Banshee: The Complete Fourth SeasonOverview -
The final season takes place two years after Lucas gave up his badge after a bloody, multimillion-dollar heist at the Camp Genoa Marine Base which proved costly: Carrie's husband Gordon was killed, and Lucas's longtime computer-hacker partner, Job, was abducted by a shady criminal ring. After settling a score with a "recruiter" from Lucas's past whom he hoped would have intel on Job, Lucas went on a bender before being rescued by an unlikely savior, Proctor's niece. Emerging from a self-imposed exile, Lucas returns to Banshee to find it a changed town. Brock Lotus is now sheriff, Kai Proctor is the mayor, and the old "Cadi" police station has been replaced by a state-of the-art facility. A new deputy with ties to Proctor, Nina Cruz, has joined Brock's team, along with Kurt Bunker, the skinhead-turned-deputy who continues to make amends for his dark past while fighting the racist overtures of the group led by his younger brother Calvin. After reuniting with Carrie, their daughter Deva, and ex-boxer Sugar Bates, Lucas becomes immersed in a new Banshee crisis: rooting out a vicious serial murderer whose latest victim is someone near and dear to his heart.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
"I don't know what it is about this town, Bunker. What geographic phenomenon makes us a magnet for every scumbag and criminal east of the Mississippi. But what I do know is that to do this job, sometimes, you've got to take off these badges and get bloody."
If a show knows what it is, doesn't try to be anything more, and just goes for it, that alone can go a long way towards winning over fans. 'Banshee' knows exactly what kind of show it is. It's 100% pure action movie schlock applied to a television series. Imagine a world where Cannon films endured and the Golan/Globus touch had been applied to television shows. 'Banshee' would be the sort of show they would produce. It's fun. It's cornball. It's engrossing. But you dare not take it seriously. For better or worse, the peculiar world of Banshee Pennsylvania has trudged on and has come to a close with this Fourth Season. Season Three was fun and goofy but it also showed the strain of its concept. Thankfully, Season Four finds a way to hook in its devoted audience one last time and then treat them to what is perhaps the most ridiculous villain of the entire series for a fitting sendoff to an entertaining show.
After the disastrous heist of millions of dollars in cash at the armory, Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and his crew were left with Job (Hoon Lee) kidnapped, Carrie's husband Gordon murdered, and the Amish-turned-gangster Kai Proctor intact. The Redbones may have been stopped, but Hood has lost all sense of hope. Eighteen months later, Hood is a bearded recluse secretly living in an old cabin on Proctor's land. Hood would rather have nothing to do with the outside world accept Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) accidentally finds him. Since he has no evidence of Hood actually being a crack thief, Brock would be content to leave the man well enough alone, accept, there has been a series of grizzly murders of young women who have had their hearts ripped out. And because the last victim had Hood's cabin punched into her car's GPS days before her death, Hood is the prime suspect. Normally Hood wouldn't care given the current state of affairs, but when the latest victim turns out to be Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons), Hood can't help but get involved with the investigation.
When Hood returns to town, he sees a lot of changes. Banshee is thriving, but it's struggling under a lot of the same weight. While the local police have a fancy new Sheriff's Department to work out of, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is now mayor of the city and as such, has a finger in every pie in town. Whether someone is trying to open up a legal and healthy business or if it's maintaining the strained connection with the Neo-Nazi Brotherhood under the leadership of Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) or aligning with the Columbian cartels, Proctor is slowly strangling Banshee to death. While Hood may not have had anything to do with Rebecca's murder, he's not going to stop until he finds her killer - even if that means dealing with the burnout crack addict FBI Agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku), rescuing Job from a black site torture facility, and stopping Carrie's vigilante raids on Proctor. However, even Hood isn't prepared to deal with the full wrath of a murderous Satanist cult lead by the diabolical Declan Bode (Frederick Weller).
If you've made it through this far in the run of Cinemax's 'Banshee,' then you're probably right in the wheelhouse of this show and that absurdity of that story breakdown shouldn't be much of a surprise to you. "Subtle" has never been a word to describe 'Banshee.' The show has always been gloriously over the top in every single way. Looking back at all four seasons, this show's ending villain being a Satanist with horn implants sounds perfectly normal when your primary bad guy is an Amish gangster. Had 'Banshee' been a movie, it would have come out in the 80s and starred Chuck Norris. As an audience member you don't really line up to watch this show for its quality writing and rich characters, you're there because there is no place on earth where this much cliched tough-guy action plot can take place.
That isn't to say that this show is all schlock and awe. In point of fact, 'Banshee' is actually incredibly well written. It's ridiculous for sure, but the characters are richly drawn with their own intricate little plot threads that weave together into this glorious shag carpet of a plot. You want to find out what happens next for each and every person, but you're not as emotionally invested as you would be with other shows. With 'Banshee' you're not being asked to empathize with these characters because to be perfectly frank, that's impossible. You're here to sit back, kick your feet up, enjoy the ride, and then go about your day. Thankfully, the plot thread of murdered women and the investigation into the death of Rebecca proves to reinvigorate the show after the sagging third season. The first few episodes actually play out like an Agatha Christie murder mystery run through a bit of 'Twin Peaks' where it runs down the entire cast and how virtually any of them would have means and motive for killing the girl. Then long about episode five the show remembers what it is at heart and pins it on Satanists. I know that sounds like a spoiler of sorts, but I mean, come on, this is 'Banshee' we're talking about here. It wasn't ever going to play things straight.
