Outcast – Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”
Directed by Josef Wladyka
Written by Helen Leigh

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fireflies” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mercy” – click here
Pic 1When in Rome… yeah, that’s not gonna work here. Or maybe it does work for Sidney (Brent Spiner).
At home, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and their daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw) scramble to figure out what’s next in the wake of all his girls have learned. He knows the demons are coming after them now. “Theyre out in the open,” he tells Allison. He knows that likely “half the damn town” are on their way for him with Sidney and Dr. Park (Hoon Lee).
Speaking of the hacking, white-haired devil, he and Park are having a look at a boy, precious cargo he fucked up. The doc is clearly one of the other higher up demons, and they talk of The Council, which I’m sure we’ll discover more of later, too.
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) rush to Kyle’s place, they worry for what’ll happen if Kyle isn’t around. But the Barnes family has to get away, at least for the time being until he can think up a plan.
Pic 1AWhat about Rosie (Charmin Lee)? She’s been up to a few things, without her husband Byron (Reg E. Cathey) in his weakened state. She’s been real busy getting shit done. But is she safe?
In Kyle’s absence, Megan and the Rev get closer. She tells Anderson once about hating him, because she didn’t believe what Kyle was going through as a boy, instead believing he was toying with Kyle. Now she knows, far too well, that the truth about demons is real. Then he mentions the Lighthouse.
Amber: “The monsters like us
On the road Kyle notices someone following them. Or believes he does, anyways. His behaviour starts scaring his wife, though his daughter’s well versed at this point in demonology and many of the nasty creatures’ tricks. Up at the junkyard, Kyle looks for Bob Caldwell (M.C. Gainey), hoping he’s got a car for him. Bob is a little worse for wear yet always fighting.
Anderson takes Megan out to the Lighthouse, to see Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) and her congregation of sorts. The Rev also tells her that Kyle isn’t actually dead. Everyone there recognises Megan instantly, as if they know her. It’s because they recognise her struggle. They’ve struggled, as well.
In other news, Evelyn Bailey’s turned up dead. Chief Nuñez (Briana Venskus) has sent for former Chief Giles to be brought in, warrant and all. Byron gets a cell to himself, though not all the officers are giving him the cold shoulder. Nuñez, of course, isn’t one of them. She’s one of THEM; if you know what I mean.
Pic 2Across town the big, bad boss Sidney goes to meet the Council for coffee. He tells them Helen Devere was “successful” in her work. That he’s trying to figure out how she nearly brought about the Merge. But the Council is waning in their support for his little experiments, they want action.
Dakota and Megan talk alone, they discuss the sins of those who’ve been touched by demonic presence. Dakota tells her she can’t remember most of what she did while under the evil influence. She was a junkie on the street, later chewing the face off her boyfriend/dealer in a fit. Whoooa.
Sidney’s slow breaking down, his coughs worse every day. He falls in the parking lot, mocked by Park who thinks the Merge isn’t their only hope. Well, he also has his own ideas about how the demons might learn to live on Earth. He just isn’t keen on telling. Heading off, Sidney winds up putting his car off the road from coughing up black liquid.
Along the road Kyle and his family find a blockade, construction work being completed. He’s too paranoid, so they turn around only to see the car that was following earlier waiting. He drives off into the trees, but they run the car into the bushes.
A face we’ve not seen in awhile, Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson), meets with Rosie. She’s been lured. Rosie fires a shot at her, but they trade blows and the demon is strong in Kat. Can’t put Mrs. Giles down, though. She knocks Kat over a railing and puts a finish to another demon infested soul in Rome. Bad ass.
At the station, one of Giles’ former officers believes in the devils. He says he had troubles one time, that maybe this was the cause. Now he’s into “old school” Jesus, y’know. And this officer believes in second chances, letting Byron out from distrust of Nuñez. Hell yeah, baby!
Pic 3Sidney’s still kicking, walking along the road until someone picks him up. He heads back to town in rough shape. Over at the Lighthouse, Anderson follows Dakota into the woods as she goes on by herself. To a cellar a ways out. He finds what they call a dormitory, and he knows better. They’re going to be keeping somebody down there. Then he sees it’s Sidney himself.
In the forest Kyle, Allison, and Amber are surrounded by a large group of people. Nuñez at the helm, wondering where the Barnes family are headed. They don’t want anybody leaving Rome. No, no, no.
What about Byron? He gets home and Rose has finally come back. She’s injured, full of Kat’s blood. This worries her husband, obviously. But it worries him more that she’s been a busy bee, doing the work they need to do. However, the noose in their little town is tightening. Something Kyle knows all too well, as he and his girls are pursued by the group with Nuñez. That is until Junkyard Bob turns up to save them, ploughing through the roadblock and nearly running the new chief over.
But Kyle won’t go. He lets Bob take the girls and leave. He faces the crowd, taking Nuñez to the ground while Amber burns a demon off Bob to get them free. He puts a hand over Nuñez’s face until she’s nearly drained of life, and watches while his family gets out of that demonic place.

Such a killer episode and an emotional, intense finale. Also, we’re getting ready to see a great battle. Kyle is ready, as are others including those at the Lighthouse. You know he’s going to hook up with them soon enough, via Anderson. And what about Dakota & Co. holding Sidney in that cellar? What do they have planned?
Next episode is “Mercy” and we’re closing in on the latter moments of Season 2. Sincerely hope Cinemax is smart enough to renew this for Season 3. Or else!


Outcast – Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Jeff Vleming

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Day After That” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The One I’d Be Waiting For” – click here
Pic 1Sidney (Brent Spiner) is taking care of his burned, young friend, who asks about if what Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) says of him is true. And the mysterious man says that the rev’s book calls him a “dragon” and he’s been called many other things by humans of flesh and blood. He has big plans for the kid, that’s why he saved him from the fire.
Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson) shows up, always helping, along with Peter, who’s eager to be part of their nastiness. Only Sidney’s got no time for that shit, so he dispatches him. No more prying eyes. And the devilish man doesn’t have time for lingering attachment between humans, he doesn’t understand it; one of the most interesting traits of his character in the series, he’s dumbfounded by human beings and their emotion for one another. Exactly how you’d expect the devil to be were he personified in a body.
Pic 1ADealing with the consequences of her husband’s death, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) has reached the lowest depths of herself. She’s dragged from the water by Rev. Anderson. He makes clear he wouldn’t judge her; not in the places he’s been himself.  Even quotes a bit of Dr. Seuss. Meanwhile, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) takes Amber to go see her mother, Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), at the hospital. Things aren’t well between the estranged husband and wife. While Amber waits for her parents to chat, a man approaches her in a creepy manner, though a hospital attendant shows up. However, there’s something odd about her. She and the man corner Amber, and the little girl uses her own powers to fend them off; she’s just like her papa.
While she’s out on the town, Patricia (Melinda McGraw) is abducted suddenly by a man (M.C. Gainey) and taken away, to who knows where.
Anderson meets Kyle on the road to tell her Megan took off, after her near suicide attempt. She also took her daughter Holly. They’ve gone back home, apparently. Mom wants to make the house a nice place again, to live like before. Only her daughter’s sure that dad dying wasn’t “an accident” like she’s being told. I’m betting Megan is headed towards taking responsibility, in some way, which could change things irreparably for her, and maybe others, too.
And back with Sidney, Patricia’s son Aaron is being given the opportunity to “fuck this world and all the pathetic creatures in it” – first, by having to cut up a body with a pocket knife. He can’t do it, though. Yet. And Patricia, she’s not getting any answers from Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), threatening to make waves in town if nothing more’s done, especially with Anderson let out after confessing to what he thought he’d done.

Poor little Holly, she can’t get over the trauma of her father dying. Worst of all, back in that bathroom where she stands, her mother comes in and starts having fragmentary flashbacks of when she killed her husband. Also, Holly’s got a bit of a premonition skill; is she experiencing any effects of possession? Kyle ends up finding Megan, trying to figure out her state of mind. She’s starting to believe in the demons. Not just that: she’s pregnant. Whoa.
At the hospital, Allison is befriended by Kirby, the man who approached her daughter. He talks and talks to her, as patients are making crafts. It’s clear there are more possessed inside the walls of the mental health ward. A terrifying consequence of people being seen as insane, rather than for their demonic sickness; they’re all being piled into these places. Kyle and Anderson are trying to figure out what Sidney’s plan is, and it doesn’t prove easy.
In the meantime, out on his own, the man who abducted Patricia looks to be digging a grave. Ohh, shit. And he seems crazy as hell, too.
Megan’s having more and more trouble. It isn’t a great idea that she’s back in that house, where the demon took hold of her and killed her husband. It’s bringing up darkness. Maybe more than she can handle. She finds her husband’s gun, then before she can do anything crazy with it she runs outside to try getting rid of it. Where a woman’s waiting to give her a flyer for the Beacon.

Anderson and Kyle go back to the Austin place. Great inverted shot as they walk in, as if the world is literally turning upside down and they’re entering some foul, hellish place; superb cinematography, and this lines up with the opening titles where the camera flips around and we see the upside down world in front of us. When the pair are inside, they find Joshua’s mother in distress, talking about the man from the junkyard; the one who took Patricia.
So the two track the man to the junkyard. They find Giles there, too. The man, Bob, is helping out with things. They’re trying to stop the demons by putting them into the ground, burying the problem. Now that’s a solution, I guess. They’re not all on the same page about it. Kyle finds out later that Bob and his mother were in league together, and that his “old man” was part of the trouble years ago; he isn’t the first to try stopping the demons.
Sidney goes to see someone, for help. Looks like young Joshua, though could be someone else, who pours more of that black essence into him, as the devilish dude breathes in deep.
Pic 4What a great episode! This series gets exponentially better, as well as the fact it has a great score and soundtrack alike. Lots of things to look forward to, particularly “The One I’d Be Waiting For” next week. More demons, more Sidney, more mystery.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 6: “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 6: “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Tribal” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “You Can’t Hide From the Dead” – click hereclick here
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.57.56 AM Moving on, or trying to, Hood (Antony Starr) can barely bring himself to go to the funeral for Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn). All he can think of is an alternate history of coming to Banshee. Imagining it happening some other way. Because what it’s all about is Hood and his decisions. Whether acting first, thinking later does the job, or if maybe stepping back and taking a less chaotic approach might do the trick. Hood’s now seen what the repercussions of his actions have become. In his retroactive flashback, he sees things differently. If he instead chose to use his words and talk things out rather than charge forward like a bull in a china shop. Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic) and her family are caught in all of it. Siobhan’s been murdered. Many others have lost their lives since Hood wandered into town. His alternate vision sees him leaving Carrie to her family, leaving his daughter with her father Gordon (Rus Blackwell). Leaving everyone alone, and just moving on. But he couldn’t have done that. Perhaps could’ve done things a little better. Just would never have worked for him to walk on past.
Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) tries to comfort Hood a little: “This town needs a sheriff.” Coming from him that means a good deal. Moreover, he wants the both of them to track down Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers), find some revenge and give him what he deserves for killing Siobhan.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.00.45 PM At the service for his mother, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) arrives to the surprise of many. Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) is present to pay his respects. It seems like Kai and his niece Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) are slightly at odds because he’s feeling a little religious as of late. Then her parents say she’s forgiven, they don’t want to not speak to her for decades, but Rebecca only replies: “I dont forgive you. And I never will.”
Once more, Hood’s loving heart is shattered. Left only with the bits of memories, remnants of Siobhan all around him. As usual, he drowns in a bottle at the bar. Carrie drops in to try lending him a shoulder to cry on. He may be all cried out.
In his grief, Kai falls into bed with Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke), and I worry for her safety now more than ever. Always in parallel, Hood and Proctor constantly endanger those around them. Only a matter of time before bad news comes for Emily. By the same token, I worry for Brock, who worries enough about his own ex-wife. Meanwhile, Gordon is busy trying to sort things out for Proctor’s trial re: the latest big fight with Sheriff Hood. Oh, and we also discover the Marine is still kicking in Gordon, as he shows off a few superior shooting skills.
Job (Hoon Lee) arrives to try and take care of his friend, wondering if the job may have to be called off. They have a little drink and start discussing the way forward. Over at the station, Hood finds the Department of Justice swarming around, led by Commander Salvatore Ferillo (Robert John Burke). They’re manhunting Chayton. This puts a little wrench into the revenge Hood has planned. This may send him off on a personal mission.

Rebecca runs into a little trouble with one of the staff at Uncle Kai’s strip club. She flexes her boss muscle, though we can see this escalating. And it quickly does after he calls her a cunt. She beats him with a two-by-four then goes to the officer. She has a meeting with some associates of Proctor from Philadelphia, though they weren’t expecting to meet his niece. But she’s in over her head, making deals without her uncle present. Later, Kai calls her in to get berated in front of his associates, as she’s stepped out of line. No longer a peachy relationship between the two these days.
And speaking of him, he’s pondering faith. Kai lingers in this weird space where belief and religion mean something to him, yet there’s a disconnect between that and how he actually acts in the real world.
Colonel Douglas Stowe (Langley Kirkwood) is still circling Carrie, obsessed over what they had together. Probably just missing all the hot sex, I’m guessing. He wants to meet at their motel for another romp. Except she’s busy getting his handprint, for the verification at the base. At the very same time, Deva (Ryann Shane) is practising the family trade of robbery again, learning to pick pocket. Then she ends up meeting a guy that notices her little tricks. They start to get to know one another and then head to a party together.
All the while, the DOJ are suiting up to head into Redbone territory. Definitely some crazy action ahead. Chayton’s going into custody, dead or alive.
Job and Hood are trying to head off the DOJ, looking for Chayton, as the former knows his friend can’t go on without revenge. So Hood tracks him right to the teepee where he sleeps. Preparing to kill him, a fight erupts between the fake sheriff and the object of his vengeance. Even Job must fight a Redbone while the other two go at it. Awesome little sequence nearing the end of this episode. A shot goes off then, and the DOJ are lured in the direction of Hood and Chayton. They run through the woods, Hood in hot pursuit of the massive Redbone. Also, Aimee King (Meaghan Rath) is tracking Chayton. She doesn’t want him to get hurt, but there’s slowly becoming no other way. “Its not murder, its war,” the big man tells Aimee re: Siobhan’s death. Their confrontation is tense, and he nearly chokes her to death. This may be the turning point for her in terms of how she views him, only escaping from his grip after Hood gets a shot at Chayton. Ultimately, he escapes by jumping from a cliff into the water and making off. This doesn’t make anyone happy, least of all the DOJ and Commander Ferillo.

In that alternate history of Hood’s, he meets the real Sheriff Hood, in uniform having not been murdered at the bar. The man not known as Hood, here, meets Siobhan at a gas station. They smile at one another, flirtatiously a bit. Then Job pulls up to take him out of Banshee. Gone forever. No death, no destruction in the little town. Just gone.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.43.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.43.48 PM After the credits, we see Chayton rise from the water somewhere. Walking out, towards his next prey.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.44.11 PM What a great episode. Lots of excitement. Adrenaline flowing. The next is titled “You Can’t Hide from the Dead” and further the chase for Littlestone goes, as everybody trails behind him.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 5: “Tribal”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 5: “Tribal”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Real Life is the Nightmare” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.54.24 AM After the Cadi is overrun with Red Bones and Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) leading the charge, assault rifles blasting bullet after bullet into the building, Hood (Antony Starr), Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn), and all the rest are left to fend off the attack inside. This is what people like Hood and Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) ultimately bring to a town like Banshee, to the people in it. Nothing but destruction. Chayton calls out over the gunfire to Hood, whose eyes show the fear he feels knowing it’s the big man and his crew out there. An intense episode begins.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.56.39 AM Thinking Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke) is her son, Leah Proctor (Jennifer Griffin) confesses that she “could have saved” him, apologizing. It’s too bad Kai, along with the others, is stuck under a hail of bullets. At the station, Hood starts trying to figure out some kind of way forward. The emergency gating is dropped just in time to keep the Red Bones out.
Tom Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) has to take his shirt off when he’s cut by some glass, revealing his neo-Nazi tattoos, all over. Alison Medding (Afton Williamson) is obviously horrified, as is Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto). Instead of trying to explain, Bunker lets them think what they will. He makes good after busting into the armoury, bringing out the guns and taking some “initiative” – as he puts it. Everybody gets a bit of work to do.
Reason I love Bunker immediately, despite his clearly awful past along the way, is because he feels so repentant. The tattoos are hideous to look at. Yet the way he agrees with people, the way he conducts himself; there is a man wanting to be forgiven, wanting to make it up to society beneath that old neo-Nazi exterior.

