Confession: I’m not much of a crier anymore.
I used to be. I used to cry for everything, from everything, about everything. Sensitivity to interaction (and inaction) runs in my blood. The day I decided not to go back to my ex-husband is the day I stopped crying for meaningless reasons. Now, when I cry, it’s rare and caused by something so powerfully moving to me, I break. I can’t help but cry. It’s not that I particularly want to though. I do my best not to. I mean, since I rarely cry now, when I do, it physically hurts me. My face and sinuses balloon. My ears roar with blood. I get a throbbing headache that lasts for the rest of the day (or night), sometimes into the following day.
I have the lingering remnants of one right now due to last night’s bout of crying. It was out of masochism. I knew damned well what I was getting into, and I cried over something…well…something that had nothing to do with me whatsoever. When I woke up this morning, I felt like someone had attempted to inflate my head with a tire pump. Stupid, I know.
Anyway, the reason for my pain last night, my bawl-fest-party-of-one: a pivotal scene in the series finale of Cinemax’s batshit series Banshee.
(WARNING: Spoilers coming as ever)
The show’s lasted only four seasons, and it’s been a ridiculous ride… It had everything from preposterous acts of violent vigilantism to a cartoonish collective of villains who couldn’t get enough of small town life in Amish country.
At the center of it all, however, is a love story.
The protagonists are ex-lovers and partners in crime Carrie Hopewell* (Ivana Milicevic) and Lucas Hood** (Antony Starr), who can’t ever seem to properly reconnect throughout the series. They’ve a daughter (Deva, played by Ryann Shane) from their previous life together. She wasn’t granted much of an opportunity to really get to know her biological father because he was never revealed as such until it was too late. Well, that and the show just ended. (I suppose the ending was inevitable though because there were only so many questions, so many plot holes, so many WTF-moments that Banshee’s audience could take.)
I didn’t realize an onscreen romance could affect me as much as it did though. Seriously, I often make fun of that sort of thing. So the girl gets the guy in the end, the guy gets the girl in the end, or the two die in the end, or one of them dies in the end, or one kills the other in the end, I don’t care. I suppose I was affected by Carrie and Lucas’ story because they just couldn’t be together. It would never be the same, ever, for either of them if they wound up together again.
Their story started well before the series takes place. We see, in flashbacks, brief moments between the two of them. He’d been a master thief working a job for her Ukranian gangster father, Rabbit (Ben Cross), and she’d been an associate. The two of them fell in love and planned a possible life together outside of the chaos all the while concocting a plan to steal a cache of diamonds from her father. The plan obviously goes awry. Realizing he’s going to be caught by the police — and, undoubtedly, later by Rabbit — Lucas insists Carrie run. So she does…
Fifteen years later, he’s released from prison, and thanks to their hacker friend, Job (Hoon Lee), he finds Carrie settled with children and a DA husband (Gordon Hopewell played by Rus Blackwell) in the rural town of Banshee. It’s then when he is faced with the truth of the matter: it will never again be like it was once before with her.
Granted, things happen as they inevitably do in action-thriller television shows. The two of them work off and on together, especially when Rabbit returns to enact revenge. All of it effectively damages Carrie’s relationship with her husband, and somewhere in the middle, Lucas falls deeply in love with another woman, the doomed Deputy Siobhan Kelly (played by Trieste Kelly Dunn).
After they’ve suffered through intense tragedies, after they’ve pulled the town up from the wreckage (with a little help, of course), Lucas and Carrie share the saddest moment I’ve ever seen on TV, and again, I’ve no doubt it’s because they were never really able to be together. In the second half of the finale, Lucas says his goodbyes to the town of Banshee and his allies, one by one, in cool-Lucas fashion. Few words, a smirk or two, plus a tender moment with Deva before she headed off to college. However, as soon as he stepped onto Carrie’s porch to say farewell to Carrie, the facade melted.
“You’re the only one who ever really knew me,” he later says as the tears come, and she takes him to her, hugging him close.
It’s a beautifully wrenching moment, one that allows our tough-guy hero (and equally tough heroine) a final moment of absolute vulnerability. I sat through it on Friday night when it aired, cried like a sap. Caught it again the second time around last night and stupidly thought I could toughen it out and watch it as a mere observer rather than someone so emotionally invested in a pulp fiction series. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I cried again, a little more blubbery-messy the second time around since my guy wasn’t sitting there by me, holding my hand.
In all of its lunacy, its mad saga, at its heart, Banshee‘s love story, of all things (OF ALL THINGS!), is what kept me watching until its bittersweet end.
I’ll miss it much.
In response to the Daily Post prompt Saga
* aka Anastasia
** aka We Will Never Know His Real Goddamned Name (he stole the Lucas Hood identity)… because Jonathan Tropper, David Schikler, et al. so obviously wanted to piss me off.
Pic courtesy of digitaltrends.com. Gifs courtesy of giphy.com.