by Matthew Thompson
A few weeks ago I wrote about my impressions of the first season of Banshee and now I’m back with my thoughts on Seasons 2 and 3. These will contain spoilers for both seasons, so if you aren’t caught up you’ve been warned!
Looking at things objectively, it is hard to not see Banshee’s sophomore outing as a step back for the series. It feels a little aimless at times particularly in the first half of the season. The back-end finds its footing a bit when Hood shifts his focus to taking down Kai and they set out to save Job and kill Rabbit at the end while dishing out some more of these characters’ backstories. But the season as whole is all over the place. New characters also feel underdeveloped. Agent Racine is introduced only to be killed off before his character really goes anywhere. The same goes for Rabbit’s priest brother. Even Nola seems to have just disappeared for no particularly good reason along the way. I didn’t like how conveniently some of the stuff that would have outed Lucas seemed to go away either. Finally it was lacking in action compared to Season 1 particularly those unforgettable brawls that made it stand out so much.
Despite the drop in quality, I still found myself enjoying it and there were quite a few memorable moments throughout the season. Like the truck heist in the opener or Lucas battling through the casino as he went to rescue Rebecca. I loved the introduction of Chayton too. He seemed so impossible to take down in his opening fight and his imposing nature would really pay off even more in Season 3 as a long-term foe for Hood. I also enjoyed the oddball fifth episode. The dreamy, contemplative nature isn’t what I want to see from Banshee on a weekly basis, but as a one-off I thought it was interesting. And despite the different feel it managed to deliver my favorite action bit of the season, that outstanding shootout in the field.
It seems like the writers really understood where they faltered in the second season because the third corrects most all of its mistakes. The focus that Banshee was lacking the previous year was found in two long arcs that ran through the majority of Season 3: the planned heist of the military camp and the Hood vs. Chayton storyline. Not only were both of these storylines just flat-out entertaining they gave the season a much-needed through line as well.
Once again though the thing that really makes me love Banshee are the amazing setpiece-style action sequences. While I can appreciate what they accomplished with the presentation of the heist, I was a bit lukewarm on that aspect of it. But it was still a blast to watch. Stowe’s pursuit of them, complete with him throwing the whole crew around inside the truck at the end, gave him a Terminator vibe that made his eventual takedown in the final episode that much more satisfying. The third episode saw Lucas kidnapped and taken away in a tractor-trailer furnished as if it were an office. This in some way feels disconnected from the season’s main plot, but it makes up for any shortcomings in that regard by presenting us with more of Banshee’s unique and exhilarating brand of action. This episode also featured what may have been the most brutal fight I’ve ever seen on television between Nola and Burton. It even finishes with the equivalent of a Mortal Kombat fatality. I was sad to see Nola go. She felt like a good fit for the series, but a bit underutilized. Still this fight was so insane and just so Banshee that I couldn’t help but love it. And this barely scratches the surface of the crazy action Season 3 delivered. All the Chayton fights, his attack on the precinct, the final assault on Camp Genoa… I could go on. I’m not sure there is a show on TV that does action on the same level as Banshee and in Season 3 it was as good as ever.
This doesn’t cover all that Banshee had to offer this year. There was great material for Kai, funny moments with Job and Sugar, some pretty intriguing flashes to what might have been if the real Lucas Hood hadn’t died. I really like the setup for Season 4 too with Hood quitting the sheriff position which could be a nice shakeup for the series. Plus Dalton seems like a potentially great “big bad” for the season to come. Not everything worked (some of Deva’s plots for instance, Siobhan dying just as she learned about Hood was once again a bit too convenient for my tastes), but they seem minor when looking at the season as a whole. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this end up on my list of the top shows of 2015 come year’s end. It was top-notch stuff.
That will do it for my impressions on Banshee. I am really glad I caught up on the show this year and am excited to see where it goes next season. Thanks for reading!