Lotus: “Maam, that gun packs a powerful kick.”
Alison: “Are you gonna stand there like a total misogynist and patronize me, or are you gonna show me how to shoot the damn thing?”
Lotus: “Thank you, I just felt married again. All right, here we go.”
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.03.28 AM So Chayton wants the Red Bones from the holding cell, Kai, and Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer). This is the deal. Hood disagrees with the terms and starts talking a little trash to rile the big man up. “Hey Chayton,” he starts: “Fuck off.” This sends the war painted Red Bone into a psychosis. For his part, Billy wants to hand himself over. The sheriff won’t go that way. And then the lights go out, the power down. This is not good.
Everyone’s down in the basement regrouping. Bunker stands stationed at a door in the back of the station downstairs, doing his duty. Siobhan has a problem with them all listening to Hood, as he technically doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing in terms of being a cop. “I dont wanna die tonight,” she tells him ominously.
More bullets come flying in upstairs. The Red Bones have a machine gun. When Proctor’s lawyer tries to get him out, he takes a bullet in the head. Next to him, Alison gets grabbed by a Red Bone. Although instead of leaving Proctor shoots the guy and helps her out, reluctantly. When Hood makes his way up to everyone, he downs the guys outside at the machine gun, stopping the fire for now. Hood and Proctor stand firm against what comes next. They await whatever the Red Bones are about to throw at them. At the very same time, Kai’s mother is dying. A parallel – the mother dies, as the son faces his own death. Meanwhile, Brock has problems with Proctor having a gun; partly because of his issues with Emily, partly because of his issues with Hood. And when the sheriff pulls rank, Siobhan can only see the hypocrisy in him.
Bunker and Alison talk downstairs. Turns out her father was beaten into a coma by neo-Nazis, that’s hard to overcome. Worse, she was likely raped or assaulted in some way. Then we get to hear from Kurt about being beaten as a child, not wanting to be home. He was a stutterer. Problem is these are the type of kids that fall prey to the Nazis, those White Nationalist-types. “They were the only people that made me feel like I mattered,” Kurt tells Alison. This character is well written and I’m glad he turns up. Quite the different picture we get of most neo-Nazis in film and television. Nice to see another side. He owns up to the horrific choices in his life, though, and never relegates those to the fault of someone else fully.

Brock (to Hood): “Everything you touch turns to blood
Red Bones finally turn up at the door downstairs, but Bunker’s ready. He takes a bullet before getting saved by Alison. However, now they’re exposed on that end. With all the psychological weight bearing down on him, Hood is letting things get to him. But from nowhere Kai offers to go out and offer himself up. Will he survive the onslaught?
The rift between Siobhan and Hood is huge. Although, he makes sure she knows all of what they had together was a real thing, and that’s not hard to believe either. For the first time, she and Hood talk seriously, candidly about his life. There’s a part of her which understands beneath it all. Part of her also doesn’t want to let him go. He’s ready to open himself up to her. A beautiful moment amidst the war going on around them.
Poor Billy is both afraid and full of guilt. He feels terrible for having to shoot Tommy Littlestone, as well as fears the repercussions at the hands of Chayton, the Red Bones – that “Tribal Justice” of which he speaks. So he wants to end things by handing himself to the big man. Chayton doesn’t want any deals now. It’s war time. Talking is finished.
In the basement, the door’s busted in. Hood heads off to help the others, as Siobhan stays with Billy. You can almost feel something terrifying about to happen. Within the darkened halls of the station, Chevon takes on one of the Red Bones with a machete. Bad ass. The only trouble being Chayton is right behind her.

When Hood comes face to face with the big man, it is devastating. Chayton locks his hand against her chin and you feel it coming. Hood watches on as Chayton cracks Siobhan’s neck, letting her fall dead to the floor. Death is everywhere in Banshee tonight with Siobhan dead, a load of Red Bones, even Kai’s mother has passed on.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.48.50 AM After the credits, we see Siobhan’s lonely, abandoned Airstream trailer, the door blowing in the wind.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.50.54 AM What a heavy episode, in many ways. So much happening.
Next is “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday” and continues on from this heartbreaking saga. Giving Hood a new rage, a new tear in his soul to try and stitch closed. Plus, now he and Chayton are truly at odds, worse than any other moment ebfore.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 4: “Real Life is the Nightmare”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 4: “Real Life is the Nightmare”
Directed by Magnus Martens
Written by Justin Britt-Gibson

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “A Fixer of Sorts” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Tribal” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 1.04.14 AM Hood (Antony Starr) is confronted with reality for the first time in so long. Now Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn) knows the truth about him, after Agent Phillips left all the information for her. How do they move forward from here?
Instead of shooting him in the face, or even arresting him, she just kicks him out. This was bound to happen. Somehow, down the line.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 1.04.49 AM Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) are busy infiltrating their latest target. A bumpy entry smooths out. The pair gets to work. I love that Job gets more and more time. He is a solid character; interesting, exciting. He’s slick. He and Sugar manage to get what they need, but just in the nick of time.
Poor ole Gordon Hopewell (Rus Blackwell). He’s doing his best to try and come back from the devastation of his family, realizing Deva (Ryann Shane) is not his, knowing his wife Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) is really some gangster’s daughter, so on, so on. He shaves and faces the world properly again. The marriage is still falling apart. Yet he’s willing to work on things even after all they’ve faced.
Back at the bar, Hood lets the fellas know they may have to “bail” – on the entire debacle. Job wants to go. Always. But Hood wants to stay. Never thinking with his brain too long, usually leading with his dick, and a little bit with his heart. A bit.

Job (to Hood): “Baby, I want you to try real hard to remember what happened the last time you rolled the dice on a woman.”
Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) worries for his ex-wife Emily, after she took a job caring for the mother of Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen). Speaking of Kai, he’s got Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) and niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons) off running errands – Tommy Littlestone’s corpse is ready for release. Although, clearly Clay does not like that his boss is sending the niece along with him. At the same time, Kai and Emily spend time chatting during the day. This is not good. I’m always worried for anyone getting close to Hood OR Proctor. They’re both magnets for destruction.
And young Deva’s never too far from figuring out the family business. In a video game store, she eyes the security cameras. She wants to get Max a game, but it’s just so expensive. We know what’s coming soon. Her mother’s busy working everyday at the diner, dealing with people she can’t stand in a job she does not like all to pretend she’s Carrie Hopewell, sweet wife and proper mother. Her other life is always calling. In the middle of her shift, she leaves her apron and walks out.
On a chase, Rebecca drives. Much to the dismay of Mr. Burton. Well she doesn’t do so bad, all the same. Been practising with Uncle Kai. Out on a road in the countryside she faces the van they’re chasing in a bout of chicken. Love this scene. You can see Clay almost climax when the engine is revving, dying for some chaos. Gotta give it to Rebecca, she heads down the van until they swerve first flipping down the road, and the pair watch on. Yowzahs. They survey the wreck before burning the rest, people still alive inside. Heartless.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 1.24.57 AM Naturally, Hood is worried about what Siobhan’s going to do with the information she’s learned. There’s no telling. The call about dead Redbones on the highway comes in, begging their attention. Kinaho Officer Aimee King (Meaghan Rath) worries what Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) will do after this “act of war“, as she calls it.
At a bar somewhere, Carrie gets a drink with some sleazy dude who’s obviously into her. After a while he comes onto her hard, which gets rebuffed. Then he pushes it to a creepy level. Not the right woman to pull that on, bud. She beats the shit out of him then steals his bike. Next stop, open road. What a bad ass.
Still no word from Siobhan. The sweat is almost visible coming out Hood’s pores. Then he calls Job – end of the day, they’re gone. So dad goes to see his daughter. She rages against him after their last meeting. We get some background on Hood. His dad never cared about him, now he doesn’t want the same to happen with him and his daughter. Deva susses out that he’s planning to leave. “Does it matter that I want you to stay?” she asks. “Yes, it matters,” Hood replies.
With Gordon back on the level, he’s headed for Proctor. Court is coming, though Kai’s lawyer isn’t happy. Nevertheless, Gord is back in town. His wife? She’s getting chased by a cop on her newly stolen bike. Smile across her face, jacking the finger. She disappears down a wooded trail. Only problem is the tank is out of gas. Of course Hood goes to pick her up. All the while, their daughter’s trying to steal an Xbox One game for Max and sets off the sensor alarms.
Poor, sweet Siobhan. She struggles, too. All that knowledge about Hood. It kills me to see this guy just fall in love with women then have to go – to jail, away, wherever. So tragic. As much as he causes chaotic situations, Hood is a good man at heart. Deep down. And he always gets the shitty end of everything. But certainly, he’s not really going to leave; is he?

Finally, Chayton sees his little brother. The corpse charred, melted. Nobody in the Kinaho PD wants to do anything, except Aimee. Now we know for sure Chayton is going to do something seriously intense.
On his way to get leaving Hood can’t help think of Proctor, his reign of terror over Banshee. However, Proctor’s mother is dying and he has bigger things to consider. But Hood pushes himself into the strip club, firing shots at the man himself and nearly killing him. A full-scale brawl breaks out between the men. They fight like animals, beating one another senseless across the stage, off the stripper poles. Proctor even cracks Hood with a bag of nails from the construction. Things get real messy. Hood keeps punching Kai in his ear before almost taking his head or face off, or both, with a saw. And right as Hood is about to smash Kai’s head in with a hammer, Brock shows up to stop the show. Then he cuffs Kai.
Simultaneously, the Kinaho men and women light a fire to properly send Tommy off. The Cadi is filling up with people from Alison Medding, to Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) looking for Hood again, to Kai in his cell, his lawyeron scene. Siobhan is there, as well. Awful coincidence they’re all jammed together at once, right? Wrong. The Redbones are also locking and loading.
By themselves, Siobhan and Hood talk. She won’t turn him over, simply because Banshee PD would just be obliterated by the secrets. “That badge was never yours to wear,” she explains. Now someone knows the truth about Hood, his beginnings as a thief for Rabbit and all those parts of his true life. “You and me was not a lie,” Hood assures Siobhan: “The only time I ever felt safe was with you.” Only she isn’t happy. She wants him to resign from his post.

No time for anything else now, though.
Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 1.57.59 AM Excited for the next episode, “Tribal”, as it continues this cliffhanger. Things get real serious, real quick. Lots of guns. Lots of surprises to come. Plus, it’s almost like an homage to Assault on Precinct 13 in certain ways. Maybe the shots of the Redbones and their tables of weapons was even a slight nod to other John Carpenter work? Maybe. Who knows. Either way, I dig. All of it.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 1: “The Fire Trials”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 1: “The Fire Trials”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Bullets & Tears” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Snakes & Whatnot” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.11.31 PM One of the Nazis that killed Emmett and his wife is being hunted. By whom? Oh, you know. Sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr). Shotgun and all. Because in a town like Banshee, with a sheriff like that, you do not want to be on the wrong side of the law.
Except it ain’t just Hood. There’s Deputies Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) and Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn), too. They’re all along for the ride this time. And it scares this little Nazi to death. “Youre the sheriff,” he yells, to which Hood replies: “Allegedly.” Right before they gun him down, cold blooded. It isn’t one criminal on the force now. They’ve all gone in head first.
But this is part of the Banshee‘s greatness. It makes us cross that grey area and wonder, what would you do? Personally, I’d probably do the same as them in the same situation, I’m no better. The fun of this series is some of the moral dilemmas in which the writer places the audience.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.15.11 PM Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) and Gordon (Rus Blackwell) are no more, as she has intense sex with Colonel Douglas Stowe (Langley Kirkwood). He seems totally cool with their lax relationship. At the very same time, Siobhan and Hood are in bed together continually becoming closer. What’ll be interesting to watch this series is how both Carrie and Hood move on. From everything, from one another. There are some exciting plots this season, so get ready.
Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) seems to have finally crossed the line. He wakes up in bed when Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) comes to get him. Only he isn’t alone: his niece Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) wakes up, naked, next to him. Oh. My. God. Kai, you’ve really done it now. This is hideous. More hideous than what he’s doing downstairs with a guy Clay’s interrogated all night.
Everyone at the station misses Emmett. In his absence, Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer) has taken the job. They don’t treat him badly, but Billy wants them to respect him. Surely he’ll prove himself along the way. In the meantime, the “dead neoNazi with multiple priors” they shot and killed is zipped up; looks like a regular shooting, no suspicion on them. Brock is a little rattled, and questions why Hood isn’t. The mystery man keeps things cloudy, of course.

In the woods, men fight around a camp fire – The Fire Trials, a Redbone tradition. As if summoned from the depths, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) returns. He’s come back. Will he have to re-prove himself? Seems like it. The man who took his place requires a fight, their tradition requires it. Not much of a challenge for someone as dangerous and powerful as Chayton. He takes back the throne and gears up the Redbones for real action.
For the first time, we’re seeing the inner life of Brock Lotus. He intercepts a call from Billy at the BPD. How come, I wonder? Well, Brock has an ex-wife, Emily (Tanya Clarke). She does this a lot, apparently. She’s lonely, blames Brock for their divorce because he’s career oriented. Cheated on him. Yet it’s clear that Brock can’t let himself get away from her completely. Afterwards, Brock has a drink with Emmett at his grave. I feel so god damn bad for Lotus. He is a good man that’s been sucked into so much chaos, so many lies. Plus, his wife and all that, everything’s just up against him.
And then there’s poor Deva (Ryann Shane). Not only is she reeling from all the things happening in her parents lives, she is further becoming much too similar to her parents. In that thieving comes naturally. Luckily, it’s Hood himself that finds Deva and her friends robbing a head shop. Bit of daddy-daughter time. He teaches her a little bit about robbery, the good parent he is, as simultaneously her mother is out doing some sneaking of her own.

Deva: “You think I wanted to get caught?”
Hood: “Selfdestruction runs in the family
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.38.20 PM At home, Carrie finds Gordon waiting for her. He isn’t happy she was out doing whatever while the kids were at home, all alone. Right then and there Hood arrives with Deva. She’s got questions about their past. For his part, he does his best to make Carrie look good to her daughter. There’s good and bad about what Carrie did. On the one hand, she tried to protect her family. On the other hand, she let Deva’s real father go on unknowing, in prison. All alone. A sweet moment between Deva and Hood, as he basically confesses his love for her, his daughter. Then I feel awful for Gordon while he’s talking to Hood: “I dont care who made her, Im her father,” he chokes out through the tears.
Outside the strip joint Rebecca finds a hand around her throat, pinning her to the wall. Chayton. He threatens to come for all of them. Real soon. Seeing as how they’ve taken Alex Longshadow out. Now that’s some war talk if there ever were, and it rocks Rebecca to the core. This is what being in business – and in bed – with Uncle Kai truly means.
On a road down from the military base around Banshee, Chayton fires a compound bow at a bunch of soldiers. Then some Redbones show up for a gunfight. Yikes. Things are moving fast now that Big Littlestone is back in the county. Hood and Lotus arrive on scene to put up some fire. However, Chayton and the Redbones already have the upper hand. And once Hood sees who it is causing the shit, he’s really thrown for a loop.

