Banshee "The Thunder Man" Review: Bible Thumpin'

By Cory Barker

Jan 18, 2014

Banshee S02E02: "The Thunder Man"

One of the things that was easy to forget after the last few episodes of Banshee's first season and the events of last week's premiere, at least for me, is that this is still something of a fish out of water story. Recent episodes have presented something of a focus on the kind of hell the Hood and Carrie wrought in the town of Banshee, and with good reason. Their respective, connected, and tumultuous histories were bound to come calling, and the show managed to tell that story in a couple of different ways—the violent set pieces powering the end of Season 1 and the more meditative stuff we saw last week. However, a good portion of what made the first season so enjoyable were the episodes where Hood had to deal with a given town- or community-related problem. He is the fake Sheriff, after all. "The Thunder Man" got back into that kind of storytelling, but in a slightly more personal way, to underscore that by now, Hood is caught in the middle of all kinds of bloody drama and in-fighting—even the kinds he didn't directly cause. 

First, Hood got roped into the ongoing feud between Alex Longshadow (and his seductress of a sister Nola) and Proctor. Facing pressure from the tribal council, Alex decided to take his frustrations out on Proctor—and ultimately, Rebecca. The payback for the Proctor-planned explosion in the Season 1 finale (and the truck robbery, which Alex assumes Proctor carried out) was pretty gruesome in its own right: explosive livestock. But while Alex seemed fine with "minor" threats related to udder-laced debris, Nola took matters into her own hands by kidnapping Rebecca and holding her hostage in exchange for the truck money. Banshee has purposefully kept Nola's intentions or motivations close to the vest; we don't really know why she seduced Hood last week, and it's unclear whether or not she actually has her brother's best interests at heart. Nevertheless, she's certainly willing to make bolder moves in the name of the family, to keep its power intact—moves that Alex was so fundamentally opposed to. Listen, blowing up cows? Totally fine. Kidnapping Amish babes? Less so. I like the way the show is developing the tension between Alex and Nola within the larger battle between Alex and Proctor and the various tribal pressures. It's a nice way to expand the town's universe and character base. 

In any event, it's perhaps unsurprising that the explosive (hey-o) tension between Alex and Proctor eventually roped Hood in. At this point it seems like both the show and the character are uninterested in more impersonal police work and upholding typical notions of "right" and "wrong," or "criminal" and "victim." In this instance, Hood agreed to help Proctor because he owed him one, and because Rebecca was in danger, and if that means beating the hell out of a sequence of big, lumbering security bros and meatheads, so be it. After last week's slower episode, it was great to be reminded of Banshee's ability to successfully commit sizable chunks of episodes to well-orchestrated fight sequences. Hood's methodical movement through the mostly abandoned location (I couldn't totally tell what it was based on my screener) was fantastic, and probably recognizable to anyone who has seen The Raid. It obviously wasn't on that extreme and prolonged level, but there were rock-solid variations to each little encounter, and Greg Yaitanes brought it all together behind the camera. 

"The Thunder Man" followed up on the Alex-Proctor stuff with another sequence later on (apparently introducing a variation of Chekhov's Gun that we might as well call Chekhov's Bloody Cow Parts) and I'm sure that their issues will continue in coming weeks. But for Hood, there's a sense that he's wrapped himself up in all of these longstanding personal squabbles and business deals gone wrong, and he's starting to recognize the problems with that. He did the job for Proctor and saved Rebecca, but without much enthusiasm or palpable urgency. Somehow, some way, he managed to resist Rebecca's flirtation post-rescue. Instead of taking her back to the hellhole he lives in, Hood gave Rebecca a lecture about staying away from bad men. That's going to be a problem in this town. Yet that little speech signifies that Hood knows just how quickly everything went to shit, and that there isn't any easy way out. 

