Banshee "Ways to Bury a Man" Review: Through the Mountain
Throughout Banshee's last few episodes, Hood has grown more contemplative with regard to his purpose and role in the town. Although it's pretty clear that the sheriff hasn't actually arrived at any solid answers on that front, "Ways to Bury a Man" brought us a Hood who'd decided, at least for this episode, to channel some of his bubbling frustration and instability into taking down one of Banshee's biggest and baddest, Proctor. And after a half-season of the two of them either not orbiting one another or working through some kind of uneasy half-baked alliance, the exploding (literally) tension between them made "Ways to Bury a Man" feel a little bit like a Season 1 throwback—and in a good way.
All it took was for Hood to discover that Jason was missing and that Rebecca was last seen with him and BOOM, we returned to full-tilt war between the show's two primary forces. On one hand, I was slightly surprised to see Hood so angry about Jason's disappearance and Proctor's likely involvement in that disappearance, if only because Jason had become such a burden in the previous few weeks. Hood wanted Jason to leave town, after all. But on the other hand, Hood is our (admittedly conflicted) hero, so he's not going to just be cool with murder, even of a tool who mostly caused trouble for him. And more than that, Hood's response was a signal of his current mental state. If it wasn't Proctor and this investigation, it would have been something else, but the fact that it was Proctor and this investigation meant that Hood was that much more irate and ready to make something happen.
As such, Hood spent most of "Ways to Bury a Man" on a whirlwind spree through the town in an attempt to tear down any portion of Proctor's operation that he could. That, of course, led to a lot yelling, fighting, and general testosterone-fueled decision-making. And the proceedings felt Season 1-esque because of how nicely they intertwined Hood's personal crusade against Proctor with the rest of the sheriff's department, and later with Job and Sugar. Hood was so determined to make Proctor's life a living hell that he pulled in both sides of his life in a way we haven't seen much of this season. He brought the sheriff's department with him into the strip club in hopes of busting up the not-so-secret prostitution ring inside, and then dragged Brock and Emmett out into the field as he tried to disrupt Proctor's drug operations. And when Hood had procured enough information the "legal" way, with the badge, he turned to Job and Sugar to finish it off. In case we weren't sure that Hood now means business in his crusade against Proctor, he went ahead and blew up the drug ring's warehouse, but not before snagging some of the resources. (Never lose an opportunity to grab that money!)
It's a weird thing to think about since Banshee's second season has been so strong, but we haven't really seen an episode like this in a while, where everyone was involved in the story. The show's world has expanded, which means more characters and different types of plots, both of which are a good thing. But as a result, we haven't seen much of Emmett this year and Brock, Sugar, and Job have been sidelined a little as well. "Ways to Bury a Man" did a great job of reminding us how the show hums when everyone is part of the same arc. It also dug back into questions about Hood's approach to the sheriff job, complete with the consistent commentary from Brock about the "right" and "wrong" way to go after Proctor so suddenly. We've heard that stuff before, but the slight change in context—primarily that Brock has been investigating Hood in secret—made it fresh enough for me. It's telling that the episode's concluding scene involved Brock encountering the explosion at Proctor's warehouse. How much of a jump in logic would he have to make to assume that Hood had something to do with the explosion? Not much, right? That's solid.
Also solid: More Proctor. That's an easy thing to point out, and it's not as if we haven't been treated to some wild stuff with the character this season, but after weeks of adding some shading and complexity, I enjoyed the renewed focus on Proctor as a brutish criminal mastermind, trying to avoid Hood's investigation in one scene and threatening members of the Kinaho tribal council so that Alex could keep his spot as the chief in the next. And GOOD GOD, the opening scene with Proctor and Rebecca watching the meat grinder do its grinding thing. Are we supposed to assume that the meat being grinded was actually the remnants of Jason, or was that just a nicely pointed allusion? I can't decide, and I'm grossed out either way. Yeesh.
Finally, "Ways to Bury a Man" made some attempt to bring the Hopewell story closer to the rest of the narrative, if only for a few moments. During Hood's raid on the strip club, he ran into Gordon and let's just say that didn't go particularly well. One of the big questions ("Are you sleeping with my wife?") was asked, and, this being Banshee, punches were thrown. That was a fine, quick reminder of the impact of some of Hood's decisions, even if it's not all his fault that Gordon has become a shell of his former self. Moreover, the pressure on the Hopewells grew as Max's medical issues took a turn for the worse, which brought everyone in the family, including Carrie, together, but also created a huge need for cash. Gee, I wonder how Carrie will go about fixing that problem?
"Ways to Bury a Man" provided a notable shift in Banshee's trajectory. After a few contemplative episodes that achieved a lot of important world-building, this episode began to pull some of the disparate characters and threads together, and sped up the pace a bit as well. Characters are now in places that will likely lead to maximum tension (and maximum fighting, duh) and ultimately that should allow the last three episodes of the season to be as thrilling as possible. Things are going to get very, very interesting.
– Job ditched the pink/red hair. I am sad.
– I'm sure that Carrie trying to work side jobs with Job, without Hood's knowledge, will go swimmingly. Nobody will get hurt or run into authorities there, nope.
– Sugar's excitement after blowing through the warehouse with the semi was charming, as was the final sequence where he, Hood, and Job argued over whether or not the detonator was actually going to work. We've seen that kind of stuff before, but those were nice moments of levity, and Banshee does those surprisingly well.
– Never call for a tribal council vote unless you know who's voting what. These Kinaho dudes clearly don't watch Survivor.
What'd you think about this one? Will you be happy to see more Hood-Proctor showdowns in the near future?
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