Touching and amusing scenes open and close this episode, beginning with Walt (Robert Taylor) and Donna (Ally Walker) getting it on, teenage style in his bronco, to the strains of Bad Company’s “Can't Get Enough.” They had tried to rekindle their lovemaking in Walt’s cabin, but the memories of nearly being killed by Donna’s PTSD patient still lingered, and, adding insult to injury, Walt’s rifle tipping over and going off definitely dampened the mood. (Hey, Walt, safety on any weapon is always a best practice.)
The ending finds them at Donna’s house, with Walt asking that they take it a little slower—he and his wife Martha didn’t do the horizontal bop until after marriage. Donna seems to accept his “corny” request, and they both plan on settling in for a movie.
The standalone thread of “From This Day Forward” finds Jim Mackey (Don Swayze) and Tom Fuller (Mike Damus) discovering the near mummified remains of Tony Kaufman crammed into a hollow tree. They are fortune seekers looking for treasure that a rich guy had stashed somewhere locally with vague, puerile poetry lines as a clue.
Tony’s cause of death was several stab wounds to the gut and chest. A tattoo of “Tizz” (Laura Regan) leads Walt and Vic (Katee Sackhoff) to Tony’s wife, who lives with her bitter mother, Nancy Crandall (Bess Armstrong), who despised Tony because he was known to cheat on Tizz and was an all-around deadbeat. Nancy bought a house for the son-in-law she apparently hated, and a little Eiffel Tower charm from a bracelet is found at the empty house, matching one Nancy was wearing when Walt and Vic interviewed her. But if she did kill him, how did she alone stuff him into the tree? A couple of firemen flesh out the usual suspects in this fair-to-middling murder mystery.
I’ve mentioned that I’m not a fan of the battered wife narrative where Cady (Cassidy Freeman) is protecting Asha (Chelsea Kurtz) from her abusive husband J.P. Wright (Roderick Hill), who she still loves and against all reasoning wants to go back to him. Cady delivers a restraining order to J.P., which he immediately ignores, trying to woo (yes, woo, on bended knee) her back—going so far as to present her with a sobriety chip that Alcoholics Anonymous have allegedly given him. Cady let's Asha know that you only get a chip after you have been sober a year, so clearly J.P. is lying.
Doesn’t Cady run quite the gamble of going to J.P.'s house alone and picking up some clothes for Asha? J.P. is there, and Cady asks to use the bathroom and for a glass of water as distractions to swipe the garments. The only reason she doesn’t get caught (damn, that took a long, long time for J.P. to draw a glass of H20) is the show’s writer didn’t want her to get caught—there’s no way she could have succeeded in that fishbowl of a house if it had been el mundo real.
But the bang for our viewing buck comes when J.P., gun in hand, bursts into Cady’s office and she aims a rifle at him. A blast is heard before end credits, but we don’t know who is hit. Echoes of Barlow Connally (Gerald McRaney) vs. son Branch (Bailey Chase) and Walt being shot by Tamar cliffhangers. It did jazz up the whole Asha/J.P. ordeal but was a bit too familiar.
- What is up with Vic being sick and throwing up? She eyes a pregnancy test that she tosses in the trash?!
- Ferg takes Meg on his business trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and gets caught with his girlfriend. When he breaks down the door—essentially breaking and entering—to show off I guess, I see some of Walt’s disdainful police methods are rubbing off.
- Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) has already complained about too many puppet masters, and when Cady comes to him asking for his help in hiding Asha, I got the vibe that Henry has become too much of a go-to focal point; if he ever leaves Absaroka, the county will fall apart without him for a backbone.