Banshee, Season 3: Episode 7 – “You Can’t Hide from the Dead”
Written by Chris Kelley
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Airs Friday nights at 10 on Cinemax
A Short Preface:
In these Banshee reviews, I generally try to approach the series from a more literary perspective. This writing staff, led by novelist/co-creator Jonathan Tropper, has a great sense of genre and how to highlight certain themes that can resonate well for viewers so far removed from the kind of life that Banshee presents its characters. But “You Can’t Hide from the Dead” demands me to take a step back. Though I have some experience with screenwriting, I have none whatsoever when it comes to other aspects of filmmaking. When I see something like Children of Men or Birdman or Boyhood, I mostly just sit back and say “Wooowww…” That said, I’ll have to do my best here with what little I know about some of this technical stuff, since the heist sequence in this episode is among the most impressive feats of filmmaking I’ve ever seen on television (including last year’s spectacular long shot in True Detective‘s fourth episode). The centerpiece/climax of “You Can’t Hide from the Dead” is genuinely special and shows how, when talent comes together at the right time and in the right place, production crews can push limits and make themselves and their peers better in the process.
Though the infiltration of Camp Genoa exists as a superb feat in and of itself, it also highlights the episode’s biggest concern: showing the strength of teamwork. A sequence like this doesn’t function well if any piece of the machine is out of place, and the synthesis between editing and directing and acting is outrageous. Shot, I presume, with GoPro-style cameras in coordination with handheld ones, the action is fluid beyond comprehension. While James Cameron’s Aliens featured an action set-piece somewhat similar to this one, director/showrunner Greg Yaitanes only breaks away from shooting the action through camera feeds when Hood is falling apart. Edits from seeing Carrie’s feed as she runs across the camp to getting a continuation of that visual from one of the security cameras is not something unheard of on television, but the sheer length of the heist and some of the things it is able to include–a fight with Stowe that makes its way into the friggin’ van–separate it from everything else. There are so many things going on here that it’s hard to comprehend when one of the actors is doing the camerawork by moving his or her head to shoot specific things and when Yaitanes is in there on the ground. Or maybe he never is. I don’t know. The fact that that’s in question shows how remarkable the whole thing is, and the amount of time spent in the editing room for this is well worth the pain. It’s not until Carrie is ready to drill that we get music, increasing the level of tension, and seeing the Job-Murphy and Hood-Stowe fights through the characters’ perspectives is somehow even more visceral than the typically brutal Banshee fights. If I had a single-item wishlist for the heist, I would have only asked for a brief pan across a room through Hood’s camera in which we see a figure that we have to assume is Siobhan. Banshee has been toying with these ideas of blurring reality and fantasies, and for her ghost to appear in a split-second as if it were actually there would have been icing on the cake for me. But complaints? Absolutely none. This is a technical masterpiece, plain and simple.
While the Banshee crew is busy showing what real teamwork looks like, the characters in the episode all have to confront the same challenges. The most successful of them are Carrie and Gordon, who team up in one of the most satisfying brawls this season. All we’ve been given of Charlie so far is last week’s interactions with Deva, so the additions of the stereotypical Fight Club/macho nonsense here clearly means we’re supposed to revel in how the scene goes down–and we do. Everything about Carrie and Gordon teaming up at this point in their lives and for this reason makes sense, and the sex scene that follows is a welcome reprieve from all the conflict that has pushed so many characters away from one another this season. This is another team operating at optimal efficiency, and while it’s certainly entertaining for us as viewers just to see the two kick ass, it also has major implications on the series regarding integrating Gordon more fully and creating potential for re-obtained love.
The Proctor Team is much less successful. In fact, Team Proctor is pretty much broken up now that Rebecca has gone behind Kai’s back to deal with the Salvadorans. The most frustrating part of this is how far Kai has come in stepping into the role of mentor and guardian. Shady sexual stuff aside, Kai has been there for Rebecca in her time of rebellion. Unlike her uncle, Rebecca hasn’t been wholly cast aside, gaining a sort of net in Proctor. And while it seemed like Rebecca would be a good candidate to groom and help inherit the Proctor businesses, she’s clearly too young and brash. So, when Emily and Kai talk about Rebecca and how it’s time she’s moved on, the series is aware of how naive a decision it is on Kai’s part, but I think he’s hoping to realistically convince Rebecca that this isn’t the kind of life she’s cut out for, making kicking her out of the proverbial nest more an action meant to help Rebecca find her own path than to cut her out of his life. Kai will always love Rebecca, and sometimes loving someone means making hard decisions like this; unfortunately for Kai, Rebecca isn’t mature enough to know that he’s only doing what’s best for her.
Team Job (because he’s pretty much the leader here) falls somewhere in the middle of those levels of efficiency. They make it out, but only by the skin of their teeth. After barely being able to handle a Redbone last week, Job manages to hold off Captain Murphy just long enough for Hood to shake the cobwebs off and come to help. Even with the money, Sugar might be alone in wondering why no one else is celebrating. In this line of work, a team can’t operate on close calls, because you can only win coin flips so many times before someone else dies. Hood’s sojourn into Louisiana will hopefully give him the closure he needs, but the way this operation goes down puts into question how likely we are to see this team work together in the future. And with Job’s place in Banshee tied to his connection with Hood, that also gives the team leader a reason to cash out. Who knows, maybe Hood comes back and is able to convince everyone that everything is fine. Job has been with Hood through plenty of difficult times and stuck by him, after all. But whatever happens, the only way for Hood to get back on his own path is to kill Chayton (and to do so as part of another team with Brock).
– Sean Colletti
Bullet Points and Tears:
– PAWS. Job wins in fashion yet again. I mean…c’mon. PAWS, guys. PAWS.
– That’s Susan Misner from The Americans who helps Chayton and then gets killed. Good to see her make into two of television’s best current shows.
– Further emphasizing how much we should be rooting for Gordon: passing on a glass of booze. Amid all the insanity, this is just a fantastic episode for Rus Blackwell.
– Rebecca took Burton’s car! “It would be unwise to test me.” Clearly, Rebecca didn’t see Nola’s corpse…missing a throat.
– “Welcome, Kai.” Two words could not be more powerful in that moment. Consistently great work from Alpha Trivette in an understated role as Israel Proctor.
– “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” Preach, minister. Because almost every single character in this series needs to hear that.