Banshee "Bloodlines" Review: Like Pulling Teeth

By Cory Barker

Feb 01, 2014

Banshee S02E04: "Bloodlines"

You know, BANSHEEEEEEE truthers, it's a lot of fun to show up every week and dig into the details of stuff like THEME and CHARACTER, because that's just what I like to do on a typical Friday night. But one of the glories of this show—and perhaps its most spectacular accomplishment—is that it simply keeps finding giant human beings to throw into gruesome fights with Antony Starr's Lucas Hood. Last week it was the tribe gang member Chayton Littlestone, who was still wreaking havoc in this episode, and just so we didn't think the Amish community didn't have their own MEGA HUGE boulder of a human being, "Bloodlines" introduced Olafur Olafsson's Jonah Ambrecht. 

It's silly that Hood and company keep running into the biggest oafs on the planet when working cases in a small hamlet in Pennsylvania, but it's also completely awesome. (I kind of hope that at some point, the show reveals that there's toxic sludge in the water, and one of the primary byproducts is increased hossness.) The Banshee team consistently creates new ways to set up and execute the fight sequences, and this one was no different. The showdown between Hood and Ambrecht, a religious extremist teacher who killed the Kinaho girl and kidnapped Rebecca's brother Solomon, started with your basic interrogation tactics, which helped build tension before Hood decided that he'd be better off handling matters his way—you know, by holding people down and burning the back of their necks. Last week's scuffle with Chayton was probably more impressive from a fight choreography standpoint, especially given how long it went on, but this one's intensity really got to me. And that intensity only ratcheted up further once Proctor arrived on the scene and took care of Ambrecht himself. The "oral surgery" Proctor performed on Ambrecht had me hiding my eyes behind my shirt, and that wasn't enough. Mouth and teeth stuff just gets to me, guys. Like, I kind of want to puke right now. 

ANYWAY, cool fights are cool, and we (read: I) should never lose sight of that when watching this very entertaining show. I now return to you to the regularly scheduled discussion of theme and character because hey, "Bloodlines" did some solid stuff on that front, too.

To go back to topics I've discussed previously—namely, Banshee's efforts to try different things, and its success in balancing stories in a more impressive fashion—I liked how last week's "The Warrior Class" and "Bloodlines" served as a nice little two-parter. And more than that, since "The Warrior Class" spent some some quality time on the Kinaho reservation, "Bloodlines" focused more on the Amish side of things. These two sub-communities are so prominent within the town of Banshee, and the season's opening episodes have smartly looked into them. The nature of the show means that there's going to be a lot of corruption, fighting, and even murder, especially when the two groups interact with one another, but it's nice to have a more tangible rationale for why those awful things might happen. That adds color to Banshee's universe, and it also makes the scenes where Hood and the rest of the force saunter into these communities more valuable. One of the scenes that really stood out to me in this regard was Hood's interview with the Amish escapee who talked about his desire to read, and what the community would or would not allow him to do. That's not really new information, and there was something moderately goofy about "I JUST WANTED TO READ," but that's both a realistic representation of what can happen in Amish communities and a useful reality for the show to display in its desire to depict what happens to people within these communities—and when they escape them. It takes a toll, to say the least.

"Bloodlines" also returned to the tension between Alex and Proctor a bit more clearly, going as far as to deliver a full-on tussle in a local diner. I appreciate that the patrons who were there barely reacted to such a hateful and emotional fight, but I guess by this point, that's kind of the norm, huh? Here again, the show has done a solid job of establishing who Alex is and what his issues are, both within the tribe and outside of it, so that we can better understand what's going on with him and Proctor. We know that Proctor's kind of a weird dude, but if we hadn't had these little moments sprinkled within the first four episodes (and a little at the end of last season) with the two of them escalating their problems, their temporary truce here wouldn't have worked as well. While Proctor has been banished from his family and community—and in a lot of ways prefers it that way—Alex is still trying to modernize or improve his community from within. The two of them are different in that way, and somehow, despite all the bloodshed and exploding cow parts, it seems like they've come to realize that. It's possible that Proctor might be playing a long con with Alex, but I think Banshee could be really fascinating if they start working together to try to better the town. Although that probably won't have great impact on Chayton's anti-white crusade and is bound to result in violence or criminal activity that Hood will have to stop, Proctor and Alex couldn't have kept one-upping each other without one of them dying sooner rather than later. I'm glad they're both sticking around for now.

Elsewhere in "Bloodlines," the stuff with Job trying to control Jason Hood worked fine enough, I guess. I liked how last week, the show simply dropped the younger Hood character into the world, and this week, tried to treat him like a bit of a ticking time bomb, but we're probably just going to have to wait and see. The guy playing Jason, Harrison Thomas, hasn't left much of an impact on me yet and given this show's processes, the character is almost certainly going to do something awful/violent/troublesome. I just don't know what that is right now and in the interim, it's not that exciting of a story. But hey, Job! Glad he's back in the picture. 

