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Banshee – Little Fish Review: A Quiet Start to a New Season

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It has been quite a while since Banshee aired its insane season finale, but the second season premiere does an adequate job in easing us back into the peculiar world it portrays. “Little Fish” deals mostly with the aftermath of Rabbit’s visit to the town. A federal hearing takes place investigating the questionable decisions and actions taken by the Banshee police department, Carrie Hopewell’s involvement in the incursion, and Rabbit’s miraculous escape. I had been wondering how exactly the show was going to deal with the aftermath of the highly problematic scenario of the finale, and am glad to see the writers address it in a straightforward and even believable way. Sure, they had to contrive a way for Lucas to remain sheriff and for the rest of the deputies to just get a slap on the wrist each, but that is expected and narratively justified. It seems that the only person to really experience some consequences from the ordeal is Carrie, who is facing a series of serious charges. Carrie has always been a generally uninteresting character, though her double life is complicated and on the surface provides complicated drama; she hasn’t been able to fully engage. Maybe with this new obstacle there will be something to make her emotionally even narratively compelling.

The best thing to come out of this development, however, is the introduction of new character Jim Racine, played by characteractor Zeljko Ivanek. It is always fun to see him pop up on random TV shows and he is a welcome addition to Banshee. It is safe to say that the trial sequence, which is basically your average take on a courtroom trial/deposition, served more to familiarize and establish the character than anything else. Though it is interesting to see the various characters maneuver their way through the questioning, particularly Carrie and Lucas. Racine is intense and crazily focused on capturing Rabbit. His obsession is something that could actually help our main characters in Banshee, though, as he is willing to dismiss the charges against Carrie if she is able to help him in his search and (while this is implied) he seems to know (or at least question) the truth about Lucas’ identity. Racine could easily use the knowledge and power he has over those characters to manipulate and coerce them, which would definitely be interesting, whether he would be successful or not makes no difference. Also, his strong and willful personality is a perfect fit within the show’s style, yes it’s a bit over the top (as is everything on this program) and one-dimensional, but this is his first episode, there is opportunity to explore and expand on Racine. Kai Proctor began as a very hateful, and narrow personality but soon came to be the most intriguing character in the series, despite his bad guy status.

Zeljko Ivanek in "Banshee" on Cinemax.

And about Proctor, much like last season’s finale, there isn’t much of him in this episode, which is a shame because, as stated before, he is undoubtedly the most compelling character on the show. Still, we do check in on him and his niece, Rebecca, who is experiencing some guilt over the explosion, but not enough to abandon her new exhilarating and freeing lifestyle. There are still some traces of the weird, incest-y vibes and tension between Rebecca and her uncle (she peers through the ajar door, looking in on Proctor and his lover) that were kind of explored in the first season, and while I don’t look forward to any uncle-niece incest (if that is where the writers are heading), the whole subplot is strangely fascinating. I mean, those scenes are there for a reason, exactly what that is, isn’t clear. It isn’t like Rebecca is a completely innocent and virginal girl who is just completely shocked by the sexual activity she is witnessing. Is there an attraction there? If so, why and will either character act on it? I’m intrigued.

Though the episode starts off on a pretty low-key note, it doesn’t take long for the signature action to emerge and take force. Around the hallway mark, we are treated to the semi-suspenseful and well-executed and mandatory action sequence of the episode. It is a nice and sudden change of pace in the hour, after a lot of talking, the quick shift in dynamic definitely provides a fun jolt of excitement. It also leads to a particularly engaging scene when Lucas is called to the scene of his own crime and play sheriff. Not only is he managing his two roles/identities, but Alex Longshadow is as well. He knows who the motorist is and is also withholding information for his own self-preservation. The Longshadow drama is one of the weaker points of the episode; I can’t bring myself to care for the fate of the tribe of Alex and Nola. Speaking of Nola, she is obviously up to something with Lucas, is she just aligning herself and her family with the sheriff to be able to go up against Proctor?

The least successful aspect of the season opener is definitely the stuff with Carrie’s family, particularly her daughter, Deva. It isn’t necessarily bad, it is just not that interesting when it is up against other characters and situations that are pointedly more intriguing. Yes, her situation is clichéd and reeks of annoying teen rebellion, but it is effective enough to show Deva’s state of being after her family basically imploded. It is obvious that she is a huge reason for Lucas decision to stay in Banshee, which cements her as an important character in the series, I just hope the writers don’t go overboard in showing her teen angst, that gets old fast. (As homeland fans will never tire of ripping on Dana Brody.)

“Little Fish” is a good return for the Cinemax show, the show does a good job in familiarizing us with where we left off and also establishing potential future conflicts and plot points. What did you think of Banshee’s second season premiere?

Final Thoughts:

– While the way the writers deal with the big shoot out feels appropriate, I find the second disposal of the sheriff’s body to be a bit too unbelievable and too convenient of a solution. I expected more drama from that dilemma. Though they do say that they were able to extract DNA from the clothes. Was that the sheriff’s body?

– Siobahn is totally pining after Lucas. I hope she gets over it and they remain good friends, it just wouldn’t be interesting to see that predictable storyline play out. Plus, Lucas is getting it from everybody,

– Job and Sugar remain the best pair ever. Great source of comedic relief and banter. “Do you have any other speed besides slow as shit?” Ha!

– That brief scene of Rabbit is hilariously over the top and awesome. He is scary. Poor squirrel.

Rating
7.4
Pros
  • Interesting new character, Jim Racine.
  • Good job in re-familiarising us with the events of the finale and the details of the world.
  • Not a lot of overbearing action.
Cons
  • Not enough Kai Proctor!
  • Too much Deva.

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