I’m not sure when Banshee devolved into camp mode. Maybe it was when the Native American strongman looking to crush Lucas Hood like an ant whips out a knife and dramatically cuts himself across his midsection, proclaiming, “We’re going to bleed together like our ancestors did…” (or something to that effect). Or maybe it was Kai Proctor whipping the shit out of a Native American gang and dropping lines like, “You know what’s worse than getting your balls crushed by a baseball bat? Having it done a second time!”
Whatever the case, the show is lost in its own smoke. The writers and directors try to steer every episode towards artfulness—the Terence Malick ripoff scenes where young lovers wander through an overgrown field together—but then go way off course.
While these two opposing creative forces fight for supremacy in the show, the storyline plods on, almost ashamed of how it is being wasted. Particularly when it came to the appearance in Banshee of the real Lucas Hood’s son. He confronts his ersatz dad and uses the truth to squeeze some help out of the former criminal: aid in escaping his own rough past. Their scenes together were the only honestly tense moments of the episode, and were amplified by Sugar making sure that the young man understands what is at stake if he decides to reveal the truth about the sheriff.
The rest of the episode was there to ratchet up the tensions between the Amish and Native American communities. A young Kinaho girl and a young Amish boy (Rebecca’s brother, no less) are in love. Then she winds up with her head caved in (yet another beaten and bloodied female in the show’s short history), and he disappears. The Kinaho think that the boy’s family is hiding him, and the Amish are up to something because when Rebecca asks for some help from a former friend, she’s attacked later by a mysterious figure in the woods.
I hold out no hope for this show’s future. It’s far too easy to pick out the various elements of other cable drama series (Big Love, The Sopranos, Dexter, etc.) that its creators try to stitch together as some kind of TV homunculus. And I still have no real connection or love for any of the plot threads being followed here (a little bit of credit, though, for waiting until the very end of the episode to shoehorn in a sex scene). It’s going down in flames, slowly, but it’s sure going to be fascinating watching it smolder into oblivion.