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Aug 27 2013 10:30am

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.

SEE ALSO: The whole shooting match of Longmire posts for every season and episode, plus other fun stuff, too!

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! She's tallied up 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

[From Romeo to soap-eating stalker...]

Aug 20 2013 8:15am

Longmire: Episode 2.12 “A Good Death is Hard to Find”

Former Sheriff Lucien Branch (Peter Weller) on Longmire 2.12 "A Good Death is Hard to Find"The penultimate Longmire of the season delivers poetry and prisoners, stalkers and suspense. A dramatic poetry reading at the Red Pony sets the tone, a disembodied voice deeply intoning “A cowboy knows a good death is hard to find” while we see Walt opening a special package at the station—a dessicated finger. A local prisoner, James Knotley, left instructions in a safety deposit box that the digit be delivered to the sheriff when he died.  The trail leads to Lucien, who arrested the man in 1989 for armed robbery… of dinosaur bones!

It’s always a pleasure to have the caustic, corrupt old coot (played with great verve by Peter Weller) back. Even better, him being Branch’s uncle paves the way for Walt and his deputy to actually work together on a case, which is rather nice.

[Roses smell, violets bloom, this severed finger came from whom...]

Aug 13 2013 10:00am

Longmire: Episode 2.11 “Natural Order”

Walt's sacrificing while Cady's in a coma during Longmire episode 2.11 "Natural Order"Well, the episode title’s prophetic once more for Longmire. We are indeed back to the natural order of things in Durant, and sadly, it’s all a bit anticlimactic after last week’s stellar episode. Walt’s vision quest ends quite conveniently at the same moment as Cady snapping out of her coma, perfectly fine and dandy save for that new hospital gauze accessory wrapped around her head. Not that I wish the girl a horrible fate or anything, but…how about some lasting effects for the gang to continue to deal with? But no, she’s even well enough to play a practical joke, feigning amnesia with poor Branch, who comes visiting with heart on sleeve and stuffed animal in hand. (Awww.)

It’s stuffed animals of a different sort that make up the case of the week, as a park ranger’s body and a beheaded elk are found by Vic.

[It's all about stuffed animals AND head wounds then...]

Aug 6 2013 10:30am

Longmire: Episode 2.10 “Election Day”

Yard sign from Longmire episode 2.10 "Election Day"The long-awaited and pivotal day has finally arrived: Absaroka County will elect (or re-elect) its new sheriff. But the political gets very personal in this stellar episode that just might be the best of the show’s two seasons thus far.

We open at a political rally/shindig for Walt where everyone’s letting down their hair a bit. They’ve brought their casual clothes out of mothballs, Ferg and Cady are cutting a swift-footed rug (that Ferg is indeed light on his feet!), Henry’s giving speeches (as he does), Ruby and Vic are having some libations, even Walt is coerced into dancing with a constituent by a laughing Lizzie.  And after the party, our fair sheriff finally gets a little horizontal action that doesn’t involve handcuffs or gunplay (er, we think). Life is good…

But not for long…this is a melancholy drama, remember? Unfortunately, shortly after Cady leaves the party to shepherd some non-driving voters to the polling place, Vic and Ferg get a call for a hit-and-run and the victim is none other than Walt’s daughter, unconscious and critically injured.

SEE ALSO: The whole shooting match of Longmire posts for every season and episode, plus other fun stuff, too!

[This IS a melancholy drama...]

Jul 30 2013 11:00am

Longmire: Episode 2.09 “Tuscan Red”

The last few Longmire episodes may have left me seeing red, but ironically this week’s installment “Tuscan Red” has me closer to tickled pink. The episode was really firing on all cylinders, featuring a case of the week AND subplots that all tied into the longer arc of the sheriff’s election.

