Okay, so this episode may not have given much time to the running storylines that I was really looking forward to watching, especially after the exciting season opener, but there were some moments in this standalone that played into those threads that were just as satisfying.
Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) has been beaten in jail. Come to find out, the man behind the beating is the former Rez police, Malachi (Graham Greene). Malachi warns Henry that his friendship with a white lawman won’t help and threatens him to “go red or go dead.” Henry doesn’t answer and gets beaten again. Longmire (Robert Taylor) shows up to visit Henry after Cady (Cassidy Freeman) voices her concern for his safety. But Henry doesn’t walk in the room—Malachi does, and he has the cojones to give Longmire an ultimatum: vouch for him at his hearing and he won’t reveal Longmire and Henry’s friendship to other inmates, many of whom Longmire put behind bars.
Branch (Bailey Chase) returns to work, much before he should—he can barely climb the stairs. When he looks at Longmire and thanks him for “finding his hat” (instead of saying thanks for saving my life, but why mince words, right?) we get the feeling that he’s putting past hard feelings behind him. But not so fast. Ferg (Adam Bartley) finds Branch in Longmire’s office looking at a case file. Branch quickly covers for what he’s really after—he’s not done with his own case, or David Ridges. Sidebar: I’m putting The Ferg in for a raise—while moonlighting at the Red Pony Cafe (actually, everyone is pitching in to help keep it going while Henry is in jail), he apprehends a suspect.
There were three scenes between Longmire and Vic (Katee Sackhoff) where their playfulness, along with some sexual tension, was quite amusing. While on an out-of-town investigation, they arrive at their hotel rooms and say good night. Only Longmire can’t get the door unlocked. Vic comes over and helps him, to which Longmire says, “And they say chivalry is dead.” Then, in their respective rooms, Vic is shown staring at the door to Longmire’s adjoining room. Switch to Longmire, who is seen also staring at the door, when all of a sudden, there’s a knock. As he goes to answer it, we get the feeling that maybe he’s hoping Vic’s looking for a night cap, but she’s on the other side of the adjoining room door, fully uniformed, saying there’s a lead in the case, so off they go. The lead turns out to be a smarmy suspect. Longmire quickly figures out how to play the man up by being the cop who shares a beer and tells jokes. Longmire cements it by sending Vic off with a $20 bill to get more beer and “something sweet for herself.” Vic smiles knowingly and plays her part before heading out, leaving Longmire to grill the man. Btw, was I the only one feeling anxiety for Walt had Vic had walked in with lingerie instead of fully clothed? Is he up to the challenge after all he’s been through?
Still, the main thrust of this episode is the adopted Russian girl, Paulina, who goes looking for revenge and to protect her adoptive sister, Sophia, only to get herself killed by the “rehomed” father who had her locked up in a bad girl’s reform school. Not to worry though, Longmire gets revenge for Paulina (and saves Sophia) when he has to wrestle away a shotgun from the abusive man, slamming his arm in a car door. When the man complains his arm is broken, Longmire says, “I wish I could do more.”
Two things I learned from this storyline: 1) Nicholas is the patron saint of children and travel, and 2) Parents can rehome the children they adopt (damn, does this really happen?!). Oh, and Cady takes the job of defending Henry after she fires the public defender who was assigned to his case. That’s coming up next week … stayed tuned.