Season 4, Episode 2: “The Burden of Beauty”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum
* For a review of the Season 4 premiere, “Something Out of the Bible” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Job” – click here
With a whopping premiere, Banshee Season 4 has gotten underway, and fast.
The second episode of this season begins with an ER, three months prior to current events. Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) stumbles in, bloody, beaten whispering: “Help me.” That’s eerie. What happened to her? Well, we’re going to find out. What I enjoy about the beginning of this season is that the story, the further character development, everything is a slow burn. And in the best sort of way. Instead of just going flat out and throwing everything on the table the writing is taking its time to unfold for this final season.
In the darkness of a warehouse-like building, a young girl is being kept by a masked man; the serial killer, no doubt. Nope! It’s a porn shoot. Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) and new Deputy Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) get in there and put a stop to things. Love seeing Bunker embracing a proper way of life, instead of the Nazi bullshit. He is a true bad ass.
Back at the station, Brock finds Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) waiting in his office. Or should I say Mayor Proctor. We’re getting the notion now that Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) was put in place by Kai, to run things for him on the inside, or something similar. Either way, he’s got his finger on the pulse of everything still, even more so now holding public office. He has them doing whatever it is his business requires, apart from their service to the community.
Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) keeps busy, as usual, working on the new house. She is one of my favourite female characters on television currently, maybe ever. Her relationship with Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) is a complicated one, complex, storied. We’ve gotten so much of their backstory, the history. But every day almost brings another problem for them. Speaking of Hood, he pops out to her 25-acre piece of land. She has surveillance, a nice gate, everything needed to keep her life private. Hood has to explain his long absence, though, Carrie’s more upset at him for abandoning Job (Hoon Lee) than for anything between the two of them.
When Hood stumbles upon one of her unfinished rooms, he also finds the information she’s been collecting on possible places Job could be taken. “Still nothing,” Hood half asks, half tells. This entire sequence is emotional, heavy, both in writing and execution. The way things are edited is incredibly well done. Banshee has always done great things overall aesthetically, in writing, editing, but this was just an on-point sequence that illustrates this so plainly.
On top of everything else, Carrie also has to deal with the loss of her husband Gordon. No matter her relationship with Hood, she loved Gordon very much during their time together.
More neo-Nazi madness. Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) gets an earful from Kai, at work, about the side porno action he’s been doing. Not good for the relationship between Mayor Proctor and the Brotherhood. He also gets a fistful, from Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch), pulling muscle as is the status quo. Is there a war brewing between Kai and the white cowards? For now, Calvin acts appropriately, says the right things – some of them, anyways. But he’s crazy, we’ve seen that already, and well he is a Nazi, so there’s bound to be trouble soon enough.
Cut to three months back, again. Rebecca went to see Lucas about a local meth dealer. She got mixed up with their nonsense, trying to “branch out” and make herself a name. She never deserved to die, but Rebecca was constantly putting herself in harm’s way to try and be like her uncle. The whole mess with the meth clan brings about this episode’s title. Rebecca’s told she’ll be relieved of “the burden of beauty” – right before the hillbilly redneck tries feeding her to a rabid dog. She does pretty well on her own. Yet Hood still shows up to do some vicious damage later.
This whole shitshow gets Hood shot, but obviously the man’s still alive and kicking. So we jet back to the present. Hood heads to a bar. Except he’s headed off by Brock and Bunker. It becomes evident Lotus is getting more and more suspicious of Hood. And why not? I mean, we know he didn’t kill Rebecca, we know he’s not some serial killer. But any good police officer would suspect him and give it the time of day. In the end, Hood makes off with the suspect he intended to find, leaving Brock and a reluctant Bunker in his wake.
Over at the bar with Sugar (Frankie Faison), Hood questions the man from the bar band, who was involved with Rebecca – the nephew of the hillbilly meth head with whom she did that bit of business.
Sugar’s got issues with Hood. Everyone is unimpressed with the way he just gave up on Job, left him for dead, or worse, who knows where. That’s why he’s going so hard after the one who killed Rebecca; he wants to make amends, to someone, anyone, even if it can’t be Job himself.
As Mayor of Banshee, the drug business is treating Proctor even better than ever. He’s making huge moves in the trafficking world. Like always, he demands quite a bit, as well as offers a good deal, too. His new partner? He’s got no time for big fish in the little Banshee pond. He runs with the cartel, and they are the veritable big fish of the drug game. Meanwhile, Proctor’s got Clay in court intimidating D.A. Mark Franklin (Paul Monte Jr). And it works. The men set to be on trial are sent home – Pony Joe (Corey Rieger) and the porn crew – neither Bunker, Carrie, nor anybody else are impressed. But Bunker leaves her with a file, a bit of information. Let’s hope there’s some ass kicking on her part for Joe and his boys in the future.
The weight of Rebecca’s death weighs heavy on her uncle Kai. Naturally, as he loved her way too much for an uncle to love his niece. So, on top of the bond they had he’s got this sick love for her. It’s bound to drive him off the rails. He keeps it in check for now, in the outside world. He mourns privately.
Hood updates Proctor on his little investigation concerning the meth dealers. So while Hood no longer works for the cops, or pretends to, he’s still acting as a cop. Funny how a conman and robber became a law enforcement officer on a whim then the whole mindset stuck with him. He’s doing this now for personal reasons. Still, though, there is something about him that was almost always meant for police work.
Another mention – love the score in this series. Always great pieces of music, mixes of electronic and guitar and strings and everything. Plenty of spectacular work.
Brock: “I know Hood just well enough to know that I don‘t know him at all.”
Lotus keeps moving towards Hood being a viable suspect in the serial killings. Unfortunately, this takes him away from the real killer, out there somewhere. At the same time, Carrie is out taking care of business police should be taking care of – dirty porn making perverts.
Calvin is also getting ready to take care of business, too. He is a completely mental white supremacist, he wants to make sure there is “justice at any cost“, and that means making some moves. Typical brash White Brotherhood bullshit. Whatever comes next, it’s sure to be nasty, and likely bloody.
The weird love Proctor has for his dead niece takes a life. One of many, I imagine. He continually proves his danger, his volatile nature, his brutality. I wonder if by the end of this final season will Proctor see justice come to him?
The episode’s end hears a bloodcurdling scream in the darkness. Stuck in some isolated room, in near pitch black. A man comes in and hoses him down mercilessly. Alongside that we see images from a week previous – Rebecca is being dragged into the woods by a faceless, masked killer, her mouth duct taped, blood leaking from her forehead.
Whoa. That finish was intense.
Very excited to see the next chapter, perfectly titled “Job”, so stay tuned with me and we’ll see what comes next. There’s bound to be more blood, more action, and lots of emotion.