Banshee "The Warrior Class" Review: You're Not My Dad

By Cory Barker

Jan 25, 2014

Banshee S02E03: "The Warrior Class"


When looking for areas of improvement in sophomore TV series, one thing to focus on is how they go about balancing more stories at once, both in individual episodes and longer arcs. It isn't always the case, but many shows expand their worlds in their second season, and of course it doesn't always work. Although Banshee hasn't blown open its universe too dramatically in the first three episodes of Season 2, the series has methodically brought us into new corners of its small domain and most impressively, been able to carry additional plots. 

"The Warrior Class" was a fine example of this slightly more assured storytelling. The episode went a little deeper into both the Amish and Native American communities, gave us some quality time with Carrie in her own twisted Cinemax version of Orange Is the New Black, and somehow squeezed in coverage of what was previously Banshee's biggest "secret" with the arrival of the real Lucas Hood's son. I wasn't bamboozled by the show's ability to make all of these things work within one hour of television, but it was absolutely impressive, and a sign that Banshee, while still wild and violent and sex-crazed, is becoming a more efficient, interesting series.


Can we start by talking about the compelling Terrence Malick-y sequence at the beginning of the episode? Anytime you start a scene with slow-moving, almost ponderous montages of people ruffling their hands through wheat fields and top it off with a voiceover, it's probably fair to call it a "Full Malick." Not that it was bad! In fact, I loved it, and this is what I'm talking about with regard to the show pushing its boundaries and doing some different things here and there, but making them fit within the preexisting Banshee universe. The Full Malick worked so well that at first, I wasn't even sure whether it was happening in the present day, as opposed to being some sort of fascinating flashback. Of course, this being Banshee, a lovely four-minute side story with two star-crossed lovers ended with a teenage girl dead in the rain and a teenage boy MIA. You know, just in case you thought a show on Cinemax was going to go whole hog into Tree of Life

Maybe the introduction of two teens—one from the local Indian tribe and the other from the Amish community, both of them just trying to make it work in this craaaazy world—was a little on-the-nose in hitting the season's early tensions between the two groups, but it established a reason for Hood and the rest of the squad to go into both communities. Naturally, since they're outsiders, neither excursion went particularly well. "The Warrior Class" made some inroads into explaining the general histories of and politics between the two groups, and obviously set up a couple of truly gut-wrenching fight sequences. There's something so charming about a show that introduces the HUGE tribe gang leader character, lets him spew on about his people's ages-long mistreatment by the white man, and then moves right into a throwdown with Hood involving chains, knives, nightsticks, broken tables, and whatever the heck else was in that dusty old room. And more than that, the episode (as most do) made those seemingly dissonant things go together so clearly that I was cackling by the end, because it was RIDICULOUS, but also because it was RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. 


Amid the perhaps slightly less believable parts of the show, I appreciated that "The Warrior Class" kept grounding the proceedings in some semblance of reality. So Hood and the squad rolled onto the Indian reservation despite a complete lack of jurisdiction (and I loved Hood's acknowledgement that the FBI wasn't going to help them anyway, so screw it), they raised all sorts of hell, and then they returned to the station to find Gordon's replacement in the DA's office breathing down their neck. They can do just about whatever the hell they want, until they can't. Those quick reminders keep the show from falling into full-on (albeit completely enjoyable, mind you) cartoon mode. Similarly, right as Proctor beat a few of trespassing tribesmen within an inch of their life, he shared a half-awkward, half-moving moment with his former family, particularly his mother. 

The actual investigation into what happened to the teens was less successful, mostly because I didn't care about them, but it accomplished a few things. First, it added some color to the groups' feud without necessarily focusing on Proctor and Alex Longfellow, who are the key players in what we've seen thus far but not the only members of their respective communities. Second, it furthered the confusing trajectory of Odette Annable's Nola. That she was wearing the dark hoodie in the final moments suggested to me that she probably killed the girl, I'm guessing for the same reasons that they figured the big dude did, but who knows with her right now. Third, it allowed the show to put Lili Simmons in the mud and rain and whatever else. Would I like her to have more to do than get chased in a downpour or pleasure herself on the bed? Sure. But the show's gotta serve its Cinemax masters every once and a while, right?