When the burned body of a Native American man is discovered on the reservation in what appears to have been a house explosion due to methane gas, it leaves Durant in a bit of an uproar. (Ruby nearly gets trampled—which is just WRONG. You can’t hurt Ruby!!) Walt is forced to keep some order and make some tough calls, potentially endangering his likability as the election approaches, when the Cheyennes call Newett Energy on the carpet for the methane leaking due to fracking.

Like most of the show’s weekly cases, it turns out there’s something else entirely going on here and the man’s death turns out to be far more personal than political.

[And one couple generates plenty of heat without the power company...]

Jul 16 2013 8:45am

Longmire: Episode 2.08 “The Great Spirit”

The Longmire two episodes ago was titled “Sound and Fury”—-but I think it would’ve been a more apt name for this episode, because it seemed to be full of white noise, which piqued my fury a bit. I can’t help but be disappointed in this expanded season, which seems to be wasting so much time on inessential, needlessly convoluted plots when it could be delving into the much, much more interesting ongoing conflicts for the core characters. 

I had hopes that tonight’s episode, which finds Walt and crew infiltrating an illegal rodeo to investigate the death of a man who was shot there, would offer at least some levity, if not answers to the ongoing mysteries of Walt’s wife’s death, Vic’s shady past, and developments with the snail-paced sheriff’s race. But we got very little of either. The rodeo leads to a human trafficking/immigrant plotline that feels like a retread already and the killer is easier to peg than… well, a gingham-shirted gringo at self-same rodeo. They make the rookie Law & Order mistake of giving a bit player way too much screen time/dialogue in his first appearance, guaranteeing the long arm of the law will swing around to him in the end.

[But shouldn't Fales' return add action?]

Jul 9 2013 12:00pm

Longmire: Episode 2.07 “Sound and Fury”

Longmire took a walk on the neo-noir side this week with a Hitchcockian mystery premise, a femme fatale, and a hitman. When Henry overhears a bar patron at the Red Pony, Bill Nordquist, looking for someone to kill his wife, he volunteers naturally. Of course, it’s a ruse designed to draw out the details of the murder so Walt can prevent it, but things don’t exactly go according to plan.

(This is a recap, so you know spoilers will abound, right?)

A search for the wife eventually turns up the sexy but shady Diane Highsmith. The show has some fun playing with the classic femme fatale trope, amping up the sexual tension between her and Branch, who is on protective detail. The damsel-in-distress meets the deputy in just a robe, and there’s a nice beat where he lights her cigarette for her, like a scene from a Howard Hawks flick.

[Could it be that easy, um, obvious...?]

Jul 2 2013 11:30am

Longmire: Episode 2.06 “Tell It Slant” (Rhymes with Rant)

Sheriff Walt and would-be Sheriff Branch debate until the Contrary Warriors show up.This week’s Longmire featured a Contrary Warrior, which is apropos as I’m feeling vaguely contrary about the show myself these days. I’d been hoping the expanded second season would give the writers a bit more room to explore and develop the characters of and relationships between Walt and his own warriors. But as we approach the midway point of the season, I feel a little disgruntled that somehow it still feels like a novelty when we get a scene where two of the main characters interact. For example, this is maybe only the fourth or fifth scene we’ve gotten in sixteen episodes where Vic and Branch have a conversation. Likewise, Ruby and Cady share a scene for what might be the first time. Longmire the show operates in a curious kind of bubble where even Walt’s interactions with everyone don’t really progress much, or give us more insight into the characters. And it’s getting sort of frustrating.

There’s been a lot of tease on this show so far, without much real answers or resolution. I know it’s a slow burn, but we’re just getting to the debate for an election that’s been talked about for a season and a half—-and it lasts for about 10 pretty interesting minutes before it’s derailed by a prank tying in to the ultimately inconsequential mystery of the week.

[Go on, you're just getting warmed up!]