Up at the base, Hood goes to meet Colonel Stowe concerning the trouble on the road earlier. Most interesting is when Hood sees what’s being kept at the base – drugs, weaponry, and best of all MONEY, tons of it. Oh, man. Just the way he looks at the cash, he may as well lick his lips. This can’t mean anything good, especially considering Carrie’s in bed with Stowe. For the time being, Hood is being cut out of the investigation. That only lights a fire underneath him. What I love is that we know Hood is ex-military, of some sort. So watching him come up against these guys will be interesting.
Afterwards, Hood calls Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) about that “one big job” they’ve talked about, a possible collaboration they could get together on. This brings them to think of Job (Hoon Lee), who’s busy with a gun pointed at him, forced to hack. But as always, he’s one step ahead of everyone else, Fat Au (Eddie Cooper) in his corner with the fire power. Wonderful action sequence here with Job popping off rounds and getting right in the middle of the shit. When he gets onboard, everything is moving, though Job definitely has reservations about the soldiers, the big guns, all that sort of stuff. Meanwhile, Carrie is not happy, and you can be sure this is something that might keep her spirit up.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.54.30 PM After the credits, Chayton sits carving symbols into his bow. Readying for war.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 6.00.26 PM What an amazing opener to Season 3. Oh, and Nola Longshadow (Odette Annable) is still kicking around. Prepared to avenge the death of her brother. What will she do?
Next episode is titled “Snakes & Whatnot”, so stick around and I’ll have another recap/review for you shortly.

Banshee – Season 2, Episode 10: “Bullets and Tears”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 2, Episode 10: “Bullets & Tears”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Homecoming” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “The Fire Trials” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.12.09 AM We see Olek (Chris Vasilopoulos) again. A younger Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross). They’ve got a man named Yuri on his knees, questioning whether he stole from the boss. He did, in fact. Not a good sign for ole Yuri, though he tells the truth. Right before having his throat cut. A look at the ruthlessness in Rabbit, heading into a swan song for either him or the ones against him in this season finale.
Then we’re privy to Carrie a.k.a Anastasia (Ivana Milicevic), Olek, the man now known as Hood (Antony Starr), and Rabbit all drink after the latest job. They talk about the diamond job coming up. Hood and Ana are each seemingly reluctant about this new caper. Furthermore, we see the little looks between the lovers, between Olek and Rabbit, the first inklings of something going on behind closed doors within their supposedly tight-knit crew. Rabbit tells Hood, he sees him “as a son” and trust him deeply. A very Godfather-esque moment.
Afterwards, we watch Hood and Ana together right after Olek sees her to the door. Sneaky, sneaky. Their love is clear, that’s for sure. They also talk about the future, escaping from underneath her father. And then Hood assures her everything is under control. This is when she finally meets the one and only Job (Hoon Lee), as he dances onstage in drag to Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”. That’s before someone heckles him. Then Job stops his show to call the dude out. He even kicks the shit out of the guy in front of a crowd. What I love most about Job and Hood’s relationship is that they’re great friends, they have a positive relationship together, and we don’t get some weird, uncomfortable relationship between this guy like Hood being friends with Job who crossdresses. Instead of making Job out as some weirdo, the writing on Banshee puts him in an excellently positive light.
In this flash back through time, we also see Agent Jim Racine (Zeljko Ivanek) introduce himself to Rabbit. This begins a long chase of FBI man after the Ukranian gangster, one we’re still in the middle of coming to the season finale, even if Racine is now dead.

Back to the present, as Carrie and Hood search out a gangster he knew named Fat Au (Eddie Cooper). Well, naturally they come up against resistance. And this leads us to a nice tag team fight for the lovers. They knock down some fighters before guns are drawn, but at least they’re able to get a meeting with the big man. As it happens, Au indeed remembers his old buddy: “I heard you died, man,” laughs Au. Moreover, Hood once saved the man’s life. A debt the gangster is more than willing to repay, tenfold.
Better yet, Au calls Hood “Soldier Boy” and we start to discover he was in the army long ago. Or well, something similar. Perhaps this is a great indicator as to Hood’s character, his true identity. How he fights. This is juxtaposed with a tense flashback, to Olek and Hood fighting with gloves on; Olek challenges him, almost as if either jealous of him and Ana or testing his loyalty, or a bit of both. Rabbit also seems to know about his daughter and Hood. Slowly, we see the messy end of this big crime family.
I really enjoy the parallels between past and present. Here, we watch the flashbacks and the present day playing in unison, cut together. Ana and Hood saying goodbye heading out on the diamond job, ready to get betrayed v. Carrie and Hood saying goodbye to Job on their way to face the final assault against Rabbit.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.36.19 AM Carrie: “How many lives have you lived?”
Hood: “None, really.”
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.41.23 AM In the New York church, Carrie meets her Uncle Yulish (Julian Sands). Then a row of gunmen. I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE! Carrie and Hood go deep, diving in. They take on the guns like two immortal bad asses, as their beautiful Massive Attack theme plays over the gunfight. Bullets spray through the church. The two lovers are stuck, much like that night on the heist 15 years before. Hood replays those images in his mind.
Then he goes to sacrifice himself. All over again. “Get back to your family,” Hood tells her. But as Hood jumps out with his knife in hand, Job, Au, and friends arrive to gun down the remaining men. Just a heartbreakingly awesome, fun, wild scene. Even Yulish gets murdered, too.
But there’s still Rabbit kicking around.
We flashback to a meet between Rabbit and Racine. The agent is there wondering about the kid picked up trying to pull a diamond steal. There’s a Ukranian recorded having called in the robbery, before the robbery even started. Oh, a thick pile of shit. More importantly, in the present Hood finds Rabbit on the same bench. That very courtyard is where he was married, so that explains its significance, other than being where his brother was priest. Rabbit talks long about the past. Then he’s given a gun to shoot himself, which Hood watches with pleasure. So Dt. Bonner and the police are left with an insane amount of bullets, blood, corpses, all left in the wake. What comes next?Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.54.27 AM Back in Banshee, Hood and Carrie return to their lives. Or whatever life they have there, respectively. Another goodbye between the lovers, as Carrie goes back to Gordon, Hood goes to the bar with Sugar (Frankie Faison). Always, they’re parting. Never coming together like the tropes of romance hope. But for now, Hood goes to Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn). Their relationship is certainly tenuous, though undeniably so; they are perpetually attracted to each other. That’s just never a good sign, for anyone to get close with Hood. He simply cannot survive alone. He is a lover AND a fighter.
Meanwhile, an unexpected relationship between Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmmons) and Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) is budding. She’s sidling up to him. They start to get sexual, and he’s beginning to believe he now has an upper hand on Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen). Only he underestimated the “Amish girl” he finds so sexy. When she seems to go for a gun in order to kill him, Alex flies into a rage. It only gets him a knife in the neck. Strangely enough, the knife George flung at him recently. Ironic. Kai becomes amazed after discovering the lengths to which his niece will go to try pleasing him. They get much too close later, as well. Yuck.
And sadly, former Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) along with his wife Meg (Stephanie Northrup) get killed in cold blood, machine gunned by Nazis in the road. A bload soaked few moments, cut back and forth with Rebecca also gunning Alex to death.
The biggest surprise? Deva (Ryann Shane) arrives in Hood’s office: “Hello, dad,” she greets him.Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.00.33 PM
Then, in New Orleans we see a familiar face: Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers). He’s fighting in an underground ring, cheered on by masses. He kills a man right there in front of them all, snapping his neck and spine. Following his fight, Chayton discovers it’s time to head home now that Longshadow’s dead.
This is the big baddie for Season 3. Just wait for the terror to come. It is insane.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.06.55 PM

Banshee – Season 2, Episode 9: “Homecoming”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 2, Episode 9: “Homecoming”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Evil for Evil” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bullets & Tears” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.16.19 AM Job (Hoon Lee) has tracked down where Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross) is hiding, in the church with his priest brother (Julian Sands). This is a suspenseful opener, as Job follows the man of God further down into the church, into the basement.
Then he’s led into a trap. He sees Rabbit, but the priest gets a jump on him.
Uh oh. The priest has Job in his grasp now. But we get an unusual treat: watching Job do some fighting. Before now, he appears to us only as the genius hacker. In this episode, we see there’s more to him than meets the eye. He subverts all our expectations, showing the viewer he too can fight. However, while running out of the church Job gets clipped by an oncoming car, badly. This whole action sequence is amazing with great stunt work, including the impressive vehicular accident. Looks so real. Now, I’m worried for poor Job.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.19.55 AM At the Hopewell house things are slowly, steadily moving along between Gordon (Rus Blackwell) and Carrie (Ivana Milicevic). While Deva (Ryann Shane) is warming back to her mother, as is Gordon, things are never going to be the same. For now, things are fine. Is that always going to last?
Meanwhile, Hood (Antony Starr) is living a lie, still, as Carrie tries to live the truth. Right now, the man known as Lucas Hood has to deal with the fallout from Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) and his run-in with the Nazis. He seems to want to take time off. Hood understands what he did, but Emmett is a righteous dude. He doesn’t want to become that type of person, reactionary and violent. No matter what the stakes. And that’s a nice parallel between him and Hood. Even in his darkest moments, Emmett isn’t willing to give himself over to total emotion, whereas Hood is all emotion and nerve.
Carrie: “Sometimes when you live with a lie for long enough it starts to feel like the truth
The remaining Nazi in the hospital gets a visit from Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch), doing what he does best. No loose ends for Mr. Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) and his business. Funny going back to these earlier seasons, as Kai ends up having a long and troubled history with the Aryan Brotherhood.
But those aren’t the only loose ends. Clay heads over to the strip club where Juliet (Maya Gilbert) is working. Having already suggested her name to to her uncle and Clay, Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) warns the mother to get going. And before Clay gets there, she’s gone, luckily. Rebecca sends her off, running from town. This in turn puts a stick in the spokes for Banshee PD. Although Hood’s focused on his new angle involving Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar). Strange enough, Alex is busy getting closer to Rebecca. So many elements to Proctor and everything hovering around him.
Speaking of Proctor, he gets a visit from Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) in jail. They have a bit of an argument over Hood, his plans, what Sugar does or does not know. I love these two characters, both separately and together. There’s a history over the town of Banshee between these men, now that’s broken because Sugar didn’t tell him anything about Hood and what he was preparing. Lots of threats now, as Kai effectively ends their relationship.
And at the same time, Deputy Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is still questioning Hood’s character, what he’s all about, his true self.
Amazingly, Kai receives a visit from his estranged mother Leah Proctor (Jennifer Griffin) in jail. A very surprising development. She hates to hear of her son alone, troubled, though he isn’t overjoyed to see her. All the same, this is an emotional moment. Kai, in most respects, is a sort of monstrous character. Yet there’s part of him which cries for empathy. The writing pleads with us to understand. He was cast out for not wanting to live in the strict confines of Amish culture, shunned because of it, and eventually ended up lost amongst his own life of crime, debauchery, anything to rebel in an eternal Rumspringa. Here, his mother admits she failed him by not protecting him: “We put you here,” she admits, “Your father and I. Your crimes, whatever they may be, are my crimes.”
An interesting development in the city, as Detective Julius Bonner (Reg E. Cathey), the man who once interrogated the man known as Hood, turns up over at the church where Rabbit’s priest brother preaches. Seems Bonner has been onto Rabbit a long time – he’s the one who tipped the cops off to Hood, on the fake diamonds and such. Oh, the tangled web that weaves. Down in the basement, Rabbit plays chess with his brother, worrying about the day people finally come for him.
At the same time, Job is gradually coming to in a hospital after getting smashed to bits by a car. He’s disoriented, confused, not making much sense to anyone. And he wants to get out, away from the men trying to kill him.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.39.52 AM At his office, Alex is confronted by George Hunter (Gil Birmingham). For a moment it seems like there might be trouble. The violent kind. That moment passes, as George leaves in frustration. Perhaps the torch has finally been passed, reluctantly.
Carrie reveals more to Gordon about her past. When she discovered the truth about her father, how things changed from loving her dad to being scared of him. A chilling and emotional story, all at once.
Over in the trailer together, Hood and Siobhan keep on getting closer, as they chat about Emmett. This leads into a talk about breaking points, situations where “the circumstances outweigh the consequences” and how Emmett needed to take revenge, in order to feel whole again. Then Job calls, he lets Hood know he’s in New York Presbyterian And he’s in some trouble, waiting to see if Rabbit will show up any minute. Of course having to take off so suddenly means no explanation for Siobhan, only complicating their relationship with one another.
The kicker is when Hood goes to get Carrie, right as she and Gordon are having sex. Well, he needs help to collect Job, and to take down Rabbit. This puts Carrie and her husband at odds, which doesn’t get any better after Gordon pulls a gun. Forcing his wife to admit Hood is Deva’s father. Wow. Bombshell for Gordon to hear, I’m almost surprised he didn’t pull the trigger in shock.Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.47.48 AM Off go Carrie and Hood, suiting up. Simultaneously, a couple men dressed in the garb of priests are headed for Job’s hospital room. This puts them in each other’s way. A showdown ensues in the halls of New York Presbyterian once Carrie spies a holy man with the tattoo signifying Rabbit’s men on his neck. Furthermore, we get a bit of solid action, as usual. Hood takes on one of the henchmen, hand-to-hand, while Carrie guns at the other in the reception area. Awesome sequence on both sides. Little things here are so great, from one of the priest henchmen missing a high kick and busting a cabinet open, to Carrie using a wheelchair to divert the other henchman long enough to get a shot off. So many nice touches. In the end, they manage to slip themselves out of trouble. Just barely. And Dt. Bonner is not far behind, seemingly always nipping at the heels of both Rabbit and now, more importantly, Hood. They pass one another in the hallway briefly before Bonner realizes who he’s let by him.
Later, Job and Hood discuss an old friend that may be of use. A dangerous one, as it sounds. And so the final showdown with Rabbit just may be around the corner. What will it bring? Who will survive?Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.07.35 AM After the credits, we watch Gordon smoke a joint, holding the picture Hood had under his bunk, and contemplating what’s next.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.08.16 AM Love this episode. And the next episode, “Bullets & Tears”, makes for a wonderful Season 2 finale that propels things forward into a new era for Banshee as a series.

