For all the conflicts and tension that gets baked into every episode of Banshee, the only one that really feels charged is the struggle the criminal currently known as Lucas Hood is going through. You can see the debate constantly going on behind the eyes of Antony Starr, the actor playing Hood. He’s constantly trying to appease both sides of his personality: the one that wants to take the money and run, and the one that wants to do right by the people around him in Banshee.
In this week’s installment, he leans more towards the good side, working towards the safe return of Solomon Bowman and bringing justice to the family of Lana Cleary. That comes at one hell of a price, though, as Hood is led to the home of a brutal Amish teacher, Jonah Lambrecht. The conversation starts off pleasant but turns quickly ugly with the sheriff taking yet another beating. When the oafish Lambrecht is finally subdued, the only person who is able to get any information out of him is Kai Proctor, and only by sticking an icepick into his mouth via his chin and yanking out about seven teeth.
With Bowman safely back home, the only other concern is the son of the real Lucas Hood, who is still shuffling around Banshee, looking for his ticket out. As expected, he makes a royal ass of himself, wandering around town when he’s supposed to be laying low. He eventually bumps into the young Rebecca, who fucks him at first out of routine, but then out a sense of defiance and free will. At least I think that’s what the flashbacks to her shunning from the Amish fold during their sex scene were meant to convey.
The two magnetic poles pulling at Hood’s conscience take a stronger hold towards the end of the episode when he finally agrees to let Job take their illicit diamonds and fence them in New York. But right after that, he catches sight of Siobhan battered and shaken. Earlier, she and Deputy Yawners were attempting to take Chayton Littlestone to the county lockup. Big badass that he is, he kicks through the barrier between the front and back seats of the squad car, knocking out Yawners and sending the car tumbling off the road. It’s a genuinely terrifying moment in a show that doles out beatings and murders like high fives after a Little League game.
The rest of the episode just seemed to melt into the background. Even the big ending return of Rabbit, sickly in a wheelchair and spouting poetic nonsense to his imprisoned daughter felt anticlimactic. The show may constantly stumble under the long shadow of its closest forebear, The Sopranos, but there’s at least one aspect of their gentle borrowing from that show they got right: the only story arc you really end up caring about is Hood’s. When he’s onscreen, the show has that extra bit of electricity that makes you sit up a little taller in your seat. Would that the rest of the show carried that same charge.