Tue
Aug 27 2013 11:30am

Longmire: Season 2 Finale “Bad Medicine”

Robert Taylor as Sheriff Walt Longmire and Charles Dutton as Denver P.D. Detective Fales in A John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin episode of Longmire is always a treat, because usually it means casting aside the mystery-of-the-week conventions for more serialized drama. But the showrunners truly outdid themselves with this second season finale, which is packed with twists and reversals, high tension, and plenty of angst.

The episode switches back and forth between the three ongoing mysteries: Cady’s accident, Vic’s stalker, and Walt’s wife’s murder.  All three heat up considerably in the first half.

Following Walt’s intimidating visit, it turns out that Vic’s buddy Ed has been beaten badly and is in the hospital. He’s still a threatening creep though! So he tells Vic he wants her to suffer for what she put his partner through and that he’ll take down everyone she loves. Like Lizzie, he too thinks Vic has some daddy issues and a big helping of lust for the sheriff. Of course, he may just be jumping to conclusions because he himself had a fling with Vic back in the day. Which… ewww, Vic! Controlling Sean (who doesn’t take the news of all this very well), this creep, and Grandpa Walt? Tim Gunn frowns at Vic’s taste level, frankly.

Katee Sackhoff as Deputy Vic Moretti visiting a beat up Ed Gorsky in Longmire episode 2.13

Anyway, his plan is to say the sheriff is the one who beat him up, but Vic won’t let Walt take the fall, so she tells him to blame her when he presses charges. She tells Walt this—who calls bullsh*t about her beating the guy—she has no bruises and Ed’s missing a tooth, which Walt remembers is Hector’s calling card. He also tells her this could mean the end of her career if she’s busted for assault. Vic is upset but resigned to take care of this.

Meanwhile at the reservation, Branch is investigating David Ridges, that shady bartender from Walt’s political mixer who wielded that ice pick with menace! He’s not supposed to be on the reservation, and that pisses off Mathias who arrests him and calls Walt to bail him out. Walt’s in irritable-dad mode about it (but miles better than he would’ve been a couple weeks ago), until Branch admits he found evidence that Ridges sliced the tire, and his fingerprints were on Cady’s car. Walt does a U-turn and they go to Ridges' cabin on the res to investigate, but they’re too late. The guy’s committed suicide and taped it, along with a weird mystical speech about time traveling. Yup. Jacob later confirms to Branch that Ridges tampered with Cady’s car, and when Ridges' body goes missing, Branch wonders if Jacob actually killed him and did a good job of making it look like a suicide.

As always with Longmire, some of the best bits are the tiny details. There’s a throwaway moment when Branch is walking down the sidewalk in Durant, and he bends to pick up a cigarette butt and toss it out. It’s a clear hearkening back to the pilot episode and Walt’s penchant for picking up litter, and a wonderfully subtle clue that Branch is back on the straight and narrow, following in Walt’s good guy footsteps. (They work together quite well once again in this episode as they investigate and it’s just really nice. That might be the most interesting and unexpected relationship on the show.)

Walt and Branch (Bailey Chase) seem to mend fences over investigating Cady's accident

Back at Walt’s house, Cady’s recovering (she has a sweet, brief phone convo with Ferg which is a nice continuity touch), when everyone’s favorite Denver P.D. detective comes charging in with warrants. (At the same time, the reservation police descend on the Red Pony on Detective Fales' behalf.) He ransacks Walt’s home—reducing Cady to tears when he wants to take the tea chest with Martha’s ashes—and later Walt's office (making Ruby very perturbed!). He’s searching for evidence that Walt killed Martha’s killer, because now he has an eyewitness who identified Walt as having come around asking questions about Martha’s death.

Walt has other problems, though. He arrests Hector, determined not to let Vic hang for the attack on Ed. He tries to convince Hector to confess to it, because it’ll only boost his bad rep, whereas it could ruin Vic’s life. But when Walt tries to take Hector to the next county to turn him in—Henry stops him with a good old-fashioned horseback roadblock. Henry can’t let Walt do this, he says, because Hector’s the one who killed Martha’s murderer! DUN DUN DUN!! Henry flashback-narrates that when Walt returned with his back all flayed, Henry went to Denver, where he found and threatened the meth-head. Then, Henry sent Hector there to finish him off.

