Banshee Review: “The Warrior Class” (Season 2, Episode 3)

Banshee Season 2

You wouldn’t expect it for someone who spent 15 years in a federal prison, alternately fending off mobster lackeys and pining for his wayward love, but the man who stole the name Lucas Hood really is one lucky guy. Even if we discount his knack for surviving impossibly dangerous situations by the skin of his teeth, only to then fall ass backwards into the bed of some random beauty almost every week, Sheriff Hood has had great fortune when it comes to pretending to be someone and something he’s not. You can set your watch to the daily trouble that comes to Banshee, which would be a nightmare for anyone trying to play police officer. But thanks to his overpowering combination of charisma and intimidation, Hood’s pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes with surprising ease, despite thinking rule books make better weapons than operational guidelines.

You can’t even call him a rule breaker, as that would imply he has an actual idea of what the rules of being a cop entail, a gap in his new identity that’s been enabled by how quickly the town has taken to their new sheriff, and his unorthodox methods. Hood’s successful track record at maintaining law and order has justified his means thus far, but “The Warrior Class” puts his improvisational talents to the test, complicating what it will mean for him to continue being both Lucas Hood, the man, and Lucas Hood, the lawman.

In the most interesting use of the show’s cultural milieu yet, the murder of Lana Cleary, a young Kinaho girl, along with the disappearance of her secret boyfriend, Solomon Proctor, sets the county’s Amish and native populations against one another, with criminal elements from each looking to expedite, or impede the investigation. Caught between the flaring factional tensions is Hood, whose first real murder investigation as sheriff teaches him how frighteningly unprepared he is for tracking down the dead girl’s killer, either on a legal, or emotional level. Hood’s gotten comfortable with being the savior, swooping in at the last minute to kick ass and save the day, but for once, a happy ending is off the table: the girl was dead before he even knew she existed, and the Proctor boy looks like a prime suspect.

Truth be told, Hood’s been a better town bouncer and body guard than actual law enforcement officer, and probably picked up most of his legal knowledge from his old life, either when being sentenced in a courtroom, or having his Miranda rights read to him. A Kinaho gang not fond of cross-cultural intermingling makes for an obvious, but complicated square one for Hood’s investigation, as they’re protected by both the jurisdiction afforded by the reservation, and their hulking leader, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers), an ex-con who makes the albino from last season look like a lab rat. The rule of Chekov’s Goon makes it so that the second Hood spies Chayton among the crowd of onlookers at the crime scene, you pin him as the episode’s final boss, and therefore key to solving Lana’s murder.

And yet neither assumption proves true, as “The Warrior Class” continues last week’s welcome change to established elements of the Banshee formula, though less successfully this time out. True, Hood and Chayton do tangle (and it’s as knock-down, drag-out an affair as you’d expect, requiring two Tasers, a chokehold, and the entire deputy squad to take down the eloquent, best-scene-from-Predator-recreating juggernaut), and Hood’s workaround to that pesky jurisdiction problem is as bullheaded and extralegal as ever. But for once, Hood isn’t able to brute force his way to a solution. Putting the cuffs on Chayton does little if anything to aid the hunt for Solomon, and as other search parties find themselves similarly distracted, the killer nearly makes a second victim after giving Rebecca a violent baptism in the woods. Hood barely so much as sets eyes on the perpetrator before they’re in the wind, giving him his second bitter lesson in being a cop: sometimes, the bad guys get away.