After saving Rebecca, Hood actively injected himself into Siobhan's domestic problems. Siobhan has a restraining order out against her ex, and this being Banshee and all, the reason for it is that he was extremely violent toward her (and others, frankly), going as far as to burn her with a curling iron. The dirtbag meandered his way back into town in the name of finding work, and guess how that went? But unlike with Proctor and Alex, Hood seemed interested and invested in helping Siobhan—only she wasn't as interested in accepting his aid. The episode's final sequence—where the ex returned to Siobhan's trailer and assaulted her and Hood hoped to step in and clean up the proverbial mess, only to find that Siobhan beat him to the punch—was tension-filled and masterfully edited (including the cross-cutting with Carrie's first big prison fight). It was one of those sequences that only Banshee can pull off in that it was one part ridiculous, one part disturbing, and two parts awesome. Not that Siobhan's dirtbag ex didn't deserve the beatdown, but I felt at least a little weird about just how gleeful the moment, not to mention the subsequent make-out session between Siobhan and Hood, made me. She beat him with the hotel drawer bible, and then Hood smiled about it! He might as well have freeze-frame fist-pumped.

And although "The Thunder Man" dedicated quite a bit of time to Hood cleaning up (or at least trying to clean up) other people's messes, it didn't let us forget that he's caused quite a few of his own—namely, Carrie's crappy situation (and that's an understatement). The show probably burned through Carrie's local struggle a little fast for my liking, convicting her and shipping her off to prison already, but it also made up for it by giving us that really well-done sequence at the end of the episode. And of course, it's not as if being in prison isn't going to create moments of struggle for the character. Carrie doesn't have to deal with the embarrassment and shame that came with slinking around the corners of Banshee, trying to talk to her disinterested family, but now she'll have to sit with all those nasty feelings a couple hundred miles away and deal with whatever comes her way inside the cells and the barbed wire fences. I'm guessing that it's not going to be as funny or uplifting as Orange Is the New Black, so I hope Carrie didn't watch that series to prepare. 

After a mostly successful yet generally different season premiere, "The Thunder Man" was a good transition back to more familiar Banshee rhythms. The show's world keeps expanding and the stakes seem more personal (if not higher) than ever, and Hood will surely only face more difficult decisions in the coming weeks.


– No sign of Zeljko Ivanek's Racine or additional evidence of Rabbit's survival this week. That makes sense, given the episode's return to Banshee's more procedural storytelling. It will be interesting to see how long the show waits to bring those characters back in the fold. It might not happen until the finale.

– Unsurprisingly, Carrie's family isn't doing too well in the aftermath of everything that happened last season. Gordon's handling it so well that he's taking drugs and having a good time with some ladies in seedy parking lots.

– I like how the truck heist kept popping up as a point of tension this week. Other people are bound to find out that it was Hood and company, and that's surely not going to fly. Not that Banshee is devoid of consequences (as last week's premiere showed), but it wouldn't hurt to have some more.

What'd you think of "The Thunder Man"? What was your favorite fight sequence this week?

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  • marcusj1973 Feb 28, 2014

    I'm still curious as to whether or Nola knew, in advance, that the dude she picked up and banged was the sheriff or if like Racine mentioned last week that this town is so small that everybody's got a connection to everybody.

    "...recognizable to anyone who has seen The Raid"

    I got more of a Double Dragon video game feel with Hood going from one level to the next until he met the final boss in the construction site ;)

    Though despite my pre-season 1 expectations, this show isn't just fluff, violence and an excuse to get actresses to take their clothes off. Sure, it's a little silly sometimes, but the scene of Hood internally fighting his prison demons while trying to look composed on the outside when dropping Anna/Carrie off was FANTASTIC! And that's not something a brainless show looking for an excuse for violence and nudity would bother with. Add the brilliant final scene(s) cut between Carrie fight at the prison and Siobahn's fight at the motel and it furthers my belief that when at it's best, it's not a show on Skinemax, it's Starz v.2.0.

    "Somehow, some way, he managed to resist Rebecca's flirtation post-rescue. Instead of taking her back to the hellhole he lives in, Hood gave Rebecca a lecture about staying away from bad men. That little speech signifies that Hood knows just how quickly everything went to shit, and that there isn't any easy way out."

