Banshee (2013-2016) Full Series Review



Banshee is one of the all-time great action shows that knew to not outstay its welcome giving us brutal action scenes throughout 4 amazing seasons; some things may not have been perfect but the fact that I miss the characters and wonder what they’re doing now just shows how invested you can get in the show. Banshee is a must watch for genre fans.

I know I’m rather late to the party but I have just watched all 4 seasons of Banshee after having it recommended by several people. It was worth the wait too as Banshee is one of the best action shows of all time. So I’m going to go through each season and there will be major spoilers throughout so if you haven’t seen the show then best not bother reading any further.

Season 1

Plot: Banshee takes place in the fictional small town of Banshee, Pennsylvania. After serving 15 years in prison for stealing diamonds from Ukrainian gangster Rabbit (Ben Cross), the unnamed protagonist (Antony Starr) travels to Banshee to find his heist accomplice and former lover, Anastasia (Ivana Miličević). When he finds her, the protagonist learns that she is now a married mother of two living under the assumed identity of Carrie Hopewell. Later, when the incoming Sheriff is killed, the protagonist takes on his identity as Lucas Hood, becoming the town’s new Sheriff, using his own brand of unorthodox methods. Banshee sees Hood struggle with adapting to his new identity while dealing with the machinations of local crime lord Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), and remaining hidden from Rabbit.

Review: I knew very little of Banshee when I started watching it and I’m pleased that I managed to avoid anything being spoiled so I went in completely fresh and I can happily admit that this is one of the most intense and engaging first seasons of any show I’ve seen.

We need to see more of Antony Starr on our screens as he is immediately appealing in Banshee as an unnamed protagonist who takes on the mantle of “Hood”; although he’s a career criminal who has spent his life stealing he still manages to be sympathetic but a complete badass at the same time. It’s like he’s addicted to danger and can’t keep out of trouble; the town of Banshee was quiet before he came along but no matter where he goes or what he does violence is never far away. When he assumes the identity of Sheriff Hood he then proceeds to bang practically every chick in town which provides a surprising amount of laughs as he can just be standing there and a woman looks at him and he’ll say “… and you are?” – cut to them having sex.

Despite that Hood only loves one person; as stated in the synopsis it’s all about Anastasia (now called Carrie), his former lover and accomplice who is now married to another man with kids. She is the real reason he has come to Banshee and everything he does is because of his love for her. Despite all the casual sex and violence Banshee is actually a love story but don’t let that put you off. There are fight scenes in every episode which are usually brutally violent featuring lots of blood and broken limbs. Hood seems to relish every fight nearly laughing any time he is hit almost like he gets off on it.

The supporting cast are all excellent too with the likes of the amazing Frankie Faison playing local barkeep Sugar who allows Hood to stay in a room next to the bar. His life is so much more interesting with Hood around and he is just a good soul looking for a bit of action. Then we have Job (Hoon Lee) who practically steals every episode with his foul mouthed and hilarious rants; he’s the brains behind the operations and a master with computers so if someone needs hacked Job is who you want to talk to.

Kai Proctor is one of my favourite characters as he is utterly despicable and yet you still kinda like him anyway as he is so charismatic; his bow-tie wearing henchman Burton is also rather creepy and every bit as ruthless.

Although Proctor is a villain he isn’t the big bad of the show (so far); Carrie/Anastasia’s father Rabbit (Ben Cross from Undisputed 2) has never forgiven her or Hood for stealing from him so he has been hunting them which will of course lead up to an inevitable and bloody showdown.

The one person I haven’t been able to take to is Carrie/Anastasia who manages to betray absolutely everyone she knows including her own father, Hood and her husband. She is at least rather attractive and gets naked regularly so that’s always a plus.

The local police officers Emmett, Brock and Siobhan Kelly are all good people and even better cops but when Hood comes to town their lives are all changed forever and not necessarily for the better. Brock resents him immediately as he feels he should have been Sheriff so there is always an undercurrent of tension between them both. Brock is arguably the true blue hero of the show; although he has his own baggage, in his heart he is a good man who only wants what is best for the town.

