad blood.  Then the season 1 finale brought them together as a team for the greater….bad of things. However, I knew they were going to circle back around each other. Like a pair of alligators feuding off the rest of the creatures in the water and coming back one another to finish the game.  I compare this to the long standing duel between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder on FX’s Justified.   Sure, Banshee’s rivalry is thicker and doesn’t carry the long history, but there’s similarities there. While Hood and Procter have worked together to fight off Rabbit’s mob and find Rebecca’s brother, they were always going to come back to face off. It’s inevitable. An unstoppable force and an immovable object. A pair of trains heading straight on for each other. It will make for wonderful television.

Tonight, we had Hood battling those two very different sides of his personality. The past and future.  First, he made an attempt to deal with Procter the detective way, taking down his strip club and arresting his employees. This included the eventual and pitiful fight with Gordon, two fingers past very drunk and out of his wits with a pair of strippers.  Antony Starr does that “bent up anger and nervy danger growl” better than any one I’ve seen on television. Like a timebomb waiting to explode.  The raid was complete and we seemed to be getting the Hood that wants to do things right.  This was also Brock(Matt Servitto is so good at that sharply blunt humor) making his greatest effort to teach Lucas how to a good cop. Then we got the assist from the stripper Procter treated a little too personal. She told the sheriff where Procter was cooking the drugs and delivering them.

After a pleasant throwdown with some white trash, Lucas had to make a choice. He could shake a few more trees, age like Brock, get restless and eventually give up(what most people who are still breathing have done with the Amish crime lord). Or he could incorporate his criminal past and use both shields to his advantage, the badge itself and his unique ability to slide under it when needed.  Hood knows that the only way to truly fight Procter is to slink down to his level a bit and get dirty.  As Denzel said in Training Day, you have to be a wolf to catch a wolf.  Lucas is doing just that this season. Will it work? I am not sure because without Procter around and Rabbit only arriving in small doses, someone needs to keep our leading man on the run. If things get too quiet in Banshee, something’s not right. This is a place where the rose is followed closely by the poisoned apple.

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Armies of One Recap

Give me a second while I catch my breath!  When you are Banshee’d, time slows down, jaws loosen, and your ribs start to hurt because Antony Starr can’t handle allBanshee1-1366x768 those punches.  This latest episode of Cinemax’s masterpiece(yeah other shows with awards in your homes, that just happened) BANSHEE, “Armies of One”, delivered a stiff gut punch to many characters.  In the end, another blast from the Friday night thrills department co-owned by Greg Yaitanes and Jonathan Tropper, who continue to blow me away every week.   My friends are dying for the day when I come to them and say this show let me down, but let me be clear when I say that day will never come.   This show doesn’t just piss excellence, but breeds powerful moments every week.  For the crowd who think it’s just a guilty pleasure full of sex and violence, they are missing so much.   There’s something more to every scene and every hour of Banshee that can only be explained on this blog site every weekend.  Here we go.  In a series of bullets(most appropriate form of recap for this series), I break down episode #16.

