Considering you might be reading this just after watching the shattering end to this week’s Banshee, it’s going to be hard to talk about “Evil for Evil” in such a way that doesn’t trivialize the bleakness of the hour, while also conveying how freaking stoked we should about the heater the show is on. Stretching back to “Armies of Ones,” Banshee has stopped it with the detours, and finally started getting to the meaningful action. And I’m not just talking about semis careening into drug warehouses, or bareknuckle boxing on a moonlit highway; what’s making things click so well lately is the sense that we’re done winding up the characters and plotlines for the season, and finally get to see them let loose. And wouldn’t you know it: Banshee is a pretty damn fine show when its toys are playing together.
While earlier episodes of the season felt like they were crowding the best material with too much filler, the biggest problem we have right now is not having enough time to make the awesome moments land 100%. “Evil for Evil” begins with alarm bells, opening on Ana and Job working the job they began plotting last week. There’s no foreplay of scouting the heist, slipping in undetected, and then building up to things going haywire. Dropping us right into the mayhem is a bit jarring; Hood catching them, then letting them go happens mere seconds after we’ve gotten a limp grip on the situation. Hell, I’m not sure we ever even find out what or who the two are stealing from.
But the show has done its time: we know the relationships Hood’s gang have with one another, and have all the shorthand we need to fill in blanks when needed. As soon as Hood appears, we recognize that being arrested isn’t a real danger for Ana and Job right now. The real thing at stake was being caught lying to the rest of their “team” by omission, and Hood got them both red-handed. “It wasn’t that kind of job,” Ana explains to Hood when pressed for an explanation of his missing invite. The speed of this plotline’s development has us initially as confused as Hood about why Ana would choose to cut him out, but what “Evil for Evil” spends its next hour doing is proving just why it is Ana is trying to stay as far removed from Hood as possible.
Those suspicious of Banshee’s new sheriff often mention how “exciting” things suddenly got after he came to town, but a lot of the stink that’s followed in his wake is purely coincidental. Sure, Rabbit, Jason Hood, and all the trouble they brought with them were detritus from Hood’s past (and adopted) life, but plenty of the madness that’s happened since the show began was completely out of his hands -Hood just chose to get involved in it. Ana’s need to get some cash together for Max’s treatment is the closest thing to an unselfish end as she’s ever likely had as a criminal, and her desire to keep Hood out of the affair has nothing to do with those forces out of his control. Rather, Ana, in her struggle to rejoin her family, has begun to recognize the danger Hood’s real choices pose.