I had forgotten how much I appreciate Warren Zevon’s singing. His gruff, world-weary rendition of “Back in the High Life Again” opens the show as we follow Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), who is reading Lucian Connally’s (Peter Weller) letter that admits he killed Tucker Baggett and dictates how to dispose of his remains. A touching, elegiac tribute to one of the finest characters this show has wrought. The opener concludes with Longmire having a shot at The Red Pony, slamming the glass upside down on the bar with the show’s titles playing over. Stylish, fitting.
The Ferg (Adam Bartley) gets called to a residential home because a neighbor has made a noise complaint. Inside, bound to a chair, is the corpse of Ian Whitmore with sixteen arrows plunged into his chest and the phrase “Hector Lives” carved into his back. Ferg interviews the neighbor and discovers it’s none other than former deputy Zach Heflin (Barry Sloane). He’s still a quirky son of a gun, but he drops a clue for Ferg that, yes, he had seen a silver suburban parked out front. He figured there was a drug dealer in the house because of all the vehicles parked outside at odd hours.
Encouraged by his renewed rapport with The Ferg, in the following days, Zach spots someone at the deceased’s house and calls it in. Ferg and Longmire respond to find a man claiming to be Ian’s business partner. When he’s shown a picture of Ian’s arrow-riddled body, he begins talking, revealing that Darius Burns is still heavily involved in the heroin trade both on and off the rez.
Later, Zach shows Longmire his detailed account of goings and comings from Ian’s abode, eventually leading Ferg and Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) to find the much sought after Rusty Ames (James Macon Mauldin). Longmire tells Zach, “You always were a good cop, Zach.” You get the sense that the sheriff, Zach, and Ferg all want to go back in time and keep Zach on the force. The looks they exchange are bittersweet.
Catori Long (Susan Santiago) a sixth-grade elementary teacher visits Cady Longmire’s (Cassidy Freeman) office asking for help with one of her students, Tate Dawson (Phoenix Wilson), who has scarlet fever—which is potentially deadly without antibiotics. Cady reassures the teacher that she can provide insurance for Tate who had not been to a physician. Both women visit the child to learn the parents are purposely not going to the hospital because the “white man” has abused them in the past; in the case of Tate’s mom (Annie Henk), her own mother was sterilized against her will at the very hospital where Cady and Catori want to take Tate.
A serviceable plotline that’s been done before, but what’s different here is Cady meets with the tribal council with the hope of obtaining a court order to legally remove the child from the home. The council—led by Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez)—unanimously turns down her request. No white knight to the rescue.
Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) suggests to Nighthorse that he drop his security detail to lure the new Hector to them with the idea that Longmire will provide security. Jacob turns him down by saying, “[Walt] knows I’m going to testify against him. I don’t see a lot of incentive for him to be protecting me right now.” Good point.
In a nice turn, Nighthorse offers Henry the use of his home for safety, but Henry replies, “… I cannot live my life in hiding anymore.” Heading back to The Red Pony, Henry gets the scare of his life thinking Hector is in his bar. He draws on FBI Agent Decker (Raphael Sbarge), who was waiting for Henry to fill him in on some remaining details. Decker claims Malachi is close to being apprehended.
Closing out another long-running storyline, juror Sam Poteet (Hank Cheyne), who has been giving Longmire side-eyed stare downs, passes a note to the judge, who allows it to be read in court. The two questions on the note are directed toward Nighthorse while on the witness stand. His answers reveal that the late Barlow Connally had it in for Longmire, wishing to take the sheriff’s land away from him to build a “massive development project.” Nighthorse testifies that Longmire did not know about these plans and stuns everyone by saying that there are emails to back it all up. Bam! End of case. The most rewarding line of dialogue is Nighthorse saying, “Ultimately … I believe Walt Longmire is an honorable man.” And finally, Longmire, who really should feel small, learns what the audience has known for some time: Jacob Nighthorse is a complicated (not without his faults), honorable man himself.
Here we are, six for six in terms of high quality for this last season, and I’m already beginning to miss this show.
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.