Jun 25 2013 10:45am

Longmire Episode 2.05: “The Party’s Over”


Longmire lightens up a bit this week as Cady comes home, Lizzie shows off her lingerie, and an intriguing figure from Henry’s past pops up. After a strong season premiere, the show squandered some momentum with convoluted mysteries and guest stars who hogged the spotlight, but this week’s a winner, striking the perfect balance between the personal interactions between our favorite characters and the tightly plotted mystery of the week.

Lizzie, the fizzy blonde that Walt’s “sorta” been seeing since S1, makes a triumphant return, luring our sheriff to her candle-bedecked lair (complete with Rainier beer chilling in the ice bucket) on a false B&E call. She makes it clear that she wouldn’t mind Walt doing a little breaking and entering—wink, wink, nudge, nudge—but the flustered man is saved by the bell when Ruby calls with a real emergency. (Ruby, by the way, is like the best c**kblock this side of the Rockies.)

[Poor Walt can't catch a break...or can he?]

Jun 18 2013 12:30pm

Longmire Episode 2.04: “The Road to Hell”

It’s another plot-heavy episode this week, as a cattle heist leads to conspiracies and murder. The highway patrol calls the Sheriff and his deputies (sadly, no Ferg this week) to a crime scene with a big rig trailer riddled with bullet holes. Walt quickly deduces (thanks to some cow patties) that a trailer of livestock was hijacked, and the driver of the rig, Cooper James, is missing. Branch is still pretty much getting all the manure-type work, as Walt orders him to dust the entire big rig for prints and then go visit some slaughterhouses. Meanwhile, Vic notifies the driver’s wife that he’s missing, and Walt heads to the ranch the rig came from that morning.

[But it's never that simple in Absaroka, is it?]

Jun 11 2013 11:30am

Longmire 2.03: “Death Came In Like Thunder”

The Basques

Absaroka County must be the West’s weirdest and unlikeliest cultural melting pot. First there were the Mennonites, now there are the Basque. This week’s episode, which bears a strong resemblance to season one’s third episode (yet sadly, no striptease interrogation from Vic), explores the strange little subculture of a family of Basque (ex-pats from the French/Spanish border) shepherds. When a mountain biker literally stumbles over the dead body of Marko Vayas, the cause of death is unknown for the young, relatively healthy-looking man and Walt and Vic suspect he might have been poisoned.


Their investigation of his cabin leads to them finding a mysterious picture of a lovely young woman. Tracking his brothers Costa and Sal to a local Basque festival (where Walt indulges in a delicacy called barrabillak that I do not suggest you Google), they’re told the girl was a mail order bride Marko was thinking of marrying, but didn’t. Walt calls BS, though, as he's recognized a tiny bird in the picture as being a local breed, meaning she’s from Wyoming.

[And Walt knows Wyoming]

Jun 4 2013 12:00pm

Longmire Episode 2.02: “Carcasses”

Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire

This week’s episode starts with the discovery of a man’s dead body beneath a compost heap of animal carcasses, lending the episode its title. Unfortunately, it’s a fitting one, as this plot feels a bit dead in the water….or, well, buried under some rotting deer, anyway. The convoluted mystery takes a lot of unnecessary twists and turns. At first, the crime seems to be a random death by your average neighborhood crazy woman, who is the one busy collecting all the roadkill. Walt, with his always infallible instincts (even in the face of logic and circumstantial evidence) seems convinced she’s innocent, however. The Southwest Scooby Gang soon discovers that the woman does have a past with the victim, but someone else has done the evil deed….

There’re some unavoidable spoilers in this next part, so look away if you haven’t yet watched.

[Gone? Good. Now, for the rest of us...]

May 28 2013 11:00am

Longmire Episode 2.1: “Unquiet Mind”

The season 2 premiere of Longmire was both familiar and exciting, as we reunited with our favorite sheriff and deputies for an episode of high drama. Walt and a very bored Vic are transferring a dangerous serial killer, Wayne, to an FBI drop-off point when they encounter the Absaroka version of traffic…in the form of a massive buffalo in the road. The majestic (and territorial) beast is protecting the roadway for a baby white buffalo—as rare as one in ten million, as Wayne helpfully points out. In fact, he insists the sighting is actually a sign, with a meaningful look at our Sheriff. A little later, when they reach the drop-off, Wayne insists that Walt is something of a kindred spirit telling him “You hear the voices too. You have an unquiet mind.”

