Banshee, Season 3: Episode 10 – “We All Pay Eventually”
Written by Jennifer Ames & Steve Turner
Directed by Loni Peristere
Returns to Cinemax in 2016 for a fourth season
In all of the craziness that is “We All Pay Eventually,” Banshee displays its growth over three gripping years by giving two supporting characters the chance to verbalize the heart of the episode, season and series thus far:
“I am guys like that…I will always be that man…I am doing everything I can to change. And every once in a while, I manage to convince myself that I’m a better person.”
And when Bunker gets so angry, Brock shows him what that really is:
“That isn’t anger that you’re feeling. That’s the shame and guilt…That is what makes you better than them. If you didn’t feel that, that’s when I’d start to worry.”
Credit writers Jennifer Ames and Steve Turner for knowing exactly how to capitalize on both Brock’s troubled arc this season and Bunker’s quick immersion into the series; anger is everywhere in Banshee, and managing it is as difficult as storming a military base run by a guy who is basically a manifestation of rage. Hood’s past is defined by the feeling of intense anger. Dalton tells him “That anger is there to protect you from fear,” but not every character gets the benefit of being told how to use his or her anger in a constructive way. Luckily, Brock’s there to ground Bunker, but what happens when these mentors, benevolent or malicious, aren’t able to guide people? No one in Banshee can succeed individually for very long. That’s why Rebecca could never get a business off the ground without her uncle’s help, and it’s why Hood couldn’t rescue his only friends without the help of someone who nearly killed him last season. It’s important to do “everything [you] can to change,” but it’s even more important to have someone next to you telling you when you’re making real progress and providing support when you’re not.
The other half of that equation is that the person trying to change needs to acknowledge the need for help. Job tried to be that mentor to Hood, urging him to postpone the heist until he was mentally ready. But so many years removed from Dalton, maybe Hood has forgotten how to channel his anger to protect himself from all the fear he has–fear of losing someone else like he lost Siobhan, including losing himself. It is Gordon who’s able to pull the trigger to give Carrie a window of opportunity, not Hood. Yet, I think the mistake Hood made by not listening to Job created some kind of progress in that scene when Stowe is holding Carrie like Chayton held Siobhan. Hood’s able to overcome fear enough to not put his gun down, and even if he can’t quite pull the trigger, his anger there is being used well. He’s with his friends, after all.
Bunker’s thoughts on change speak to Banshee‘s third-season motto: “Old habits die hard.” It has been constantly tested this season, and I’ve constantly brought it up in these reviews. But rather than it being repetitive, I think that idea has been put into question. Sometimes, a character’s past has been so overwhelming that he succumbs to it. We see that in the case of Proctor, who tried to change to become a better man but felt the full force of nature’s indifference, sending him back to his criminal path. Other characters like Bunker and Hood, however, have genuinely made progress in staving off old habits. Seven episodes removed from “A Fixer of Sorts,” it’s easy to forget that Hood left Special Agent Phillips alive, even though the man knew some of the truth about him. And in this finale, we see Bunker truly reformed and making plans to take down the brotherhood that plagues his past. So, there’s no hard and fast rule for how the past affects characters in Banshee; it’s just a conflict that everyone is going to have to deal with at some point. How they do that probably determines how well they thrive in this world.
Thriving, though, can be many different things. We typically think of success as a positive thing unmarred by “buts” and “althoughs”. Yet, I wouldn’t know any other way to describe Gordon’s arc this year as a huge success, not just in terms of being good television but in terms of his growth as a character. There’s the “but” of him dying–and, yeah, that’s a pretty big “but”–which isn’t enough to eclipse his transition from pathetic drunkard to mayoral role model. Gordon not only turned his life around, physically shedding his past, but he made efforts to pursue what was right. He re-started the Proctor take-down process, he showed Carrie how immature both of them were being and how they might move forward effectively as parents, he did what he thought was right to teach Deva how to live in a world that is full of awful people and awful things, and he put aside his differences with Hood to save the woman he loved. “I never stopped loving you. You know that, right?” Gordon, of course, knows in that moment that Carrie does know he never stopped loving her, but to go back to the idea of changing with someone rather than changing by yourself, it’s important to him that she hears him say that. It’s not a thought meant to leave Carrie more upset now that he’s gone. It’s said to give her the strength she needs going forward, because Carrie is another character who can’t expect to do things on her own. Left to her own devices, Carrie gets into bar fights, steals bikes and taunts the police. It’s entertaining as hell, sure, but we all need people to bring us back to reality. Carrie’s lost one of those in Gordon, but he makes sure to show her that the past can be overcome. We can change, and that’s sometimes worth dying for.
