[This is a review of Banshee season 2, episode 8. There will be SPOILERS.]

There’s no question that Banshee is a small town with more than its fair share of troubles relative to its size. The place is such a hotspot for criminal activity it’s almost as though it’s actively campaigning for some kind of national recognition of the amount of underhanded shenanigans going on. The place is so weird it’s deserving of its own Ken Burns documentary, detailing the town’s past, examining its tumultuous present, and forecasting its uncertain future. But that would involve shining a spotlight on the dark recesses where everyone in town – especially the sheriff – likes to keep their dirty little secrets, and it just might lead to the kind of exposure no one, not even the law, wants to deal with.

And yet, the more an ex-con commits himself to playing the roll of Lucas Hood, the more likely it seems he’s going to expose not only his own dark secret, but also those of the entire town. In what is the ugliest (in terms of content, anyway) episode of the season, ‘Evil For Evil’ continues to question the possibility of Hood actually becoming Lucas Hood: sheriff, and what the cost of cleaning up Banshee’s wretchedness might mean for the people whose job it is to actually be the first wave of such a concentrated effort.

After busting Carrie and Job doing some off-the-books thievery, Hood confronts the two at Sugar’s bar, prompting him to inform them they actually do need his “permission” to engage in such antics around these parts, but, more surprisingly, he asks Carrie, “What if one of my deputies found you?” Carrie’s laughter in response is a veritable grab bag of emotion, indicative mostly of the widening separation between the two – in terms of where their priorities are, at least. Carrie’s literally breaking back into the family that disowned her at the beginning of the season, while Hood’s breaking the law in order to see Kai Proctor brought to justice. The duplicity of both their actions wind up producing interesting results, as, it seems, they both wind up getting what they want. The only question is: at what cost?

There’s a great deal of nastiness between Hood and Proctor that’s likely going to end up getting another innocent killed (Jason Hood’s Oregon troubles notwithstanding). And while we wait for the blowback from Proctor’s arrest to sweep through town, ‘Evil For Evil’ presents a harrowing look at what can happen to good people doing the right thing in a town like Banshee. Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) runs afoul of the repugnant Nazis he failed to knock some sense into during ‘Ways to Bury a Man,’ but not as directly as before. Instead, his wife Meg (Stephanie Northrup) winds up becoming the victim of a senseless attack that leaves her hospitalized, and their unborn child dead.

The beating Emmett pays upon his wife’s assailants affords the episode its title. He explains to Hood how he accepts his decision to do what he did, even if it’s contrary to what his father and his religious upbringing taught him. He was giving voice and power to those who couldn’t speak or act, and as such, stands prepared to take responsibility for his actions. In a distressing turn, the episode ends with Emmett stripping himself of his badge, the last act of a man ostensibly owning up to his transgressions before an authority higher than the sheriff, and demonstrating how the simple act of coming clean can be a kind of dirty business in and of itself.

Banshee continues next Friday with ‘Homecoming’ @10pm on Cinemax.

Photos: Gregory Shummon/Cinemax