Banshee, Season 2: Episode 7 – “Ways to Bury a Man”
Written by Doug Jung
Directed by Loni Peristere
Airs Friday nights at 10 on Cinemax
With so many different directions to go and so few episodes left in its second season, Banshee surprises in “Ways to Bury a Man” by sticking to a plot it could have easily moved on from and by bringing back an essential dynamic of the series to the forefront. That plot and dynamic center around Jason Hood and Kai Proctor, respectively. In last week’s episode, Burton killed Jason and cleaned up the murder scene to give off the impression that the kid skipped town without saying goodbye to Hood. You’d be justified in wondering how Burton and Proctor would have missed something like that huge bag of cash in the bathroom, but for narrative purposes, it’s essential to tipping off Hood that there’s foul play involved. Hood’s interrogation of Proctor leads to what could be considered a throwback episode of Banshee in which Hood and Proctor are enemies instead of the reluctant allies they’ve sometimes been. Things are different than they were back then, though.
No one appreciates that more than Brock and Emmett, who get reeled into one of Hood’s not-so-carefully-devised plans. It’s hard to imagine either of them getting themselves into the kind of brawl in “Ways to Bury a Man” before Hood rode into town. But the new boss is efficient as hell, if nothing else. More than being a scene that shows how far the series has come, it’s a standout sequence for Demetrius Grosse’s Emmett, who has been the least developed of the Banshee SD characters. Earlier in the season, Chayton made some comments about oppression and chastised Emmett’s subservience (in Chayton’s opinion) to the “white man.” Emmett gets a similar scenario in this episode when white supremacists get in his face. After a hilariously ineffective sucker punch, Emmett throws down while Hood watches – a role reversal that’s as satisfying as it is entertaining. Later, back at the station, Emmett shows what a good Christian he is by telling Hood he forgave the guys…after. With such a deep cast, Banshee can’t hit these kinds of notes all the time, so if this is the extent of one-liners and intense fighting that Emmett gets for the remainder of the season, it’s more than enough. And if this isn’t the extent, Grosse’s performance in “Ways to Bury a Man” shows how up to the task he is.
After such a long break from Proctor being Proctor, we get to see him do his thing – beating up his lackeys, intimidating powerful people and playing verbal chess with Hood. It gives the episode a much more pulpy feel compared to the rest of this season, which has matured in almost every aspect of its storytelling. That certainly won’t be an issue for so many of the fans that like that aspect of Banshee, and for the rest of us who have enjoyed seeing the series take itself more seriously, it still functions as a bridge between the last two episodes (which were very serious) and whatever the resolution/conclusion of this season will be. Besides, it’s way too fun seeing Proctor pound his manager and use his skills of influence on the Kinaho council. Kai’s definitely going to cash in on the favors Alex owes him at some point, too, so his reign of terror over his competitors in Banshee will have an added layer to them in the future.
On the darker side of things, Gordon’s negligence leads to an unattended Max having an attack and being taken to the hospital. There’s nothing fun about watching the Hopewell family fall apart, but Rus Blackwell plays the drunk and emotionally vacant Gordon so well. Deva goes off on him and storms out, and he can hardly react because of the state he’s in. As another role reversal, Carrie is the parent who serves as the family linchpin in “Ways to Bury a Man,” not quite falling back into complete favor, but earning enough goodwill to set the stage for that going forward. To pay Max’s medical expenses, however, she needs the kind of cash that only a “job” can bring in, so she seeks Job’s help. Splitting it more than two ways isn’t really an option for her, though, so if we’re going to get Carrie and Job working together without telling Hood, that both creates a new kind of scenario for viewers to experience and gives Hood a reason to be pissed off with the both of them if he finds out. Job’s been a perfect ally for Hood, excelling at the tasks he has to accomplish and dropping wisdom on Hood when he can (and which Hood invariably ignores). So, it’s hard to imagine Hood and Job falling out because of something like this, whereas it’s much easier to see it as another wrench distancing Hood from Ana.
With only three episodes left and Proctor, Chayton and Rabbit still in the picture to varying degrees, it’s not quite clear what the season two endgame is. At first, some kind of Banshee SD versus the Kinaho thugs scenario seemed like the most likely of directions, but now that we’ve seen the immediate repercussions of Jason’s death and how it has put Proctor directly in Hood’s line of sight, I’d be disappointed if Hood dropped that pursuit short of getting Hood behind bars, especially after Brock painfully admits that he’s the right man to get it done. If Hood somehow managed to find something legitimate to pin on Proctor, beginning a third season in which Kai couldn’t exert his influence so easily would be a welcome mix-up in power relations in Banshee. It would also open the door for Rebecca’s character to go in different directions (that is, only if Hood doesn’t follow through on his threat to go after her along with Kai). Yet, Chayton stills feels much more like season two’s Big Bad, and the idea of seeing that play out is just as tantalizing. Or, you know, why can’t we have both?
– Sean Colletti