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

Ending the main plot on an inconclusive ellipsis rather than the usual exclamation mark, “The Warrior Class” makes for an interesting break from the usual “crisis of the week” plotting that gets wrapped up neatly after an hour. But rather than making the murder investigation weighty, or winding enough to warrant spreading it over multiple episodes, “The Warrior Class” divides its attention by introducing a menagerie of new characters and plot threads, a task it labours under. Hood’s crash course on the stressful professional life of being a sheriff goes hand in hand with the stressful home life that comes with being one too, as the son of the real Lucas Hood (teased at the end of Season 1) picks the worst possible time to come to town.

Hood knows he’s in trouble the second the kid makes him for an impostor, and even more when the little rabbl- rouser barely flinches at the news of his deadbeat dad losing the beat part. If that weren’t enough, a fresh-faced and ambitious new ADA, Alison Metty (who dresses in Olivia Pope’s hand-me-downs) looks to be filling the power vacuum of responsibility left in the Banshee legal system, ever since Gordon Hopewell decided to focus most of his attention on helping local strippers pay their way through law school.

The universe dog-piling on Hood with everything it’s got would play more comic if it weren’t all so rapid-fire, as between Chayton, Jason, the new ADA, and the killer him/herself, “The Warrior Class” gets balls rolling on a number of fronts, but doesn’t find a comfortable place to rest any of them. Though the assault on the gang clubhouse gets its proper due, the episode’s other two action scenes suffer from either absent purpose, or muddled execution. Kai getting in some batting practice on yahoos stirring up trouble with the Amish is brutally choreographed, but is of little relevance to the main mystery, while Rebecca and Hood running from/running down a masked assailant makes for the most visually incoherent set of action scenes the show has ever done.

While it’s encouraging to see the show’s writers dabbling with longer form arcing that doesn’t just involve a season-spanning big bad, and the newly introduced characters appear to have plenty of potential, “The Warrior Class” is unwieldy and bloated in ways Banshee rarely ever is. By the time Nola makes her first appearance, hovering over the corpse of Lana in the morgue, it’s not really clear what we’re supposed to make of the moment, seeing as any character could be doing exactly what she does in the scene, and look just as suspicious. If the hope was to leave us with a long list of potential suspects for Lana’s killer, then mission accomplished, but “the Warrior Class” just goes to show that there’s more to making a satisfying Banshee episode than a minimum prescribed dose of fistfights and sex scenes. It won’t be until next week that we find out if Banshee is just as out of its element as Hood, and whether pure adrenaline is just the thing that makes Banshee run best, or the only thing that makes it run at all.

  • Stray Thoughts

-That’s two weeks now without Zeljko Ivanek as Agent Racine. I’ve wanted more of this guy since his lively introduction during the premiere, but considering how crowded things were this week, his absence was probably for the best.

-I think we can all sympathize with Siobhan’s ex now, who got literally beaten over the head with biblical material last week, just as we got metaphorically beaten over the head with biblical material this week. The episode’s portentous opener, which intercuts a church sermon with Lana and Solomon doing an Adam and Eve routine, was hysterically heavy-handed.

-Whelp, looks like I was wrong about Siobhan and Hood not hooking up. Who wants to go double or nothing on him and the ADA winding up in private chambers together?

-Great scene for Frankie Faison this week, who underlines Hood’s easy truce with Jason using a carving knife. Faison does world weary very well, but it’s exciting to see Hood bring out the more dangerous side of Sugar, much the same way Sugar often brings out the better in Hood.