And on top of all of that, "The Warrior Class" found time to bring the real Hood's son into town, and into our Hood's life. It was interesting how Banshee handled that moment. It wasn't played over the top like it was so fundamentally earth-shattering, and Hood was almost immediately given an out because the son didn't really care about his dad and is generally kind of a dirtbag anyway (duh, that's the case with everyone on this show). Nevertheless, I liked that the episode just threw that in there, making Hood's current existence even more of a living hell. You get the sense that it's all becoming too much here and there, and while I don't know if he's going to "break" or lose it, there are bound to be some moments in the future where Hood actually lets himself feel all that garbage he's holding onto. Or maybe he just get it in with Siobhan some more and everything will be fine. Do not blame him.

I can't (yet?) say that Banshee Season 2 is head and shoulders above Season 1 in quality, but what I've liked about the first three episodes, and "The Warrior Class" in particular, is how much ground the show is trying to cover, and how quickly. There's a lot going on already, and the show is handling it very well.



CASE NOTES

– Shockingly, Carrie's not doing too well in prison. Banshee should probably dedicate a little more time to those scenes in the coming weeks, but this episode gave us enough to recognize the dire straits.

– Speaking of Carrie, what's the shipper breakdown for this show like? Are we all in on Hood and Carrie, or hopeful for more Hood and Siobhan?

– I made the mistake of watching my screener for this episode at Starbucks, and while Banshee's aggressive sex and nudity is always a bit embarrassing to deal with, the sheer impact of Proctor nailing those dudes with the baseball bat had me squirming in my chair, and probably making a fool of myself. Just the sound of the bat, ugh.

– What do I need to do to get more Job in my life this season? Can they rob something else next week?

– I appreciated how surprised the real Hood's son was that Hood actually does the job. Well, "does" the job.


What'd you think of this episode? Which fight sequence was your favorite?


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  • marcusj1973 Feb 28, 2014

    Much like I should stop being surprised at how bad The Walking Dead can be, I should really stop being surprised at how good Banshee can be. But much like House of Cards could take lessons on consequences for it's protagonists, The Walking Dead could take lessons on multi-episode arc story telling and how to include more people and expand your universe without watering down what makes it good in the first place.

    "And more than that, the episode (as most do) made those seemingly dissonant things go together so clearly that I was cackling by the end, because it was RIDICULOUS, but also because it was RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME."

    I can't figure out how Banshee can so routinely walk the tightrope of absurdity and not Karl Wallenda itself every time, but it does. A political and social commentary on the plight of Native Indians immediately followed up by a 4-on-1 WWF style fight scene between cops and Littlestone. I don't know if Geno Segers' voice was digitally altered, but I'm guessing Kevin Grevioux saw the episode and said, "DAMN!!! That's a BIG dude with a DEEP voice!"

    "I can't (yet?) say that Banshee Season 2 is head and shoulders above Season 1 in quality, but what I've liked about the first three episodes"

    I don't think it's a matter of better or worse...just evolution. This should couldn't have done in season 1 what it's doing in season 2...it just wouldn't have worked. Thus far, it's taken the first three episodes and built on what was a solid base. Growing. Expanding. So many shows make the mistake of playing it safe and not changing anything and get stale. Other shows try to do and change too much, forgetting what got them there in the first place.

    Like I said, I really shouldn't be surprised as to just how good this show is...but I am, and that's a good thing.

  • vmoor2 Jan 27, 2014

    I most certainly don't think that Nora killed the girl. I think she is gonna avenge her murder and punish whoever did this. At the beginning of the episode, I had tought the girl was Nora's youth because they are very similar in objecting the rules of the tribe.

  • erhabori Jan 27, 2014

    Forgive me if this has already been discussed elsewhere, but what is up with the incesteous vibe between Proctor and his neice?

  • Vicky8675309 Jan 27, 2014

    it's been discussed and it's currently a creepy vibe

  • bendylegsnick Jan 26, 2014

    You watch screeners in Starbucks? You must get some odd looks. I really liked this episode, it gave a new, more crime-procedurally look to the show and it worked because of the seriousness of the case. Plus, I don't know what to think about Nola right now, she's pretty much bad, but she's also super bad-ass!
    I appreciated Jason's shock that Hood actually does police work, and I very much enjoyed Sugar's warning to Jason as well. I'd say I'm more for Hood/Siobhan, but that's just mostly because Siobhan is awesome!
    PS I agree about Job. More please.