  • Thank you Andrew Howard aka Quentin, for producing such a badass inside 40 minutes and giving us a taste of true terror.  Similar to Lucas Hood in more ways than one,  Quentin came to town with a goal and wasn’t going to leave without Jason Hood.   Every scene with Howard sizzled and you were sad because we all knew he wouldn’t survive.  With his 4 scenes, Howard did spot the devil in our hero and gave one of the best speeches of the series.   About him and Lucas carrying that “army of one” gene and the ability to fight a certain way.   I could listen to Howard talk about fishing poles with that Quixote mixed with a Guinness and a bottle of gasoline voice.  His dissembling of those morons in scene 1 brought to mind one of my favorite British action stars, Jason Statham.  When a man kicks four guys ass next to a hot car in a fine suit, Statham comes to mind.  However, it was Howard’s line readings that got me hooked and I knew his interaction with Hood would be as epic as Chayton’s.  This is what the show produces.   Awesomely developed characters all over the board.   Thank you Mr. Howard for giving us a dose of honest blunt instrument terror.
  • Ivana Milicevic is such a gifted actress.  Like Antony Starr, she can do so much without a bit of dialogue.  All in the eyes and facial expressions.  In a set of scenes with her kids(no violence of this lady this hour), Milicevic just blew me away.   Devastating.
  • Rus Blackwell’s Gordon continues to evolve.  With every episode, Gordon falls further down the rabbit hole of regret, indecision, and violence and it’s such a pleasure to watch Blackwell play flawed.   His scene with the dad outside the car and his crumbling collapse in front of his kids reminds every viewer that the creators don’t forget about anybody on this show.
  • Bad Guys Stay Bad Lesson #1.   Kai Procter isn’t a good guy.   Sure, him and Hood have joined forces to kill a bigger evil.  Then again, as True Detective told us, sometimes bad men need to do certain things to keep other bad men from the door.   Procter is bad.   He is going to hurt people.  I am not sure if he knew who the kid he had Burton strangle was, but sure enough that will come up further down the road this season.   His treatment of Alex, the stripper and Rebecca is just the work of a cold hearted businessman who had his chest frozen shut by his family a long time ago when he was cast out.   Ulrich Thomsen is so good at showing us the joker standing in front of the devil that Kai Procter is.  He’s a storm of bad shit.
  • Burton’s twisted soul gets shed a little light tonight.   Clad in a wife beater and cleaning up his Jason Hood kill site, we see scars on the back from lashings, an attempt to smile, an articulate detail and a few pushups.   Burton hasn’t gotten a ton of time this season but that is why this show works so many strings so well.   There’s always next Friday.   Burton and Hood still have to dance.  
  • The imagery on this show dazzles every week.   Hood thinking back to when the older Hood died in his presence and him doing everything to save Jason showed us how far the guy has come between the two Hoods’ demise. He came to this town looking for one thing and now he is caring for many people.   He’s still a criminal and not a good guy but if there is a heart on this show that we care about most, it’s Starr’s Hood.
  • A lot of great lines tonight.  Sugar’s line about trains having to stop.   Job’s about everybody having a hobby.  Every line that came out of Quentin’s mouth.  Procter’s message to Alex, with the cool of a snake crawling up the Indian’s sleeve.  And many others.
  • Another actor on this show who can do more with little.  Lili Simmons.  Rebecca’s look of horror when she had to remind herself that Procter may have a code to his madness but that doesn’t mean the man isn’t bad news.  First, she witnesses the oral sex(maybe a little too long).   Then she sees Jason lose his throat and life right in front of her.  I swear this woman changed the minute she pressed send on the cellphone and ended up blowing the mayor and that property to kingdom come.
  • Rebecca and Gordon are unpredictable monsters in my opinion.  
  • I hate to say this(and have gotten flack on Twitter from my Banshee family for it) and it’s that I have the same bad feeling about Trieste Dunn Kelly’s Siobhan that I did about Jason Hood.   She just looks like a character who is doomed.   Her relationship to Hood growing(remember Job’s words of caution about people who stand too close to the man), her closure on the abusive ex, and the fact she means so much to many people yet walks around as a lonely soul.  I don’t think she survives this season.  I hope I am wrong but in this town, bad breeds more bad.
  • Another episode and no Chayton aka Geno Segers.  We all know he is coming back.  Like the rest of you, I can’t wait.  Quentin is gone.  Now we need the other immovable force to challenge Lucas again.
  • The final dose of bad news.  Job’s revelation that Rabbit let Lucas and Ana walk into a fool’s gold mission was just typical Banshee folk lore.   The diamonds were pure glass and would be of better use to crystal meth junkies than thieves.   The look on Starr’s face was deadlocked amazing.   He did 15 years for nothing and lost everything for nothing.   Rabbit better hope for a quick death because Hood has been set off.  This is Lesson #2, bad guys stay bad.  While Rabbit seemed to be a good husband and didn’t kill his daughter point blank in prison, he is still bad news.  He ruins lives and kills people.   The presence of Ben Cross is always felt.

What happens next?  I watch the episode again.   Then next week, Lucas goes after Procter again while the Amish gangster starts breaking Indian knee caps.  More blood, carnage, and family bonds on Cinemax’s masterpiece.   Thank goodness a third season was greenlit and there is time to heal between seasons.

Banshee kicks my ass every week but here’s the thing, I get back up and come for more.  It’s that good!

The Banshee Recap: Unicorns and Dreamhouses

This week, Banshee slowed down a bit and took us inside the poignant yet somewhat doomed romance of Lucas and Carrie.  Or is it mystery man and Ana?  At this point,26390-banshee-the-truth-about-unicorns-episode-screencap-2x5 many characters on this show tend to go by names that aren’t their own or nonetheless serve as band aides for their past transgressions.  I just call them what I am told and roll with the bloody punches.  After only getting a scene here and there this season together to exchange thousand mile stares and bittersweet memories, this couple was given the spotlight while the rest of the cast(save some Sugar) got to take a break and ice their wounds.

