Banshee, Season 2: Episode 8 – “Evil for Evil”
Written by Doug Jung
Directed by Loni Peristere
Airs Friday nights at 10 on Cinemax
Back after the first three episodes of this season aired, I wrote about a handful of things that the series had been doing right – things that elevated it way beyond passively entertaining television. One of the small pockets of story that hadn’t been explored that much was how Emmett’s character fit in among everyone else. Both of Doug Jung’s scripts, though, seem to have anticipated that question and answered it with an exclamation point. Whether or not Emmett is really gone now after leaving his badge and tag at the station doesn’t affect how resonant his story in “Evil for Evil” is. The plot device that gets him from point A to point Z might be a common contrivance – a loved one gets attacked – but it’s executed in the typically brutal way that Banshee emphasizes the horror of violence. While there’s been plenty of cathartic brawls throughout the series, Emmett repaying evil with evil is as no-nonsense as any fight has been on Banshee. When his brass knuckles connect with the targeted chest, a wave of understanding rushes over his face, brought out to perfection by Demetrius Grosse, who gets his moment to shine in this episode just as Trieste Kelly Dunn did earlier in the season. What has Banshee done to this man? It isn’t the place to raise a child, he tells us. But that realization/admittance is acted upon too late. Now, the only scenario might be to leave the town behind. There are certain triggers that can make physical outbursts like this uncontrollable. When it was just Emmett having to put up with racist bullshit last week, that was fine. He got his blows in and winked it off. But as soon as someone takes it too close to home, the capability of shrugging something away is lessened drastically. Seeing Emmett’s wife get assaulted is horrible to witness. What’s even more horrible is trying to get into the mindsets of the perpetrators and then Emmett in the aftermath. Banshee is a town full of repression, and this is what it looks like when it is released in full.
On a less depressing note, “Evil for Evil” is an absolute game-changer as far as Proctor is concerned. Of the many things I was hoping to see before the end of this season, Proctor getting thrown behind bars was at the top of the list after the idea was given legitimacy in last week’s episode. It’s not that we don’t want to see him wreaking havoc on his enemies; it’s that we need to see that Hood is capable of doing that kind of police work, even if he bends and breaks some rules in the process. Everyone from the late mayor to Gordon to Brock to countless others has been trying to pin something – anything – on Kai. Finally, Hood gets the warrant he needs to put Proctor away. There’s still two episodes left in the season, so we may very well see Proctor on the outside again before this is all done, but knowing that Banshee can follow through on threads like this is important for establishing its credibility, which is constantly in question. These characters don’t need to act within the totally realistic confines of our world, but there needs to be some sort of grounded order that can allow for someone like Proctor to be punished and held accountable.
Even the C-story of “Evil for Evil” moves along the plot in interesting directions regarding the Hopewell family. Gordon tries to get his shit together by taking some time off from drinking, strip clubs and work (although, we see him talking with Hood and the ADA in this episode as a cast against Proctor is being put together). It’s not enough to convince Deva, but it’s a start. And in a moment that landed much better and hit harder than I would have expected, Gordon asks Carrie to stay for dinner when she drops off the money from her recent job at the house. Gordon can’t go as far as to invite her back into their home, but all those wounds are slowly healing, and I can’t imagine the Hopewell clan not coming out of this darkness stronger than before. The reaction to Ana’s job from Hood, though, was a little questionable. There’s a moment of stewing before he starts asking questions, but the ensuing conversation doesn’t cross over into the heated argument that it might have on another day. Ana and Job went behind his back, after all. You might expect him to be more upset or, on the contrary, react to news of Max’s situation by offering Ana some extra cash. The love he has for her still was made crystal clear in “The Truth About Unicorns,” so his half-interest in the whole thing is a bit confusing.
“Evil is Evil” also brings up several other questions that may or may not get answered in the final two hours of the year. Siobhan finds herself in a rough spot with Hood and gets thrown into a situation where if she just knew what the right question to ask was, things in Banshee might be a whole lot different. How their relationship concludes or continues beyond the season is certainly of interest now that Ana is trying harder to embody Carrie. And then there’s Rabbit and Chayton, both absent in this episode but both entirely present in the back of our minds. Job manages to get a lead on Rabbit thanks to Racine’s work (redemption for Racine, after all!), but do these last two episodes really take us away from the town in search of the crime lord rolling around in his wheelchair? Or do complications with the Kinaho heat up because of Alex’s ties to Proctor, bringing about the showdown between Chayton and Hood that we’re all waiting to see? Whatever the case, enjoy these last Fridays as much as you can (especially now that Hannibal has joined the line-up again; we should be so blessed to have these running co-currently).
– Sean Colletti