    The beating he and Kai gave each other after discovering Hood was banging his neice is a pretty good reason to resist difficult as it might be. But always nice to see Hood, be it for self preservation reasons or not, show that he's willing to do the right thing, the right way, even if not for entirely the right reasons. I think he's starting to appreciate how Anna could lose herself in this town.

    "Not that Banshee is devoid of consequences (as last week's premiere showed), but it wouldn't hurt to have some more."

    This is what Banshee has figured out that the much better (on paper) House of Cards hasn't. When something good happens to Lucas Hood, I'm happy for him because I know it won't be long until something really bad happens...or at the very least, he take another ass whoopin'. Conversely, nothing bad ever happens to Frank Underwood so when something good happens, you're not really happy because it was a foregone conclusion.

    Consequences...they really do make all the difference in the world with this kind of story telling.

  • IzzieOKeeffe Feb 22, 2014

    Does anyone else think that Hood, or Anthony Starr even, is like a caucasian Jackie Chan in his style of fighting? I love how dirty he fights, using anything he can get his hands on and his sarcastic facial expressions!

  • Whedonrules Jan 21, 2014

    Once again a stellar outing of 'Banshee' as we settle back in. This one relied on its greatest strength, its women. As the men kind of settled into the background this week all the ladies were out beginning with the beauties that are Rebecca and Nola and how their lives would intersect. One had just gotten done with Hood and one couldn't get him out of her mind. Then we get some time with Carrie trying desperately to connect with her daughter. It was a combination of smiles and depression as the fallout from season 1 continues to unfold. The MVP is the girl who had the smile on her face in the post credits sequence.

    The smiles -

    Rebecca's as she returns home from the kidnapping, rejected again by Hood in the car ride home. Her heart somewhat breaking rushes to her Uncle and now benefactor's side with a smile from ear to ear. Message to Hood or plea for help? Yet to be seen. I think this is just the beginning of her journey this season.

    Burton's smile hitting the jets on Alex's hottub after dumping the carcasses left from the bomb set off at the slaughterhouse. Sometimes even Burton loves his job! Alex and the prostitute are still just standing in the hottub and Burton turns on the jets grinning ear to ear. That was cool.

    Hood - as he walks into the Hotel to find exactly why Siobhan lied to him about where her ex was. She wanted to dish this beating on her own and he respects it and me thinks is a little.... a lot turned on. His smile comes as he picks up the bloody bible. The little things this show does.

    Siobhan - driving away in the post credit scene and her face that had been so stoic and in so much pain for most of her scenes breaks into the most beautiful smile of the episode. She got the revenge from all of the pain this miserable dickhead inflicted upon her. (That scene which showed where Siobhan got the burn scar on her clavicle which has been a part of her character since the beginning - was very hard to watch because she looked so afraid.) And to top off her revenge, she and Hood shared a kiss that went from awkward to what's next for these two in about 1 second. She is quickly becoming my favorite. Now we need an episode with Emmett.

    Not so smiley - the Hopewells. The scene with Hood driving Carrie to intake at the federal correctional facility. He had no idea what to say to her. That must have been the longest quietest trip in history and goes straight to the PTSD he is suffering even being at a prison gate. He loves this woman with every fiber of his being and can't express it and can't have her. From his scuffle with Gordan at the hearing. That seemed just about right - he knows he can't beat Hood but if he could just do something to inflict any pain on him - like getting him to do something that would end the job with the Badge. But he can't. And then he gets a, "I gave you the first one." from this dude whom everyone knows is f'ing or has f'ed his wife. These two aren't sharing another barbecue any time soon. (Gordon still knows nothing except that he doesn't know the first thing about this woman he met in the diner whom he built a home with and filled with a family. His day ended with what looked like the unhappiest handy ever. Who is more angry at 'Carrie'; Gordon or Deva? Both of them have every right to be going through what they are because they still know nothing. Someone has been lying to them every day for 15 years. Who is going to forgive her? Which one is going to completely shatter first? Maybe Max will forgive mom?) This is some damn fine drama.

