Episode Title: "Meet the New Boss"
Writers: Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler
Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Previously on "Banshee:"
In "Meet the New Boss," we learn a ton about Lucas Hood (Antony Starr). First off, he is "the new boss." And he will interpret that title as the right to break the bones and bite the flesh of any thug who challenges him. He’s also angry and not as "kind" as he used to be, according to the woman who loved him before he spent fifteen years in jail getting beat down and shanked on the regular. We also learn that Lucas Hood is not for sale and he has pretty bad judgment when it comes to choosing sexual partners.
To be clear, "Meet the Boss" was a great episode of "Banshee," a show about an ex-con impersonating a sheriff and attempting to clean up a small town run buy a corrupt Amish businessman. If that sounds good to you, then this episode was the best yet.
It’s still too early to place heavy judgment on "Banshee." Folks who don’t like sex and violence probably already have, however. This episode had tons of it. But there was also a little bit of story laced throughout.
In attempt to cash in on a burgeoning Indian casino, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) lured a high-profile cage fighter named Sanchez to the venue. A parody of every big-headed, hard-partying, womanizing prize fighter, Sanchez first got Sheriff Hood’s attention when he challenged him to a sparring session during an exhibition at the casino. Then he had to go and brutally rape and beat a casino waitress.
Proctor and Sanchez’ manager both tried to convince Hood to hold off on arresting their moneymaker until after the fight. And Hood did just that, giving Sanchez a career ending beating that was at moments hard to watch. Afterwards, Proctor stopped by Sugar’s bar to deliver more veiled threats and make it clear to Hood that he, not the Sheriff, runs Banshee.
But Hood isn’t afraid of Proctor and we can’t really blame him. So far, "Banshee’s" big bad is just your garden-variety money-hungry psychopath. We’ve seen this guy on countless other shows, except this time he’s Amish. The same can be said about "Mir. Rabbit" (Ben Cross) the soft-spoken Ukrainian criminal mastermind who enjoys sipping tea and starring intently at a chessboard for hours. Even Proctor’s bowtied, bespeckled enforcer seems way too familiar, especially if you remember Brother Mouzone from "The Wire."
And this is where it’s easy to feel conflicted about "Banshee." There’s a lot of potential in the premise, but so far, the characters aren’t living up to it. "Meet the Boss," with it’s cringe-worthy violence and gratuitous sex was certainly an intense spectacle, but does it matter to the story?
A couple things that might matter are the fact that Carrie/Anastasia (Ivana Milicevic) is Mr. Rabbit’s daughter, but as of right now it only makes their relationship that much harder to believe. Also, Rebecca the "Amish Girl Gone Wild" is Proctor’s niece and there may or may not be some creepy sexual tension between them. Oh and a security guard at the casino got Hood’s annihilation of Sanchez on video and now it’s on YouTube. Remember what I said about fake sheriffs in the Internet age? I’m glad to see "Banshee" go there and not rely on its Pennsylvania Dutch setting as an excuse to keep Sheriff Hood from being Googled.
Seeing as we’re still putting roots down in "Banshee," I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here. We still don’t know much about the town, despite the fact that it’s the show’s namesake. And all we really know about the two men attempting to run is that they’re both loners who’ve alienated the people they love the most. In fact, they may have more in common than they realize. "You’re delusional and dangerous," Hood told Proctor at the end of hour – this coming from the fake sheriff. As these two characters prepare to destroy each other, hopefully they’ll bring out the best in each other – or at least something we haven’t seen before.