Culture of Pop

‘Banshee’ Finale Recap: ‘Bullets and Tears’ and Breakfast

Banshee’s finale effectively utilizes flashbacks throughout, something the series’ showrunners have mastered since Episode 1. We see a young Rabbit (or a Rabbit who is exactly the same but with dyed black hair—not that this is a complaint, I prefer it to using shadows or computers to obscure age) do Rabbit things—lovingly hold peoples’ faces, using formalities, then slitting the throat below the face he’s holding—in what we’d find out is 15 years plus the first two seasons’ worth of time previous to “now.”

Revelations are made: Oleg, Anastasia, Rabbit, and “Hood” chum it up over cigarettes, chess, and vodka; the longing we thought Oleg possessed for Ana becomes the longing we totally know Oleg possesses for Ana; Oleg and “Hood” bond in the most Banshee of ways—kicking the shit out of each other then laughing about it (“That was a good shot. I see stars.” “You crazy motherfucker.” “That’s why they pay me the big dollars!” crack up in unison); “Hood” was just as good at hand-to-hand combat as people paid to do it for protection even before his 15-year stint; no one in Rabbit’s crew can use (or at least think to use) a non-Ukrainian accent when tipping off the police; the soundless lovemaking scene between “Hood” and Ana that’s been interspersed throughout the series was their last sexual foray before the 15 years, and the conception of Deva; and the biggie, not that it’s a complete surprise: Rabbit set Ana and our hero up for withholding their relationship from him.

After two seasons catting it up too often from the sidelines, the finale (and the penultimate episode) gives us yet more reason to love Job. On top of his teaming up with Big Al (we’ll get to him, too) to save the day, Job’s badass credentials were furthered by the knowledge of his success as a transexual cabaret club owner, performer, defender against senseless hate, and his ability to take a punch (from the bumper of an NYC taxi driving way too fast in front of a church—although, as Big Al says, “This is one fucked up church”).

As for Big Al, what’s not to like? In typical Banshee form, he’s somewhat anomalous: the head of a Triad sect, black, an illegal arms dealer, badass, effeminate, jolly, and a lover of breakfast.

Once our team thwarts the goons and Rabbit’s brother, Ana and Hood find their target sitting in the church’s garden, where he married Ana’s mother, and where Hood and Ana probably should have started their search, no? He’s accepting of his impending doom, and apologetic: “I hope in death I can give you some of the peace I stole from you in life.” To which she’s appropriately cold, handing him a one-bulleted pistol and telling him “Time will tell.”

Although his character is crucial to the story, and actor Ben Cross did quite the fine job of looking threatening behind a put-on Ukrainian accent, I’m absolutely ready for Banshee without Rabbit. Despite being the “worst” of them, and setting up his own daughter, he’s the flattest of the show’s bads. His existence has been holding our leads from moving forward with their lives, and where they go from here has become one of the more intriguing parts of the show. How Hood reacts to his being absolved of Rabbital pressure will tell us (and hopefully him) more about him as a man, what he values, and how he’s changed since the start of his 15-year bid.

The last 15 minutes of the finale also give plenty reason to clear some space on the Banshee Bad Guy Shelf. After teetering in both directions, Rebecca seems to have finally tipped to Kai’s side, using her (over)abundance of feminine wile to seduce and reduce Alex to a bloody half naked pool in his office. Of course, her “evil” doesn’t come with its own complication: in the most rewatchable scene of the series, Rebecca saves Juliet’s life from the grasp of Burton’s neck wire just in time. Shot in slow motion, the scene floats music, an airy voice singing over reverb-y, Western-sounding electric guitar, which, when combined with the peculiarities of Banshee (the town) and its people, and its permanent cloud of violence and death, transported me to a bizarro, more serious Twin Peaks. Another note on Rebecca: since catching Juliet servicing Kai from her knees, his niece has had an obsession with dominating, or being “on top,” for lack of a better descriptor, as evidenced by her encounters with the real Hood’s son and elsewhere. She should be interesting to watch next season.

Speaking of interesting to watch and next season, the final note of the second season rings from the booming voice of Chayton Littlestone, fresh off handing out a merciless underground Fight Club beating. He’s found out Alex Longshadow is dead. And he sounds pissed. Which isn’t that big a deal because it seems to be his default setting. Still, next year should be fun to watch.

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