‘Banshee’ Season 2 Finale Review

Published 8 months ago by

Ivana Milicevic and Antony Starr in Banshee Season 2 Episode 10 Banshee Season 2 Finale Review

[This is a review of the Banshee season 2 finale. There will be SPOILERS.]

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If you’ve been keeping up with Cinemax’s pulpy crime drama Banshee in season 2 (and hopefully you have), you’ve likely noticed that episode-to-episode, the show looked, sounded, and even felt different from the series that may or may not have hooked you as a viewer in season 1. It’s only March, but as its second season comes to a close, with the pivotal and potentially game-changing ‘Bullets and Tears,’ Banshee has easily found itself at the top of the most dramatically improved series of 2014.

In order to climb those heights, season 2 had to be different from its predecessor in many ways, but noticeably, those differences really couldn’t bring around a drastic change with regard to the narrative. The show hasn’t suddenly gone off the deep end or forgotten it was intended to display a dizzying succession of outrageous fights, shootouts, and action set pieces. Instead, under the stewardship of showrunner Greg Yaitanes, the series has gone from straightforward, pulp-driven excess, to a nuanced, beguilingly layered, and progressively more substantial series that has consistently delivered meatier characterizations, storylines, and performances from which it may pull back its frequently bloodied knuckles.

All season long, Banshee has been dealing with the question of just who the show’s unnamed protagonist really is – meaning: who does the man playing Lucas Hood want to be, now that he can ostensibly become anyone? He’s free to be himself, but why does he persist at being Lucas Hood? The answer to that question is more than the show can answer in a single season, and it’s more than perhaps the show should want to answer, given the quality of the stories that have emerged from such an inquiry. The questions swirling around Hood’s true nature have easily usurped the questions regarding Hood’s true identity. All season long, he’s been doing the sheriff thing to nearly everyone’s surprise (whether they know his secret or not). But his time playing lawman is more than the clichéd “rogue cop who still gets results”; it’s a genuine question digging at the fundamental uncertainty of identity, and the malleable nature of the self, given the appropriate circumstances.

Julian Sands in Banshee Season 2 Episode 10 Banshee Season 2 Finale Review

Early on in ‘Bullets and Tears,’ Carrie (operating in Ana mode) discovers some information about Hood’s past that even she didn’t know, prompting her to ask the question: “How many lives have you lived?” Hood’s answer: “None, really.” The fact that Hood has had significant experiences worthy of being owed a debt by a man called Fat Al, prior to spending 15 years in prison, along with the intimation that he does not regard such experiences as noteworthy enough to warrant being called “living” is a significant finding for the increasingly complex puzzle this character is rapidly becoming.

Such remarks just add to the growing legend of the man currently behind the sheriff’s badge in Banshee. The idea that the reality of Lucas Hood is – in his own eyes, anyway – something of non-entity, a person in possession of myriad backstories, is one definitely worth investigating. While his identity shifts between two polar extremes, seemingly destined to be at odds with one another, the series has proven, episode in and episode out, there’s a balance to be struck, a mechanism put to use that incorporates those extremes and find that the middle, for once, is the most interesting place to be.

And as the season rolled on, it became obvious that Hood’s biggest concern wasn’t finding a way to get Carrie/Ana back into this life, or to become a father to the child he’d never known, but rather, how to reconcile his complicated past with the person he’s gradually becoming more comfortable being. In one sense, Hood is Don Draper with a killer right hook, but he’s also Raylan Givens with a serious identity complex. He’s a man who has became so good at living a lie, he’s unsure where the lie ends and the truth begins. And tellingly, Hood’s not the only one struggling with a fractured persona.

Ben Cross Ivana Milicevic and Antony Starr in Banshee Season 2 Episode 10 Banshee Season 2 Finale Review

At the season’s halfway point, Banshee took an aesthetically thrilling detour thanks in large part to director Babak Najafi, in the episode ‘The Truth About Unicorns.’ The episode spent an entire hour detailing the complicated relationship between Carrie/Ana and Lucas Hood. The couple ventured deep into a “What If…?” situation, only to be pulled out by the assassination of Agent Racine (Zeljko Ivanek) and the realization that with Rabbit still alive, they’ll never have any life worth living. This, of course, became the path on which the season would eventually find itself, despite Hood’s contentious dealings with Kai Proctor, and the deal he made with Alex Longshadow.