  • susannahg64 Jan 26, 2014

    Love this show, but worried that Mr. Ball will take it down the same path as True Blood. From awesome to beyond absurd. I mean, how many women does Lucas have to sleep with, really. The whole premise is that he's going through all of this to be close to Ana, and of course now Dayva too. Yet he sleeps with every attractive woman in town (this is already getting old) and he has had very little interaction with Dayva this season. I get the whole "the consequences of my actions are now setting in" theme, but really. And not buying the Siobhann thing, which is totally forced. I think Ana's his only real love, and for me that is the center of this whole story. At this point, he should just split with Job and start over somewhere else. Or go find Rabbit and kill him once and for all. Adore the entire cast on this show though. Well acted, insane fun.

  • andreweather Jan 26, 2014

    I'm glad they didn't 'solve' the murder in one episode, I really don't want Banshee going into 'small town with a murder each episode' territory.

  • tnetennba Jan 26, 2014

    This, totally. A lot of shows would really benefit from letting different cases take different amounts of time. I'm looking at you Almost Human. Figuratively. I'm not watching anymore.

  • olafweyer Jan 26, 2014

    Should this show ever get cancelled, you can trust now that the writers will wrap it up nicely. You're right Cory, some damn tight storytelling!

  • MightyMad Jan 26, 2014

    You got to love the very nice Adam & Eve & the forbidden fruit analogy with the teens at the very beginning of this episode.

    Seriously good storytelling.

  • aeverhart139 Jan 26, 2014

    Hood and Siobhan. Why you say? Carrie is mean, self-centered and bitchy to the man who did 15yrs and loves her. Slobhan, in one ep has done more to show she cares. MEN: when a woman starts making you dinner and cleaning blood off your face, she is 100% falling in love with you. That's showing affection, not just having sex, SO, look, he is so wrapped up in Ana, and not getting that she is now Carrie, he can't let go. It would be good for him to let a woman love him... but he likes to be tortured, the tortured soul. I say kick the bitch tot he curb. If she complains one more damn time about er 30 days to the man she let in jail for 15yrs, I'm going mucking lose it.

    Meanwhile, this is the best show on TV. THe reviewer doesn't give it enough cred. Last season was phenominal, so is this one. Anthony Star is immaculate. He owns it. But that is just me.

  • vmoor2 Jan 27, 2014

    Should we give credit to Carrie for saving hood from rabbit? ı don't think so. She was the one who easily handed him over to rabbit! She didn't really care... She is a bitch to him all the time and she will be.. As I watched preview of next ep. I realized that she is gonna spit over everything to Gordon and I think Gordon is gonna abuse the info to make Hood's life a living hell..

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 27, 2014

    If you think she did not care, then you completely misread her. It was an agonizing decision for her - her children or the love of her life. And Hood put her in the position where she was forced to make that choice.

    As far as being bitchy, she tried every way to make him leave, before he blew her cover - but Hood acted as if he did not care - or was oblivious to the fact that he put Carrie's life and her family at risk... And in the end, he did destroy her family - which is her life...

    As far as telling "everything" to Gordon, she is not going to give Gordon any info he could use against Hood. She will not betray him again. I am confident about that...

  • vmoor2 Jan 29, 2014

    Carrie would not have a family in the first place if Hood didn't go to prison alone in order to save her from being caught at the robbery. In addition, Deyva is hood's daughter too.

    If Carrie won't tell about Hood to Gordon. What else could " ı will tell you all" means? Any other explanation you may think of that won't include her history with hood?

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 30, 2014

    Well, define "everything". She will probably tell him everything she can tell him without compromising Hood as a sheriff. In other words, she has no other option then to continue to lie, because Gordon can't handle the truth. My prediction is that Gordon will not buy it...

    So she can't tell Gordon about Deva being Hood's daughter, about the diamond heist etc.

    She can tell him about Rabbit (which Gordon already knows), her childhood, she can probably admit that she slept with Hood after he came to town (which Gordon strongly suspects)

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 26, 2014

    I would say that raising his daughter, saving him at the Metalworks, shooting her own father and losing her family for Hood is more than cooking dinner. But that's just me, maybe it was a very good dinner...