No Proctor, Alex, Nola, Brock, Siobhan, Gordon, Emmett, or Rebecca nor anyone else.  Just Carrie and Lucas, the heart and soul of this show.  Taking a drive.

This time Carrie wasn’t dreaming when she stepped out of prison.   After doing some screaming in the shower(one of the many crazy beautiful shots of this episode and something many fans forget about when it comes to the greatness of the series), she walked out a free woman and sees Lucas and not Gordon waiting for her.  I knew I was in for something special when this happened.   Old lovers, old trucks and farm laced roads in the country always cues the nostalgia.  We knew the madness wouldn’t soon leave them.

One of the most overlooked and sharpest abilities of this show is disguising the depth of the characters and story inside the beauty of their cinematography and sex and violence.   This was on display during the entire hour of this midway point hour.

The way we saw one scenario where Carrie and Lucas had a long embrace after she steps out of prison and the reality where the cold greeting involved no touching at all.   As Lucas told her, he truly didn’t know what he was missing while inside and this episode served as a way of looking back at what could have been.  Lucas and Ana on a Prairie!

I am not sure if you noticed, but Lucas and Carrie didn’t touch each other one time during this entire hour.   From the moment she got in his car and he drove her to this house that he bought that served as that image inside the locket, we all had to think there was some sexy time coming between these two hot star crossed lovers.   It never did and they didn’t even touch each other.  It’s almost as if they knew what would happen if they did.   They thought there may be a decent opportunity if they touched each other that Banshee would left in their rear-view window and they would never go back.   That’s something I noticed this hour.  The warmth these two share yet the coldness they have to disguise that with in order to not break anything else up back home.   Lucas and Carrie are truly a “What If” tale.

When Lucas told Job he was leaving last week, we all knew something had to be done to make that not happen.   In a way, small or large, this show reminds me of AMC’s Hell on Wheels, where Anson Mount’s Cullin Buchanon arrives on this railroad construction and seems to create this storm of bad things.  The only way Lucas is leaving Banshee is when there is nothing left there to fuck up.  That makes for great television.  This isn’t Game of Thrones or Downtown Abbey.  Anti-heroes don’t leave and come back.  They stay until it’s done.

Lucas and Carrie stayed the night and woke up to a mysterious noise coming from the crops.  You see, Lucas spotted a sports car tailing them since the prison and every film/TV fan had to know that regular looking lady whom Lucas made was really the killer.   What we didn’t know is that when Lucas went searching in the woods he found the Ash Tray known as Agent Racine(the truly gifted and versatile Zeljko Ivanek).  It turns out the Rabbit chase is still on and Racine was hunting to see if the two could draw Ben Cross(seen only briefly so far this season) out of hiding.

This is when we got a sure fire juicy scene in the dining room.   Racine spilling the beans on knowing the real Lucas Hood no longer breathes and that he wants to make a deal to make that stay a secret.  For the people who have watched Banshee Origins, they knew after the first episode this year that Racine knew our hero was a fake.  It’s too bad I saw Racine’s head going splat from the minute he sat in that chair and the window was well featured in the background.  Before he left, we did find out our doomed agent was made out of noble effort when he told the couple how he busted Rabbit too soon and that led to a family dying in addition to many more.  Banshee can show you a character, paint him with sinister intentions and then reveal their true spirit later on as something completely different.

This led to another gritty and well shot Banshee shootout.   Lucas and Carrie crawling through the weeds and crops and brilliantly trapping the assassin.  The brutal part came when they realized it was the lady who seemed to be harmlessly grocery shopping.   Lucas looking back at Carrie before he administered the kill shot with the knife.  You can tell that these two have had to do their fair share of killing but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a piece of them every time they literally take someone’s breath away.  To quote Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece, Unforgiven, “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man.  You take away all he’s got and everything he’s ever gonna have.”

As they drove away from the burning house(due to a sniper’s bullet hitting a lantern), you sensed these two knew more about finality than they ever wanted to know.  The Rabbit was out there and wasn’t going to rest until they were dead.  Here comes the pain.

Cue the Sugar speech.   Frankie Faison can spin them better than most.  He is the father figure Lucas never had and he told him another gem tonight.  How tortured men like themselves don’t need people to lock them up because they can do it themselves.  Lucas knew it was true because he slammed a whiskey and tried to deny it before hitting the punching bag a few hundred times.