As the final outing for the show, Season Four is bitter-sweet. On one hand, I'm glad to see that the show is going out on its own terms and on a strong note, but at the same time, I'm a bit sad to see it go. This was a fun ride of 38 episodes and as the show goes out on what is possibly the most ridiculous-yet-incredibly-fun seasons of its entire run, I was ready for another eight or ten episodes by the time the end credits rolled for the final time. If you haven't given 'Banshee' a try and you have a thing for schlocky action-dramas, this show is for you. It certainly isn't highbrow entertainment, but it is good entertainment and you'll get your money's worth.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Banshee: The Final Season' arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. All ten episodes are spread out between three Region A locked BD50 discs. All three discs arrive housed in an eco-friendly three-disc case with identical slip cover artwork. The reverse side of the artwork provides an episode listing with bonus feature information. Each disc opens directly to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. Also included is a Digital HD voucher slip.
One thing that has always been impressive about 'Banshee' on Blu-ray has been the impressive video transfers, and the 1.78:1 1080p transfers for season four is perhaps the best of the entire show. As the show was shot digitally, the image bathes in fine details. From the scruffy neckbeards to the intricate tattoos, to the lush green scenery, everything is on display for a near demo-worthy presentation. Colors are robust yet muted giving the show an earthy grey tone to reflect the darker themes. Primaries remain intact allowing for plenty of pop and presence. Black levels are, for the most part, spot on and provide the image an incredible sense of three-dimensional depth. Sporadically throughout the show, I spotted what must have been late pickup shots that were done in front of green screens because suddenly a reverse shot would look strangely out of place as if the background lacked all depth. Thankfully these are only brief moments but they're odd and out of place just the same. The only thing I can hit the transfer for is the occasional bit of video noise, nothing too intrusive but it pops up from time to time. Otherwise, this is a near-flawless presentation.
Just as equally impressive as the video transfers are the English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mixes provided for each episode of 'Banshee.' What really struck me with this season's audio mix was the impressive sense of space and atmosphere. While the dialogue is front and center and easy to hear throughout, it's the little background effects that really made the audio mixes come to life. From rustling grass and leaves at Hood's rustic cabin to the spacious and busy Sheriff's office, each scene has a life-like presence to it. This season also had a better balance to it between the quieter conversational moments and the over-the-top action beats. The mix handles the jumps well without any distortion or to so sudden that you need to adjust your levels to compensate. Obviously, the shootouts and the fight sequences are the main highlight of the show and the audio never fails to deliver.
Banshee Origins: (HD 26:09) If you're new to the show choosing to jump in right at the end of the run, this is an invaluable little catch up bonus feature. Just the same, you really should start at season one.
Zoomed In: (HD 6:26) Your typical EPK material, but at the same time, the cast and crew enthusiasm for this season's story is infectious.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 00:46) Very brief character trait moments that were cut for time more than anything.
Audio Commentary: Episode 6: Creator, Writer, and Executive Producer Jonathan Tropper and Executive Producer and Writer Adam Targum give a solid commentary for this episode. I wish they'd done more commentaries for the episodes leading up to this one as there is a lot going on that comes to a head here, but this is still a good listen to hear where they're coming from.
Zoomed In: (HD 6:30) More EPK material , but still entertaining and informative if it is a bit too brief.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 7:43) These are all from episode four, and there is a lot of material that didn't make the final cut. Not all of it was very relevant, but it was still pretty good stuff.
Audio Commentary: Episode 8: As the final episode of the show, it's kind of a bummer to hear Jonathan Tropper and Greg Yaitanes for the final time. These guys were an awesome guiding forcer for the show and managed to bring it home in style.
Zoomed In: (HD 5:09) Continuing with the EPK style features, a lot of good character material comes through. I wish this had been more expansive, but even for just a few minutes there is a lot of relevant material.
Deleted Scene: (HD 1:03) It's a good character moment for Hood, but extraneous just the same and understandable why it didn't make the final cut.
'Banshee' was one hell of a ride. It's got action, it's got over the top melodrama, crazy villains, it was a show that harkened back to a bygone era of entertainment. While I'm glad to see that the show goes out on a high note, it's also bittersweet to know it's over. I could have gone for another season. But then, who knows? Revival series are all the rage right now, who knows what a couple of years will bring. HBO Home Entertainment brings 'Banshee: The Final Season' to Blu-ray in fine order with a stunning A/V/ presentation and some worthwhile extra features. Obviously, you should start at Season One, but this Final Season is a winner all around and fans should be more than happy to have it on disc. Recommended.
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