    I like Siobhan as a deputy, but I worry about her after last episode. We have already seen one dead squirrel this season...

  • tnetennba Jan 26, 2014

    Saving him was a big deal of course, but raising his daughter isn't something she did for him. She didn't even intend for him to find out about her, ever. That's another betrayal, albeit a very small one compared to that time she set him up to be tortured to death.

  • susannahg64 Jan 26, 2014

    Everything Ana has done or is doing now is based on a mother's devotion and need to protect her children. Doesn't seem like Ana had that kind of parental love from Rabbit, so in her mind her sole mission and responsibility is to protect her children, even if it meant betraying Lucas. Lucas loves Ana above all, Ana loves her children above all, and the tie that binds them now is Dayva. I agree about Siobhann. Don't think she's going to last the season.

  • aeverhart139 Jan 27, 2014

    yea she may love her kids, don't doubt that, but the love he has for her, is in NO way compared to how she feels for him. All I mean is, this cop seems more giving. Caring. And all around more loving person. He needs that.

  • tnetennba Jan 26, 2014

    I know that's what we're supposed to think, but I'm not buying it. She didn't have a good enough reason to think that she could increase her family's survival chances this way.

    She did it to remove the temptations that could make her screw up her family life. With Hood alive, she would cheat on her husband and commit crimes until it all falls apart.

    What she did was so far beyond unforgivable that I'm absolutely disgusted by the fact that he seems to have forgiven her. I have to pretend that her betrayal never happened just to be able to continue watching the show.

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 26, 2014

    Re: Hood-Carrie vs. Hood Siobhan

    Cory, you need to view it in context of Banshee's major theme, which is - tormenting of Carrie. Every single episode hits on that theme one way or another.

    So you have to ask, what will torment Carrie at this point more, being with Hood (which was not easy for her earlier) or knowing that Hood may have someone else.

    Carrie is near the bottom, she has no one, and losing Hood to Siobhan is clearly the winner as to what will torment Carrie more...

  • Whedonrules Jan 26, 2014

    First off, Alex Longfellow? I'm assuming we're referring to Alex Longshadow. (Geez, you make it worse by giving him the whitest name you could think of - not even you are giving him a break as Tribe leader.) This was like the warmup for the next episode as we're still settling in this season. The interesting part of the Jason Hood interaction was it actually played a lot like the first time Wicks rolled into town in season one. (Wicks was awesome because it took you a while to realize the actor was the Barksdale family lawyer on 'The Wire') You had Hood laying down the law to an outsider that could f' his world up fairly easily. Sugar laying down the truth was the best part. It'll be interested to see where Jason ends up and how long before he's on Proctor's radar as well. (Odds are on he gets involved with Rebecca.)

    The scene with Kai at the Bowman house was made even better by the appearance of mom. The great thing about the fact that the women are so strong in this show is they are set among these communities the Kinaho and the Amish that are so male dominated. Women are second class citizens in both communities. It wasn't mom's decision to banish Kai - the men in the community decided that fate. (I think Miriam was less reluctant to allow the men to banish her daughter.) I think the Rebecca attack was from within the Amish community. These young people have been taught to ignore Rebecca. She is an affront to the community in her summer dress. Her 'buddy' set her up for one of the boys in the community. There's resentment in the community that she got out. As for star crossed Solomon. I like that they really gave us nothing on him. For now he's just an innocent kid trying to be just that. Now he's just gone. If Nola did it - it would seem maybe she was part of that gang before she left the Reservation. But why would she do that to a girl like her who just wanted to get out? I think she was just crying tears over a girl that could have been herself. I'm thinking maybe whoever did it may really want to stay clear of Nola cause she's another woman to be reckoned with in Banshee. The tear running down her face as she approached the young girl in the morgue maybe tells more about her than we've learned thus far. She didn't commit that crime.

