Pulp heaven.

I’d like to say Banshee is the best show you’ve never heard of, but by now it’s probably safe to say that there’s enough of a cult following to free it from “hidden gem” status. As it enters the home stretch, Banshee: The Complete Third Season shows why it’s top of the food chain when it comes to small screen noir pulp.

The story so far: Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), one-time felon turned Banshee sheriff, continues his masquerade as a lawman — all while eyeing “that one last score.” His allegiances are stretched when he develops a legitimate relationship with his one of his deputies, testing his commitment to the heist life.

Meanwhile, Carrie (Ivana Milicevic), Lucas’s former flame and daughter of the vi vicious gangster Rabbit (the Big Bad of the last two seasons) is living estranged from her family, working a crap job at a diner and banging a deranged Army colonel in her spare time. And back in Amish gangster land, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) maneuvers to tighten his grip on the lucrative criminal enterprises in Banshee.

But everything is set to go up in flames when a psychopathic tribal leader from the Redbones gang goes on the literal warpath, bringing death and violence to Lucas and his friends — which in turn ushers Lucas into a new vortex of brutality.

Which translated into: damn fine TV! Oh yes, believe it: Banshee: The Complete Third Season delivers everything fans of the show have come to love about this over-the-top masterpiece. In fact, there are two episodes contained within this overall-great offering that represent the finest the show has to offer, both on the pulpy guilty pleasure end and the you-know-forget-the-bloodshed-and-nudity-this-show-is-genuinely-good side.

“A Fixer of Sorts”
Lucas finds himself in the clutches of a morbidly obese gangster who travels in the back of a tractor trailer, while also dealing with a rogue FBI agent who knows his secret, while withstanding torture from a thug using something that looks like an electrified Power Glove. Meanwhile, one of the all-time greatest fights ever choreographed transpires in Kai’s driveway. All of this in about 50 minutes of runtime, a quintessential Banshee episode filled with over-the-top colorful villains and gore. Pulpy. Guilty. Pleasure.

And…

“Tribal”
The greatest Banshee episode to date and some of the finest episodes of television you will ever see. It’s essentially “Assault on Precinct 13” with some surprisingly effective emotional gut-punches. Plus it introduces Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) in a big way, a reformed Nazi looking for a job as a cop. Top-grade TV all around.

These two episodes are worth investing in this season by themselves, but, thankfully, there’s even more meat on the bone. I won’t divulge anything, but the Redbones conflict, Proctor’s (oft-bloody) politicking and that psycho colonel play prominent roles, all leading to a compelling final scene — and some intense anticipation for the series swan song.

Banshee is a show that pops in HD, but if DVD is your only option, it will suffice. The standard-def set serves up all episodes in 1.78:1 widescreen, joined by a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. The generous amount of extras include: “zoomed in” mini-featurettes, segments on the fighting choreography, the iconic title sequence and the big, violent finale, deleted scenes, commentary on select episodes and the “Banshee Origins Microseries.”

THE VERDICT
Not Guilty. Visit Banshee already.

 

Tech Specs
Banshee: Season 3 (DVD) 2016, HBO, 600 minutes, NR (2015)
VIDEO: 1.78:1    AUDIO:  Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French,Spanish
EXTRAS: Featurettes, Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Origins Series      ACCOMPLICES: IMDB

 

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