It’s interesting to see the show dabble once more in the mystical and supernatural themes that underscore Craig Johnson’s books. Though the books and TV show don’t always dovetail, this episode’s plot hews pretty closely to the premise of Johnson’s seventh bestselling Longmire novel, Hell is Empty. TV Walt has such a grounded, no-nonsense vibe, that it’s harder to imagine him placing stock in signs and superstitions as the book version of the character does. But it’s well done here, with enough gravitas to avoid it seeming silly or out-of-character.

[Walt is unique...we all know it!]

May 17 2013 8:30am

5 Reasons to Watch Orphan Black

If you like your mysteries with a generous heaping of intrigue, action and great acting, plus a side of sci-fi, BBC America’s Orphan Black is a tasty dish, indeed. The fantastic drama begins when scrappy streetwise orphan Sarah Manning happens to witness the suicide of a woman who looks identical to herself and decides to step into her life to make a little cash. But she soon discovers that the dead woman wasn’t just a long-lost twin…but one of a series of clones.  And someone is trying to kill them.

The series just aired its seventh (of ten) episodes last Saturday, and each installment just keeps getting better and better. In case you missed Christopher Morgan’s introductory post, here’s a handful of reasons to catch up with the show and tune in:

[You can count on this show...]

Apr 6 2013 9:00am

Fresh Meat: Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory by Tilly Bagshawe

Sidney Sheldon's Tides of Memory by Tilly BagshaweSidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory by Tilly Bagshawe is a classic Sheldon-style thriller (available April 9, 2013).

Powerful women, dastardly villains, intrigue, glamour, revenge, violence—those are the hallmarks of a Sidney Sheldon novel. As a teenager, I raided my nana’s library to indulge in his juicy, racy sagas, like Windmills of the Gods and If Tomorrow Comes. A TV-producing mastermind (he created and wrote nearly all episodes of The Patty Duke Show and I Dream of Jeannie) and one of the best-selling authors of the 1980s, Sheldon, who passed away in 2007, continues his legacy with new novels by Tilly Bagshawe (a best seller in her own right). For those who read and enjoyed the author’s work in his heyday, there’s a decidedly nostalgic appeal to be found in the brand’s newest release, The Tides of Memory.

[Six years gone and still going strong...]

Dec 17 2012 1:00pm

Homeland: Episode 2.12, Season Finale: “The Choice”

Claire DanesWow.  Just…wow. There’s been a lot of grumbling among critics and fans that Homeland has jumped the shark this season, contorted its plot beyond reason or logic, but it’s hard to imagine even the worst critics not being satisfied by such a clever and fairly elegant resolution to its storyline thus far.

Remember that duality we talked about last week? Well the people who watch this show wanting high octane thrills all the time, a la 24, were likely really disappointed by the first 40 minutes, because they’re devoted to exploring that quiet emotional side, the relationship between our leads. Brody and Carrie are back at their cabin in the woods, their idyll out of time, and it’s honeymoonish for sure. It’s also pretty honest.  They bare themselves emotionally, acknowledging their baggage (“your past and my illness”), and tentatively wondering if they can make this work…all the while unaware that Peter Quinn is watching them. He watches and waits, even as they start making love—a pretty neat bit of symmetry with the show’s first few episodes where Carrie surveilled Brody. Quinn takes a time out, and the next morning, when Carrie runs out to get croissants, he follows Brody into the woods, where he goes to pray, and lifts his gun, finger on the trigger….


