If shows like Banshee are meant to help push Cinemax past its “Skinemax” past, opening up an episode with a young girl masturbating on her bed is not the way to do it. It serves no narrative purpose at all, just there to titillate. That’s what so much of this show feels like: T&A interrupted by random acts of violence and chest-pounding dramatics.
At least the drama has some bite to it what with Carrie getting sentenced to 30 days in the pen, Deputy Kelly’s ex-husband arriving back in Banshee looking for forgiveness, and Kai Proctor and Alex Longshadow trading blows over the destruction of the Indian casino.
The last of those provided the episode’s greatest thrills, with Longshadow aiming for retribution due to the casino explosion and because he thinks Proctor was the one who robbed the armored truck. The first parry was the destruction of one of Proctor’s meat trucks—and then, the kidnapping of Proctor’s niece, Rebecca (the girl going solo in the first part of the episode, of course). The riposte: Proctor’s men dumping organs and cow’s blood into Longshadow’s hot tub while he and a lady were in it. Very nasty stuff.
Where Banshee reveals its more troubling side is in the other dramatic threads of this week’s installment. I’m still trying to suss out what reason they had for bringing Siobhan’s ex around. The intention might have been to deepen the character, but it seemed more to do with highly stylized shots of a woman getting abused. It sure as hell didn’t make his eventual comeuppance at the end of the hour any more sweet. It all just felt gratuitous.
The only place where the show held up was in watching Carrie struggle with being sent to prison, even for the short period of time that she was sentenced to. The scene where she attempts to connect with her daughter before turning herself over to the police was absolutely heartbreaking. That went by the wayside however when on her first night in the clink, she gets into a nasty, bloody brawl with another inmate.
What’s the fascination with women either getting hurt or hurting one another, oh makers of Banshee? Was this show created as part of some disturbing focus group work you did among Tucker Max acolytes and the other dark corners of the Internet? The proliferation of bare breasts and fake sex is enough to raise a concerned eyebrow, but that’s much easier to stomach than a seeing multiple women getting bloodied up.