The hit action-drama series Banshee aired exclusively on Cinemax recently concluding with its 8-episode fourth season in 2016. The incredible television series stars Antony Starr, Ivana Miličević, Lili Simmons, Matthew Rauch, Chris Coy, Ulrich Thomson, Hoon Lee, Frankie Faison, Matt Servitto, Eliza Dushku and Tom Pelphrey. The Blu-ray and DVD of season four is available now!
Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), an ex-con and master thief assumes the identity of a murdered sheriff where he continues his criminal activities. His past seems to haunt him by those he betrayed years earlier. This ex-con imposes his own brand of justice where violence erupts at every turn in the not so quiet Amish town, Banshee, Pennsylvania.
“Suck my tit Banshee, Pennsylvania” – Job. (Hoon Lee)
Read my Review of The Fourth Season HERE.
In celebration of the fourth and final season of Banshee hitting Blu-ray and DVD this month, I’ve decided to rank the top 5 fights from the series. In a series loaded with much violence, action and mayhem, it’s tough to actually nail down what is considered a classic ‘fight’ on the show. Do you count battles with guns? Are we counting the firefights like the showdown at the police station in season 3 with Chayton? If we were doing that for Banshee, the list would be Top 100 moments of awesome and I just don’t have the time for that – just go buy every season and rewatch one of the greatest TV series of our time. Banshee was amazing, it ended in spectacular fashion and it was one of my favorite shows.
Here are the best fights (which I defined as physical brawls).
#5. Kurt Bunker Vs Calvin Bunker
From Season 4, Episode 8
When Kurt and Calvin finally go toe to toe it’s one of the most emotional and gritty fights in series history. Seeing these two brothers finally resort to physical violence after two seasons of tension being built up and personal struggles as Kurt tries to leave his Neo-Nazi ganglife behind… Calvin was not having that shit – no sir.
In the final episode of the series, their storyline is resolved in a shocking and brutal confrontation that is truly heart-breaking because of the astounding performances that these actors delivered all season long. I could feel their history as brothers growing up right before the final and fatal blow is delivered and that’s why this fight deserves to be on the list – it is truly sad. Tom Pelphry and Chris Coy put on two of my favorite performances in all of television for 2016.
#4. Lucas Hood Vs Burton
From Season 4, Episode 8
I almost forgot that by the time Banshee was just about to wrap up as a series, that Hood and Burton never really went at it… This had been a fight over four years in the making and there was a lot of emotional gears turning throughout.. After the twist had been revealed that Burton betrayed his main man Kai Proctor and killed his niece, there was just no way that the bow-tied bodyguard was getting out of this scenario alive. The fight itself may not have been as explosive as others, but the weight of the situation and the deeply painful conclusion it comes to, still makes me well up just thinking about it.
Burton was a monster and he really did have Hood beaten. Hell, if he hadn’t just been in a bloody vehicular rollover, Burton probably would have killed Hood, but instead he goes down and is left sitting in his boss and best friend’s lap pleading forgiveness. Kai realizing he has nothing left to do, snaps Burton’s neck and puts him down like an animal – his most loyal servant, subsequently ending the life of the only other person who cared for him. It was hard to watch, both as a fan of Burton and Kai, but also because this moment really did signal that this was the final episode of the series. The end was approaching and quickly. Ulrich Thomsen and Matthew Rauch’s performances have never been so moving as they were at the end of this fight.
#3. Tie – Ana Vs Olek & Hood Vs The Albino
Season 1, Episode 8 & Season 1 Episode 6
Ivana Miličević was such a beast of a woman on this show… The amount of work she put in not just emotionally as a performer, but psychically as well, makes her without a doubt one of the strongest women on TV – by leaps and bounds. Her emotionally exhausting brawl with Olek (Christos Vasilopoulos) was the culmination of her past and present lives colliding together. Also – seeing a man and a woman hit one another this hard was both disturbing and brave storytelling, because it refused to sugarcoat an uncomfortable and vicious event in these characters’ lives.
Hood’s prison flashbacks were the best weren’t they? Joseph Gatt’s over the top portrayal of ‘The Albino’ is still one of the most memorable villains in series history and he was hardly in any episodes. It just goes to show you the power he displays on-screen. When Hood finally has enough of the Albino’s abuse and rapey threats, the two go at it and not only is the outcome grisly and awful, but the route to get there was paved with blood and cruelty. Antony Starr is one of my favorite leading men and seeing him being able to emote as well as he does even during physical sequences like this is truly something to behold.
#2. Lucas Hood Vs Damien Sanchez
From Season 1, Episode 8
You wonder if the town of Banshee should have been more weary of their new sheriff after he publicly gets into a violent no-holds-barred MMA battle with a sports superstar and proceeds to break his limbs in front of a giant crowd of spectators. This Damien Sanchez dude was a piece of shit and although Cedric Stewart didn’t have much screentime on the series, his presence will forever be felt – painfully…
On the season four Blu-ray when the cast look back at their favorite fights, this is the one that actor Tom Pelphrey loved the most. Watching him recall that he first watched this scene in his boxers while cheering at the screen is hysterical to me. I think I might have been in the same boat on that one. There’s nothing quite like discovering Banshee for the first time and seeing how much effort they put into their action sequences – this one set the bar for the show and left one savage marker when it came to skirmishes.
#1. Nola Vs Burton
From Season 3, Episode 3
In the Blu-ray special features for Season 4, the cast and crew look back at their favorite battles from the series and it was unanimous that the Nola/Burton showdown was easily the best of the bunch. The choreography, the tracking shot that follows the fast-paced action while it moves inside and then out of the car – the ferocity… Matthew Rauch and Odette Annable went at it in the most unexpected and nasty encounter in maybe all of TV history – yes the fight is that good.
If you haven’t picked up the third season on Blu-ray. I urge you to check it out because they explore the filming of this very scene and it’s fascinating to see what went into it – especially the camera technique. Greg Yaitanes, Jonathan Tropper and crew truly outdid themselves with this one and set the bar extremely high for not just TV fisticuffs, but all filmed fights in general. I’ve re-watched this battle several times over and it never ceases to amaze me.
Note: Shockingly I didn’t pick any battles from season 2, which is insane to me. The second season was jampacked with brutal fights but I think many of them were bigger set-pieces or firefights. Either way, Banshee was front to back one of the most explosive and original action packed TV series of our time and with the final season hitting Blu-ray earlier this month, it’s time for you all to check it out if you missed it the first time. Even if you watched it while it aired, still get the sets because the replay-ability on Banshee is insane – just as much as shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones in my humble opinion.