Throughout Banshee's second season, I've spent a lot of time talking about how the show has improved, both in how it's juggled multiple stories and how it's managed to tell different types of stories. Both of those advancements have happened as part of the general "Season 2 Improvement Playbook," but in watching "Evil for Evil," I realized just how successfully the show is now juggling them.
What struck me most about this episode was how it brought us into different arcs that were operating at distinct places in Banshee's broader trajectory. Meaning, some of the primary threads—for example, Carrie's attempt to make it back into her own house and deal with her family—provided some new developments within season-long stories. We've been following Carrie's struggle for a while now, and thus seeing her continue her thievery but also find some moments of relief with Gordon and the kids had a notable impact. I've argued that some of the Hopewell family drama has been repetitive, but as these things tend to go, it started to make a little more sense once this episode unspooled. The situation had gotten so bad with Gordon running the household—between Gordon's drinking, Max's illness, and Deva's acting out—that by the time he decided to accept his wife back into their lives, even temporarily, there weren't many other options. The Hopewells are a wreck, but it's possible that they'll be able to get back on their feet by working together, or at least trying to.
The other events of "Evil for Evil," however were happening in a very different place. Hood's crusade against Proctor is perhaps Banshee's most prominent storyline, and one of the longest-running as well. But this specific crusade only truly began in earnest in last week's "Ways to Bury a Man," with the driving event (Jason's murder) happening two weeks ago. So when Hood nagged everyone around him to try to find something on Proctor that would stick, ultimately snagging him on a weapons charge obtained through an illegal warrant, it was clear that we shouldn't see this as the kind of big victory that the resolution to a two-year long conflict could be. It was a bit of a rush job on Hood's part, for any number of reasons, but I think "Evil for Evil" proved that the rushing was a purposeful tactic by the show. Hood strained to make Proctor go away, and multiple characters called him on it throughout the hour. He's the hero, but right now he's making a mistake.
And really, he's making multiple mistakes. From a character arc perspective, Hood's simmering frustrations and confusion have ultimately brought all this to bear. He hot-shotted his conflict with Proctor in a way that's eventually going to have a negative impact on his job security (we've already gotten a glimpse of that, with the return of the new district attorney). He started to put the screws to Alex in hopes of getting additional info on Proctor. And Brock weaseled his way into Siobhan's ear, bringing all her skepticism about her boss and bed buddy to the surface. I'm not entirely sure where we're headed with Hood, and that's a good thing. But Banshee has methodically developed his emotional instability in a really impressive fashion.
Finally, the sudden reappearance of the white supremacists from last week's episode gave the show another opportunity to play with brief serialized stories. In the show's world, only a short time had passed since Emmett helped kick their asses, and they partook in some truly horrific revenge: punching his pregnant wife and then kicking her in the stomach. Banshee hasn't spent that much time with Emmett this season, so his wife's presence felt a bit out of nowhere, but "Evil for Evil" did such a fine job of making it count within the context of this one episode that it's hard for me to complain too much. From the moment the supremacists were rounded up and placed into cells at the station, it was clear we were in for a violent conclusion. Loni Peristere's direction and Amy Fleming 's editing paired well to build the tension in that final sequence, and then the fight choreography ensured that achieved maxium—and sometimes difficult to watch—impact.
All of these stories succeeded in their own ways, but it's the way they worked together within one episode that made this such a fine hour for Banshee. Mixing in some seasonal arcs with some series-long stories and then pulling great moments out of a conflict that just began in the previous episode? That's pretty cool, and it reflects the Banshee team's more solid handle on just about everything when it comes to breaking and telling stories—in the short, medium, and long term. And there's little doubt that all these different types of stories will coalesce into something big, bad, and bloody in the final two episodes of the season.
– Emmett appeared ready to give up his deputy position in the aftermath of beating the heck out of those white power dudes, but Hood certainly didn't appear ready to let him make that call. I could definitely see Emmett's actions and the conversation about what to do serving as the final straw between Hood and Brock, at least for this season. The clear difference in ideology between the two of them is too clear and too fraught for this to go on much longer.
– And Emmett's use of the brass knuckles to take down the white supremacists? So good. That made an already intense fight scene even more intense.
– Although Proctor is locked up, his drive—not to mention his workout routine—isn't dead. He started sniffing around why Hood would be so outraged at him, turning to Rebecca for info about Jason and his relationship to Hood. That won't end well.
– Speaking of Proctor, let's not talk about the way he was moving around Rebecca's bedroom as she tried to undress in the moments before he was arrested. Nope nope nope.
– The episode's opening moments—with Hood literally running into Carrie and Job mid, uh, job and then covering for them with Brock and company—were pretty great. I'd love for Banshee to do even more random sequences at the jump like that.
– Job "used the computer" (as he said to Sugar) to find info about Rabbit. The other shoe is going to drop very soon.
What'd you think of this one? And what do you suspect will happen in the final two episodes?