But not so fast! Hector butts in to say: Hey guys, wasn’t me. He beat up the meth-head (Miller Beck is his name, which is pretty fancy for a tweaker. Reminds me of something you’d call a good Portland micro-brew.), Hector says he didn’t kill him. Someone else finished him off!

Meanwhile, Vic gets a call to come to the hospital from Ed, but he’s gone when she arrives. He checked out already, leaving her a big ole’ note that he’ll see her soon. She calls Walt and fibs that Ed decided to drop the charges, so it’s all over and she can come back to work. But Walt tells her to take a day off. She’s positively jittering with nerves at the thought of not having work to distract her.

Walt and a still-distraught Cady (seriously, she’s been like sitting on the floor crying for actual HOURS at this point) have a little heart-to-heart and reminisce a bit about Martha.

Cassidy Freeman as Cady Longmire, protecting Martha's ashes in the tea chest when Fales searches Walt's cabin

Cady finds it ironic (not in that Alanis Morisette way) that she got killed in a mugging, given that she always cautioned Cady about carrying only a little money in her purse and the rest in her boot. Walt suddenly remembers that Fales told him they found $700 in Martha’s purse…. File that under “things that make you go hmmm.”

And then, everything shifts into high gear! Detective Fales is lecturing Walt, telling him that he thinks he can do whatever he wants out here because the buck stops with him, and that the attitude is trickling down to his deputies.... We cut to Branch, literally treading dangerous ground as he strides across the reservation once more for answers. Then, it goes to an absolutely beautiful shot, where Katee Sackhoff is sitting in front of her door. She loads her gun and lifts her head, looking seriously ready to murder someone. She’s does bad-ass so well, that it’s almost an insult when they try to turn her into a quivering flower. (The writing for Vic this week is so much better than the Lifetime movie version we got last week. Here she’s still vulnerable and afraid at moments, but also capable and trying to take care of her business. This is the Vic we know and love.)

Vic tries to clean up her mess and protect Walt from further suspicion.

Fales winds up his speech and says basically Walt can’t just do whatever he likes—and that the reservation police found teeth matching Miller Beck's at the Red Pony. Henry’s being arrested for murder as they speak.

Walt freaks out, hurling his desk over—all HULK SMASH! But he doesn’t have much time to worry about Henry, because his phone rings—it’s Branch lying on the ground, bleeding out on the reservation and whispering “Help Me, Walt.” Ohhh NOES! Walt rushes there and asks him who did this. Branch flashes back to a tribal warrior-looking fellow coming upon him while he was taking a sample of Ridges' ashes. Branch says, “A dead man.” (Guess maybe Ridge was onto something with that whole time travel thing.)

Walt then bends down and—man, Robert Taylor is kind of a beast—picks up Branch, slinging the guy over his shoulder! Actor Bailey Chase is no lightweight himself, so that’s pretty damn impressive. And it’s  sort of a very touching “Bring Him Home” Les Miserables moment… which is kinda fitting, because man this show has gotten pretty dark, eh? Everybody hurts, man. Maybe they should rename it Angstmire. (Tune in for Season 3 when they start offing puppies, everyone! With such good ratings, you can bet a drink at the Red Pony there's going to be a next season.)

Still, it’s a killer episode and sets up a lot of interesting developments. What’s gonna happen with Vic’s creepy stalker? Who really shot Branch? And what’s the deal with all that money in Martha’s purse? My theory: she watched too much Breaking Bad and decided to start an underground meth ring and was only in Denver for a drop-off. Too far fetched? As Walt rides off into the Wyoming landscape, hit the comments with YOUR best guesses for what’ll happen in Season 3.

And if that won't keep you busy enough, don't forget to enter our Sweepstakes to win all 9 books in the Longmire series of mystery novels by Craig Johnson!

Sheriff Walt Longmire Rides Away in 2.13,

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19 comments
Kim K
1. Goaldigger
I'm still trying to digest all that happened here (I was exhausted when the final credits rolled). Interesting that Branch called Walt in his time of need and not his Dad (I think seeing the Longmires and the Connallys at Branch's hospital bedside next season could be intense). I loved when Branch picked up the cigarette butt!

Yes, DUN DUN DUN on the whole "who killed Martha story". I didn't see that coming and I really like the twists. And dammit Henry, do you not watch Law and Order? You always toss the gun and/or other evidence from a crime (because if you keep it, it will bite you in the ass!). Why did he keep those teeth? While Fales sort of explains why he's got a bee in his bonnet (thinking Walt overstepped, past experiences in the South) I think there's something else going on there (OK, you think you solved meth head murder but why not working so hard on Martha's?). I guess will find out more next season.