Banshee – Season 2, Episode 8: “Evil for Evil”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 2, Episode 8: “Evil for Evil”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Doug Jung

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Ways to Bury a Man” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Homecoming” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.25.17 PM Hood (Antony Starr) bumps into Job (Hoon Lee) and Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) on a bust they’re doing. He lets them go. Quickly, Deputies Lotus (Matt Servitto) and Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) find him. He says nobody passed, they doubled back. But now Brock is starting to wonder even more: is this new sheriff all he says?
Hood seems like an entirely different person than he claims. Could the mask be slipping? And how long is he safe from any other scrutiny?
Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.25.53 PM At the bar, Sugar (Frankie Faison) watches as the gang kind of falls apart. Not really, but they argue a good deal. Such a small amount Hood sees as a risk. It’s only distance Carrie is trying to put between them. She’s trying not to fall back into their relationship, trying her best to stay away.
Meanwhile, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is trying to work out his percentage of profits with Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar). Certainly they’ve got a tenuous relationship with one another. But Kai has worse things to take care of, worried about who recently blew the hell out of his warehouse. His niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons) is becoming further engrained in the business, even if Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) doesn’t seem to approve much. Even further, all the meat at the slaughterhouse went bad. Their power shut down over the weekend. Hacked. Ah-ha!
We have to worry more, day by day, when Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is getting closer to Hood. He stays slightly at arm’s length, sneaking out in the morning before she wakes up. But they get closer, still. Yet Hood has things on his mind, all the same. He and Proctor have a bit of a talk at Sugar’s bar. A little delusion sneaks out of Hood, as he tells Kai: “Im a cop, and youre a criminal.” Interesting twist to see him start believing in his new identity, rather than simply inhabiting it for a while. At the same time, the two of them are out trying to get more information out of the woman informing on Kai, though she’s scared to death of repercussion.
Emmett and his wife Meg (Stephanie Northrup) have lunch together at a diner. Across the way is one of the Nazis he encountered last episode. I worry, as Meg is pregnant, and the one Nazi appears intent on having “some fun” at the couple’s expense. They trouble her on the sidewalk. When she slaps one of them, he punches her. And while on the ground her stomach gets kicked by one of the others. Absolutely god damn savage. This is going to lead Emmett towards some revenge. I can feel it.
Hood finds his way into Proctor’s basement. In the wine cellar, he finds a secret little room. Where Kai keeps his antiques, weapons, all kinds of interesting things. Claims the informant as confidential later for Alison Medding (Afton Williamson).
The Nazis are in lock-up now. Talking their brand of bullshit. But the BPD make their way to Proctor’s residence with a fresh, pretty search warrant. Hood knows right where to go. Right to all the goodies, and this pisses Kai off. Bad.
Back at the station, Brock starts figuring out that Siobhan and Hood are sleeping together. Although she isn’t so happy to talk about it, as well as the fact she’s starting to get curious about Hood. How he does things, who he is underneath that mask he so clearly wears with everybody.

Kai is laying down orders now to Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch): kill the confidential informant. Oh, man. Cold as ice.
Back to Emmett and Meg. He’s now decided to take things into his own hands.
On top of everything else, Hood finds links between Proctor and the Kinaho Casino. He confronts Longshadow about the whole deal. Moreover, he wants help in getting Proctor out of the way. He doesn’t exactly get any help, though we can see Alex does not underestimate the darkness in Kai, of what he’s capable, and so on.
Best of all, Emmett heads over to the jail. He shuts the blinds, takes off his belt, dims the lights. He talks about his father, and other things. All the while picking out a nice weapon from the stuff they confiscated at Proctor’s place. Then all hell breaks loose, as he opens up the cells and lets them fight for their freedom. Never second guess a big, angry man; one who lost an unborn child, one who had his wife beaten. This sequence is another favourite of mine. Simply because sometimes we want to see the cop go bad; in this case he sin’t bad, he’s just human. What’s sad, though, is to see Emmett effectively end his career. To let these subhuman scum get to him that much. But no man is an island, no man is invincible, anybody can break when pushed too far.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.02.44 AM One good thing for Hood and the gang, Job tracked down Rabbit. Hooray! Maybe they can finish this all off, cauterise the wound.
Over in the trailer, Siobhan gets pissed off when Hood comes to see her. She doesn’t like what he did about the search warrant for Proctor. A real violation of trust, especially considering they’re semi-together. He acts as if he’s truthful, open to her questions, but we know for sure he will not be telling her the actual honest truth. Not about Proctor, not about himself. Nothing.
Meanwhile, they have bigger fish to fry with Emmett’s situation. For his part, Emmett accepts responsibility. He’s upset at himself. For failing his ideals and his own personal strength. He’s dealt with racism over the years. However, this act was one act too far.
And this tragedy is merely a microcosm of the problem in Banshee where it’s a “never ending cycle of shit,” as Emmett calls it. He feels that he’s let down his badge, that they’re meant to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Ultimately, he’s not totally remorseful for what he did: he’d do it again. And I’d watch it again.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.15.13 AM After the credits, we see a sad shot of Emmett’s desk. A picture of him and Meg. An ultrasound. The faint sound of me weeping in the background.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.15.43 AM Another great chapter, a sad one but a great one. The next episode is titled “Homecoming”, and again, I love it. So get ready to rewatch the penultimate Season 2 finisher, heading towards that big season finale.

Banshee – Season 1, Episode 10: “A Mixture of Madness”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 1, Episode 10: “A Mixture of Madness”
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Always the Cowboy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Little Fish” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.04.09 PM Back in jail, Hood (Antony Starr) sits with a psychiatrist. Not saying much, but rather sitting there simply to get on towards parole. He ends up sort of picking her apart. We start to get the feeling Hood has either been formally trained, somehow, or else has a natural gift for psychology. An observant man. A thief. An inmate. We also figure out no matter where he is, where he goes, what he does, the guy’s got a unique talent for drawing women towards him.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.09.29 PM Cut to the end of last episode. Hood hears the cocking of guns behind him, outside the Cadi. Rounds and rounds empty into the building. Hood ducks and covers, much as he can. The place is near decimated and he finds himself backed into a corner, glass raining down upon him. That is, until he hears other bullets. Bodies nearby dropping. And out comes the cavalry: Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) with an AK-47. “I guess you owe me one,” he quips to his apparent new ally.
Rabbit (Ben Cross) still has his grandson. They’re playing chess together, keeping the wits sharp. Well, Max doesn’t want much of that. In the meantime, the big boss is not happy to hear about Hood making it out alive from the Cadi. Speaking of which, everybody descends upon the makeshift police station. Deputies Brock (Matt Servitto), Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn), and Emmett (Demetrius Grosse) arrive on scene to find Lucas in a daze. Only issue being the FBI, led by Agent Dean Xavier (Derek Cecil), is in the mix, so that makes everything a little tricky. When things get tense, Hood gives up his badge and walks out the door.
Simultaneously, Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison) are doing work behind the scenes to suss out where Rabbit is headed. They can’t get hold of Hood, certainly. But everything is messed up now. Job knew it, still does, yet Hood is blinded by love and devotion to Carrie (Ivana Milicevic). Then she shows up out of nowhere to start being one of the team again: “The gangs all here,” Job says dryly.
At home, Carrie’s left a family in her wake. Deva (Ryann Shane) is so obviously thrown off by everything, like anyone would be, as is her father Gordon (Rus Blackwell). Him perhaps most of all. Knowing she’s not his daughter, loving her like one anyway. Neither of them understanding Carrie, why she did any of this, or what her life was before everything in Banshee. A confusing and brutal time for the people that love Carrie.
Hood gets on the phone with Rabbit. They have a talk, revealing Hood knows he’s responsible for so much of what has happened. This oddly pleases Rabbit. He likely just wants to watch Lucas die.
Over at the Proctor residence, Kai heads into his wine cellar. It’s there he’s attacked by the man Longshadow talked to earlier. Only Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) is always lurking. A nasty, bloody death. When Clay chokes the man to death asking who sent him to kill Kai, he responds through the garrote: “Fucking Indians.” Now they know. Uh oh.
Flash back to jail. Hood is being analysed by his therapist about having done something unthinkable, turning back and letting himself be taken into custody. All for Carrie. In the present, he’s doing the same thing again. Giving himself over to Rabbit, so that Carrie and her new family, her new life can go on. A noble, horrific deed.
Alex and his sister Nola (Odette Annable) receive an eerie gift on the doorstep. Inside, the head of the man Alex sent to kill Kai. Included is a Queen of Spades from their casino. Instead of leaving like she planned, Nola wants to stay in Banshee. Just to see how things play out.

The exchange is done. Hood goes with Rabbit in place of Max. Then he’s knocked out, surely being readied for something nasty.
Everybody back at the bar is concerned, as is expected. Gordon shows up to let his wife know about Max being safe. Afterwards, Carrie begins piecing together what’s gone down. Job and Sugar finally figure out where they’ve taken Hood, somewhere out in the wilderness at a factory. They suit up to go take care of business. But Carrie and Gordon have things to work out, a whole life to salvage. She chooses instead to honour her love for Hood, regardless if it continues on after this or not. She left him behind once, and will not be doing it again.
In jail again, back in the day, Hood figures out the therapist is friends with Rabbit. She brings him a message – no parole, full time served. So he opts to punch her face in. Switch to present day, Rabbit and his men work Hood over. The two men face each other, Hood tied, bloodied to a pulp, and Rabbit rubs salt in the figurative wounds. Plus, there are new wounds with all the punches they give him.
On their way to kick ass, Carrie, Job, and Sugar are stopped by Deputy Brock. He asks them all to step out of the car after noticing Carrie’s got lots of fresh bruises. This is no good. So many angles to this entire story, that it’s starting to get tricky. A fine mess.
Rabbit (to Hood): “You betrayed me for love. Then you got out of prison to find your love had betrayed you, and then a few days ago she barters your life for her own? My daughter is better at punishing you than I could ever be.”Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.46.59 PM Well now Carrie lets the deputies in on what’s happening with Rabbit. Soon enough, everybody’s convinced once Siobhan reminds everyone what would be happening if it were any of them and Hood was in their shoes. Everybody’s off now. Guns at the ready.
Job starts things off with his characteristic sass. Then all hell breaks loose, as the Banshee gang take Rabbit and his Ukranian mobsters to school on how to fucking get down. Love how Carrie is leading the charge while the cops are taking orders. This is such a weird yet excellent situation, only on this series could this converging of characters and situations work so well. The way Jonathan Tropper weaves everything together here in this finale is amazing. Another example of his talent in this season finale.
This whole sequence is god damn perfect. Time after time, Banshee proves its weight in quality, as the action is right on par with the drama. Each is paid equal attention in how well they’re constructed, both the action scenes and the fight choreography, as well as the structure of the plots and the overall story. Honestly, this series does not get enough credit. Sure, lots of fans and enough to get four whole seasons out of it. But this should’ve been the biggest damn show of all. For all its wild unbelievable nature at times, even in its premise, the show makes up for it through so many solid episodes and arcs over the course of its run. This finale is merely one example.
There’s such a killer little moment with an RPG during the end of the large gunfight that’s almost too perfect. Really put icing on the whole cake. A deliciously bloody, violent cake.
In the end, Carrie shoots her father in the chest: “Goodbye, daddy.” Then goes to work trying to save the beaten, stabbed, nearly strangled Hood. He nearly laid down his life for her, for her family. He was going to give up his own daughter. All for Carrie, a.k.a Ana, a.k.a the love of his life.
The aftermath is chilling. Bodies everywhere. Bullet casings and smears of blood all over the place. Brock is left wounded, as is Sugar slightly. Brought out on a stretcher, Hood holds on with his wounds to get patched up at the hospital. Carrie goes to her house, though greeted by an unhappy husband who packs up his kids to leave. The whole town is in disarray, from the state of the Cadi to the streets to the very people themselves.
Worst of all, Mr. Rabbit’s body is nowhere to be found. Only a picture of him and his daughter, an old one, left in a pool of blood.
As Kai stands outside showing Rebecca the new casino/hotel, and Mayor Dan Kendall sits up in one of the windows having a cigarette, calling his phone, an explosion is set off after Kai has his niece dial a number on his cell. Whoa. That’s some unexpected fallout, while Kai was only trying to send a message to Longshadow he inadvertently committed another murder. Big one, too.Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.00.24 AM Out amongst the trees, there’s another crime scene. This one is bad news: they’ve found a body with a hole in its hand, next to another one. Sound familiar? Ah, that whole thing about reaping what we sow. It’s possibly going to start blowing back on ole Hood. With Agent Xavier on the case, as well as Banshee PD sniffing around, things may get sticky. What a finish to this season!
After the credits, we briefly see a young man named Jason Hood calling to try and find his father. Oh. My. God. Another string to get pulled from out of the wool the fake Hood is weaving. And with a video on YouTube of Hood fighting that MMA champ, it’s about to get real interesting in the little town of Banshee. All over again.
Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.03.34 AM Next season is a blast. Only gets better with each passing set of episodes. Another ten coming at you soon, as I review Season 2. This’ll be my second or third watch of these episodes, and still I always find enjoyment. A solid, quality work of television magic.

Banshee – Season 1, Episode 9: “Always the Cowboy”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 1, Episode 9: “Always the Cowboy”
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the previous episode, “We Shall Live Forever” – click here
* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “A Mixture of Madness” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.01.37 PM Hood (Antony Starr) rushes to the hospital with Ana a.k.a Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic). He gets her into the Emergency Room. Saying someone attacked her. The doctors take her inside, but who knows what will happen next. Hood’s left outside, to wait, to hope, to go crazy.
Later Gordon (Rus Blackwell) arrives, pissed off and raging at Hood. The doctor at least has good news, that his wife is stable. She’ll be fine. Meanwhile, Sugar (Frankie Faison) and Job (Hoon Lee) are left to deal with the body of Olek, as well as the place smashed to bits at Hood’s little apartment.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.02.33 PM I’m worrying about what comes next with Kai (Ulrich Thomsen) and his niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons). He looks at her in a different light, after what happened in the previous episode. He’s seen her naked, and something disgusting has awoken in him. He watches her, not like an uncle should, as she takes off her towel and steps out to the pool in a bathing suit. This is headed to a dark place.
The shit has hit the fan now. Job tries to encourage Hood to leave, run again. But Hood’s intent on something much different. He wants to bring the fight to Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross). The thought of Olek beating Carrie, the pain she went through, it kills him. You can see through the tough exterior. It destroys him inside to know of her suffering, sitting his apartment amongst blood and glass.
And at the same time, Rabbit himself sits looking at pictures of his daughter, his granddaughter and the family he does not now. Most interesting, he looks at a picture of Hood with the Sheriff’s badge. War is headed for Banshee. In the little town, Carrie wakes up worried about what’s coming for her: “Were all in danger,” she yells at her husband. The seriousness of her tone makes Gordon understand how dire the situation is truly. This warrior side of his wife is the first he’s seen. Naturally, it’s a bit of a shock. Well he ain’t seen nothing yet. Hood also starts preparing a drawer filled with guns for when he needs the fire power.

When Carrie goes to get her boy Max at his school, she sees Rabbit. Then Max is gone.
Now with the police involved, from Brock (Matt Servitto) to Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn), things are deeper. She can’t tell them about her gangster father. Everyone is in the dark, except Carrie and Hood.
Then Gordon arrives to get answers. To all the lies she ever told. Out comes the news of her father, alive as opposed to what he was told. The FBI are naturally involved, taking over the investigation. The mess gets bigger.
On the other side of Banshee, bad business is going down. Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) finds Kai and his niece at the construction project of the new casino. He doesn’t like that, of course. Except Proctor is the one holding all the power, as in manpower. And as new Chief Alex looks around, alongside his sister Nola Longshadow (Odette Annable), Kai shuts the whole place down with one blow of a whistle. Slowly, Rebecca is starting to see that Kai is ruthless. He tells her the only reason he shut the place down is due to the fact he promised the former chief his son would not die. Chilly.

Rabbit is off hiding, now with young Max in tow. Problem is he doesn’t know about the boy’s condition. Then ole grandpappy starts to figure out his quite grey moral code might have some flaws in it, as far as this latest plan is concerned.
Over at the slaughterhouse, Hood meets Proctor unexpectedly. Asking for a little help. He then finds out Rebecca is Kai’s niece, admitting to having sex with her. This sends the mad uncle into a rage. He and Hood have a nice little tussle. Thing I love about Kai is that for all his high class act he puts on outwardly to make his rotten core a little more easily digested, he can back up his bad ass talk. He can fight. We knew this already, but against Hood he does hold his own damn well. They’re both solid fighters. That’s a great thing about these actors, they’re all able to do these impressive fight sequences, and that gives the show as a whole an interesting quality. So many different matches, for lack of a better word, to combine.
After the whole fight, Hood and Proctor sit bloodied to talk about why Hood went to see him in the first place. He needs help with Rabbit. And that way, he owes Kai a solid. Deal is that Hood has to stay away from Rebecca. Creepy uncle stuff.

