First day on the job and Zachary’s (Barry Sloane) first case is from the eyewitness accounts of two “If you see something, shoot something” hunters who had seen a partially clothed, terrified Native American woman running through the woods. The new deputy’s questioning and general approach seem to annoy The Ferg (Adam Bartley) who, while Zack is still pinpointing the exact location of the incident on a map, shuffles the hunters out the door. “Welcome to the exciting life of an Absaroka deputy,” he sarcastically tells Zack. Maybe Ferg should be reminded that his co-worker has been killed, a woman was found stuffed in a duffel bag, and he himself tackled a naked bus driver in the previous weeks. Absaroka is apparently located over an enormous hellmouth. Soon after, May Stillwater (Irene Bedard) brings her still-in-shock neighbor, Gabriella Langton (Julia Jones), to Longmire’s office where the sheriff learns the young lady had been raped somewhere on the reservation, and thanks to Zack’s exact questioning of the hunters, it’s now known exactly where it occurred. Watch it, Ferg, Zack is coming on strong!
Longmire goes to Officer Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) who says, “It happened on the Res, so you can’t do anything. The rapist is white and a stranger, so I can’t do anything.” A stalemate where neither party can investigate. Though, Longmire comes up with a solution that was music to my ears: “You know, uh … we could cross-deputize each other.” For this fan, having these two work together has been a long time coming. I’ve always respected the way Mathias fights for his people and jurisdiction. And he’s still doing so because he understands that the only way they have to help each other is walking the same trail together, but it could come at a cost. He lets Longmire know they will have to gather the information quickly, “… before I’m drummed out of a job.” While the unlikely duo watch the casino’s security video for footage of the rapists, Malachi (Graham Greene) wryly greets the pair, “So, Turner and Hooch …”
Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman) contacts a federal prosecutor who, after stressing how difficult it is to prosecute a case with such minimal evidence, decides to take it after all because of a similarity to another in North Dakota where off-duty oil workers raped a woman on a reservation knowing full well that the likelihood of their crime going to trial was a long shot. The beginnings of a dangerous precedent. But one tiny problem pops up, Gabrielle has apparently run-off in fear and Longmire has less than 72 hours—the length of time a rape kit is still effective—to find her.
I’m having a hard time buying the direction of the off-her-game Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff). At the start of this episode, Longmire (Robert Taylor) unexpectedly shows up at her house with eviction papers. The house is a disaster, mail cluttered outside her door, and when she’s presented with the walking papers she admits to having read the notices. I get a person’s work life can be the opposite of their home environment, and we are aware that Vic has something of a messy personal life. Regardless, she has always appeared in control. I know, I know … it’s the PTSD. In any event, it adds to this season’s collection of unlikely pairings: Cady offers Vic a place to stay at her home. Knowing that Vic wouldn’t mind being Mrs. Walt Longmire and Cady’s past unease with that idea should make for some intriguing conversations.
Writer Boo Killebrew sensitively—but with needed stark honesty—brought the harsh reality of rape victims to the forefront. The ending where Hector is once more sought just goes to show though that offenders far too often get away with this horrendous crime.
I want to toss something else out there. In this episode, Ferg pushes around one of the oil workers who made a lewd remark to Vic (which, gotta say, seemed out of character for the Ferg). In “Help Wanted” Longmire pulls one of the two hoodlums out of a chair and then pins him against the porch rail before letting him go. Even Zack in his first outing jumps into Dirty Harry mode, starting a fight with some of the roughnecks’ coworkers. Does the amount of force make you cringe or is this the antiheroes you want?
Read all of Edward A. Grainger's posts for Criminal Element.