    And how could I forget to mention that dress? I was talking about Job - killing it in a platinum blonde wig and reminding Sugar that this is the way he likes to dress while divvying up the casino heist proceeds.

    I love this show. Thumbs up to - we'll call it Part 2 of the season opener because Part 1 was written by Jonathan Tropper and this episode was penned by the co-creator David Shickler and both have combined to bring us back to 'Banshee' quite nicely. Now's when the fun starts right,,,, for someone, anyone we love on this show? - please. Rambling so I'll stop.

  • MightyMad Jan 21, 2014

    Love the episode - it's Banshee: back to basic.

    Since the show is now on its usual mayhemic path, instead on giving my opinion on everything in it, I'll just focus on rating two very important aspects of in it. Namely:

    Obvious choice - this has to go Siobhan beating the shit out of her PoS ex. And finishing him off with a Bible! There's not a whole lot of things I hate more than women beaters, so watching a girl destroying her old tormentor all by herself, without the assistance of some other dude, that always puts a smile in my face (EMBRACE THE GLEE, CORY! THAT'S THE RIGHT RESPONSE!) I'm so into this type of retribution, you would think I would be a huge fan of J-Lo's "Enough"... not the case, though. But here, on this show, this kind of stuff rocks hard.
    Honorary mention: Hood's NES's Kung Fu-style rescue Rebecca (seriously was expecting someone to say "LEVEL UP!" every time he took someone down.)

    Very disappointed with the Nola Vs Three Army Rapists. I understand that the show is trying to make her look like some kind of mystical/unstoppable/bat-shit crazy force-of-nature, but, if we're supposed to believe she has the skill to take down trained soldiers in mere seconds, even if they're drunk, YOU HAVE TO SHOW IT TO US! Fact be told, we have yet to see Ms Longshadow actually be in a genuine fist-fight - yes, she has no problem taking on a group of harden criminals with a submachine gun or disarmed with ease a guy who just fight off 7 guys, but we still don't know if this chick can actually take a punch. Which is very weird coming from that show - why does Odette Annable get a pass on getting beat up, but every other hot women in this town must end up with their mouths full of blood? Hell, if Rebecca got bitchslapped by Alex in this episode (not cool, bro!) So let's hope her time is coming soon... BTW, let's give it up to Mrs Annable for her actually scary portrait of Nola - I think this is the first time in her career that she ever end up playing this type of characters (she's mainly known for playing the hot girlfriend/girl in danger/girl of interest), and she is definitely making the most out of the opportunity of being a badass. I mean, this week, I was watching her eye-balling the hell outta Antony Starr, and I just thought "Man... they should have picked her to play Wonder Woman!" Nothing against Gal Gadot, but... yeah. Should have been her. But, then again, we didn't know before Banshee that she could pull off being such an action chick, didn't we?
    Dishonorable mention: Gordon Hopewell Vs Hood (dude, we know you're hurting and all, and ain't thinking clearly... but seriously?); and (yeah) Carrie Vs Prison Bitch - sorry, but, last season, I saw Anastasia go twelve rounds against Olek AND WIN after being stabbed by him and losing a whole lot of blood... and you're trying to sell us that dispatching of this sole hoodrat would take her this long? PLEASE.

  • IzzieOKeeffe Feb 22, 2014

    Totally agree with Hood's rescue fight sequence, I was even saying to my husband as I we were watching it that it reminded me of Jackie Chan's fight sequences how he grabbed everything he could get his hands on, and had the comical and sarcastic facial expressions to boot!

  • auraeulogia Jan 21, 2014

    Ok, BANSHEE is BACK!!! .First episode meh but this one.I like Nola!
    Hood is as slut as ever,plus a lots a violence. Definitively is back.

