“I knew guys like Wicks in prison. Guys that never stop digging graves for themselves.”—Sugar
It wasn’t going out on a limb to guess that Friday’s installment of Banshee wasn’t about the process of making candles, but I can honestly say that I wasn’t prepared for the intensity “Wicks” had to offer.
Wicks is the name of a prisoner who knew Lucas while in jail and, through a series of flashbacks, we’re shown that Lucas is indebted to him and it’s time to pay up.
When Lucas was thrown in prison, Mr. Rabbit promised that Lucas would have it rough every day that he was incarcerated. He was beaten within an inch of his life by a large albino (who kind of resembled a younger Jeff Goldblum) and more beatings would follow regardless of whether Lucas gave into him. Wicks ended up giving him advice on how to tackle the problem, eventually providing him with a shiv as a weapon.
Turns out Lucas didn’t need the shiv and ended up taking the albino down in a fight even more brutal than the one against Sanchez in “Meet The New Boss”.
What about Wicks? Well, turns out Sugar knows his stuff because Wicks ended up digging his own grave—this time without taking those around him down*.
*The situation with Wicks reminded me of the Sopranos’ episode “All Happy Families…” in which Tony had to deal with a similar problem created by “Feech” La Manna. In each instance, the ex-con was a thorn in the side of the main character and had to be dealt with without making waves. Obviously, in this case, Wicks wouldn’t be missed so he was a thorn that could be removed a little more easily.
Of course, “Wicks” has plenty more to offer with: Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) blackmailing a local reverend for his land and Carrie struggling to decide whether or not to offer Lucas up to her father (criminal mastermind Mr. Rabbit) as well as worrying about her son and trying to keep her family together.
Even though I have to DVR it because Friday night isn’t the most optimal viewing time for my busy schedule, I look forward to Banshee each and every week. I give kudos first and foremost to Jonathan Tropper & David Schickler for their wonderful scripts that feel like an old fashioned dime store pulp novel taken to the highest level. The dialogue is sharp and the story moves rapidly, even in the quieter moments. I never feel as if a scene exists as only “filler” meant to pad the episode. Rather, the writers and showrunner Greg Yaitanes have a clear focus on where the story is going (including where it’s been as evident from the flashbacks).
Credit also has to be given to the amazing cast who continue to be impressive. Antony Starr vacillates between raw intensity and thoughtful introspection as he struggles to overcome everything that’s thrown at him. Ivana Milicevic is wonderful as the tormented Carrie (aka Anastasia) as she is torn between her passion for Lucas and her newfound security as the strong matriarch of her suburban family. Frankie Faison hits the perfect note as the sage ex-con who offers Lucas advice on how to deal with his latest problem.
And that’s just scratching the surface without even mentioning everyone else who plays a part in making Banshee one of the most exciting series on right now. There’s always a nice balance of quiet moments that serve to both enhance the drama and offset the sheer brutality that allows Banshee to provide that jolt of adrenaline so badly needed in this current television season.
Banshee can be seen on Cinemax every Friday night at 10/9pm central.