This show isn’t good for my blood pressure as at times it can get really intense so it isn’t for the faint of heart. The violence can be pretty shocking at times and there is an entire episode featuring Carrie fighting one of her father’s goons which is arguably one of the best episodes.

In terms if flaws I find Deva Hopewell irritating and she never becomes remotely sympathetic but she is only a minor character and doesn’t distract from the bigger picture… yet.

Overall, if you’re looking for classic action television then check out Banshee; it has great characters, plenty of brutal action and attractive (rarely clothed) women. What’s not to like? Now on to Season 2…

Season 2

Plot: In season 2 an ex-con who assumes the identity of a lawman named Lucas Hood. An FBI special agent who opens an investigation for the shootout between Hood and Czar Rabbit. Carrie, tries to patch up things with husband Gordon, and daughter. A horrific murder triggers problem between the Amish community and the Kinaho tribe. During the investigation, Lucas and his deputies confront gang of Kinaho bikers. Proctor takes matters into his own hands and delivers a peace offering to the Kinaho in hopes of cooling off the hostilities between the two groups. Lucas and Carrie head to New York, for a final showdown with Rabbit.

Review: Season 2 is every bit as intense as the first season as we get more flashbacks to Hood’s time in prison but in present day Hood has settled into his job as Sheriff but now Carrie is sent to prison for 30 days after the events of last season. As always it will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what awful thing will happen next…

I personally thought the Rabbit storyline should have finished in Season 1; Carrie/Anastasia shooting him was perfect and that was the right way to end it rather than dragging it out into this season. It is finally resolved this time though so Season 3 will give us a new villain… I hope.

So there is no new big bad but the enmity between Hood and Proctor builds up and Hood essentially declares war and wants to take him down once and for all. This is because Proctor kills a boy who is the real Sheriff Hood’s son after he catches him having sex with his niece Rebecca, who is basically the town slut who sleeps with anyone. She really is very attractive though and her character develops in this season as she is taken in by Proctor and slowly begins to turn to the Dark Side.

Ulrich Thomsen really is fantastic as Proctor as once again you are aware he is a complete monster and yet you still want him to stick around as he is such an interesting character. There is one scene when he is in prison and his estranged mother comes to visit him and it’s one of the most moving scenes of the entire series.

There are various other side stories like the murder of a local native girl who had been having a forbidden love affair with an Amish boy and we are introduced to Chayton Littlestone who is likely going to come back for more in Season 3.

There are of course several highly intense episodes with some action although I found the fight scenes weren’t as prominent this time around. I think a highlight though was a certain decapitation by truck which was simply beautiful…

Emmett’s story was particularly devastating as he and his wife face off against some local Neo-Nazis which proves for hard viewing at times especially the attack on his wife (who is pregnant at the time). Emmett’s retribution is swift and satisfying but only temporarily as we know the Nazis won’t let things be.

While watching Banshee I was thinking if I was Native American I’d be pretty pissed off as they really aren’t portrayed positively in it at all; they are shown as untrustworthy or criminals and Alex Longshadow especially is never remotely sympathetic. Nola may be nice looking but she is rather psychotic and also not someone you would root for.

It all builds up to a relatively satisfying finale and not everyone will survive to see season 3 however, I’m intrigued to see where the story goes next.

Overall, Season 2 feels a bit like filler at times with the Rabbit storyline unnecessarily dragged out but it is at least resolved once and for all and has enough action to entertain so Season 3 can start off fresh.

Season 3

Plot: Season 3 of this crime drama continues to chronicle the exploits of an ex-con who assumes the identity of a lawman named Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) in the small, out-of-the-way town of Banshee, in Pennsylvania. The season opens with Lucas hoping to land a risky new job, after the death of Rabbit (Ben Cross). Nola (Odette Annable) returns to Banshee and confronts Burton. The FBI show and threaten to expose Hood’s secret. The station is attacked by Chayton (Geno Segers) and the Redbones, leading to an all-out war.