Carrie's sort of stuck on an island, story-wise, which is obviously the point. I think that plot would be more successful if we spent more time with her inside, doing more than just making phone calls that no one is picking up, or fighting. The dream sequence that kicked off the episode made some inroads toward something more, as did the episode's final moments in which Rabbit visited Carrie, seemingly pretending to be deathly ill. Perhaps next week will focus more on how she feels about Rabbit's return (even though she knew he was alive) and that will drum up some of the alienation, confusion, and pain she's feeling at the moment. It's a good story, and I think the show needs to embrace it.

For me, this episode probably wasn't as strong as last week's, but it was a rock-solid cap to the Solomon's Missing story. This pair of episodes succeeded in bringing us further into different corners of Banshee's world while leaving us with some dangling threads and characters (most notably Chayton) that will absolutely cause problems in the near future. 


– Hey, I don't know if you heard, but Banshee has been renewed for a third season. That's pretty cool! We still have a long way to go here in Season 2, but I'm very interested to see just how long the show can run, at least in its current form. 

– Hey, I don't know if you saw, but Ivana Miličevič read last week's review—or at least tweeted to me about it. This comes after executive producer and director Greg Yaitanes tweeted at me for our Season 2 premiere discussion. That's not only cool for me (next stop: writers' room!), but cool for everyone because the Banshee team seems to really appreciate and pay attention to the love people give it. That's nice. Now y'all better be on your best behavior from here on out; who knows who's reading!

– That Awkward Moment When... you sleep with your boss and clearly like him but he's kind of uncommunicative and dispassionate until you get into a car accident and almost die. Need more Hood and Siobhan, right?

– It seems like Odette Annable's Nola is on her way out of town, at least for now. But anytime you can throw an axe directly into a murderer's head from like 15 feet away before you throw up the deuces and ride off, you have to do it.

What'd you think of "Bloodlines"? Are you satisfied with how the show resolved Solomon's kidnapping?

  • Comments (105)
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  • marcusj1973 Mar 03, 2014

    The only problem with Banshee being as good as it is is that one of these days I might actually have to admit, out loud, that I REALLY like a show on Cinemax

    "The "oral surgery" Proctor performed on Ambrecht had me hiding my eyes behind my shirt, and that wasn't enough. Mouth and teeth stuff just gets to me, guys. Like, I kind of want to puke right now."

    You too? I pretty much watched that whole scene like this...

    "There was something moderately goofy about "I JUST WANTED TO READ," but that's both a realistic representation..."

    Wait, did you just use "realistic representation" when describing this show? It's more and more legit with every passing episode.

    "Given this show's processes, the character [Jason] is almost certainly going to do something awful/violent/troublesome. I just don't know what that is right now and in the interim, it's not that exciting of a story."

    NICE CALL! Having binged watched episode 1-7 this weekend, I actually didn't see what came coming until two minutes before it happened. Oh, SPOILER ALERT!

    "It seems like Odette Annable's Nola is on her way out of town, at least for now"

    I really want her to come back. I liked the idea of her and Hood together. Not all Romeo & Juliette like, but sorta Martin Riggs and Lorna Cole like.


  • bstolemyremote Feb 13, 2014

    REALLY hoping that this isn't the end of the line for Nola (at least this season - she'll be back eventually I'm sure). I find her character so much more interesting than Alex, so even though the writers likely have more story to tell with Proctor (ie: the two outcast boys who become leaders via violence and power), I still think Banshee is a better show with Nola in it.

  • MarlboroMagpi Feb 04, 2014

    Congrats on Ivana Miličevič tweeting you ! That is almost as sweet a win for you as it is for us, the fans of Banshee here. I do hope the producers read about our comments on improving the show though this week I have not much yet.

    The 2 fight scene in this and last week's episode was good but I am still waiting for the ONE REAL awesome scene which will as least be on par with last season "albino" fight scene and the finale fight scene. It still early in the season and I can still hope.

    I really liked Odette Annable and I really hope she sticks around ! The writers should also give Hoon Lee character some love and sex instead of just giving Hood everything !

  • bstolemyremote Feb 13, 2014

    +1 on giving Job more to do. He's such a fascinating character - he deserves more than great outfits and bitchy lines.

  • Vicky8675309 Feb 02, 2014

    I'm late to the party and basically just have to say I agree with all the praise in the comments below. I'm still blown away at how many stories/plots are shown in each episode and they are always well done. The fabulous characters (love them all), highly skilled/talented acting, brilliant writing, awesome fight choreography, gorgeous filming, tight editing, etc...fucking amazing! For specifics read all the great comments from everyone below.
    I can't decide which is my favorite current show (Banshee or Justified) and have to consider them children (love them both equally).

