Like the pilot, ‘The Rave’ hints at a lot of what is to come in the first season of Banshee - Proctor’s politics, the Lucas Hood identity, and the story of Not Lucas (who I’ll just call Lucas from now on, promise) and Ana/Carrie. Unsurprisingly, the episode falls into the traps of many second episodes – in that it much of it just reaffirms what we’ve learned in the pilot – but is full of enough interesting moments to keep its momentum through the episode.
Directed by TV vet SJ Clarkson (and penned by the series co-creators, like the pilot), ‘The Rave’ centers around its titular event, a drug-fueled barn party organized by one of the underlings of Kai Proctor, done without his knowledge. But underlining the violence and boob shots we expect from Cinemax is the Lucas/Ana relationship at the heart of the show. Both of them still dream about each other, and the night where Lucas sacrificed himself so she could get away – after admitting that he was lying about the person they robbed not chasing them as a last minute zinger.
It gives Lucas a bit of depth he’s not given in most of scenes, where Antony Starr gets to be the grinning, reckless hothead who doesn’t handle criticism or challenges well. I don’t think the show can keep going to the well of flashbacks, though – at this point, their previous relationship is established enough to make it compelling in the present day. Which means we can remove scenes where Lucas gets borderline rapey with her in the kitchen of a home she’s trying to sell; these two are clearly on a collision course with each other, and scenes like that only make it more painfully obvious, when she’s rejecting him mere seconds after willingly sucking on his face (and later dreaming about him, and staring at him through the window).
I’m hanging onto my theory that Deva is his child – the reveal in the pilot that she’s older than 13 certainly suggests its his kid, and their scene after the rave in his car was the best of the series so far. It appears that Lucas has the same thoughts, as he talks to Deva about how painful it can be to watch someone die, especially when you’re involved. It’s a touching little father/daughter moment that finishes with the bittersweet image of a pained Lucas looking at the house and life he thinks he should have, watching Gordon console his daughter on the front lawn.
The rave itself is easily the least interesting part of the episode – the stylistic, ‘drugged out’ filming makes a lot of the scenes indistinguishable from the next, a mishmash of half-clothed bodies and blurred neon colors that doesn’t really give the small barn space the claustrophobically wild feeling an Amish-hosted rave should. But the events before and after offer up much more interesting pieces of story to chew on.
Lucas’s relationship with his new (and first) police department is clearly not something that will last too long. Job warns him that his identity is good “for now” (but there are an ex-wife and son mentioned, not good news), and Siobhan notices how terrible he is at filling out paperwork. His unorthodox and brutal tactics will only garner confused looks for so long, before the police underneath him start wondering why this guy from the west coast has no regard for the law – especially Brock, whose dickhead attitude is a bit cliched, but nonetheless provides some tension in a police department that mostly lets him operate as he wants, watching in awe.
Through two episodes, Banshee hasn’t done anything particularly impressive or ingenious – but its confidence and well-paced scripts make it an entertaining watch. It’s a show that plays loose with the rules of society, allowing rednecks to pull guns out at a sheriff regularly… the same head of law enforcement who beats a handcuffed guy in front of multiple people, of course. With a slowly-developing story arc, and some solid character actors in place (Frankie Faison, in particular), I’m interested where Banshee goes in the next eight episodes.
- Rebecca is a dirty little Amish girl who is the wordless, personality-free sex partner for Lucas in this episode. Being the daughter of an important Amish man will undoubtedly play into the rest of the season.
- I’m actually kind of glad the show doesn’t go out of its way to exasperate the mother/daughter relationship between Ana and Deva: she’s a rebellious teenage, whose grades are good enough to keep her out of trouble at school. do we really need any more than that?
- Proctor to Lucas regarding free kobe steaks (and the town): “Take care of that. It can go bad pretty fast.’ WINK, WINK.
- can we please move Job to Banshee?
- the idiotic Moody brothers shall return.
- Proctor likes his meat very, very rare… and does not waste any time getting to the point with people.
- Lucas ignores a call to his cell from Jason… who is this Jason?
- did anyone expect a post-credits scene? Odd decision, but the short scene works well there, although not really having any bearing on narrative or character.