Review: Season 3 may well be my favourite with almost too many highlights to mention; there are technically two big bads this season (not including Proctor) – Chayton Littlestone who was introduced in season 2 and Col. Douglas (Langley Krikwood); both of which will test our “heroes” to their limits. Chayton is one of the more interesting villains of this show as he has a strange code of honour and his main goal is wanting to elevate his tribe above what he considers the oppression of the white man. He is an absolute massive bear of a man with one of the coolest voices in television however, unfortunately Chayton is also a complete psychopath who kills anyone in his way so even major cast members aren’t safe. That’s one of the many great things about this show is that even if it’s one of the leads they could still be killed at any time so it always keeps you on your toes.

There are some superlative action scenes in this season which still manages to shock with some of the most graphic violence of any TV shows; watch as Burton faces off against Nola Longshadow in episode 3 in a vicious fight. This results in Nola having her windpipe torn out which was incredibly satisfying as she was so utterly hateful that they never made her remotely sympathetic so when she dies we actually cheer. Then in episode 5 it goes all Assault on Precinct 13 as Chayton attacks the police station which as the synopsis says leads to all-out war with terrible consequences.

I thought Langely Kirkwood was perfectly cast as the slightly deranged Col. Douglas as he has such an intense demeanor where he looks like he will crack and kill you at any time. When Hood and his crew rob his base he has a total meltdown leading to an impressive and intense showdown.

The final episode also has an epic shoot-out at an army base but more importantly it has David Harbour who I had no idea was in this show as a mysterious CIA type –  he’s great at these types of roles too…

Once again Kai Proctor is a superb character who seems to be having a sort of redemption arc in this season as he starts having relations with Brock’s ex-wife… which is short-lived and he eventually realizes the type of man he really is and his moment of acceptance has him practically transform into the Devil incarnate. His niece Rebecca sadly doesn’t get naked in this season (boo!) and is very much becoming Kai’s protégé learning the ways of his business however, she tends to cause more harm than good affecting the relationships between Proctor and his clients.

We are introduced to a new character called Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) who is a former Neo-Nazi who wants to join the police force; everyone judges him by his shocking tattoos but the show challenges us to see past that which was incredibly ballsy; after all how can we root for someone who was a part of a Brotherhood of hate? Pelphrey really is a revelation in this show as he brings such intensity to Kurt that he is truly mesmerizing any time he is on screen.

At this point in the series you have to start thinking that Sheriff Hood has to die in the end; he really doesn’t deserve happiness as pretty much every bad thing that happens in this town is a direct result of him being there so he remains the same shit magnet he always was. Antony Starr is fantastic though and I still say we need to see him in more movies and TV shows.

Overall, Season 3 is an absolute knockout with moments of utter devastation both emotionally and in terms of action; it’s as intense as ever leaving us with a massive cliffhanger so I need to watch Season 4 ASAP…

Season 4

Plot: Series 4 of this crime drama continues to chronicle the exploits of an ex-con who assumes the identity of a lawman named Lucas Hood in the small, out-of-the-way town of Banshee, in Pennsylvania. The series opens with Lucas returning to Banshee after two years, unable to find Jobe, to look for a serial killer.

Review: And so we come to the fourth and final season of Banshee; I spread out watching this season a little for the simple fact that I didn’t want it to end. I’ll miss Hood, Proctor, Job, Sugar and co.; what adventures they had and I have to admit this show ended perfectly. Everything is tidied up nicely so nothing is left unanswered making it one of the most profoundly satisfying finales to any TV series of recent times.

This season takes place about 20 months after the events of season 3 and has a very different feel from the other seasons; the key theme here being grief/mourning as everyone has lost so much.

