Banshee Review: “Bloodlines” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Hoon Lee in Banshee
It then follows that Chayton would have to be the first one out of the car, then call his gang cronies to pick him up (unless we want to believe he planned an escort this far ahead, at this location), all before any other vehicle finds them on the road over a period of hours (based on the change in daylight). Even by this show’s logic, which allows for a random stranger to become town sheriff without batting an eye, that’s a stretch. It’s not like Banshee is a stranger to the implausible – far from it: the show embraces its pulpy roots with reckless abandon, confident the ends will justify the means. And while, yes, the car wreck was one of the best I’ve ever seen on TV, what’s supposed to make it awesome is feeling like the aerial ballet of metal and concrete was the organic result of character choice and story, not just coincidence and good/bad timing.

Last year Banshee was showing real progress in its ability to craft tight one-off episodes, but it seems like the show isn’t ready to tackle longer form arcing just yet. The answer to last week’s big question lands with a thud instead of a boom, as a random, previously unseen character turns out to be both Lana’s killer, and Solomon’s captor. The lead up to the reveal is strong, as the episode introduces another interesting new castoff from the Amish community, and Hood’s water-testing interrogation of the culprit is tense in theory, but gets ultimately undone by Noah being a 300-pound giant – of course he’s guilty, Hood needs to fight somebody! Were their inevitable clash in the cabin accomplished with more flair, I’d be more forgiving, but the resolution to the murder plotline is disappointingly pat, given all the potential it seemed to have when it first started.

That the new ADA, Alison, doesn’t seem concerned with the majorly illegal way that Noah’s confession was obtained (courtesy Kai, who offers his skills at invasive dentistry) makes it clear how little of consequence will come of this supposedly town-rocking crime, and the matter is put in the ground for good after Nola briskly disposes of Noah (seriously, is no building secure in this town?). The last two episodes marked a chance for Banshee to try something new, but instead just drew out the usual formula, as if to buy time until the cliffhanger non-revelation of Rabbit’s survival.

His overly familiar threat-chat with Ana is an unfortunately perfect kind of capper to the unofficial two-parter of “The Warrior Class” and “Bloodlines,” making it evident Banshee is more comfortable remixing stories and dynamics it’s already done before, or just returning to them wholesale, instead of taking a risk on something more ambitious. If Banshee is just going to be a procedural crime show full of breasts and violence, it can be that just fine. But unless it focuses on getting the stories leading to the action up to snuff, or making that action good enough to offset writing issues, the show’s going to become less of a delicious piece of escapist fluff, and more an exercise in pulling teeth.

  • Stray Thoughts

-In retrospect, it seems I’ve been a bit hard on Dava in the past, seeing as almost no citizen of Banshee can make it through puberty without being kidnapped, murdered, or just generally traumatized. She ought to stay away from that weed-dealer friend of hers though, as his reluctance to reveal his source seems like trouble in the making.

-Racine Watch, Week 4: At this point, I’m starting to wonder if I dreamed up Zeljko Ivanek’s involvement on the show. Surely, surely he’s coming back next week, right?

-Someone needs to start contriving more reasons for Job and Nola to share scenes, because their brief compliment swap tonight was delightful. If Job sells the diamonds just to justify the two going on a shopping spree, I’ll be satisfied.