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Banshee – We Shall Live Forever Review: The Man With the Spider Tatoo

I’ve often expressed my frustrations with this show and its treatment of its protagonist, Lucas Hood. Week after week the counterfeit sheriff has come to rescue in many a perilous situations and managed to escape each one unscathed. Lucas Hood could do no wrong and we grew to expect his victory in whatever scrape he got into. Aspects of suspense and anticipation within the narrative were subsequently diminished, since we basically knew he would manage to save the day. Finally this week the tables turned and we saw him falter unexpectedly.

While Lucas was forced out of his apartment by various distractions, Carrie was left alone to fend with Olek. Throughout the episode we are shown extensive scenes of Carrie and Olek fighting brutally, destroying everything in their way. Even though Lucas is facing his own obstacles in the town, we expect him to arrive in his apartment in time to kill Olek and rescue Carrie. So when Olek actually stabs Carrie, it is effectively shocking. It was probably the first genuine surprise since Job blew up his salon on the first episode. For once Lucas didn’t show up with his badassery and kick ass, instead he finds both Olek and Carrie in a bloody heap with Carrie barely alive. The stakes are definitely raised after this disaster, even though the writers will probably find a way to keep Carrie alive, Lucas will have to deal with the very real possibility of her death. For the first time he has to face real and serious consequences. It is because of him that Carrie’s life is in peril; his actions have directly affected her life in the worst possible ways. He is the pale rider ushering in death and destruction to her pretend existence.

I almost want Carrie to die, not because I hate the character or anything, but because I’m curious of how Lucas would react. He made his way to Banshee because of her, he spent years in jail thinking about her and has an almost obsessive attraction to her. If that all would be just taken from him in an instant there are many directions the writers could take the character. He’d be left with nothing except for Deva, whom Carrie finally admitted is his daughter. The potential character dynamics between him and an array of characters are intriguing. Would he pursue a relationship with Deva? How would Gordon take that, would he allow it? However, this is just speculation and while interesting, unlikely to happen because most likely Carrie will survive her injuries. And how exactly are they going to deal with her injuries? I doubt that Lucas could just waltz into an emergency room and not have to answer a myriad of questions. Is he going to get help from Job or Sugar, or have to give in and ask Proctor for some assistance? Proctor surely has the necessary resources.

While Lucas and Carrie were dealing with Olek, Kai Proctor had his own unexpected visitor. His niece Rebecca has been given the boot by her Amish family and makes her way to his doorstep. I really enjoy the way the show has dealt with the portrayal of the Amish community. They have kept a shroud of mystery and secrecy over it, only showing the details that the outside world can appreciate. Just a few glimpses into their way of life have made their way into the fabric of the show and having those little peeks into their life evokes how it must be to live in close proximity to an Amish community. Being so close to such a different way of life, but never being able to fully understand or know their ways, intermingling on some occasions but essentially living separately and coexisting. It is really effective in establishing the sometimes-tense milieu of Banshee.

The scene showing Rebecca’s shunning was very effective, the potential for overly emotional melodrama was undercut by the coldness of the characters, it was almost chilling how unfeeling Rebecca’s family was. There was also a coldness to the way the scene was shot, showing the moment in some long shots providing a separation between the action taking place and the audience. It was a very successful scene, despite the score, which felt a bit too on the nose.

Proctor’s storyline was strangely compelling; he is quickly turning into the most interesting and fascinating characters of the series. Ulrich Thomsen’s portrayal adds weight and humanity to a character that could easily come off as a caricature. Learning a bit of his backstory, knowing the reasons behind his excommunication, gives the character much more depth and the more we learn from him and see him interact with others, the more sympathetic he becomes. In a way he has become one of the most captivating and multi-dimensional characters. He certainly seems to be more complex and interesting than both Lucas and Carrie. I kind of wish the show would just keep this character as the central figure, each episode I want to know what he is up to more than I care about Lucas. Much of this has to do with the strength of the actor and Thomsen is always an effective performer, whereas Anthony Starr has his weaknesses and they were evident in this episode. Starr carries himself well when he is doing the maverick sheriff stuff, but when he has to do something more emotional (like his discussion with Carrie in this episode) it doesn’t work and you can see the strain in his performance.

Performance issues aside, this as a fairly successful episode, mostly because we finally have serious outcomes to Lucas’s actions and there is definite anticipation for what will happen next. With only two more episodes to go for the season, it will be interesting to see which storylines will reach conclusions and what will be left in the air for the already announced second season. I expect a Rabbit-Lucas face off in the finale and maybe Proctor finding out Lucas’s not-so-well kept secret. What do you think?

Notes & Quotes:

- That was a pretty brutal fight, way too long for my taste, but well choreographed and executed. I liked to see Carrie end semi-victorious by herself, without a man to come rescue her. I liked the little detail of her actually stabbing her former partner in the back, literally. It wasn’t very subtle, but it earned a chuckle.

- Olek’s dialogue was so painful and laughable at times, it just reeked of cheesy 80s action movie talk. Ugh. The actor did as good a job one can do with lines like, “This rooms smells of sex…”

- Appreciated the parallels between Carrie and Rebecca, both being faced with the sudden idea of being pushed out their homes, even though neither one is currently happy. They seem to want to hang on to the lives they lead even though, essentially their lives are built on lies and deception. Neither of them belong where they are, but are afraid of the consequences of leaving.

- That fight with Rebecca and Proctor was getting too incest-y for my taste, so glad they did not go that route. I like the potential that their relationship has, don’t want to see it ruined.

- What’s up with Longshadow’s daughter?



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