I agree that Vic's story was better than last week, I still thought she was still a little too unnerved for being such a tough chick (but at least at the end she has her gun cocked and ready for whatever might come through the door).

I thought this ep and the first one of this season were the best of season 2. Can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks for your reviews Tara, I really enjoy them!
Sophia Rose
2. Sophia Rose
Oh wow! How does one sit around and wait after those cliffhangers were all left dangling.
3. Pamela
I thought of the very same thing, Tara, that scene when Walt did the same, picking up that cigarette butt. I have always appreciated how with Longmire, its often those quiet, subtle moments that communicate so much!

Great article! I am sharing with the LongmirePosse! ;)
snow dog
4. snowdogmom
I liked this episode a lot. Loved the scenery, especially Walt or his stand in riding at the start and when Henry stopped Walt on the way to Cumberland County. I loved that we got some answers and some new twists to ponder. We got confirmation that Walt followed through on being adopted by the horse. We found out it was Hector that Henry believed killed the tweeker, never saw that twist coming that what Henry thought was true wasn't. Never saw that Fales had his own agenda, knew something more was to come but not that he was so prejudiced about small town law enforcement. Fales has become what he hates. Cady admitted that she inadvertently helped Fales by telling him who Henry was. We got see Branch tell Walt about Cady's accident and loved seeing them work together. Branch picking up the cigarette was great! I think the whole cast did a stellar job and the best episodes when all the main cast in the episode including The Ferg and Ruby. I was glad to see Mathias again, only seeing him twice this season was not enough, I like the episodes that include the Rez police. The only disappointment for me was they said Vic had an affair with a married man, thought the revenge for his partner was enough without that. All I've got to say is it must be slim pickins for guys in Philly. The casting has been right on with the main cast and most guest stars except for Ed and Sean. Do they really expect us to believe someone that looks like Vic would pick guys that look like Ed and Sean? Sean was a stretch. But Ed, and a married Ed, totally unbelievable! It's not that Walt's a father figure for Vic, he's so much hotter than her supposed past and present love interests and has a better personality and moral code to boot why wouldn't she want him! I'm hoping this non announcement of a season 3 is just a ridiculous ploy by A&E management. If they don't renew it they don't deserve their jobs. Their newest offerings are just more crap. I hope we get a season 3 either on A&E or elsewhere and REALLY hope we get more episodes per season. Even with the occasional continutity issues and some episodes being so much better than others in season 2 it's still the best new show to come around in a long time and the only show I NEVER miss, record, and watch again.
KathyP Phillips
5. KathyP
My theory is that Henry did not know the medicine bag containing the teeth was in his bar. It's a plant. Otherwise, knowing that Fales was getting close, he had plenty of time to move it to where it wouldn't be found or dispose of it. Also, wasn't just a single tooth Hector's MO, not 2? As to who killed the killer, beats me. This was the best TV viewing of any show I've seen all year, if not longer. Loved it.
Caryn Stardancer
6. cstardancer
Okay, loved the finale, but at the risk of being out on a limb all alone, I thought there were one too many dramatic cliffhangers. Since the Vic story is a long-developing one I guess I would have preferred if they had waited until next season if they had to shoot Branch. Too much tension for a long hiatus!
7. taragel
@goaldigger Aw, thanks for reading! Yes, so much going on. Coveny & Baldwin are always so good at balancing everything--similarly to Election Day--lots of stuff went down. In fact it occurs to me now that we technically still don't know who got Ed. Did Vic really do it with a baseball bat? Hector didn't actually admit to doing it. I wondered at the beginning if Ed was crazy enough to do it to himself... Fales really does seem oddly driven about finding the killer of a methhead who may have been a robber/murderer himself. His ranty behavior reminded me a lot of the episode early this season with the cow cop went bad. OMG the thought of the Longmires and Connollys congregating at Branch's bedside is hilarious. The Vic stuff--I think her fright still seems out of proportion to what's happening a little bit. I just still don't find Ed very scary or intimidating. He's a creepster, but..I think the "clues" he's left (flowers with no note, postcard, bitten soap) just aren't shake-in-your-boots material. Even the Crime Scene Report with See You Soon on it. I don't know..blegh. When Walt asked her if there was more to the story and it turned out to be a brief affair with the guy...that was so disappointing. (And kind of unnecessary--it really didn't add anything to the story to make Vic have slept with him.) For me, those are small quibbles in an overall stellar episode though. It's a toss up between this one, the premiere and election day for my favorite.