– Sean Colletti
Bullet Points and Tears:
– Warning: this is going to be a very long section.
– First of all, if this finale allowed to supporting characters to get the most weighty conversation, it also allowed two supporting characters to totally dominate the action. We lose both Rus Blackwell and Langley Kirkwood this year, but Jesus Christ did they go out with a bang. Gordon’s been one of the most dramatically interesting characters this season, but all the reminders of his previous training (including the amazing fight sequence paired up with Carrie) allow for him to go full-on marine badass. Two years ago, it had to be the whole friggin’ Banshee team to infiltrate the bad guys’ HQ. Now? Yeah, just Hood and Gordon. Kirkwood’s Stowe also gets fantastic action beats in his fight with Carrie, using his own rage in quite terrifying ways. Both actors brought these characters to life in memorable, powerful ways. Banshee was lucky to have them for as long as it did.
– I had a high school English teacher who designed a whole lecture on how Hamlet‘s first line–“Who’s there?”–set up the entire play and what it was doing thematically. It’s the second line here, adapted in Banshee fashion, which Hood says to Dalton: “Who the fuck are you?” Who the fuck is anyone in this show, really?
– Hey, speaking of Dalton, that’s David Harbour! Another fantastic addition to the cast, and considering the post-credits scene of Job lying on the floor and an off-screen “Fuck me,” I imagine we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of Dalton. Here, he’s an intriguing vessel for showing us more of Hood’s past, and how he was manipulated into believing certain things about his own life–that he killed his father for beating him and his mother. Despite Harbour’s infectious smile, Dalton is one bad dude.
– Not much Afton Williamson this year after being promoted to series regular, but now that Gordon is gone, expect her to fill some of those political shoes in Banshee. Plus she has a new friend in Bunker, right? Riiiiight? Yeah, probably not.
– Interesting bits about some of the jobs Job has done in the past, which include plenty of stick-it-to-the-man stuff. We usually think of Job as being selfish, but he’s apparently got a Robin Hood complex. Or he did.
– And that’s one hell of a way to get us hooked for season four. Like Hood says, they won’t be able to do anything until someone contacts them about Job, but it’s going to continue to be difficult to control that anger for Hood now that his best friend has been kidnapped.
– It’s not too surprising to see that Proctor lets Rebecca back in without too much of a slap on the wrist. She’s family. And at least she’s shown initiative. That whole sequence, which is done simultaneously with the Genoa infiltration, is just fantastic. Director Loni Peristere knows exactly how to frame the action and what images to cut between. The most entertaining bit is seeing Rebecca move off to the left shooting her gun and then Burton moving off the the right while the camera is moving backwards centered on Team Proctor. I also love Morales with the sword, because he has the perfect kind of energy to contrast with the kind of guy Proctor is.
– Hood resigns as sheriff. This has become a running joke, but this one looks to be for real. Brock’s not giving it back this time.
– That’s some more Banshee Blanton’s that Hood and Sugar are drinking at the Forge. This time, though, it’s not in celebration. After all the shit Sugar and Job have been through, Sugar must be feeling just as angry.
– Thankfully, Banshee doesn’t pull a Sons of Anarchy and linger on Bunker’s tattoo removal. That stuff is hard to watch.
– Leo, Calvin, Dalton and Proctor/Morales. Yeah, I’d say that’s enough potential conflict for next year.
– “You know, being the sheriff never really suited you.” “No, it didn’t.” That said, there’s no reason Kai and Hood couldn’t possibly team up, since Kai knows how to find people. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. But come on. These guys have to work together at some point, and not just for one episode.
– That’s it for Banshee season three. I continue to be impressed with how the series balances so many things at once, and I wouldn’t be doing these reviews if the episodes didn’t make me think about so many things. Thank you to everyone who has made the time to read along whenever you had the chance. Thanks to Les Chappell for co-hosting a weekly Banshee podcast with me here at Sound On Sight, Under the Hood. Thanks to Jumbo, Lisa and everyone at IMDb who have helped more people find these and other reviews of Banshee; the series certainly deserves all the love. And thanks to the Banshee crew, which is simply astounding when it comes to interaction with the fans on social media. From the people behind the camera–showrunner Greg Yaitanes, director Loni Peristere–to the major performers involved–Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Geno Segers–to the performers in some of the smaller roles–Tanya Clarke, Alpha Trivette–if you are a fan of Banshee, you need to follow these people on Twitter. They love the work they do, and they appreciate all the feedback and are willing to respond to it. Banshee, which supplements its seasons with Origins shorts to give its fans even more, is a community-based experience, and I am incredibly grateful to have any part in that. See you all next year!