Travis Murphy (Derek Phillips), former stooge of Branch Connolly, and recent pathetic soul attempting to convince Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) that he would make a good sheriff’s deputy, stumbles upon a highway robbery: one man dead, shot in the head, and another named Jerry Napek (David Dean Bottrell) crawling along the shoulder of the road seeking help. Both had been at the new casino and were leaving with a sizable monetary win when they are waylaid. Travis calls the sheriff’s office and fortunately Longmire, not being able to sleep after a dream about his late wife, answers the phone. When Longmire responds to the scene, Travis presents him with all the known facts. I’m wondering if Travis is being slowly presented as the legitimate heir to Branch’s position. He actually gets a “thank you” from Longmire for his contribution in eventually solving the case.
In an unusual development, it turns out Napek is physically disabled from being shot eight years earlier by the man that died along the highway—a man he was calling a friend. Napek explains to Longmire that he had been consumed by hate but finally forgave his attacker. The Ferg (Adam Bartley) interviews the murdered man’s father, Thomas Hoyt (played by Barney Miller alumnus Maxwell Gail), and finds it odd that Mr. Hoyt is less concerned with his son’s killing than he is with whether Napek is ok.
Lots of subplots meandering about in this episode including Longmire's infatuation with psychiatrist Dr. Donna Monaghan (Ally Walker). He apologizes to her for thinking she’d taken part in drug trafficking. But he's afraid to ask her out, and the all-knowing Ruby (Louanne Stephens) marches into his office and tells him that's exactly what he needs to do. Brewing elsewhere, the Reservation’s Officer Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) catches Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) checking Hector’s wall where desperate citizens are leaving pleas of help. The astute Mathias notes, “So, is filling Hector’s shoes your way of atoning for your sins?” Cool as a razor blade, Henry, plays it off like he himself is leaving a message, and Mathias seems to accept that cover, after he reads a note to Hector that Henry had ready. New career move for Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman) tired of tending bar decides she wants to work on the reservation helping the less fortunate. She’s discouraged to do so by Henry who doesn’t see much success in her future. However Mathias accepts her after saying, “You Longmire’s are a strange lot.”
Biggest laugh out loud scene occurs when Longmire talks to Henry about his dream as they are sparring in a boxing ring. Walt accidentally lowers his gloves and is rewarded with a direct pop to the kisser. When Ferg asks what happened to his nose when Longmire shows up with white tissue stuffed in his nostrils. The sheriff of so-few-words says, “Started bleeding.”
Seven episodes in and I’m comfortable in saying this is by far the best season of Longmire to date. Not for the acting and direction. Sure, they are uniformly excellent. That standard has continued from day one. What makes Season 4 excel is the writing which besides presenting complex standalone mysteries takes the time to flesh out both main and supporting characters. In the closing scene to “Highway Robbery,” Longmire sitting alongside the road talks to the woman who turned him down for a date. He opens up to her on how he feels guilty for not feeling guilty about killing Barlow Connolly. This in-depth aside is a benefit from the added time Netflix allots for each episode.
Ok. Binging right along to episode eight, “Hector Lives.”
Read all of Edward A. Grainger's posts for Criminal Element.