Much of the first five seasons in the relationship of Walt (Robert Taylor) and Vic (Katee Sackhoff) had a hollow ring to the sexual tension. Would they, or wouldn’t they? Snooze. Vic ended up with Eamonn (Josh Cooke) and then Travis (Derek Phillips) while Walt found a psychotherapist to pass his time. In this fourth episode of the final season, writing and acting came together and paid off in a big way.
After a gunshot wound to the thigh caused major blood loss—and the loss of her unborn child—Vic wakes to Walt in a blood-stained shirt holding vigil by her bedside. So much passes between Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff through the windows to their souls. We are waiting for him to tell her she has lost the baby, which he carefully does, and we go from feeling compassion for her realization to strong empathy when she says, “I just feel terrible that I don’t feel more terrible.”
Speaking of relationships, maybe I was a little too hard on the Ferg (Adam Bartley) and Meg (Mary Wiseman) from the season’s first episode. This time around, we learn a little more about Meg when Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) calls to tell Ferg that Meg’s mom, who is taking chemo for cancer, has locked herself in a display car inside the casino. She has “chemo brain” and is not acting rationally; she’s swiped over $3,000 in chips and is afraid of the “war party” surrounding her.
Later, after getting her mother home, Meg opens up to Ferg revealing a three-dimensional life. She’s embarrassed—hoping he would’ve met her mom under better circumstances—and is now concerned she has ruined that chance. He reassures her that the bloom of their budding romance is secure. Moving along to Travis, we find him across town, drinking himself silly at the Red Pony while unloading to Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips). It’s nice to see supporting characters given time to shine. Congrats to writer Leo Geter for adding such depth and layers.
The Marshals lets Walt know they are pleased with his handling of the Chance Gilbert case, but the glow is short-lived when they tell him they don’t have the manpower to keep an eye on Chance’s clan. The sheriff becomes a bit unnerved knowing the fanatics will have it in for Vic since she killed their “Charlie Manson.” So, when Vic falls asleep in her camper, he moves the whole kit and caboodle to his ranch. And when a poorly wrapped and labeled package arrives for her, he overreacts—thinking it could be a bomb—and shoots at it. Turns out to be a toy barn. He repairs the hole and restores the paint before handing the gift over to her.
Meanwhile, Walt’s other houseguest, Henry, has teamed up with Nighthorse (A Martinez), and they are on their way to talk to the feds when they are driven off the road. The ambusher is dressed to look like Hector, which implies that Malachi (Graham Greene) is behind the attack. Henry passes on to Mathias what has happened, and the tribal police chief asks—more like encourages—if he’s “packin’” a weapon. From the expression on Henry’s face, he will give it some serious consideration.
Side note: With all the storylines provided to Meg and Travis, it would have been nice to see Mathias’s role also expanded. For five years, actor Zahn McClarnon has provided reliably steady acting chops, always pushing his performance outside the narrow confines provided, and delving into his ordeals and motivations would have been equally rewarding.
Vic’s mothering instinct kicks in. The episode is crowned by a little blonde girl running on an idyllic summer day through the country. We see her running to Vic and then disappearing. An apparition. A child that never was. Vic later tells Walt, “How do you get over loving someone so much that you never met … my baby is gone and she is gone because of me.” Vic breaks down, and good god, it’s gut-wrenching to watch.
Walt’s only reassurance for her is that, with the extra blood supply from being pregnant, the baby saved her life. Perhaps that’s little comfort to the grief-stricken would-have-been mother, but it draws the ties closer together as they try to mend through some particularly difficult times.
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.