To that end, closing the book on Rabbit and, in many ways, Carrie and Hood, is the best thing Banshee could have done to progress the story into season 3. Rabbit has always serves as a major fixture in the Hood/Carrie relationship, as well as their individual pre-Banshee identities; but as all good television programs demonstrate, the key to keeping the story alive is: constant progression. Banshee could have easily milked a few more seasons out of Hood’s secret and his undying love for Ana, but rather than force the audience into another long, drawn out confrontation with the same problem, Yaitanes and series co-creator Jonathan Tropper decided to make ‘Bullets and Tears’ the entry point into a new storyline that has resolved the past as well as it possibly could, and simultaneously set its sights on the future.

The duo convincingly wraps things up by focusing on Carrie and Hood storming the church Rabbit’s been holed up in with his brother (Julian Sands). But rather than turn the suicide mission into a long, drawn-out exercise in violence, the episode effectively reveals the circumstances that put the protagonists in their current predicament – which reads more like the end of one massive chapter than anything else. And thanks to the intervention of Job and Fat Al, all those opposing Hood and Carrie perish – including Rabbit – but as the episode’s many epilogues suggest, Rabbit’s death and the closure that comes from that isn’t anywhere near the end of the story.

Ben Cross and Zeljko Ivanek in Banshee Season 2 Episode 10 Banshee Season 2 Finale Review

Instead, Banshee looks to the future, by continuing to turn the pages where Rabbit’s story ends. When Hood and Carrie enter Banshee city limits, the camera lingers on his hand leaving hers in the space between them, which happens to be the front seat of the real Lucas Hood’s pick-up truck. Carrie returns home to Gordon, while Hood attempts to find solace in Siobhan and later by returning to his job as sheriff – which eventually gets blown up by Deva marching into his office and addressing him as “dad.”

Meanwhile, the season ends with the tragic and bloody deaths of Emmett and his wife Meg, but also with Rebecca’s murder of would-be Thunder Man, Alex Longshadow. Longshadow’s futile insistence that he’s the Thunder Man not only affords Kai Proctor his release from prison, it also welcomes the series’ newest primary antagonist, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) – whose impending return to Banshee is enough to make anyone want to tune in for season 3.

In the end, ‘Bullets and Tears’ certainly lived up to its namesake, but it also propelled a dramatically improved series into a new frontier that looks far more promising than where things left off just one season ago.

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Banshee will return for season 3 in 2015 on Cinemax.

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  1. epic episode, wow, F*cking great. Season 3 will be crazy yo, they hinted alot for season 3, like wow, proctor wont stop, the indians wont stop, fbi wont stop, its gonna be a sh*tstorm once again in Banshee…

  2. Great Season. This show is so well acted I’m going to miss it over the Hiatus. I saw both deaths coming it’s a shame for Emmett but honestly I’m not sure where he fit in with this story. I figured Alex Longshadow would go so Proctor could get out of prison, at least he went out like a badass, that was a well done scene. Not sure about the going the incest route with Rebecca and proctor but we’ll see how it goes. So glad Geno will be a part of season three he is fantastic in the role of Chayton. Great Article Kevin thanks.

  3. Wow the finale was amazing. OMG. This show does a fantastic job of evoking emotions for each of the characters. Luved the color tones during the flashbacks and current story. Such a great job of providing emotional context behind character motivations. The scenes at the end were reminiscent of what happened the Red Wedding. I luved every episode this season. Spectacular. ” I have a little Thunder myself” luved the line.

    Once again, the action choreography and martial arts scenes were just jaw dropping. Marvel needs to hire the stunt/action team from Bansheeto make the Agents of Shield, Thor, IM, and Captain American fight scenes feel more visceral and be more entertaining.

    Lastly, Chayton…enought said. Im in for season 3. Cant wait.