  • bstolemyremote Feb 13, 2014

    The dialogue on Justified is probably better IMO. The fight scenes on Banshee was obviously better. Like the class politics on Banshee, even if Justified often feels like it's digging a little deeper it doesn't have the interesting outliers in the Amish and First Nations.

  • klotensen Feb 03, 2014

    I tell my kids the same but honestly(and since nobody from Justified reads this lol) BANSHEE is my favorite. There. I said it.
    But that's alright for Justified is strong minded and self secure and Banshee needs all the love it can get.

  • Vicky8675309 Feb 04, 2014

    Ok, Banshee (child #2) is the best!!! Banshee got extra attention from the get go since we all had to force the site to get it reviewed and I am so thankful they listened to the fans.

  • 377221 Feb 02, 2014

    Well, if anyone from the show is reading this, I have a suggestion: maybe some sex and violence will spice things up? :)

  • MarlboroMagpi Feb 04, 2014

    I think now things are just right !

  • chris17blue Feb 02, 2014

    less sex please. <

  • smithinjapan Feb 02, 2014

    Not bad, not great. The torture scene though was pretty amazing in its gruesomeness.

  • tnetennba Feb 02, 2014

    Good episode. I didn't like Nola at first, but she's growing on me.

    It was a bit weird how Proctor appeared in the house. Did Rebecca unlock the door? Did he break in?

    I wonder how Hood was planning to explain the big guy's injuries to someone less willing to ignore them. I guess Nola solved that problem.

    The only thing that really irritates me right now is Deva's lipstick. It (still) looks ridiculous.

  • JumboShrimp787 Feb 02, 2014

    Agreed about Nola. Finally a good episode for Nola, too bad it is the last one this season (as it seems).

    Regarding Deva and her looks, there was not a single scene with Deva without the Mrs. reacting negatively to her looks... The actress is quite pretty, but they make her look horrible in Banshee...

  • CurlyMC Feb 02, 2014

    Cory you forgot to say that Nola threw the axe from 15 feet away AND perfectly through the 2-3 inch wide hole between the bars of the cell. Hecka shot!

  • tnetennba Feb 02, 2014

    A bit too good if you ask me. I'm not convinced that the throw is possible at all. The horizontal spacing isn't the issue. The vertical spacing is. The axe would have been near vertical when it passed the bars.

  • MightyMad Feb 02, 2014

    ... This is where you draw your line of plausibility with Banshee? At that tomahawk toss?
    Cause EVERYTHING else that happen before... you could still tell yourself "well yeah - that could happen!"
    Just the fact Nola managed to enter a goddamn police station without an alarm going off or, at the very least, getting filmed.... that's completely bananas.
    You complaining about that kill being impossible is just the cherry on top of a giant sundae of impossibility. Did I say 'giant'? It's actually humongous, man!

    But it tastes soooo good, doesn't it? Yes, it does.

  • tnetennba Feb 02, 2014

    I was replying to a post that was specifically about the throw.

    I was wondering about how she got in there too, and why she didn't seem concerned about cameras or anything like that. That was weird to say the least.

    I don't know what the rules and regulations are in the real world, but I would expect that when they have someone locked up, they need to also have at least one person at the site at all times. I mean, someone who can call for an ambulance if there's a medical emergency. They would probably also have to have a second person there, who can assist if the first one is dumb enough to go close enough to the bars and get grabbed.

  • MightyMad Feb 03, 2014

    So we all agree: it makes zero sense, but it's super cool!

  • borgsblueyes Feb 03, 2014

    I would think that someone with his injuries would have been taken to a hospital. Serious burns, missing teeth and facial lacerations. But this is Banshee, where the sheriff can bring in a guy who clearly has been tortured and no one asks any questions. Logic is left at the door for this show, it's more enjoyable that way.