    Another day for the sad Hopewells. Carrie trying so desperately to speak to Gordon was just depressing. He's the Mayor now and in his free time he's raining dollars at the gentleman's club on a daily basis. Poor Carrie, poor Gordon. I want Hood and Carrie to reconcile because i view this as a love story but with this one there is just too much that has happened - Carrie and 'Hood' on the road with kids just doesn't make sense. Plus I think bubbling underneath the surface this season is the fact that maybe this place 'Banshee' is his safe place as well as Carrie's? Like Sugar said - there are a lot of people there that he is starting to realize actually care about him - something he hasn't had in a long time maybe his entire life. He and Siobhan - I can't help but love that one. They both realize the insanity of the choice to share a bed but at this point they are two people in this town that seem to have each other as primary support. He lives alone in a rat hole (that has seen a lot of action) above a bar and she is living in a motor home because a biker gang burned down her only possession. They were holding on to one another so closely. Its a match made in hell. Juxtaposing the frantic phone call, Gordan's most unhappy lap dance (rivaling only last weeks unhappy handy), and then Hood and Siobhan in bed in Siobhan's motor home parked - Where the hell is she living now, in the forest? I think it'll break my heart if he breaks hers.

    This season's 'big guy' looks to be as entertaining as The Albino. Welcome to Banshee Cheyton Littlestone- or just Cheyton. And again we have our fearless Sheriff's department heading into a situation they aren't welcome. Which as we know in Banshee is just business as usual. Brock's dead pan retorts during the whole scene, which started off reminiscent of the approach in 'The Rave' - this time however - the rest weren't just gonna wait for Hood to be the only one getting into trouble. Brock and Yawners discussing the fact that they had once 'tried' to arrest Littlestone and then seeing this enormous - very well spoken giant. The little bits of funny this show throws in amidst the chaos.

    Guess no sophomore jinx for this show. Next week's promises to be epic. Fingers crossed for a cheery reunion between Carrie and Gordan! Hood and Dept Siobhan forever -- just kidding ... but no really I'd be fine with that. You know that tune that played in the final scene of the last episode of season one, its a tune called 'Madonna' by an artist named Jude and it was like the perfect song to close out the first season - I'm gonna stop going on and on and go listen to that tune. Its an awesome tune.

  • olafweyer Jan 26, 2014

    He didn't write Longmire though... :P

  • Whedonrules Jan 26, 2014

    Another awesome Sheriff!

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 26, 2014

    Re: cheery reunion between Carrie and Gordon

    My prediction is that the cheeriness will be very short lived. "I am ready to tell you everything" will last only until the subject of Hood comes up.

    Carrie can't tell the truth about Hood, his false identity. Gordon can't handle the truth. And I predict Carrie will either lie and will get caught lying, or will refuse to answer. Gordon will walk out and will go get another BJ...

    How is that for predictions?

  • Whedonrules Jan 26, 2014

    He has to be a little suspicious now that Hood is Deva's father already? Rabbit kind of but not directly let them on to that during the most uncomfortable family reunion of all time last season. Plus Racine put it out there that they were f'ing and Carrie's response to the question wasn't very convincing. He's not going to believe anything she says anyway so 'i am ready to tell you everything' probably won't do too much for the new Mayor. I think you're on the money with your prediction. Its where is Hood's head when Carrie gets released? - that's going to be very interesting. I think she is going to need him more than ever and he's gonna be there for her. She will always be his blind spot - the woman he fantasized a life with before everything went to sh!t because of Olek's big (jealous) mouth. Still think Max is most likely to forgive mom. Deva is close to Gordon so what is the reveal of that truth to her going to do? Some people laugh this show off for its violence and sex but its so much more.

  • JumboShrimp787 Jan 27, 2014

    Gordon can't really find out that Hood is Deva's father, because that would arouse Gordon's suspicion about Hood's identity, such as Hood being from New York, not Oregon. And it would be extremely coincidental that Hood got the sheriff job exactly in the town where his ex-lower lives.

    Gordon would like nothing more than to get rid of Hood. He is already plotting with Brock. Which is why Carrie can't really give him any info on Hood's background. I guess she can confess that she slept with him but nothing about their shared history.

    I suspect Gordon will find out Carrie is not telling the whole truth, and the reconciliation will not happen.

    I wonder if Deva finds out about Hood being her father, if she can keep it from Gordon...

    re: Some people laugh this show off for its violence and sex but its so much more.

    I am definitely a fan of the Banshee drama, more so than the fights...

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