Dec 10 2012 12:00pm

Homeland: Episode 2.11, “In Memoriam”

Claire Danes

The penultimate episode of the season splits its time between the show’s two modes of operation: high-octane action thriller and raw emotional relationship drama. I like both sides of Homeland (despite having to suspend disbelief a lot more when it comes to the action scenes), but pairing them in the same 60 minutes tends to highlight just how strong this show is at the latter, and render the former as somewhat cheap thrills.

We pick up where the last episode left off, as Carrie skulks around the dark empty warehouse where she was imprisoned by Abu Nazir. She sees a figure and follows him, only to stumble out a door and into the harsh glare of the SWAT team’s floodlights and Peter Quinn’s soothing embrace. The rough edges of early season Quinn are all but gone as he handles Carrie with kid gloves now. He does ask how she managed to escape but accepts her vague dismissals of the inquiries. When the SWAT team emerges without having found Nazir, she insists he must have had help escaping, and attention turns to the MIA Danny Galvez, who also happens to be a Muslim. They track him, but it’s a red herring, Galvez left the scene merely to get to the hospital for some busted stitches.

[Red herrings, moles, it’s a jungle out there!]

Dec 3 2012 12:00pm

Homeland: Episode 2.10, “Broken Hearts”

Damian Lewis as Nick BrodyIf a tree falls in a forest, but doesn’t take any other trees down with it, does it really fall? Up until now, Brody’s status as a terrorist was somewhat iffy. An attempted terrorist? Sure, but when it counted, he didn’t pull the trigger. A murderer? Yes, but Tom and the tailor that he killed were both terrorists.  Arguments perhaps could have been made that Brody hadn’t yet truly done anything to endanger the U.S. or its interests.

But with the events of this week’s episode, Brody has now definitively fallen. He has killed the vice-president of the United States in fairly cold blood. He has achieved his mission to revenge Issa’s death.  What does this mean for the show? And for Brody’s future?

[And did he see it as terrorism? Or vengeance?]

Nov 26 2012 9:30am

Homeland: Episode 2.09, “Two Hats”

Damian Lewis as Nick Brody

The hands-down best thing about this show is that you never know what new zig it will take just when you expected it to zag. We left off at the towering moment last week of Brody nabbed and coming face to face with Nazir on American soil. But the show doesn’t pick up exactly where it left off, and the A-plotline this week involved neither Brody nor Carrie primarily. It’s a testament to the deep bench of talent on the show that scenes with third-tier players like Virgil and Max offer just as much excitement and entertainment as the ones carried by our heavy hitters.

We start ostensibly the morning after the previous episode’s events, with our CIA team weighing their options. Brody’s gone, they haven’t heard from him, and they’re unsure what move to make next, finally deciding they need to round up Roya Hammad. Meanwhile, Brody and Nazir are parting in an empty outdoor lot and it’s sweet sorrow indeed, seemingly. They embrace, Nazir compliments Brody’s strength and emphasizes his trust in him, they agree to pray for each other. Nazir drives off and Brody jogs to the nearest main street, and calls Carrie, telling her nothing but entreating her to get his family to a safe house right now and that he’ll call her back in an hour. She agrees, then calls off the Roya grab.

[And this week’s avalanche of tension begins]

Nov 19 2012 1:00pm

Homeland: Episode 2.08, “I’ll Fly Away”

The tension levels ratcheted back up to 11 in this week’s episode. And if Damian Lewis doesn’t get another Emmy at next Fall’s awards, there is no justice in the world.

Brody is finally truly cracking under the pressure of living multiple lives and lying to nearly every single person he knows (with the important exception of Carrie, of course). While a bereft Dana seeks refuge at Mike’s house (which is in an incredibly dodgy looking neighborhood—the military seriously needs to pay better wages), Jessica is screaming at Brody that he’s let their daughter wander off, asking him to explain why he didn’t let her come clean at the police station about the hit-and-run. He vaguely says the CIA is the obstacle and when she pushes further, he breaks down.

[Oh what a tangled web we weave...]