Gordon is further confronting new truths about the woman he knows as Carrie Hopewell, his wife. She does love him, yet there are things which need to wait. Shitty for Gordon, whose entire life is basically crumbling in front of his eyes.
In the living room, Rabbit waits with Deva (Ryann Shane) on the couch. Things are getting much too intense. The family is now invaded by their absent grandfather. Gordon takes the lead, though – his military training is good, we just haven’t seen it come out yet. However, Rabbit is a bad motherfucker. When Deva asks him not to hurt her dad, Rabbit replies: “This is not your father.” Bam. God damn. Everything has burned down around Carrie, a.k.a Anastasia. A surreal moment while Gordon hears Carrie talk Ukranian to her father, completely baffled with this sudden change in his wife. So many secrets buried for far too long.

Up in the casino, Alex has a man in debt in his office, as Nola lingers in the background. Well the big boss man in charge now is trying to collect on the big outstanding money. Seems this fella has a lot of debts in a lot of places. This man worked for Proctor one time, though he was fired. Looks like Alex has some greasy plans afoot.
Back with Hood, he comes across Rabbit who only tries exacerbating the festering old wounds between them. Then with an ominous warning, Mr. Rabbit heads out. Leaving Hood to face the clicks of gun hammers in the background, cocking of rifles.
Oh shit,” he says and ducks. Right as the credits roll.
After the credits, we see Nola Longshadow sharpening a tomahawk before tossing it viciously into a nearby wall. Bad. Ass.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 10.50.11 PM Next up is the Season 1 finale, “A Mixture of Madness”, which brings lots of the titular madness, some blood, and plenty of wild action. As usual.

Banshee – Season 1, Episode 8: “We Shall Live Forever”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 1, Episode 8: “We Shall Live Forever”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the previous episode, “Behold a Pale Rider” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Always the Cowboy” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 6.59.01 PM Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) and Hood (Antony Starr) spend the night in bed together, making love. Can’t mean anything good when it comes to Carrie a.k.a Ana’s husband Gordon (Rus Blackwell). That part sucks. But it is absolutely refreshing to see these two back together, after everything has happened. Carrie sees his scars, all that he’s endured.
And yes, at home Gordon’s wondering where his wife went. He tries to find anything to explain her recent, odd behaviour. Simultaneously, Hood is trying to convince Carrie that the person she is only serves as a cover now, she is a mask. Ana is her real identity. However, Carrie’s not accepting it. She remembers her husband. She says her and Hood in bed was only “goodbye” and nothing more than that. Even further, Hood knows that Deva (Ryann Shane) is actually his daughter, not Gordon’s, which I suspected yet still find shocking. Lots of drama comes out of this one lie. She says he ought to leave, forget them. If not, Carrie tells him: “Ill kill you myself.” Cold as ice.
Out in Amish county, Rebecca (Lili Simmons) is being shunned and sent away by her family. For those who don’t know this is a regular practice if someone turns their back on the religion and the community, their ways. Likewise, everybody there turns their back. Obviously we’ve seen this already with her uncle Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), whose own banishment has been going on a long time, his being shunned still fresh every time anyone from the community out there sees him.

When Carrie goes to leave Hood’s place, she finds herself confronted by one of Rabbit’s men, Olek (Christos Vasilopoulos). He has orders to take her in for a chat. So when he puts Carrie in the trunk, things look grim. Until Hood interrupts things.
Kai is taking his niece Rebecca in. He tells her about the time he stopped “turning the other cheek,” involving his anger and a ball-peen hammer. That precipitated his shunning and basically began his violent life, I imagine. Kai’s an interesting, intimidating character. He doesn’t even have to be physical, though we know he can be when needed. His presence sometimes is enough, and that’s testament to Thomsen as an actor; he is a spectacularly talented individual. On the other side of things, Rebecca is now in a world she’s never seen, one she does not understand. But going from Amish to living in a luxury home, fuelled by the money of a gangster uncle, is certainly a culture shock. We’ll see how that affects her. For those who’ve seen the entire series, you’ll know the trajectory even better. Still it is interesting to watch play out. Later in the pool, she’s surprised by Clay (Matthew Rauch) and his creepy staring.
Now Carrie and Hood have got Olek tied up. The tables have turned. Only thing is, does Rabbit already know where Olek has gone? Did he check in with the boss? If so, that means Papa Rabbit knows where his little daughter Ana is, so that ain’t good. We find out afterwards Olek hasn’t made calls, checked in at all. They’ve got time.
Poor Gordon is gone mad at home still trying to find anything relative to his wife’s aloof attitude as of late. I feel terrible that he’s there stressing his brain, all the while Carrie and her past is coming back to haunt her, her family possibly. Either way, Hood assures he won’t let anything happen to her family, despite their differences.

Hood: “Carrie Hopewell was never built to last. Youve been on borrowed time since you got here and you know it.”
While Hood has to get rid of Rebecca, coming for comfort and a chat, at his place Olek and Carrie talk. Turns out, he loves her. Always has, or at least for a good long time. So instead of coming to any sort of agreement, the two old Ukranian friends go at it like two cage fighters. Hood discovers Rebecca feels further rejected by his not wanting her around while things are dangerous; maybe worse, Clay sees the two of them together are she locks one on Hood’s lips.
In the hospital, Kai goes to see the eldest Longshadow as he prepares to pass on. Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) doesn’t approve, though his father and Kai were close. And at this point in time it’s Alex who takes over for the tribe. We can already see they won’t have a good working relationship like Kai and the father.
Back at Hood’s place, Carrie fights hard against Olek. For his part, he doesn’t take it easy on her. Neither does she on him. They kick the living shit out of one another in a well choreographed fight for a while. Until they stab each other.
Kai tries to talk with his family out in Amish county. He makes very clear they are only allowed to stay there and tend their land because he allows it to be so. The mean streak in Proctor is evident. Although, nobody’s willing to budge or bend. Not an inch. Kai and his father come face to face, speaking for the first time in decades. We end up seeing bits of the past come up, as Kai rages from the deepest part of his heart a moment before walking away.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.22.48 PM Olek (to Carrie): “You betrayed your family. You dont deserve to have another one.”
Deva finds her father Gordon in his room. The place is torn apart. He’s smoking weed, something he usually only does to quell the pain from his shoulder war wound. His daughter is worried about him, obviously. He plays the strong dad, though, trying to promise her everything will work out. But will it, Gordon?
While his niece is in the shower, Kai drags her out and tries throwing her to the curb. He thinks she was banging Hood. There’s a terrifying moment where Kai pins her to the bed, on top of her as she’s still naked. On the edge of incest. This is no good for anybody. At least he walks out, but… that’s eerie. All the same, she covers up and runs to him to try apologizing. Everything is upside down for her after being kicked out of the Amish county.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.48.51 PM Eventually, Hood gets back to find Carrie bleeding out. He picks her up and takes her out, life still left inside her, as Olek lies presumably dead on the floor in a streak of crimson. Wild, beautiful, or violent episode? All the above.
After the credits, Alex Longshadow watches his father die on the hospital bed. Then a look in his eyes spells trouble for Proctor, maybe for himself.
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.56.47 PM Loved this episode. Raw and fun. Next up is “Always the Cowboy”, the penultimate Season 1 finisher.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 8: “Requiem”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 8: “Requiem”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the penultimate episode, “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.37.27 AM Farewell, Banshee – we hardly knew ye! This show matured as it went. Despite how others saw the serial killer storyline this season, I dig it. Capped off a wild series of events from day one. Now, we’ve arrived at the series finale.
All roads end here.
Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) and Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) find the outside of the mayor’s house crowded with Nazis. Of course Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) steps out front threatening some serious violence. A back and forth ensues until Senator Mitchum (Dan Butler) arrives to stop the entire thing. He is in line with Kai: “You have been misled by this imbecile,” Mitchum tells the crowd concerning Calvin. The Brotherhood has national concerns. Banshee isn’t the centre of the universe. And Cal literally gets bitch slapped. There’s no telling what carnage may come in this final episode after these intense actions.
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.38.12 AM Hood (Antony Starr) arrives to say goodbye to Deva (Ryann Shane), as she heads off to college. She’s worried about not fitting in, that her messed up life has done a number on her. But her father assures she’ll work through it. She is a tough cookie.
Over in jail, Agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku) and Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) are trying to get to the bottom of everything involving Declan and his serial killing. They’ve got Lilith in the box. More lunar cycle madness like one would expect from a total psychotic. Then Dawson brings up Rebecca’s murder. Another exception aside from one other woman mentioned.
With a new man running things for the Aryan Brotherhood, Kai has things under control with his drug shipments. At the same time, you know who Carrie motherfuckin‘ Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic) is watching on. Meanwhile, Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) and Lotus are investigating the Nazi clubhouse massacre a la Burton. Carrie keeps Kurt up to date, and Brock interrupts their call. So now the plot thickens.
Dawson receives a visit from Hood. She then tells him Rebecca didn’t die at the hands of Declan Bode. Somebody made it look like Bode in order to make it look like the serial killer.
Immediately, Hood thinks Proctor. Who wouldn’t? Did Rebecca do one last thing to drive him over the edge? Perhaps he flew into a weird uncle erotic rage and killed her, then tried to cover it all. But why would Proctor go to such lengths? He could make her disappear off the face of the planet, that’s his deal. I don’t buy it for a second. He loved her. A bit too much.
Out on an airstrip, Proctor meets his latest business associate, Emilio Loera (Nestor Serrano). The big deal is going down. Except Carrie and Job (Hoon Lee) bust up the party. SO BAD ASS how Carrie throws off a smile when the back of the truck comes open. Milicevic is one of the most kick ass actresses on television. Ever. And the writing helps her really break out. Loera appears to let them go, no harm and no foul.
Yeah, right. But Carrie’s prepared – an RPG comes flying through to blow up the truck. Who’s holding it? Brock Lotus, undercover wild man. They all make a clean getaway, hilariously I might add.Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.52.44 AM Brock: “That’s right. Someone just blew up your fuckin drugs.

When the smoke clears on the other end, Clay lays waste to the others around him. He and Proctor brush themselves off and head out. Yikes.
With Dawson, once again Hood proves his thief skills. They get themselves into a tool shed where eventually he uncovers a few secrets. A cellar leads them further down where they find traces of blood, some weapons, strange dolls. A whole mess of weird, unsettling things. Then Hood finds Rebecca’s necklace, too. But doesn’t tell Dawson.
Kai is thinking of what happens next. Out of nowhere, Hood rams into Proctor and Burton sending them over a cliff, into a ravine. A nasty little accident. Busted up, Kai confronts Hood who has questions needing answers. Kai swears he didn’t kill her.
All of a sudden, Clay is gone. He did the deed. I’d honestly not expected Burton, yet it’s so perfect that it’s him. Now he’s on the end of both Hood and Proctor’s anger. Although Hood’s the only one fit to fight. And fight they shall. This might be the ultimate Banshee showdown. Two of the baddest ass fighters of the series. While they’re duelling, Kai hallucinates Rebecca walking through the ravine.
Hood is being choked out and he flashes back to all those fights, all the deaths, the people left in his wake and near him. Such a gorgeous tragic moment, like a Greek tragedy almost seeing Hood give himself over to death instead of continuing to fight. Then a flash of Deva brings him back. He takes the savagery to Clay, manhandling him to the ground and beating him senseless. Headbutt after headbutt until Burton is bloody pulp. He drags what’s left and leaves it right on Kai’s lap. Literally. A flash to what Clay did to Rebecca is chilling, as these are the most words we get out of him in the entire series strung together, and they are frightening. All the same, Kai sort of sees that he’s created the monster, he saved him and turned the man into a machine of death. Yet still, some satisfaction comes in snapping Clay’s kneck.
Clay (to Kai): “Everything I did, I did for you.”
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.10.57 AM Back to Kurt and Maggie (Casey LaBow). They embrace as she gets ready to head out. Then Calvin appears from the distance. A brother showdown. Heat radiates off their burning stares. Betrayal is hot and steaming between the two. And instead of shooting his brother, Kurt engages in fucking Spartan warfare with him after Cal pulls brass knuckles. Another amazing fight. All around, this show has the best fight choreography of any series, and beats many films, too. The actors are also so versatile. They put in top notch performances, then they further get physically involved to do a host of fighting and some stuns. Really remarkable for a television series, as far as I’m concerned.
But here, the showdown ends with Kurt pulling the trigger, as Calvin walks towards him uttering threats. Even in the moment, Kurt weeps, holding his dead brother in his arms.
A beautiful montage here. Moving music to accompany the heartbreaking people we watch, from Kai to Hood to Kurt and Maggie, a dead Clay laying in the ravine alone.Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.20.47 AM Hood’s still gearing up to say goodbye. To Banshee. To everyone and everything. There are things that could keep him sticking around, or keep him from floating at least. He just doesn’t feel it’s worth it. Time to get away. Especially now with his own daughter moving on. Before Dawson leaves him in the motel, she drops a file on his bed – his file, an arrest report. The real Hood, whomever that might be, is in those pages. She knows him. And she still wants him, despite that.
At the station, Lotus and Bunker go over what exactly happened between the two brothers. Things have changed for Brock and he makes it clear: “What I do know is that to do this job sometimes you gotta take off these badges and get bloody.” They’re letting things stay hush hush on the shooting. Fuck White Supremacy.
A nice Old West staredown between Hood and Lotus happens and it’s the perfect send off from these two, as a pair that grew to understand one another, somehow. Then it’s over to Carrie’s place, as Hood does the rounds. All that history between them, so heavy and emotional. Their theme that plays throughout the series is a KILLER, tugs my heartstrings immediately when I hear it. This scene gave me chills.
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.24.04 AM Hood: “You know the whole tiall those years in my cell, you were always there with me.”
Carrie: “Im still there with you. And Ill always be here.”
Hood: “No one else. Nobody ever really knew me.”
Carrie: “Please don’t forget about me
Hood: “Never

