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Banshee – The Thunder Man Review: Absurd Action-y Fun

“The Thunder Man” delves deeper into the Longshadow/Proctor battle in the episode’s most interesting and entertaining story arc, Carrie deals with the aftermath of her actions, and we are introduced to Siobhan’s abusive ex-husband. With many great action sequences and fight scenes this is your average Banshee episode, lots of violence, some nudity and sex, and Job serving up some serious sass. Following last week’s more subdued premiere, this feels more like the Banshee that many fell in love with a year ago. However, while the episode does have its high points (several of them, really) it kind of drags on forever. This installment feels very long, and with all the disparate story threads, the disjointed narrative does nothing to make it more palatable. Despite attempts to bring them all together, the end product suffers from the slightly packed storyline.

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While the episode has its fill of narrative issues, it does have its share of badass moments (read: action). “The Thunder Man” could have easily been called ‘Ladies Kicking Ass’ as Carrie, Siobhan, and Nola all show off their exemplary combat skills in an episode where Lucas Hood takes a couple of beatings (even though he does emerge triumphant in the end). And they are sufficiently awesome; certainly some of the brighter points in the entire episode. The series’ fight sequences are always something to look forward to and the over the top action has become somewhat signature for the show, it is nice to see the women take a larger part in that, since the first season focused most of its crazy scenes on Hood.

And the episode’s strongest story thread is definitely the ongoing battle between Alex Longshadow and Kai Proctor. Finally we get some substantial time with Proctor for a change and he did not disappoint. He remains as intimidating and creepy as ever, especially when paired with his henchman, Burton. The explosion in Proctor’s farm (?) while not exactly predictable, doesn’t have that crazy, shocking effect the show is probably going for, its impact is diminished mainly because the hotel explosion was so shocking last season. However, what that event prompts is great stuff. I mean, c’mon cow blood/viscera jacuzzi? That’s pretty awesome.

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Yes, the kidnapping Rebecca ordeal isn’t exactly the most riveting and/or exciting development the writers could have introduced, plus it ended up being quite pointless. At no point did it feel like Rebecca was in actual real danger, and though Hood had a seemingly hard time getting to her, never was there any doubt that he’d eventually rescue her. Still, it is fun to watch these two powerful men in the town do their power play, even dragging in the sheriff into their drama. This will, of course, not be the only time he becomes begrudgingly involved in their little conflict and it will be interesting to see how they‘ll continue to rope him in the future. And while Nola’s plan with Rebecca wasn’t necessarily the best, she, who was a bit irritating in her introduction and first few episodes, is becoming an intriguing new character. Her impulsive nature and air of unpredictability, along with her general badass-ness make her a strong presence to interact with the formidable Proctor.

Aside from all the insane, over the top action that the show is known for, this is a series about peoples’ relationship with their past. How their past actions and experiences inform their lives today and how, no matter how much they want to, it is impossible to escape/erase aspects of one’s life.  The most obvious example of this is Lucas Hood, but “The Thunder Man” highlights both Carrie and Siobhan’s struggles with just that, and parallels the characters’ stories. Despite some tricky editing in the fight sequences and other scenes, these plotlines ultimately felt flat. Siobhan’s saga is ripped right out of a Lifetime movie and it feels like it just existed only to service the ultimate hookup between her and Hood. Carrie remains a pretty dull person, prison girl-fight notwithstanding, and it is hard to care much for the rest of her family. Banshee always works better when it is just straightforward story and pure pulpy fun, it really doesn’t need more overwrought subtext-y material.

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Banshee took a move towards the action-packed, stylized, and absurdly awesome action that was missing in its premiere. Though the narrative lagged at times, the conflicts that were explored were intriguing and engaging and are setting up for some fun stories in the future.

Rating
7.8
Pros
  • Amazing fight sequences
  • Best scene featuring a jacuzzi ever? Maybe
Cons
  • Cliched abusive ex-husband story
  • At 57 minutes, it felt much too long

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