We start off with Brock (now Sheriff) going into a cabin in the woods only to discover a very dishevelled Hood complete with huge beard and long hair. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it as I hated seeing Hood so broken but then you have to think of course he would be devastated after everything he has had to go through and witness in his life. Side note: It’s funny how even by the time the end credits role we still never find out his real name so he remains as enigmatic as ever.

Then we find out that Proctor’s niece Rebecca has been murdered and Hood is the only suspect. As always things go from bad to worse but we eventually find out that there is a serial killer in town who is good buddies with Satan and likes to sacrifice girls in sadistic rituals. The tone is unlike what has come before and it’s arguably the grimmest season but Banshee was never an easy watch always pushing the boundaries of on-screen violence.

I did find that Hood himself didn’t really have that much to do this time; he is no longer the Sheriff and very much on the periphery as he reluctantly teams up with FBI agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku) as they hunt for Rebecca’s killer. Dawson herself seems a little crazy but also has her own demons, once again proving that Banshee is almost like purgatory where people come to pay some sort of penance for past misdeeds.

Job (Hoon Lee) is still missing after being taken at the end of Season 3 but I was surprised that Hood gave up looking for him so quickly but that is one of the many things that has frankly damaged his psyche. Obviously they find out where Job is and rescue him but Hoon Lee is the true revelation of this season; he genuinely looks like has has gone through Hell and the scenes where he is being tortured are almost unbearable to watch as you feel like you are right there with him. Job rapidly became one of my favourite characters and his banter with Sugar provided some of the much needed humour.

Proctor is now the mayor of Banshee and is working with the local Brotherhood to distribute drugs but one local nutjob called Calvin Bunker has a problem with the Brotherhood “selling out” and wants to take charge by any means necessary. Chris Coy plays Calvin as completely unhinged barely hanging on to his sanity by a thread and you know he is going to snap and when it does it doesn’t disappoint. His brother Kurt (Tom Pelphrey) as we know is one of the local cops so their relationship is strained at best… it doesn’t help that Kurt happens to be banging Calvin’s wife behind his back so we know by the end of this season the brothers will have a showdown for the ages.

I love the character of Burton (Matthew Rauch) who I’ve finally decided reminds me of Smithers while Proctor is Mr. Burns. Burton is a little more sinister than the Simpsons character however, and is a total badass who is mostly unstoppable during some of the awesome fight scenes. His bow-tie, dead eyes and cold demeanor just make him all the more scary and he remains one of the shows best characters. In Banshee: Origins he has a great scene with Sugar as he recollects his father’s favourite song and we are given just a glimpse of his backstory.

You can tell the show is winding down this season as it lacks the spectacular action of the previous ones (at least for the first few episodes); there are still plenty of beatdowns and as I said the final episode doesn’t let you down so by the time the end credits role your blood-lust should at least be (temporarily) satiated.

Overall, season 4 of Banshee may be 2 episodes shorter than the other seasons but it wraps up everything perfectly so you’d be hard pushed to find anything disappointing aside from maybe Hood being more of a background character but that’s just a minor niggle in yet another quality season.

Banshee: Origins

Origins was the web series that ran while the main show was on and was the “story before the story” giving us some great character moments before “Hood” (or “John Smith” as he calls himself) comes to the town of Banshee; it provides a little more backstory into his time in prison including an episode called “Birthday” where he talks with his cellmate about getting out. My favourite episodes however, give us Sugar’s story as we discover he really had a close friendship with Proctor who came to visit him when he was in prison. It once again makes Proctor a far more interesting character as he was never just a one note villain. There are more episodes none of which provide much more in the way of action but more character details are always welcome so this fills in some of the blanks and is a welcome addition to the show.

To sum up Banshee is one of the greatest action TV series of all time with fantastic characters who are always unpredictable and never dull. The action is as brutal as it gets with some really imaginative kills and stunning set-pieces. If you’re looking for a new show to binge watch then I suggest paying a visit to Banshee as you won’t want to leave.