Meeting Sugar (Frankie Faison) and Job at the bar, Hood gets a drink in him. Certainly Job is ready to get going, so he heads out. Not before dropping some serious cash on Sugar; his “tab” as he puts it. Things are ending nice and sweet for the old crew.
Not for Kai, though. Big black vehicles are rolling into town. The cartel likely is not happy with the Mayor of Banshee. And up the driveway to his place they go. The last stand of Kai Proctor, one television’s best villains in years, a complex and driven and wild man. He heads out to meet a string of men, machine gun in hand. The guns start to blast, and that’s it.
At Sugar’s, he and Hood drink, laughing it up one last time. They remember that first day or two, reminiscing, and loving having gotten away with all the shit they concocted. With all the craziness behind him, Hood walks out of the bar and onto something else. Somewhere else. Another life. He speeds off on that motorcycle he rode in on originally, down the highway and out of Banshee. Forever.
Forever? Yes. Hood is free of the past. He’s walked out of Banshee, out of Lucas Hood, and now he’s free, just like that fateful day when he left jail four seasons ago.
Sugar: “The past has kept you locked up long enough. Today theres really only one question left to ask yourself: what are you going to do now?”
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.40.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.41.49 AM An amazing series. I keep going back and rewatching many episodes, seasons. Head back to look through my recaps/reviews. What were your favourite episodes? This finale was incredible and fit very well. Love that we never found out Hood’s real name, or did we? Try zooming in on that file Dawson left him. Maybe there’s nothing (hint: there’s nothing you can see clearly I don’t think). And that’s better off. Because it wouldn’t have made anything better. He’s proper mysterious. Leave it at that.
After the credits, Sugar packs things in, too. He heads out the door and onto something fresh. A nice if not odd little ending. Will these characters meet again? Who knows these days with all the revivals, we could see another mini-series down the road. Or maybe not. Either way, we’re left with four incredible seasons that got better with each passing episode. Drink it in. They don’t make ’em like this every time around.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 7: “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 7: “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a review of the previous episode, “Only One Way A Dogfight Ends” – click here
* For a review of the series finale, “Requiem” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.34.47 AM Penultimate episode of Banshee. Forever. Can we handle it?
Let’s make it there together.
Left hanging alongside Agent Dawson (Eliza Dushku) at the hands of Declan Bode (Frederick Weller), last episode came with a shocking finish. This episode begins as Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) washes away some of the blood from her fight with Carrie (Ivana Milicevic).
But oh my, Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) arrives while Nina’s showering. Seems the job wasn’t performed up to task for Mayor Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen).
Lights out for Nina. Not too surprising, but grim and grisly.
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.35.23 AM For all her faults, Carrie at least tries to keep up with therapy. Court ordered, but still she does it and does everything possible to try being a good mother for Deva (Ryann Shane). However, the guilt inside Carrie for always having loved Hood (Antony Starr), Gordon’s death, all of it, just bursts out of her constantly. Her therapist sort of agrees with her, though: “So go finish it,” he tells her.
Mayor Kai is having a drug shipment problem it seems. Or rather, a problem with the AB. He finds a man of his with a Nazi symbol carved into his chest. Still, Kai beats him.
Meanwhile, Hood is with Sheriff Brock (Matt Servitto) and they’re trying to figure out the best way to go forward. Nothing connects properly to Bode, unfortunately. Over at the bar with Sugar (Frankie Faison) and Job (Hoon Lee), Hood needs a cellphone dumped to find out some numbers. Job works his magic then sends Hood along with an address.
Now we come to Ms. Dawson, tied up in the dark. Only she manages to slip her hands loose, then her legs. Right before Bode comes back. God dammit.
Waiting for the Aryan Brotherhood, Clay says he’s looking for Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy). I love how none of them know how tough Burton is as one man alone.
And then the glasses come off. This sequence is great because the camera rotates as the blood splats, the screams fly, then we spin around to Clay, blood everywhere, and nobody left standing. He decimated a whole clubhouse full of Nazi skinheads.
But back to Veronica, really in Bode’s grip now. They have a little chat about life, serial killer stuff, y’know, all that kind of thing. It’s a chilling conversation where Declan lays out a bit of his philosophy on existence. She makes clear he’s a mental case.
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.48.28 AM Declan: “I like you Veronica
Veronica: “But youre still gonna cut my heart out
Declan: “Yes I am
Veronica: “See what I mean? Fucking insane
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.50.09 AM While his wife Maggie (Casey LaBow) is off being protected by his brother Kurt (Tom Pelphrey), Calvin Bunker finally snaps. He tears his shirt off revealing the hateful tattoos before kicking the living shit out of his boss. Brutal, nasty. A wild war is brewing on so many fronts, and Calvin’s mindset is certainly not doing that any favours.
Kai is trying to iron out his “personal issues“, as he calls them. So what’s the next step for him? Certainly most of the skinhead idiots are taken out, Calvin can’t have much immediate juice left without calling somebody in. I’m curious as to where this will be heading.
Over at Bode’s place, Veronica is going along to get along, knowing her fate. Meanwhile, Hood and Lotus are out searching for the connection to Declan. Very close now. But will they be too late? As the time draws closer Veronica gets more worried, though more witty: “Nothing more annoying than a psychopath who engages in Socratic debate.” Then there’s the equally sick Lilith (Jennifer Landon), a.k.a Kim Newton. She believes Declan made her into a woman, so she’s been brainwashed a long, long time.
This entire sequence of scenes is excellent from the way it’s written and filmed to how it’s edited, too. Tense, suspenseful. Keeps you offbeat. Really gets the adrenaline flowing here wondering if they’ll find her, at times believing they’re just around the literal corner.
And then Brock gets knocked out, right under Hood’s nose. Afterwards, he gets knocked out, as well. Uh oh.
Carrie goes so far as to threaten the D.A. Not too unlike what Proctor did to get him in his pocket. But she’s doing it for a good cause. In the name of Gordon, and justice overall. Is her final showdown with Kai? Is that how their respective stories will end here in the final season? I expect a blaze of glory scorching the entire show in many ways.
Waking up, Hood and Lotus are tied. They’re in a basement next to each other. Brock tells Hood about Bode coming to see him recently. Here, we see more of that old criminal in Hood come out. He doesn’t like being tied down, locked in, his freedom taken. “I never got to be the Sheriff I wanted to be,” Lotus tells Hood. They get honest, so close to possible death. He asks Hood who he is, he wants honesty. Finally – FINALLY! HOOD REVEALS WHAT HE DID. He tells Brock exactly about how he’s a “lie” and a “fake“, all about his life as an “infiltration specialist” back in the day. The whole thing nearly caves Brock’s head in. What a god damn revelation. So emotional, too. Hood talks about Carrie, a.k.a Anna, and the whole story. Still there’s a certain aspect of betrayal for a man of the law like Lotus.
Before Hood can reveal his actual name, in walks Bode. The creepy killer has got big plans for their night together, all of them under one big, happy roof.
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 2.05.42 AM Hood: “The lie took over. I believed it.”

The creepy ritual begins. An “unexpected offering” is presented in the form of helpless Agent Dawson. Their cult gathers around, drinking weird substances and chanting: “Gloria Satanis.” In the other room, Hood and Brock try to fight their way out of a corner.
VICTORY! Hood and Lotus make it into the ceremonial chamber. They interrupt just before Veronica can be sacrificed, as they proceed to kick the shit out of everybody in sight. Fists of gury, Hood goes on beating Declan until Dawson actually has to stop him at gunpoint.
Because she wants the last shot. One. Right in the dome. A serial killer’s legacy undone.
Certainly all that’s on Hood’s mind is Rebecca (Lili Simmons). Kai shows up at the scene, too. He and Hood stare over the dead body of the sick bastard who took her from the Earth. Uncle Kai, Mayor Proctor, even thanks Hood for having gotten things done.
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 2.16.27 AM Leo Fitzpatrick (Dennis Flanagan) receives a little visit from his old buddy Job. They’ve got catching up to do. And it isn’t only money Job wants. He can’t get his life back. That’s not possible. So how does one placate themselves? Not by murder, Job decides. He’s switched his identity over to Leo; every last crime tracks back to him from each angle. “I just made your punk ass famous,” says Job with his usual sass.
Poor Dawson is trying her best not to crack. Well, she’s smoking crack. Just trying not to completely break down. Trying.
Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 2.22.38 AM One last episode left, “Requiem”, and I’m not ready to say goodbye. This is a beautiful show that only grew and matured with each passing season. This hit its stride perfectly. Perhaps time to say goodbye now before it wears out its welcome. Still, can’t help but mourn. Stay with me, fellow friends and fans! Series finale is just one week away now.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 6: “Only One Way a Dogfight Ends”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 6: “Only One Way a Dogfight Ends”
Directed by Jonathan Tropper
Written by Chad Feehan

* For a review of the previous episode, “A Little Late to Grow a Pair” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Truths Other Than the Ones You Tell Yourself” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.42.35 AM The third of three final episodes in Banshee‘s swan song season begins as a woman sits in her car, taking a pill, then getting out with bag that looks suspiciously like it may contain a small gas canister. Is it just me? Likely this is one of the serial killer’s followers. She’s bringing a message for Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto). “He wants you to know he wont stop,” she tells him. Uh oh. As I guessed, she douses herself in gasoline. “He wants you to see. You will all see.” Then she lights herself up.
What a fucking opener.
I guess the devil’s really come to Banshee after all. Perhaps this is a literal Armageddon.
Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.44.04 AM When Maggie (Casey LaBow) wakes up, she finds her husband Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) naked, bloody. Then he jumps on top of her demanding sex. Seems they’ve not been having any for a while. Likely since she’s been sleeping with Calvin’s brother, Deputy Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey). But Cal, he’s got bigger problems. He killed his neo-Nazi boss. Oh, and now he’s decided to rape his own wife. What a piece of work.
Meanwhile, the man formerly known as Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) finds out a little about Special Agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku). Mainly, her crack pipe. She was undercover years ago and had to dive in deep. She’s been “meaning to kick it,” but y’ know… crack. Regardless, she’s keeping it together. And she’s into Hood. Though he keeps it proper because that is the last thing he needs, another woman in his life to possibly leave, die, or who knows, on him.
Job (Hoon Lee) is back lookin’ fine. Trying to get himself back into a nice outfit again, back to a normal part of himself. The poor man’s psyche has been torn to shreds. At the same time, someone breaks into the house downstairs. And of all people it’s Deva (Ryann Shane). Yay! Reunion time.
Over at the station, Maggie goes to see Kurt. She tells him, roundabout, what happened. Then she left, packing a few things. The situation is pushing itself now. A massive war between these two brothers is about to explode. “I think he killed my father,” Maggie tells Kurt. No matter what happens there is no doubt in the world Calvin is going to do something absolutely fucking crazy.
Back to Job and Deva. Of course this is their first time formally meeting. She gets a little sassy with him over her “shitty hand” of a life. Naturally, Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) is glad to see her daughter back. But it’s heat; she isn’t supposed to be there, court ordered. That could likely cause some problems.
Sheriff Brock is involved with the Bunker Brothers situation. He easily sussed out there’s something between Maggie and Kurt; then he offers her and the little boy a place to stay. It’s always clear Brock is a nice guy, even to a fault at times.Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.53.59 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.54.03 AM Agent Dawson is a god damn bad ass, and slick as hell. Plus she has Hood as back-up. They go to see a doctor, one who’s had his medical license revoked. Yet still he’s there, popping in breast implants. Almost a pity Dawson only came in during the final season. She and Hood have good chemistry, as characters and in terms of Dushku/Starr. Anyways, they’re tracking down implants: devil horns, to be exact. But the body mod community is slippery, dark, not the type of business where receipts are kept and credit card numbers stay on file. Luckily, they get a camera out due to Hood’s superior thief skills.
Mayor Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) meets up with Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) and she has some information for him – concerning Carrie. Oh my. Kai heads to see her for a little chat. They semi-bond for a minute over their losses; her husband, his niece. He goes on to talk about “regret” in light of grief. Before giving out a veiled threat. One which Carrie fires right back. “Suppose we should both be more careful,” Kai says as the tension and ominous atmosphere mounts like wildfire.
Later on Kai and Clay (Matthew Rauch) bury the body of Rebecca out on Proctor’s land, all alone.
Dawson and Hood head back to where she found the body mod crew last episode. The bartender’s a little more forthcoming now with a badge in his face. On the camera he points out Declan Bode (Frederick Weller) – a real twisted piece of work. There’s certainly an eerie showdown coming with this serial killer. No telling how that’ll go. I’m guessing that someone will die. Think maybe Hood won’t survive this final season? Likely. One thing is positive: Bode, the followers he attracts, they are going to cause Hood and the rest of Banshee some madness.
What’s most interesting is how Dawson eventually starts to figure out Hood is “more criminal than cop” after seeing how he can’t sit still, how he likes to “push through every wall without even lookinfor the door or the key for that door.” And this is why I’m loving the writing between these two. We can’t forget that part of Hood has gone unchecked. Will he make out of this series without someone finding him out? Dawson’s on the verge. For his part, Hood is just going nuts. Yes he’s a criminal. Yet deep down there is a good man living inside him. And finally, he gives into her. Another steamy sex scene for Banshee on Skinamax. Only Hood still thinks of Sibohan, still seeing her behind his eyes. Sex scene no more. Wow, I thought for sure he was hopping into bed. I underestimated the heaviness of the pain he feels. So instead they curl up and she holds him close. One wounded person knows another when they seem them. Possibly the most emotional scene from Starr yet in the series, the weight of the world looks like it’s resting right on his chest. Great performances, from them both.

Is Brock about to meet a horrible fate? Outside the station, he hears something. It takes him out in the alley where Declan sneaks up from behind and clocks him one. Out like a light. NO! FUCK! FUCK! I love Brock, despite his crankiness and killjoy attitude (though usually it’s only because he’s actually being an officer of the law instead of a wildman like Hood). Now I’m afraid we’re about to see some horror.
But a nice cut over to Proctor’s office keeps the possible death or torture or who knows of Lotus at bay. Now, Kai finds Calvin and the neo-Nazis waiting for him. Seems the Aryan Brotherhood is quitting their jobs with Mr. Proctor. New boss Calvin has things running smooth. He plops Watts’ head on the desk for Kai to enjoy. Gruesome. “Everything thats yours is now ours,” Calvin tells the mayor. Quite a bold choice, indeed. Another war is brewing now, between Proctor and the Nazis.
Back to Brock. On his back he’s hovered over by Bode, long knife at the Sheriff’s neck. “Ive become something different, something more,” he rambles on at Brock who only replies “Fuck you.” Although for now he has been spared by the creepy killer. That was just one hell of an intense scene. I thought for sure Lotus was done for and gone.
Then we also get the title of the episode, from the Bunker Brothers, as they come face to face. It was something their father said when they were young and Calvin asked if a dogfight, which their father took them to (awesome parenting), ever ended in a tie. An excellent metaphor for the two brothers now at a scary juncture in their existences, parallel to one another on different tracks of life.

Over at Carrie’s place, someone is sneaking onto the property under her nose. In they come, blasting. And Carrie is in for the fight of her life, as usual. Upstairs, Job saves Deva in the nick of time. I almost shit myself in that moment, thinking another tragedy was about to come down on Carrie and the crew. Deputy Nina’s got herself an assault rifle, but only ends up in a one-on-one with Carrie. This is one of the best choreographed fights of the past couple seasons (and that’s saying something). Also, Job gets to kick some ass, too. Outside, Deva downs one of the men with the gun Job gave her. Everyone comes out on top. Only the youngest of them all isn’t used to that type of thing, as her mother and Job are after all these years. Tragic to see this has now infiltrated her life, as well.
Cruz makes off without getting what she deserves, but thankfully Carrie is still alive and well. Of course now she blames herself, rightfully, for dragging her daughter into the mess. All that security did nothing, Mrs. Hopewell.
Job: “Im sick and tired of fightinfor my mothafuckinlife

Now Hood is finding out from Carrie about her thing with Proctor. Particularly because he’s worried for their daughter. They embrace after a moment of anger, as two parents. It’s funny how at the core of this wild, wild show is an extremely real, truthful human drama about two parents and their child, their hidden life versus a public life.
But most importantly, Dawson tracks down a woman named Kim who knew Declan Bode years ago. He swept Kim off her feet; older man, impressionable young lady. Statutory rape, as it turns out. Yowzahs. She loved him, but dear ole dad called the cops. Only there’s something in this woman’s eyes Something that says different. Has she been a follower of Bode? Oh yes.
When Dawson calls Hood before leaving, a quick smash of her car mirror tells us Kim is definitely a part of everything with Bode. And Agent Dawson discovers she’s strung up in the little games room, ready for a sacrifice. SERIOUSLY? Oh shit.
Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 2.37.14 AM The end of this episode shocked me. I saw it coming gradually, then it still got me. Next episode is “Truths Other Than the Ones You Tell Yourself”, the penultimate finish to this beautiful, brutal, mad series. Stay with me, fellow fans.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 5: “A Little Late to Grow a Pair”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 5: “A Little Late to Grow a Pair”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Liz Sagal

* For a review of the previous episode, “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Only One Way a Dog Fight Ends” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 1.35.33 AM After Special Agent Dawson (Eliza Dushku) arrived in the last episode, offering up a likely sexy ride to the former Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), as well as a serial killer with weird devil horns and other eccentricities running around Banshee, this episode is bound to be fun.
We start with Dawson and Hood. They’re parked, having a drink. “Whats your real damage?” she asks him. He wears it on his sleeve, that’s for damn sure. But that whole story is a long one, a very long, treacherous road. These two quasi-bond, but not openly. Just enough to become friendly. What I thought was likely to end up as another woman bedded by Hood concludes with Hood walking home instead. Good choice on his part. That’d only complicate things.
At his cabin, Hood finds the place in flames. Yikes. And what do you know, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) turns up. He blames Hood for what became of Rebecca (Lili Simmons). Nothing further comes of it, however, Kai charges him with finding out exactly what happened to his niece, and to bring the one who did it to him. Nothing’s ever easy for the old ex-con, is it?