  4. Love the show. This season was pretty awesome. Please continue reviewing Banshee. Thanks!

  5. Easily in my top 5 of favorite shows!

  6. Love this show!!!! Waiting for season 3 is going to be torture!

  7. Great season, great show, great episode and season 3 is gonna be nuts.

    Kai is gonna come hard after Hood and so is Chayton. The incest thing you could see coming a mile away, they were always building that uncle/niece relationship up for a climax.

    Its messed up though.

    But they have alot they can do with season 3 and I cant wait.

  8. “Where are we going?”

    Littlestone, “Home.”

    …season 3 can’t come soon enough!!!!

  9. This show is so much better when Lucas and Ana/Carrie are fighting or playing thieves….!!!! and ANa is way to Hot for dork like Gordon….

  10. I enjoyed season 2, but the finale had a few cheesy parts to them. For instance, the flashback of Ana meeting Job for the first time was lame. The dialogue in that particular scene was a little stale, with the 3 hecklers. But those very few scenes didn’t mess it up for me; I understand the show is still trying to find its pace in certain aspects and has shown improvement from the first season.

  11. Awsome show! I wish it was on longer,all year would be good. I love the entire cast and the writters are terrific. I hope the wierd moment between Procter and Rebecca stops at their hug. The show is way too good to and doesnt need to go down the incest road,too gross. Cant wait for season 3!

  12. awesome ending, me and the wife both love this show…we started weatching season 1 just a month ago on ondemand and we watched 1 or 2 episodes a night until finally we caught the season 2 finale on tv…but i agree i hop they dont go the incest road but honetsly i dont think think they will, there has been some awkward scenes but idont think Kai would let that happen, Rebecca is just infatuated with Kai’s power and wealth and i think she looks at him differently than an uncle, i mean they left both of there lives behind as Amish people so i dont think its just Lucas who were trying to figure out, its Kai and Rebecca as well.

  13. I don’t think Emmett is dead. He looked like he was still alive when he fell next to his wife and it would be interesting to see what kind of vengeance he enacts.

    You knew Job was going to save the day, he’s Job. I just hope he comes back to Banshee, him and Sugar make a good comedic team (maybe brings Fat Al with him).

    So I assume that the fake diamonds were fake all along? Rabbit tipped off the diamond company? You would think Anna/Carrie would have checked that once in those 15 years.

    As for the Kai/Rebecca thing, isn’t that an unspoken thing about Amish? Since it’s a closed community, you would think that would be hard to avoid. But I do think CMax does it to make us uncomfortable.

    It’s hard for me to picture Chayton as the Big Bad since my kids watched him so many times on Pair of Kings.

  14. I with it didn’t take so long to see episode 3, but it’s worst the wait. Thank you for this season 1and 2 can’t wait for 3, keep up your great mine.

  15. I am so happy to have found this show. its only because screenrant did an article about the premiere last year that I discovered it and it really is a gem. Its really improved in the second half even though I thought it was awesome to begin with. Theres some real heart starting to emerge now. I have to say the shootout in the church was amazing. it was so well done and was a truly emotional scene. I really thought Hood would be killed to save Carrie or at least seriously maimed. I mean the whole sequence with the flashbacks and the music and Fat Al and Job walking down the aisle with machine guns…it was fantastic. I watched it back like 3 times. Haha. I was really sad about the deaths of Emmett and his wife though and Rebecca looks like shes becoming the new psychpathic/femme fetale/heir to a criminal empire in town and that will be interesting to watch. I have to say I like Hood and Shibhan together more than Hood and Carrie and its awesome that they still havent revealed his real name. It better be something awesome

  16. I feel like I missed something. How does Alex’s death get Proctor out of jail? Don’t they still have the evidence on him? And wouldn’t Kai want Alex alive so he can be chief and cooperate with Kai?

  17. Perfect Banshee song… can’t even stress how appropriate. Ben Howard Oats in the Water

  18. I really enjoyed the season finale,though I have to admit Emmet dying caught me off guard and I’m a bit sad about it.I agree with something someone said earlier,Fat Al should be brought back,even if its for one episode.As much as I love this show,I hope it doesn’t go on forever.It would be sad to ruin it with so many pointless seasons