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Banshee – Homecoming Review: Preparing for a Showdown

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As the penultimate episode of the season “Homecoming” works as a set-up for the insanity that is likely to happen on the Banshee season finale. The narrative drives towards an epic showdown that is to come. Taking Carrie’s words at face value, “Either he dies or we do, nothing less,” the series is setting us up for an action-packed and eventful finale. Despite the episodes status as a kind of precursor of the exciting things to come, “Homecoming” works well as a standard episode of Banshee. After last week’s surprisingly grim and sobering hour, the writers give us a comparatively light episode. Not to say that it doesn’t have its heavy and emotional moments, but the overall tone is more energized as opposed to dour. Which is welcome because regardless of how well executed and affecting “Evil for Evil” was, sustaining that air of darkness would really eliminate much of the fun factor attributed to the series. And if there is anything that Banshee knows how to do right it is pulpy, entertainment.

On that front, “Homecoming” delivered, bookending the episode with two really great action sequences. Job’s mission to single-highhandedly take out Rabbit is a tense and thrilling sequence full of anticipation and dread. It truly does feel like Job is in actual danger and that something grave could happen. Job is often the comic relief of the show and with all the humorous and computer genius characterization; it is easy to forget that he is quite the badass and can seriously hold his own in a fight. The series does such an exceptionally good job in letting each character have his or her moment of glory and opportunity to show their combat skills in any given episode, especially in the second season. The first season had a lot of Lucas action scenes, but the writers have really spread the wealth to the betterment of the series. As much fun it is to watch Lucas Hood beat people up episode after episode, it would have gotten quite repetitive and boring if he were the only one with such awesome skills. Job’s turn to kick ass does not disappoint. And while the car hitting him is expected, seeing as he ran wildly into oncoming traffic, the stunt is so well executed that it was fully surprising and shocking. The brute force and suddenness of the impact is really effective and leaves us wondering about his well being for a while. Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 3.25.33 PM The hospital sequence is also very well executed and edited in order to build tension and suspense. Though we pretty much know that our heroes will make it out (there is an episode left in the season) the ways in which they go about it always have some sort of unexpected twist. Carrie is so much more watchable in these kinds of scenes, Ivana Milicevic delivers the tough, hard demeanor of a trained criminal wonderfully. You totally believe her abilities and strength despite her wispy and slight build. It is much better than anything she does in scenes regarding the Hopewells, she always comes off as whiny and annoyingly weak in her moments with Gordon and the kids. Even in this episode, in which Gordon and Carrie begin to reconcile, it is becoming increasingly difficult to care about this family unit. Gordon continues to grate, and if we are supposed to feel sympathy towards him, the writers are not selling that point enough. Again, he comes off as irritating and irrationally angry, even though he has all the right to feel anger towards his lying wife and the sketchy sheriff. I don’t see that character flaw improving any time soon, especially now that the ugly secret is finally out. When it comes to uncomfortable family drama, the dynamics between Kai, Rebecca and Burton are infinitely more interesting and comprise the most compelling material of the show. These characters are intriguingly enigmatic and complicated. Rebecca, in particular has become an unexpectedly complex and intriguing character. Her motives are ambiguous and her actions suggest ulterior motives. Though her actions do seem to be motivated by her loyalty to Proctor (while she did help Julia escape Proctor’s potentially fatal retaliation, at the same time she made sure that Julia would no longer be a problem for them) there is enough ambiguity that invites doubt. It is do much fun to try to figure out what is inside these characters’ heads. And with Longshadow now actively going against Proctor and attempting to woo Rebecca, there is even more delicious material to speculate on. With the action in the finale being essentially divided in two parts, Lucas and crew in New York and everyone else in Banshee, it will be interesting to see if the writers will be compelled to bring it all together. Perhaps they will focus on the drama with Rabbit (as they did in last season’s finale) and leave the Banshee stuff for the following season. Frankly, I would rather spend more time with Proctor and company, but there was a sense of wrapping-up in “Homecoming.” Julia’s story concluded, Emmett leaves Banshee, Gordon finally knows the truth about Deva, Proctor got some closure/resolution with his mother, Rebecca and Burton have a mini face-off, etc. These could all count as mini resolutions to the various story threads set in the town, leaving the finale open for a showdown with Rabbit. Will our heroes succeed in taking him down? Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 3.23.20 PM   Final thoughts:
  • The scene with Proctor and his mother was quite beautiful. It doesn’t necessarily do anything to advance story or plot, it is merely there as a character moment, but it merits its presence because it so effective. Ulrich Thomsen’s performance is wonderful; every time he has the opportunity to express a different side of the cruel Proctor it is always engaging.
  • Though the distinctive editing style (that came about in this second season) was introduced with a heavy hand, the series has done a great job honing it and utilizing it for great effect. That sequence of Burton approaching the dressing room and Rebecca helping Julia escape was beautifully edited and was not just about style, but certainly added to the atmosphere and narrative.
  • Really, the stunt team on this show is absolutely exceptional. Where are their Emmys?
  • What is Sugar up to with Kai? What was the purpose behind his visit?
  • Longashadow is getting too comfortable in his position. He thinks he is home free and Proctor is going to be locked away, but I don’t expect it to happen that smoothly.
  • Great Action Sequences
  • Kai/Rebecca/Burton Drama
  • Killer Priests
  • Gordon is Annoying
  • Shut Up Siobhan


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