Back one month ago. Rebecca’s at the bank for a safety deposit box. Only she’s not happy when the money isn’t there anymore. Kai came to get it without telling her; shows his power, to walk in and access a safety deposit box that doesn’t belong to him. That’s supposed to be the ultimate measure to essentially hide things from others. Yet Kai has the reach. All the same, she was “skimming cash” and says she earned it all. Things get intense, as she points a gun in her uncle’s face. Their relationship was always so complicated, so intense, violent even. It all diffused, but still, in present day Kai is haunted.
He finds himself meet with Randall Watts (Chance Kelly) and the new whipping boy, Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy). Things are moving forward with the neo-Nazis and Proctor, re: business. Randall wants to make sure his son-in-law’s shitty business skills don’t damage the relationship. So they haul poor Pony Joe out, tie a chain around him and a tree, then Calvin drives the truck that’s attached to the other side of the chain, also wrapped around Joe’s legs. The result is… gory. To say the least. Wow. One of my most favourite disturbing moments in this entire series. Either way, Kai’s moderately impressed, and for his part Randall is ready for anything. A terrifying combination. Although Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) keeps a cautious, suspicious eye on Watts and anyone else near his boss and friend.
Job (Hoon Lee) is naturally still feeling the effects of his captivity. His flashbacks are horrific, psychologically, and yes, even physically. He’s put through torture similar to those situations experienced by prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and other sites of the like. He tries to cope, though doesn’t get babied by Carrie (Ivana Milicevic). She even gives him chores to do. “I do not do windows,” he yells after her.
Finally, Hood goes back over to see Sugar (Frankie Faison). He’s not exactly surprised by the old Sheriff’s antics, nor did he think the man is a killer. Their relationship has changed a lot since last season. But still they remain friends. Saddest part of this season yet may be when Hood is forced to move into the old trailer where Siobhan was living. It is heartbreaking that he’s left with nowhere else to really go. His flashbacks to their time together is touching and powerfully emotional.
Meanwhile, Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) is digging through crime scene photos. Her connections to Proctor have her trying to discover who it was blew up all that stuff last episode. She spots that a woman’s boot mark was left at the scene. Nice editing, as we cut to Carrie, the culprit, in her therapy session for the day. She recounts a story to her therapist about dear ole dad, Mr. Rabbit, and their days on Coney Island eating salt water taffy, going on rides, putting their toes in the sand. Such nice memories to have of a psychotic, gangster, murderer of a father.

Dr. Hubbard (re: Rabbit): “You miss him
Carrie: “How fucked up is that?”
Up to Carrie’s place goes Hood. He decides to see Job, who’s busy with his chores. Hood is apologetic, to the max. He hates himself for giving up on Job and believing his friend was dead. There’s no taking that back, but at least he’s man enough to face it. Though it took some time. “It coulda been worse,” says Job: “Coulda been fifteen years. You never put that shit on me.” This is one expertly written, beautiful scene between two characters who are close friends. A briefly gorgeous moment of Banshee‘s power. Further than that, we move more plot, as Job reveals Carrie’s trying to take Proctor down, essentially in the name of Gordon.
Speaking of Mayor Proctor, he finds the Amish out rallying to get Rebecca’s body back. Kai isn’t impressed because they shunned her, now they all of a sudden want her corpse. He drives everyone off with some veiled threats, even going so far as to yell at them all in Dutch. Before he flies off the handle, luckily Clay calms him. Poor Kai, things are getting more tough for him by the day. His instability gets shakier all the time.
Hood goes to see Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto). He tries to get some more information about the case out of his former colleague. No information to get, though. At least Brock understand Hood’s not going anywhere. He finally sees the truth in Hood, and again, another man who’s not afraid to apologise and admit to his being wrong.
Watts is out trying to recruit Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) back into the fold. But after all he’s gone through, Kurt won’t just take it. He is not going back. Lots of threats from Watts, as Kurt refuses going back to the AB. Lots of danger here. Especially considering Kurt is also sleeping with Watts’ daughter, his brother’s wife. So many loaded things happening at once.
Then there’s the curse of Kai coming down on the Amish – Clay releases one of their horses and lets them know they won’t be selling produce in Banshee. Oh, and their village is on fire in the distance.
In the meantime, Sheriff Lotus announces the presence of a serial killer in the town. And the killer, he lounges drinking wine, having himself a fine time. Agent Dawson, she does work and smokes crack, getting high to keep her work ethic up. Nice montage here, which is a technique the series uses well on the whole. This one is actually eerie, capturing a few creepy bits including Dawson tweaking out in her room. Also, Hood meets with the little boy who saw a man in the woods; a man with horns, supposedly. Most dangerously, Lotus speaks right to the killer: “I dont know what you have convinced yourself that you are, but you will never be anything more than a sad little freak.” Uh oh. A challenge has been placed. I’m worried for Brock. Final season and all, could be marked for death now.Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 2.12.19 AM Out on the hunt goes Dawson. In a sleazy little club, she looks through the backrooms filled with BDSM play everywhere, all shades and sorts. A few people try pulling a hard, fast one on Dawson. Before Hood shows up and they finish the place off. “You come here too,” he quips comically. So the two of them ended up there for different reasons, same journey. They make a great team. So glad the writers didn’t automatically just toss them in bed together, as I predicted at the end of last episode, beginning of this episode. They’re two ass kickers and deserve to be written as such instead of falling into love stories. Plus, Hood has had enough tragedy in that department.
In a flower shop, the horned man shows up to see a girl named Gail. She’s one of the “acolytes“, as he puts it. Interesting. She isn’t overly surprised to see him, just taken aback he got in so quiet. So there’s more of this dark cult under the surface of Banshee coming out, bit by bit, as the writing slow burns towards the end of this last season. Fittingly epic storyline. Can’t wait for more after seeing this scene between the flower shop girl and the horned killer. He is one spooky character, man.
A big Nazi jam is going down for Watts’ return home. Looking on, Calvin isn’t too happy. He sees his father-in-law, and leader, as a bit of a hypocrite. He steps to Watts, only to get smacked back down emotionally. This is setting off a powder keg. You can see the look in his eyes. But wait – in the distance, Kurt is sizing up Watts with a sniper rifle. One pull and he could finish it. Except for the fact Lotus shows up. He interrupts an obviously foolish plan. He convinces Kurt to do the right thing, the right way, and they may just have a chance at salvaging Banshee as a town.
Back at a motel, Hood and Dawson talk about the serial killer more. She wants Hood as “back up“, and effectively offers him the chance to be her partner, in some way, shape, or form. Their team gets stronger. And no doubt they’ll be able to get to the bottom of things together. Somehow.
And Kurt finds Maggie (Casey LaBow) at his place. She’s got some things on Calvin for him, pictures, numbers that could help in prosecution. It just makes things more dangerous. At the other Bunker house, everything’s certainly touchy. Father-in-law Randall gets the boot from Calvin: “Its a little late to grow a pair,” Watts laughs. The tension is vicious right before Calvin plants a small ice pick in Randall’s back, up over the neck. Later, Calvin gets ready to dispose of the body properly. Unexpected, but expected at some point. The timing was wildly unexpected, as well as exciting.Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 2.30.41 AM Can’t wait for the next episode, titled “Only One Way a Dog Fight Ends”, as the final season approaches its last few episodes. This will be a sorely missed series when it goes, I cannot say it enough.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 4: “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch”

Cinemax’s Banshee
4Episode 4: “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch”
Directed by Everardo Gout
Written by Chad Feehan

* For a review of the previous episode, “Job” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “A Little Late to Grow a Pair” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 1.34.18 AM We open on Lilith Bode (Jennifer Landon) having dinner with a mysterious man who seems an awful lot like the serial killer roaming around Banshee. He’s got some seriously weird shit going on – horn implants in the forehead, an upside down cross on his torso, a massively creepy piece on his back. Wow. And meanwhile, as Lilith cleans the dishes after dinner, he’s got himself a new victim in a secret room by the pool table. Yikes. What an opener! This might be off the wall, but it’s intriguingly off the wall.
Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 1.36.17 AM Cut back to three months ago. Rebecca (Lili Simmons) is taking care of Hood (Antony Starr). He asks her why she’s even there, why she’s running around messing with the people in that wild little town. He cares for her, or cared for her. He essentially lost Carrie, Siobhan died. Now that Rebecca’s gone, his worst nightmare has basically come true. Every woman he’s loved has ended up either disappearing from his life, or dying.
Present day. Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) is questioning Hood about whether he knew Rebecca was pregnant. They chat about his relationship with Rebecca. Brock treats him like any other perp, which rightfully so he should because that’s his job. But it’s harsh. Their history is storied, so I guess Brock is taking out all those frustrations he’d ever had on him now. And he’s just totally convinced Hood killed Rebecca. Only Hood knows the difference, obviously, but more than that he can tell this is the work of a nasty killer.
Randall Watts (Chance Kelly) is before the Parole Board at prison. Instead of pleading for his case, he simply rants and raves, spitting racial epithets, threats, everything at the people there to question him. So back in the box he goes. There’s something more going to come of him and the Aryan Brotherhood. I wonder if it’s all-out war.
Meanwhile back at home, Job (Hoon Lee) is having trouble readjusting to life on the outside. At the same time, Hood is starting to go crazy already on the inside. He paces his cell remembering what jail was like the first time. Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) turns up to see him for a few minutes. She even offers her house as collateral, if bond is ever on the table. For now all she can do is lend moral support.
One of the men from Watts’ parole hearing finds Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) in his car. Uh oh. I see there are big developments coming now. Perhaps Proctor needs Watts out of jail to sort his men. Proctor’s also got Mrs. Hopewell slightly on his trail getting information from Deputy Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey), though he’s also in turn under the watchful eye of Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora).
Bigger things are happening. Proctor shows up to take Hood, saying he’s paid the bail. Things get amazingly tense. At least until Special Agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku) arrives to shut the whole thing down. Oh, how things never change in Banshee, right? Amazingly Proctor gives Agent Dawson an ultimatum, twenty four hours or else he’s obviously going to start doing things his way.
Finally, back to the serial killer. He and Lilith have a twisted thing going. They like to do some weird Satanic sacrifice type play, licking up blood. All that.
More importantly, Agent Dawson sits in for a chat with Hood. Luckily his prints and all those tidbits were switched by Job way back when, so there’s no surprises on that end. But he’s still stuck in a room with a federal agent. She tries to bullshit the bullshitter, and he calls her on it. She straight up asks if he’s guilty, to which he replies “no“, and that’s that.

Carrie tracks Kai to where Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) runs the big drug operation. She calls Kurt about it, which surprises him. They’re getting closer and closer to being found out, one or them, or both. As Carrie is pushing her luck, and Nina keeps her eye close on everyone, Bunker particularly.
As for Kai, we cut to four months ago. He’s thinking of a conversation with his niece Rebecca. He gives her the news of the Aryan Brotherhood taking care of the drugs, instead of being her responsibility. She’s not happy, as usual, being passed over constantly like a child. Sadly, their relationship was on bad terms when she died.
At home, Carrie finds Job rooting around at her weaponry. And there’s a ton of it. She has big, big plans.
The serial killer and Lilith are busy putting finishing touches on their victim, along with what seems like a congregation of people. A nasty, unsettling scene.Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 2.04.55 AM Seems like Calvin is having troubles. He’s drinking away his troubles having doubts about Watts and his deal with Proctor. There is a situation about to rear its head: “Watts has to fuckingo,” says Calvin after a shot
Job insists Carrie take him out with her, as she’s headed for trouble. He continually has little flashes back to his time abducted by those military rejects. He snaps out of it long enough to try stopping Carrie, but she wants no part of it. She’s doing what she has to do to get through the rest of her life. And more power to her. She proceeds to walk in and start setting fire to the place like a god damn wild woman! This whole series of scenes is awesome. She kicks a lot of ass, as per usual for Carrie. The music, the cinematography, Carrie’s bad ass attitude, everything clicks perfectly for another well executed action sequence. Outside Job watches explosions start and his PTSD is triggered. But Carrie gets to run away from a nice big blow up in slow motion, like a real action hero. Fucking gnarly! Dig it. Now let’s watch, see how Kai and the Nazis deal.
More Agent Dawson now. She busts in on a crack house. A raid this is not. She picks up a lightbulb pipe and puffs a good one. Can you say personal demons? Oh my. This is never good. A high ranking law enforcement official on extremely heavy drugs. She’s almost completely functional, though. Doesn’t even miss a call on her cell.
A new body has turned up. The ritually killed girl was dumped near a river. Dawson meets Lotus to check the whole thing out. A real nasty bit of work.
At home with his wife and son, Calvin goes further insane. The cracks are wearing thin. Then Watts show up at his door. And wow – Watts’ daughter is Calvin’s wife. Never saw that coming. Even crazier seeing as how Kurt’s been screwing around with her. But as for Calvin, things only seem to get worse and worse.
Better news for Hood – he’s out, with the killer striking again.
Kai can’t stop flashing back to four months prior. At his home, he sees Rebecca with a man. She almost taunts him as they head back to her bedroom. Back in the present, he drinks and drinks and drinks. He rages, too. There’s nothing good to come of that, either.

With Hood sprung from jail, he ends up in the company of Agent Dawson. Uh, Hood… man… you’ve gotta stop going with your dick all the time. At least that’s what it’s looking like to me. Another woman, another possible devastation.
Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 2.25.55 AM Nice episode. Very unexpected. The next one is titled “A Little Late to Grow a Pair” and promises lots of interesting things.

Banshee – Season 4, Episode 3: “Job”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 3: “Job”
Directed by Everardo Gout
Written by Liz Sagal

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Burden of Beauty” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 10.20.28 PM This episode starts four months previous. Job (Hoon Lee) is being tortured with ultraviolet lights at high intensity. A man behind him is goggled, talking to him in a low voice. Then he forces Job to stare into the lights, causing him pain. This is one desperate situation.
Slowly in the room where they’ve stashed him, Job goes crazy. All his captors do is beat and torture him endlessly. Each type of torture worse than the last.

