If there’s one thing Banshee‘s done well in the first half of its freshman season, it’s capturing tension. Part of this is inherent from the premise: having a show about big lies and secrets essentially makes the narrative a ticking time bomb, with small explosions scattered about when these secrets inevitably come to light. Banshee‘s done a great job playing with this, slowly teasing out little clues that shit is edging ever so closely to the fan.
‘The Kindred’ explores the facades of every character, and displays the little cracks appearing in each one of them. Ana gets attacked by a dirty biker, but leaves Siobhan wondering how the hell a housewife could eject the magazine from a handgun. If there’s one character whose walls are closing in, it’s Ana’s: her husband notices her chatting alone with Lucas at the end of the episode, and her little spat with the ‘PTA twat’ show that her hidden identity is really wearing thin, now that her old boyfriend (and mother of her oldest child, by the way) is back in town.
While it’s most apparent with Ana, it happens to every other major character as well: Siobhan learns her tough exterior isn’t helping her -it’s making her naive, and nearly costs her her life when the motorcycle gang causing havoc in the episode burn her house down (on her birthday!). It also seems like ‘The Kindred’ firmly establishes Siobhan as a key supporting player: after Lucas delivers the rings of every gang member to her desk as a birthday gift, she becomes the first person who is simultaneously questioning Lucas and Ana: Ana’s husband merely suspects an affair, not a full-blown conspiracy.
Rebecca’s desire not to be Amish, Proctor parading around like the enforcer of the town… the veil is lifted a bit for each of the characters in ‘The Kindred’ – and although the episode is basically a shit ton of set-up for the rest of the season to follow, it elevates an otherwise tepid episode with some interesting (if not very subtle) character work. With FBI Agent Xavier in town smelling something underneath all the cow shit in Banshee, the events of ‘The Kindred’ show that the status quo of the show isn’t going to remain intact for too long . Even on a pulpy show like Banshee, disappearing bodies, evidence, and informants is going to draw some serious attention.
Other thoughts/observations (short review, so I have a bunch):
- Sugar makes a mean cider, and seems eager to give it out for free.
- Johnny Weeks sighting: the guy with the beard and Lennon glasses is Leo Fitzpatrick.
- One thing the show needs to establish more: why Rebecca wants to remain Amish. She seems rebellious enough to just say fuck it and walk away: why does she stay?
- Siobhan lets out an eye-rollingly bad bit about “when you sleep over, it won’t be to protect me” to Lucas. A very forced moment in what was mostly a fairly subdued episode.
- if you tune into Banshee for the brutal violence, you might be a little disappointed with ‘The Kindred’.
- Did Siobhan get her scar from Proctor? I can’t find in my notes if that was mentioned in the pilot or not.
- The Proctor/Lucas/Mayor town hall meeting scene was a lot of empty posturing: Lucas and Proctor are basically arguing for the same point (keep the fair going)… why the need to exchange all the dramatic looks?
- only in Banshee is the murder of a young girl the inspiration for a festival. A nice touch of atmosphere to an otherwise bland town (which is basically hicksville, with a few shots of “hey, look, Amish people!” thrown in for color).
- Proctor is being cut out of the casino deal, which means someone is probably going to be getting cut in violent ways. Just guessing.
- Matt Servitto is so great at playing grumpy – he’s great in his few scenes getting pissed at the FBI (because that’s what EVERY COP feels about getting help from the federal government).
- Ana shooting juice boxes is a terrific representation of her behavior literally blowing holes in her sweet, sugary story of happy housewife.
- Siobhan kills her first man, celebrates her birthday, and watches her home burn down in one of the most convenient convergence of life events.