Continuing with my sneak preview reviews of Banshee - this time, episode 2.3, set to air January 24, 2014 - courtesy of a screener disk provided by HBO/Cinemax. As always, these reviews will deal in generalities and avoid specific spoilers.
Among the highlights of Banshee 2.3:
- The action picks up - if that's possible, given the intense action including beatings in every episode of Banshee - but episode 2.3 has a flat-out brutal murder, and thus sets in motion something of a classic whodunnit. Suspects abound.
- The conflict between the Indians (Alex) and Amish (Proctor) picks up. And, in fact, this is one of the best Amish episodes we've seen in a while, and maybe in the entire series.
- Come to think about it, it's one of the best Kinaho tribe episodes, too.
- Hood gets the worst unexpected jolt in the series thus far regarding the maintenance of his false identity.
- But Hood also gets yet more good loving.
Getting back to the Amish, the situation of Banshee in an Amish community has to some extent been an untapped resource in the story. Proctor is of course a major character, and one my favorites - as is Rebecca - but their Amish background is just that, background, and certainly in Proctor's case he could be just another mob boss with a strong code of ethics. In episode 2.3, we finally get significant focus on the Amish community, because it figures so centrally in the murder.
The set-up of a town with an Amish as well as native American population may seem a little much in the abstract - are there any towns in reality which actually have this duality? - but the double barrel works well in Banshee, and provides a compelling foundation for the tension and violence that erupts in every episode. I like these stories a little better than the neo-Nazis and even more than the Rabbit story which played such a central role in the first season and will no doubt return in the second. But, so far, I'm enjoying the second season of Banshee even more than the first, which is saying a lot, since the first was outstanding.
And I'll be back here between January 24 and 31st with my sneak preview review of episode 2.4.