Then there’s Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) – twenty months ago, he was in the burn unit still recovering from the vicious attack his brother Calvin (Chris Coy) inflicted upon him. Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) went to see him and comfort him as he made it through. Shows you how tough Kurt is, as well as how caring Lotus can be to his friends
Jump to three months ago. Hood (Antony Starr) is lying in bed with the gunshot wound he suffered, as Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) takes care of him. She removes the bullet. She gives him medication for his fever and infection.
Cut to the present. Hood is deeply affected by Rebecca’s death. After all that happened, she was just about the one person left he could count on in his isolation. Their storied history since his arrival in Banshee held weight. Meanwhile, Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) shows up with their old buddy Fat Au (Eddie Cooper). They’re trying best they can to figure out where Job is being held. A guy named Leo Fitzpatrick (Dennis Flanagan) comes up on their radar; the one who took Job in the Season 3 finale.
Over with Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) and Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch), we finally see confirmation of Deputy Nina Cruz (Ana Ayora) working behind the scenes for the new Mayor of Banshee. They’ve got a deal going, one that gets better for her as time passes. At the same time, Burton doesn’t like her while Proctor gives her the benefit of the doubt.
Elijah and Miriam Bowman (Steve Coulter/Samantha Worthen) want their daughter’s body, as the police are still holding it. Although they plead with Brock to release it so they can bury her properly. Lotus is a good guy, he tries to placate them by saying he’ll do his best. He means well. Compared to Hood, obviously, he is miles different. Partly, I do think he realizes how dificult the job is after coming in from Hood’s time there. Something about a guy going balls out all the time like him sort of puts things in perspective. At least now the Banshee Police Department is acting within the law.
Mr Fitzpatrick is lecturing to a class in an auditorium. Afterwards, he sees Carrie, Au, and Hood waiting. This leads to a chase through subway trains and platforms. Eventually, though, they get him bundled up in a van.Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 11.02.54 PM Seventeen months ago, we’re back with Kurt. We see him and Calvin’s wife Maggie (Casey LaBow) – she comes to try and help him out a bit with groceries. This is clearly where their forbidden love affair began. She shouldn’t have been visiting, but her hate for what Calvin did to his brother drives her to Kurt. In present day, Calvin starts to get suspicious of his wife, where she is all the time not answering her phone. So the race is whether Kurt can figure out how to get Calvin put in jail, something similar, or if his brother figures out their affair.
Over with Sugar (Frankie Faison) at the bar, Hood and Carrie have Leo so they can interrogate him. They want answers on Job, and set in trying to get them. Leo, for his part, plays coy. Not a smart idea. There’s no telling how far they’ll go. “You took our friend, we want him back,” Hood explains. After some persuasion by Fat Au, the information starts flowing from Leo. Turns out Job’s been transported to a black site somewhere, an “autonomous” run facility. They can’t get in, but there may be a way to buy Job back from these people. Hmm. There’s trouble already: Job is scheduled to “go dark“, which means nothing good. So the team has to roll. Now.
Concerning Rebecca’s death and the possibility of a serial killer, Sheriff Brock Lotus gets information from the coroner – most definitely a serial. Worse, it seems that Brock is getting further and further convinced Hood is involved.
Proctor heads to a diner. There he ends up paying for a young woman’s pie when she can’t  buy it herself. They sit and eat together. He ends up taking her home and giving her a place to stay. Can’t tell yet, but likely a way to try and assuage his guilt for not ultimately being able to protect his niece.
Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 11.19.05 PM In a black van Job is transported to an old rundown mill of some sort. There, he’s made to walk into the nearby woods led by men at gunpoint. A car pulls up and he’s finally safe in the arms of Hood. Only a minute later armed men are surrounding them all. Seems Leo isn’t that trustworthy when all is said and done. However, Fat Au has things handled. Above in the wings waiting are men with rifles, picking off the would-be captors, and everything is settled quick. Although, Leo gets away like a greasy snake. One leftover man gets shot in the head by Job in a nice cathartic moment of revenge.
At Kai’s place, his new house guest decides to rob as much as possible from him before heading out. If only he hadn’t caught her. Her ungratefulness leads to his true feelings of resentment towards Rebecca coming out – “I gave you freedom. I gave you a place to stay. But that wasnt enough,” he screams, choking the girl. She gets away, but more of his character keeps on coming out bit by bit.
At prison, Calvin meets with Randall Watts (Chance Kelly) – big head honcho of the Brotherhood. He isn’t happy with how things are going on the outside. He wants Calvin to get his shit straight, or else things will start to change, something bad will happen if the leadership isn’t properly executed. Those neo-Nazis sure are particular.
With Job safe and sound, the crew heads back to Sugar’s bar. Job is obviously damaged. There’s no telling how long he may be affected by what happened to him. The worst part is that all their money’s gone, in order to spring him. Between it all the cops show up to arrest Hood – for Rebecca’s murder. They have his blood in her car, as well as the fact she was pregnant with Hood’s baby. WOW! WOW! That is a spectacular development.
Amazing sequence as he gets the perp walk. Hood, the former sheriff, the criminal, the thief, the falsely accused murderer. After so long, he’s going back into the system. That can’t be good. In any sort of way. At the same time, Job tries to adjust to life again. Everyone is left wondering where to go next. No clear path forward anymore.Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 11.38.09 PM Excited for the next episode, “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch” – many big things are shaping up to come. Including more of the serial killer, out murdering in the night. Almost halfway through the final season. Christ, will I ever miss this damn show.

Banshee – Season 1, Episode 7: “Behold a Pale Rider”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 1, Episode 7: “Behold a Pale Rider”
Directed by Dean White
Written by David Schickler

* For a review of the previous episode, “Wicks” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “We Shall Live Forever” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.01.18 PM This episode starts with Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross). He thinks of his daughter, her betrayals. Likely, he prepares himself for what she’s bringing for him. All he wants from Carrie – or Ana (Ivana Milicevic), as he knows her – is for her to give up Hood (Antony Starr).
In Banshee at the slaughterhouse, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) receives a visit from brother-in-law Elijah Bowman (Steve Coulter). It’s about his daughter, Rebecca. He worries for her and doesn’t want to lose his daughter, like Kai himself has been lost. So Elijah asks that Kai talk with her. “I still pray for you Kai,” he says before leaving. Even though he’s been shunned, essentially, Kai still has people who care for him there.

We meet Mayor Dan Kendall (Daniel Ross Owens) at home with his wife, Janie (Claire Bronson). She is a school teacher. And a worried wife. He doesn’t seem turned on by her anymore and that’s obviously unfortunate. More to come on them later.
At the bar, Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) are arguing playfully, as Hood tries to settle their latest score. They’re all a big team now. Except Job is worried because Hood’s roped in by Carrie; she claims there’s a way to get money for the diamonds. But we know better, don’t we? She’s got other things planned.
Supposedly on their way, Carrie gets Hood to boost a car for them and she plants a needle in his back. This allows her time to get him somewhere appropriate. Not. Good.
In a convenience store, Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) runs into two armed, masked men robbing the place. Just as they’re executing the cashier it looks like Emmett will get it, too. He makes it out, though. Then gives chase. This leads Deputy Yawners over to the area of the high school. Things get really bad once the two armed, violent men find their way inside and this puts teacher Janie Kendall and the kids in detention right in the middle of a whole lot of trouble. Hostage situation time. The two men are actually brothers, Lance and Nathan Mangan (Kevin Gage/Doug Kruse). To make matters worse, Deva Hopewell (Ryann Shane) is in there with them.
Note: cinematography in this episode is excellent, so frenetic during the chase scene but not to the point of incomprehensibility, it was steady, intense, full of energy.
Carrie brings Hood to a motel room somewhere around the outside of the city. There, he’s chained to a bed. The diamonds are left on the dresser for Rabbit. Hood’s gagged, the television left on, and Carrie leaves him there at the will of the mad Russian gangster.
Back in Banshee, the cops are trying to manage the brewing hostage situation inside Banshee High School. Deputies Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) and Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn) arrive to help Emmett. Things are deteriorating in the gymnasium, where one of the brothers, Lance, is getting a bit crazy. With Hood unavailable by phone, Lotus tries to figure out how to proceed.
In the motel room, Hood slowly manages to start working his way out of those cuffs, off the bed. Only he drops the tool he managed to get his hands on; a little pen. At the same time, on television he sees the hostage situation back in Banshee, he sees Deva on a cellphone video from the scene, and this propels him into utter rage.
As Rabbit and his men approach, Hood rips the headboard to pieces, just as Job bursts through the door – turns out he’s got a tracker on the Sheriff’s phone. Nice work. They get out in time to leave Rabbit with nothing. This obviously sends the gangster into a fit. Hell to pay for this one.Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.29.50 PM But in the gymnasium trouble is getting nastier. While Nathan doesn’t want any further problems, Lance decides to take Janie back by the bleachers to assault her. Fortunately, a call comes through, as Lotus interrupts briefly. Something needs to happen soon, or else bad things are going to occur.
Carrie finally arrives outside, so both she and Gordon (Rus Blackwell) are worried sick, looking on helpless. At the same time, Brock is negotiating to get some of the kids outside. Except for Deva, she and another girl take off into the halls after a confrontation with Lance. Finally on scene, to the surprise of Carrie especially, Hood shows up; ready to fucking rock. He heads in without back-up, no gun. As usual.
With SWAT incoming, Hood’s inside anyways. He ends up taking down Nathan, then shit hits the fan. SWAT moves in, as Hood chases down Lance who’s after Deva and her friend. A tense confrontation ensues between Lance and Hood, as well as SWAT after they show up. But Hood and Deva look at one another, he motions to her and she responds perfectly – Hood pops Lance a good one. The whole thing ends with him, dead, and Deva saved. Had Hood stayed tied to that bed, no telling what may have happened.
At Sugar’s bar, Kai and Hood chat a little. Particularly the gangster notices how all sorts of “Hell followed” with Hood after he arrived in town. Very true. Though, it was never a quiet place to begin with, as people like Proctor have been kicking around long enough.
Sugar: “What would we be without our secrets?”
Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.46.13 PM In his little apartment Hood finds Carrie waiting in the dark. He pulls his gun on her. His eyes well with tears. Their connection is incredibly intense, it lasts and lasts. When she says sorry, though it’s hard to believe, it is believable. Hard as he tries, Hood can’t not believe her deep down. Their emotional connection scorches all that stands in their way. It is raw, painful, yet so beautiful. But flawed in so many senses.
More trouble is rolling into Banshee. One of Rabbit’s men, Olek (Christos Vasilopoulos) is kicking around, and that can only mean problems.Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.50.39 PM Next episode is titled “We Shall Live Forever”, and continues the season towards is exciting, adrenaline-fueled finale.

Banshee – Season 1, Episode 5: “The Kindred”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 1, Episode 5: “The Kindred”
Directed by S.J. Clarkson
Written by David Schickler & Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the previous episode, “Half Deaf Is Better Than All Dead” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Wicks” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.47.57 PM Rolling into Banshee is a crew of bikers. They’re led by McTeague (Leo Fitzpatrick), and they aren’t in town to make any friends.
Sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and Job (Hoon Lee) are gearing up for a job. At the same time, this is the first Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) and Job are introduced, albeit first over the phone. They’re all tailing a Brinks armoured truck, which ends up at the casino run by father-son duo Benjamin and Alex Longshadow (Russell Means/Anthony Ruivivar). Job isn’t particularly happy, though, he goes along to get along.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.52.12 PM In town there’s a big festival happening. Great time for the biker gang to show up. Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic) gets accosted by them on her way to the festivities. You can be sure there’ll be more of that. Also, Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) is back trying to live life right with her Amish family. It’s clear she doesn’t belong, though.
And of course Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is kicking around. He and Alex Longshadow end up having a talk. Turns out the casino doesn’t want Proctor involved anymore, considering his connection with the murder trial. A cold break. Won’t sit well with Mr. Proctor, you can bet.
Sheriff Hood’s got business with the FBI in town. Agent Dean Xavier (Derek Cecil) is there due to the loss of Arno Webber at the motel. Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) got knocked out when the wall came down. But still, things are messed up, so the feds stepped in. It’s amazing how close to the wire Hood can get without sweating things. Settling in as Sheriff, he’s got the world at its feet. If he plays his cards right.
At the fair, Carrie makes sure Sugar keeps his lips sealed about their meeting in the last episode – after Hood’s botched heist. He assures her not to worry; a new relationship forming, even a bit of free cider from Sugar’s batch on sale. But out on the street there’s trouble. The bikers encounter Carrie again. This time she’s all alone, nobody nearby. All of them corner her before pulling her into an alley. It looks like something terrible is about to happen until Sugar turns up. He puts up the dukes, knocking one guy to the ground in self-defence. Well McTeague puts their best fighter up against him, Schroder (Greg Sproles), who also gets knocked the fuck out. Then things go south. A biker named Tally (Sam Medina) wants to have his way with Carrie after Sugar’s downed. In the alley, Tally prepares to rape Carrie. But Deputy Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn) winds up finding them, and Carrie pops the clip from Tally’s gun, allowing the cop to blast him. Wow. What a turn of events. Also, bits of the bad ass in Carrie slip out, as not many would know how to do that with the gun. Funny, too: Hood arrives on the scene with EMTs and such, and actually questions how “one guy” got the jump on her, to which she replies there was a full gang of them before. Better yet, everyone rallies around Deputy Kelly for doing the right thing.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.04 PM The bikers all want revenge for Tally’s death. McTeague starts to pump his crew up to get even with Banshee. Uh oh, that is definitely no good. For anyone.
It’s tough for Siobhan. She killed in self-defense, and in defense of Carrie. Although, it is her first kill. “Killing someone shouldnt be easy, but dont let that make you doubt what you did,” Hood advises. Deputy Kelly recognized, partly, the skills of Carrie in that brief moment. Not enough to understand how extensive Carrie’s history is, though, enough to get a tiny glimpse. Problem now is the bikers are beginning to mess with the deputy, and it’s worrying where all that could eventually lead. It starts with slashed tires, what next?
In the streets chaos erupts. The biker gang terrorizes everyone, pulling one woman by her hair down the road, punching and beating others on the fly. Everyone starts screaming, running. The place is madness. Even Rebecca jumps in with a blade from her boot, surprising everyone in her Amish circle. Hood takes a nice beating, too. And then off into the sunset ride the cowardly bikers.
At town hall, everyone wants answers on how the citizens will be protected. Commerce wants the festival to go on. Citizens would rather stay indoors. Proctor arrives to boast about his proficiency for handling these types of issues. People seem impressed. At the same time, Hood doesn’t want any of that shit. Mayor Dan Kendall (Daniel Ross Owens) isn’t a fan either. So Hood lays down the law, for the citizens, and for Proctor, as well.
Hood: “Ill tell you what, Mr. Proctor. I wont tell you how to slit a cows throat, you dont tell me how to police this town.”
Poor Siobhan. She’s still reeling from killing the biker. Also, she worries they’re coming for her at every moment. At her place, Hood shows up to try convincing her to stay somewhere else. Until they get things settled. She makes a slight pass at him, suggesting a later relationship of some sort. But on top of it all Deputy Kelly makes clear she doesn’t want to be doted on and looked after; she can handle her shit.
Over at his place, Hood hooks up with Rebecca again. He asks a bit about the elders of her community who tried turning her in for stabbing a biker. She coughs up little bits and pieces of herself, the community, so on.
Later on, the bikers attack her house. They light it on fire and the place starts to burn wildly out of control. Luckily she wasn’t inside, but still… that’s awful. And it started a war between her and the bikers, if there wasn’t already one happening.

Proctor puts pressure on Hood to take care of the bikers. Better yet, he and Clay (Matthew Rauch) have a biker in their trunk. He gave over some information to help things move along. At what price, though? What does Kai get?
With Hood in the know of the biker hideout, he heads off to kick the shit out of them. Armed with metal batons he infiltrates their little temporary layup. Try though they might, Sheriff Hood’s too much for them to handle. He tosses them all in a van afterwards and Job takes them for transport to a jurisdiction where they’ve got outstanding warrants. All the while Job feels unappreciated, yet hilariously in his fun way.
On her desk, Deputy Kelly gets a nice Happy Birthday present from her boss – all the bikers’ rings. Small consolation prize for having her house burned to the ground.

Carrie and Hood sit together on a bench at the fair for a moment. He makes a comment complimenting Deva. A sweet moment. But from a window upstairs, Gordon watches them and wonders curiously about their possible relationship. He has no clue the depth.
At the very same time, Agent Xavier makes a phone call to his superior advising there’s something off in Banshee. The trouble continues to grow.
Next episode is titled “Wicks”, another of my absolute favourites! It dives into Hood, his backstory and character, and the time he spent in prison.
Let’s get nuts.