  • Whedonrules Feb 02, 2014

    Another good one, this has been a habit for 14 episodes running now. What a great episode. Carrie's ongoing isolation and her final meeting with dear old dad. Hood still trying to figure out what he wants out of Banshee. Antony Starr can do it all. From the scenes when he's completely alone in his own head, to the slight bit of relief strewn with so much hidden tension with Jason and Job.(We got all of Job in this episode complete with him trying scare Jason with his glorious yellow Mustang and the perfect final (for now I hope) scene with Nola. She is the 1st person he's complimented on meeting since we've met Job - that was perfect),, to his running story with Deva - he's been watching her and has absolutely no idea how to approach her - probably the only thing sprung on him since being released from prison that he has no idea what to do about. Him and Ryann Shane have been so good in their scenes together. She doesn't know who he is but she trusts him - he's been there for her in some bad times, (remember the trip home after all that went down in "The Rave'?) and its an honest place to start. His 'Well. I know how to get into trouble' in the diner after the most perfect honest discussion about dope between adult and teen I've ever seen on t.v may be the most completely honest thing he's said to anybody. Job putting the smack down on that fantasy and bringing us back to what's next? We also got Rebecca and Hood again. But Ms. Bowman is another story entirely. (Apparently our reviewer missed her quite significant story this episode.) He also got to show again that maybe Brock had no idea what he was talking about in his scene with Daniel Moses. Another Amish runaway. And then the take down on angry Amish dude we were introduced to in Rebecca's Season 2 origin. And there were the scenes with Dept. Siobhan. Job's words to him ringing in his ears as she returned to the Cadi after another near death experience. The look in her face during the entire scene with Cheyton. Bad things happen to people around him. Maybe he just grabs Carrie/Anna after her release and disappears with Job and the diamonds? Rabbit's back and everyone is in danger the longer they stay in the same place. Wow a lot happened in this episode to the man they call 'Hood'.

    Rebecca Bowman's day was one to remember as well. From her detective work leading her to the fight of the day then everything in her life splitting further apart from that point on. The scene with the young girl we were introduced to in the last episode, Haisha(.sp?) who explains that the teacher had it out for her brother, because of who She was. And the guilt begins piling up. Her sitting on the stoop with Hood as Uncle Kai tortures this evil dude. He deserved every second of it we know as we saw poor Solomon's memory of events rushing back to him. Lana Cleary all of that life just over because of some religious freak. When Solomon went to her after 'Another wonderful family reunion with the Proctors and all of the Bowmans just seeming to try to let her know it wasn't her fault. Her father and mother wouldn't even look at her. Not even her father. She wasn't taking it though and Jason Hood became the luckiest kid in town. (No one is talking to him (except not'Hood)' unless they are delivering threats, or taking him seriously but he's getting a new identification and sex so go 'Marion' (more Job gold!) She's just using Jason to try to forget all the sh!t - during sex every time he tried to touch her she just pushed his hands away because she was just using him. She's at her turning point now and her next step is going to be big.

    Then there was Cheyton, Siobhan and Emmit's prisoner transport from hell, the brilliant scenes with Kai Proctor and Alex Longshadow resulting in a tenuous peace born from necessity because these guys are never going to be passing the pipe. (Maybe these dudes need what Deva and the kids were sharing?) . Best line 'i guess your sister is the one with the balls." And Nola, the assassin, throwing an axe exactly where it needed to go as she's leaving 'Banshee' for the second time. We need to know what happened to get her kicked out or why she left in the first place. Odette Annabelle was very good in a role I'd bet she got with some assist from an old friend from 'House' and we really like her now because Job does and I could go on praising that scene forever. And the icing on the cake, another Job and Sugar discussion. Oh and Rabbit's back. F' yeah - another winner.

    BANSHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! i gave that episode some extra 'E' cause it was just that good. They shoot this show almost entirely on hand held cameras - some people bitch about the way it is shot but this show is just bad ass and looks fantastic. Next up Carrie's getting out but I'm betting she's gonna be a little bit more Anna upon release - YEAH!

  • jugularvenus Feb 02, 2014

    That was a great read. I think Nola is awesome too and I would love to see her somehow on "Lucas"/Job/Carrie's side if there's a dramatic final confrontation with Rabbit.

  • Kallenprice97 Feb 02, 2014

    Job was NOT really complimenting Nola. He was recognizing her outfit from when she blew their casino heist.

  • Whedonrules Feb 02, 2014

    Can we both agree though, she made quite an impression on him and is the first person he hasn't greeted with a cut down. He's never been impressed by anyone - and really who can blame him when you're as awesome as he is? Plus she did look rather stunning getting on her bike as did Job and his Mustang. Plus she was the one getting the hell out of Banshee which is where he's wanted to go since arriving there. She's doing what he's been begging 'Hood' to do.

  • Vicky8675309 Feb 02, 2014

    agree and I can totally see Job being impressed by a robber robbing robbers (even though the final robber was part of the group that was robbed)
    lol, does that make sense?

  • Whedonrules Feb 03, 2014

    Of course it does - respect among thieves. Whatever it is, its still respect.

  • Kallenprice97 Feb 02, 2014

    I honestly don't think he was complimenting her. He was staring and needed to say something. And, his mention of the outfit was specifically because it was the same one she wore when she shot at them.

  • AngelColn Feb 02, 2014

    I could be wrong, but I think that this was an important key episode in Banshee's main story line.

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