[This is a review of Banshee season 2, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]
The man calling himself Lucas Hood has arrived at something of a critical juncture in his post-prison life. His experiences as sheriff for the titular town of Banshee, which include being semi-reunited with his longtime love, being introduced to the daughter who only knows another man to be her father, and developing a tenuous rapport with many of the colorful locals in the not-so-sleepy Pennsylvania community he now calls home, have dropped him in the middle of a potentially life-altering existential quandary, an identity crisis that may result in him becoming someone far removed from even his wildest imagination.
At the end of last week's 'Armies of One,' Jason Hood, the young man who was actually born into the surname of Hood, rather than picking it off a dead man like a watch, wound up being killed at the hands of Banshee's resident crime lord, Kai Proctor. Well, technically it was at the hands of Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch), Proctor's loyal servant, but there's no question who was directing those maladjusted yet undoubtedly well-manicured hands gripping the garrote that ultimately took Jason's life.
On that note, 'Ways to Bury a Man' begins with an unsettling shot of Rebecca (Lili Simmons) and her uncle Kai watching a large meat grinder go about its business with the not-so-subtle suggestion the ground chuck that's being churned out would more accurately be called ground Jason. Awaiting FDA approval or not, the reality of the situation clearly doesn't sit well with Rebecca, who finds herself at the increasingly questionable mercy of her uncle, whose intimation from last episode suggested there's not to be anyone in his niece's life but him. Unsurprisingly, Hood pieces together Jason's final moments fairly quickly, and deduces Kai was likely involved in whatever nefarious fate had befallen the young man he'd fought so hard to keep alive.
Hood's response to this realization, then, is connected to the question of who he's becoming – especially over the course of the much-improved second season. Hood determines it's time to engage Proctor head on, but after getting some sage advice from Sugar Bates (and later, Brock Lotus), his direct course of action involves putting the badge on his chest to good use. This opens up the episode to finally give the underused Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Gross) a few moments to shine, as the sheriff and his two deputies shake down a group of white supremacists led by Joseph Sikora (otherwise known as Ginger on HBO's True Detective), resulting in some of the show's recommended weekly allowance of fisticuffs.
But, like Lotus tells Hood, taking Proctor down isn't going to be an easy or quick job; it's going to take time and patience to bring the weight of the law down on the town's resident kingpin – unless of course Banshee has a sheriff whose natural inclination is to operate outside the law. This results in a conflation of Hood's two halves – the ex-con and the burgeoning hero – going after a dangerous criminal who kills with impunity by blowing up the brick factory that also manufactures the drugs Kai profits from.
It's a busy episode that hints at much bigger things to come now that war between Hood and Proctor has officially been declared. But, despite the plot-heavy activities, Banshee still finds time to briefly examine the continuing shambles of the Hopewell family, as well as the underpinnings of Hood's actions, and to make them all feel like progress, not merely plot.
Banshee continues next Friday with 'Evil for Evil' @10pm on Cinemax.