@SophiaRose I know, right? I did see an article with Katee saying she hoped they could maybe shoot earlier next year like Feb or March, but that was probably just conjecture.

@Pamela Thanks for spreading the word to the Posse! ;) Yes that cigarette moment was so subtle and smart. Loved that.

@snowdogmom Yup, scenery is always great. And I agree we got a fair bit more answers finally. Though more questions too! I thought that it was really nice to see Mathias doing policework this episode as well. And yeah, the affair didn't really seem necessary or relevant to what was going on with Vic and Ed to me. I still kind of wish there was something more to that story that isn't there. And I just don't like any of Vic's prospects. Walt is 20 years older than her and I just get nothing but friendly or paternal vibes there. He's a good-looking man for his age but...no. And while she may admire him, he's a pretty closed-off guy. So it's not like they have this real closeness either that I can see. I don't know,. It seems like a typical male fantasy thing, like you know, Ed Bundy getting Sophia Vergara or what have you. I wouldn't worry about renewal. I think they'll anounce it tomorrow or maybe even tonight. Overnight ratings gave them a high of 4.4 million viewers which is their second best total after the pilot episode of the show. Demo number's (important to advertisers) been creeping up in recent weeks too. It's still their biggest scripted show in total viewers. I can't see them letting it go. Supposedly they have to renew contractually by 8/31 according to Bailey Chase, so I suspect we'll hear news very soon.

@KathyP Maybe he didn't know! He did have that Uh Oh reaction on the phone as he watched Mathias take the medicine bag, but maybe that was just in general. (Yeah I wondered about the two teeth also. Maybe one was supposed to be this Miller guy and the other was Ed Gorski's? Lol. Although he didn't really admit to beating Ed.
Mary Saputo
8. bitsy08
You know, when Fales explained to Walt why he was out to get him, I thought - no real evidence to convict but Fales is living in the past and trying to make Walt pay for wrongs done to Fales when he was living in the south. As to Walt and Branch and their new-found relationship, I'm glad Branch has come to his senses. I think he's finally realized that there's a lot Walt can teach him and when he runs for Sheriff again, he'll have the smarts to do the job and perhaps Walt's blessing. I do have to make mention of Walt riding his horse in the oh - so beautiful countryside. How gorgeous was that piece of film? Makes me want to go get a horse and go for a ride.
Carmen Pinzon
9. bungluna
Am I the sole person left on this Earth who absolutely hates cliff hangers? I love this show but boy do I hate the end of S2. If it had been an episode in the middle it would have rated as one of my favorites, but as is I loath it. I don't like delayed gratification and having to wait to find out so many things is just torture. Add having the slightest chance that the series won't continue and I am in Hell.
10. Joanne
Unfortunately I thought the Season Finale was a mish-mash and the writers trying too hard to come up with a cliff-hanger, so gave us 4 instead. The temper tantrum by Walt, wrecking his office, was totally unworthy of the Walt we have grown to know and love. Many, many examples of "trying too hard". Now, how are we, the faithful viewers, going to manage to sit through the Season Opener whenever it comes back?
Lynn Ristau
11. Elsandra
I keep reading all the comments about how Vic's reaction is out of character, lifetime-like, etc, but I do find it a bit believable. Here's a woman who's used to being in control who has had all the control taken away. Many say her reaction is out of proportion with what has happened. Vic did say they were leaving bullets in her locker in Philly. As a female police officer myself, that would scare the hell out of me. The locker room is a controlled area with limited access so you know it's your fellow officers doing it-fellow officers that know how to shoot. We probably haven't been told all of what occurred in Philly-it had to be alot for a woman like Vic to leave. Then to have a former lover-someone she obviously had some feelings for-find her and stalk her would be totally unnerving. Having a stranger do it is bad enough, having someone who knows you do it adds to the trauma. They know how to push your buttons even more.
Lynn Ristau
12. Elsandra
I tried to add this to my last post but it quit working. As for Walt turning over his desk being out of character-it's not. We've seen bursts of anger out Walt before, especially with Bob. It goes along with his still waters run deep personality, he buries things for only so long then "kabam, kaboom"!
snow dog
13. snowdogmom
John Coveny and Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted today that Longmire has been renewed for a 3rd season. Good News! I miss new episodes already and Monday is going to be no fun without Longmire to look forward to. I hope they plan for more episodes in season 3 and wish they would start season 3 before May 2014. Just too long to wait. One of the few good shows on TV these days.
14. cstardancer
@Elsandra I agree with your points. Co-worker threats are especially chilling.

