Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) has changed the locks on the Red Pony and informs Malachi’s inquisitive lieutenant, Darius Burns (J.D. Havenstar), that “… nothing that happens in this bar is your concern anymore. You are fired.” He then answers the phone by saying, “It is a beautiful day at the Red Pony and continual soiree.”
It is good to have him running everyone’s favorite Wyoming watering hole, though the way he got it back runs headlong into Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor). Henry and Walt keep a lot of secrets from each other, so when Henry easily confesses that he turned the ledger evidence over to Nighthorse (A Martinez), I was a little surprised—but not amazed—by Walt’s pissed off response.
Seems Henry was a little too jubilant about getting his establishment back and forgot that his best friend is the sheriff. Evidence of laundering money should have been turned over to Walt and not a casino mogul like Nighthorse. I do like how Henry sticks it to Walt by reminding him that he breaks the law when it serves his interests—like not giving the name Shane Muldoon, head of the Irish Mob, to the FBI. Put that in your cap and smoke it, sheriff!
Walt and Vic (Katee Sackhoff) had waited all night for Malachi (Graham Greene) to show. He claimed he was going to offer proof that Jacob Nighthorse had a deal with Muldoon to sell heroin and push prostitution at the Four Arrows Casino. Now that he’s missing, Nighthorse is Walt’s—you guessed it—number one suspect.
But I agree with Henry when he says that Walt does come across like someone with a tinfoil hat the way he constantly obsesses over Jacob Nighthorse. Walt’s harsh rebuttal: “You and I used to be on the same side, but that was back before Nighthorse turned both you and my daughter against me.” Is Nighthorse going to be revealed as the big bad criminal element of Season 5?
Or is he just a shady politician of sorts who knows how to do the political dance when need be? Like when he talks to Cady (Cassidy Freeman), explaining he needs to hire a new head of security from outside the community to replace Malachi. He wants her to bolster her staff to help balance the expected reaction folks will have to him hiring a non-Cheyenne for the casino. Nighthorse has already selected her applicants who all have relatives on the tribal council. He says to a perplexed looking Cady, “sometimes … to achieve something good, you have to manipulate perception a bit.”
ADA Lisa Holder (Catherine Dent) needs Vic to testify at Chance Gilbert’s (Peter Stormare) trial, where he is representing himself. Longmire is concerned that Vic may have trouble when she sees Gilbert again and offers to go along as support. She declines his offer, saying he needs to find Malachi.
You may remember Gilbert had bound and gagged Vic, placing a football helmet over her head before using her cranium for tee-ball practice. Something tells me in the real judicial world, she would be excused from having to face her assailant in court in this manner, but, damn, it makes for good television: Vic has flashbacks while Gilbert interrogates her and his “shitheel goons” try to shut her down when she goes toe to toe with his ridiculous accusations that Vic had an inappropriate romantic relationship with Walt Longmire. The judge bangs his gavel, “sustain” and “objection” ring out, and the supercilious reporters gleefully jot notes. Next day’s paper headline:
“Survivalist Leader Claims Lovelorn Deputy Does Sheriff’s Bidding.”
Walt and Officer Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) locate Malachi’s phone and find blood crusting the ground. HECTOR LIVES is spelled out in stones. Mathias and Henry both suspect that maybe Nighthorse went back and killed Malachi after Henry left. My immediate thought is that Malachi laid out the stones himself knowing he’d be framing Henry. Maybe a long shot, but Malachi and his crew were searching for Hector for the Irish Mob and might be onto Henry’s moonlighting, vengeance trail.
Regardless, both Mathias and Henry know they need to find Malachi—dead or alive—before Walt begins searching for Hector again. They follow Darius hoping he will lead them to Malachi. What he does lead them to is a deep hole and a bagful of money that Henry notes is worth killing for.
In a powerful conclusion, secrets are looking to be laid bare as Walt confronts Henry in the bar as to whether he’s the new Hector. Walt, Vic, and Ferg traced recent drug-dealer attacks linked to Hector on the reservation to a probable hypothesis that Walt’s best friend is the Cheyenne righter of wrongs. Henry tells Walt he is out of control and anything he, or Cady, has hidden from him has been done out of love. Walt latches onto Henry’s arm and won’t let go until he has an answer, which results in them slugging it out, knocking over tables and chairs as Henry’s patrons look on in alarmed disbelief.
The penultimate episode to Season 5 was written by Tony Tost, who penned the finest episodes this year. He knows these characters inside out and wrings them of all their worth to maximum effect.
- Rummaging through Vic’s trash, Travis (Derek Phillips) spots a pregnancy test, and, in a flashback, it seems that, well, he has a right in suspecting he’s the poppa. We have seen Vic’s—ok, I’ll say it—questionable taste in men before, but the sight of her in her underwear, donning a cowboy hat, and roping Travis was a bit of a shudder. Comical, sexy, and disturbing all at one.
- Walt’s lawyer Dave Milgrom (Patch Darragh) corners him about his pending wrongful-death lawsuit that Barlow’s estate refuses to settle for any amount. It’s going to trial, and Dave warns that if Walt doesn’t get the lead out to formulate a defense, he’ll most likely to be out of a job.
David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.