  • Draconax Jan 20, 2014

    Loved this episode. I enjoy last week's return, but it was slower and more methodical, mostly dealing with the fallout of the finale. I loved that we got back to what has made Banshee so enjoyable: babes, asskicking and badassery. Loved the entire extended sequence of Hood getting Rebecca back, loved the spliced fight scenes of Siobhan and Carrie, and I'm not to afraid to say I got a little hot under the collar in the opening scene with Rebecca doing some "self-medicating".

  • AngelColn Jan 20, 2014

    For me, this was another great episode. And about the "truck heist" thing that keep popping up, I kind of agree. I know that fans of last season wanted to see more of how Hood/Ana/Job work together, but this one was also cool because we're seeing the characters from Banshee's town growing and evolving thanks to the events that developed after "Hood" arrived. *SPOILERS* Tell me that you didn't liked Siobhan kickin' her abusing ex ass! And the Ana/Carrie fight in jail?... Ok, ok, I know. It's Ana. We all should have expected that. That aside, Cory mentioned in the article that we could had have forgotten some of the events of season 1 because of the many stories running at once. So I decided to revisit season 1 again. And I realized something that probably you guys already had figured out and/or are wondering about: Why was Job looking into the Interpol website at the final scenes of season 1? I know he's a hacker but, could it be at he's working for that agency? Did he tipped the Longshadows about the heist on ep. 1 of this season or it was just the guards told them and Nola took action? *SPOILERS END*. This show shouldn't be just 10 episodes per season with that many storylines :(...

  • mad-pac Jan 19, 2014

    Actually the correct expression is "Chekhov's Phaser."
    As the Bible says, if someone hits you, offer the other cheek, if they hit you again, hit them senselessly with the Bible until they lose consciousness. At least that's what the Bible would say if the man impersonating Lucas Hood were impersonating Jesus.
    Sugar's reaction to Job's "China White" outfit was priceless. I also loved the part in which Hood had knocked down a dozen goons, and then, when he thought he'd have a break, one more appeared, and he said something like, "Seriously?"
    It's interesting how Hood (what's his real name anyway?) is avoiding overstepping any bounds with Siobhan. He really respects her and appreciates her friendship, unlike with most females. They made out in the end, but for Banshee standards that was a handshake.

  • Gully_Foyle Jan 20, 2014

    Hood's fight in the casino was fantastic and that one more guy at the end was great, the only thing that "spoiled" it was when one of the security guard picked up the wall tile and hit Hood across the back. This is Banshee he should have thrown the entire box of tiles at him.

  • jonkeriksson Jan 19, 2014

    This is fucking awesome.

  • klotensen Jan 19, 2014

    This show is nothing short of becoming a widely acclaimed masterpiece.
    This and Justified is the shit for me. And everything else airing right now can suck it.
    Does any one of you afficionados know why KAI PROCTOR let Alex Longshadow and his hooker live? Because the sister is worse and he can be controlled? I was surprised, is all.
    Letting someone live - I still can't believe this.

  • Whedonrules Jan 21, 2014

    Can't think of two shows that fit together better than 'Banshee' and 'Justified'. I think Kai promised Chief Longshadow that he wouldn't kill Alex and because of who he is, he's going to honor that. Remember the scene when Proctor stopped the crew working on the casino (the part he later blew up with poor Mayor 'Baby Face' Kendall) and Rebecca asked .. why stop the construction? He told her at that time it was because he gave the Chief his word that he wouldn't kill him. He has to know, if simply because of how easy it was to recover the lovely Rebecca that Alex wasn't the person who decided to kidnap her. Nola may not be so lucky. She had no relationship with her father whatsoever - she clearly had major issues with dad prior to her return to the Tribe which if you recall was only made for her brother's benefit. This story is getting good.

  • klotensen Jan 21, 2014

    Thanks! I knew there was something more to it but it seems I forgot about Kai's promise given to the father.
    Damn. Need to watch seas 1 again. Stupid life, always keeping me from watching good stuff twice ...

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