As for the desk, I used to work in a profession where I was under a great deal of stress yet had to stay level-headed, fair and calm while working with volatile, unstable people. When I did "lose it" it was alone with inanimate objects. I figured the only thing I was damaging was fixable, clean-upable, or replaceable.
15. Drummond
I appear to be half a year late to the conversation. :)

But something that struck me in just now finishing the series (again).

Martha's killer had two teeth knocked out by Hector who states that he didn't kill him.

Det. Fales shows off those teeth to Longmire in a kind of (childish) "I dont like small town Sheriffs, but I also don't like small town Sheriff's friends either -gotcha" moment.

Well, my thinking is how soon did Miller die after having his teeth knocked out? If Miller's gums showed much sign of healing.. that's an awful big hole in any prosecution's timeline of events.

Those teeth might be proof of something afterall.
snow dog
16. snowdogmom
Well they started production on S3. New episodes can't come soon enough and I'm still so disappointed in A&E only ordering 10 episodes for S3, 3 less than S2. We need more not less.

I hope they tighten up some of the timelines and procedural details in S3 making them more believable. I find it hard to believe that Det. Fales comes to Durant they search the Sheriff's office and The Red Pony in what appears to be one day, find the medicine bag with the teeth, and are able to confirm against dental records whose teeth they are and make an arrest all in that same day. Forensics doesn't work that fast especially in a small town and no way they send them to Denver and are back in detective Fale's hands that same day. Plus I love how Detective Fale's handles evidence. No evidence bag, handling the evidence without gloves. How is he going prove he or someone else didn't tamper with that medicine bag? Not very believable.
Clare Toohey
17. clare2e
I sympathize @snowdogmom, and you're absolutely right about the chain of evidence, etc., but if we're going to cling to reality, there probably isn't state money for extensive forensics and investigative trips out of state for another municipality's front-line cops in the first place, much less can it happen in hours. (Oh, don't get me started on the cabin search and the way Cady--wait, a lawyer you say?--behaved during that....)

But usually when that kind of stuff starts to nettle me, I take it as a sign something else about the story isn't grabbing--giving me enough free attention time to nit-pick, a task at which most crime fans excel. With only 10 episodes, they're going to have to get even more ruthless about balancing overall character arcs with case-of-the-week stuff, so I'm excited to see how they do it.
snow dog
18. snowdogmom
@clare2e, in this case you don't have to nit-pick to notice issues. They are very obvious. I don't expect reality. I just think they have a gem here with a great cast and hope it reaches it's potential. A&E isn't really supporting it like it should and a lot of the people involved in the production did The Closer on TNT which I loved. They are not novices at this and I expect more attention to detail and continuity. They are losing viewers just by having such a long gap between seasons and so few episodes per season. I loved season 1. I found season 2 to be more erractic with some stellar episodes and others not so much.
Clare Toohey
19. clare2e
Sorry-- I didn't mean nit-picking this show in general, but the widely-accepted lack of reality in criminal and legal procedure on TV. It doesn't begin to conform to reality in so many ways, but I can tend to overlook it better, when I'm enjoying the rest of a show's elements. I think they're bringing Season 3 back in the summer, because it did so well in that slot last year--breaking records for the network--so they're not tampering with its placement. But you're right, with a shorter season, it feels like a much longer wait for less. Still, if I had to choose (and I'm not sure I do), I'd rather get a shorter season if each episode is substantive.

Even in short seasons like True Detective's 8--overall great, but there are lower points--I don't know how that seemingly natural ebb and flow can be avoided. Even in Sherlock's 3-episode season, viewers tend to come to an agreement that one or two are lesser. This is just musing in general, not necessarily about Longmire, but I guess we'll find out this summer if the show's hemorrhaged interest or quality by the network's briefer, strictly-annual approach.
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