From the creator of True Blood, Alan Ball, comes this non-supernatural crime thriller, Banshee. With only four seasons, it’s significantly shorter than most TV shows strive to be. In an age where shows try to drag out forgettable storylines, not to mention adding increasingly dark backstories to even their most innocent characters, Banshee has managed to maintain its focus from the first episode right unto the last.
Taking place two years after Season 3, former imposter Sheriff of the town of Banshee, Lucas Hood (Antony Starr, whose character’s real name is finally revealed in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment), has become a recluse since inadvertently destroying the lives of everyone he cares about at the end of Season 3. But one of his former conquests, Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons), is found dead with her heart cut out, marking him as a “person of interest”. And with a new lead on his kidnapped friend Job (Hoon Lee), Hood reunites with his former, and newly-single girlfriend Carrie (Ivana Milicevic), and sets off to find his missing friend and clear his name.
Like most final seasons, this one goes against the grain. Lucas Hood is no longer an imposter Sheriff, and his archnemeis Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is now the Mayor of Banshee. Right off the bat, you feel the sense of finality coming. Joining the cast is Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku), a crack-addicted FBI Agent determined on finding the serial killer. Adding new characters is one way to keep things interesting but it doesn’t always add to the story the way it should. While Eliza Dushku is entertaining, her character seems to have flaws for the sake of having flaws. She still chases criminals, gets herself kidnapped, needs to be saved, etc. The flaws should have an effect on the character’s arc in order to make them interesting and/or memorable. And when it’s a new character created for the final season, it shows the writers really didn’t have any ideas for her other than “hot FBI chick”, so they made her a crack addict. Lazy.
As for the other characters, their stories are brought to a close with relative comfort. Job is rescued but traumatized (at first). Sugar (Frankie Faison) ponders retirement. A growing Neo-Nazi organization is trying to take control of Kai Proctor’s operations. Carrie pursues the leaders of the drug operation responsible for getting her husband killed. And Hood and Dawson try to track down Rebecca Bowman’s murderer, which leads them to an underground Satanic cult whose leader has body-modified his forehead in order to have horns. Each storyline is wrapped up nicely (a little TOO nicely) with nary a surprise in sight.
Four seasons isn’t a lot. Less so when the seasons are 10 episodes or less. Regardless, Banshee wasn’t around long enough to lose itself, but also wasn’t daring enough to truly create an identity. The closing moments put an end to all of the major storylines. Unfortunately, since there were so few twists and revelations, you’re left in more of a “That’s it?” frame of mind. But Banshee, unlike True Blood, never overstayed its welcome. It’s just a shame that it’ll probably be forgotten after the credits roll.
3 out of 5