We all know, between Rabbit, Proctor and a large man named Chayton, that bad things are coming to this show during the next five episodes before the series closes up shop for another season and we are left to watch repeats all year long.  And Lucas and Carrie will be right in the middle of everything.  After a few brief appearances, the Rabbit has put his foot down.  This time it managed to miss our two central characters.  I think we may see Julian Sands and that church again before the end.

Another hour of greatness and I am running out of words, ways and phrases to describe how special this series is.  Banshee continues to build depth while blowing us away on a weekly basis.  Another shoutout to Methodic Doubt for that extension of their slower score as the house caught fire.   I can’t wait for this soundtrack.

During the offseason, I think it would be cool if the creators and producers put together a small film comprised entirely out of Banshee Origin tales.  I’d buy a ticket or two to see that.

So long Fanshees!

Banshee Recap: Bloodlines

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There isn’t a better way to stretch out in the morning than by letting the hands go on a Banshee weekly episode recap.   Here are some thoughts and takeaways from Bloodlines, another brilliant and juicy hour of television.

*What an opener!  Carrie getting out of jail and falling into the arms of Gordon, and having the toned down Rebecca car moment on the drive home.  Everything is normal until she gets out of the car and hears a clanging noise as Deva walks up to her.  “It’s a dream!”  Things were looking too perfect for the world of Banshee.  Suddenly I thought I was watching Gilmore Girls or something.  Before we know it, Gordon is Lucas and Ana walks out of the house, looking all devious.  Yeah, Carrie wakes up, looks painfully empty and that’s how the hour began for the second week in a row.  What I want to know is…was she honest in wanting to come forth and tell Gordon and her kids everything?  Judging by her phone calls to home later in real life, I think the answer is yes.  It’s time to stop holding the sugar from the kids lady.

*GENO SEGERS!  I am glad they didn’t kill this guy last week when he treated poor Lucas Hood like a wrestling dummy.   Chayton Littlestone has so much to offer to the dynamic of this season.  An imposing presence with a history of violence and a future that just includes more…violence.  A man cast out by his own tribe(living in a trailer does that) but bound to the laws of his family heritage.  He is deadly but not in the easy typical boring way.  He starts off by throwing shit Emmett’s way at the station.   By asking him why he has joined “the white people”, we have a racial clash here and it’s not overdone or obvious.   Listen up when the big man is spitting out history lessons about the heritage of his people and how the blacks and whites played their roles.  Unfortunately back then, races were divided up into sectors like Chayton is describing.   He has venom running through his veins but he has a heart.  Sure, he busted his head through the guard in the cop car during transfer and helped flip it off the road.   However, he didn’t kill Siobhan and could have easily flicked his wrists for the order of killing Emmett….but did not.  He is a killer but he isn’t evil!  There’s a difference.

The best thing about Chayton is the soulful grace Segers sneaks into his performance.  Those painfully piercing eyes and that commanding voice could help launch an army of Spartan warriors and every time you hear it, something great is attached to the show.   And by Chayton addressing Emmett, I may get my clash of the titans sometime down the road.  Love the one liner from Segers about the chains and if I ever hear anyone start chanting that in my car or in a room anywhere, I am going to get up slowly and RUN!  Oh-No-ew-wat-te!

*It’s Olafur!   Yes, the Amish Killer had a small yet great role in this holiday season’s Ben Stiller film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.   So when he popped up with that familiar voice and size, I knew I recognized him.  When he started bear hug slamming Lucas, it became more apparent because he nearly broke Stiller in half during the film.  His name is Olafur Darri Olafsson and he hasn’t been in much but he played a decent troubled man this week.  The murderer of the Indian girl(in one of the best musical parts of the show, the flashback to the murder scene) was just a messed up Amish teacher.  You knew from the minute Lucas sat at that table that eventually he was going through it onto the floor.  Olafur got the grand tour for a one week guest spot on Banshee.   He killed a girl, got into a fight with Lucas, got tortured by Kai Procter and then a hatchet in the head from Nola.  Consider that a round trip through hell my friend.

*Lili Simmons had a nice hour of TV.  She is a lot more than a pretty face and beautiful body.  The girl can act and Creator Greg Yaitanes and writer Jonathan Tropper are slowing opening Rebecca’s Pandora box.   She played a key part in the finding of her brother, and even flung the hatchet into the killer’s back during his tussle with Lucas, showing off that sliver of Rebecca Bowman violence.  She ended the episode by having her way with Lucas Hood’s kid and I have to be honest, Simmons is a beautiful woman with a great body so it’s never a pain to see her become a sexual predator on this show.   Every week we find out just how much more this actress has to offer.

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