Longmire 6:09: “Running Eagle Challenge” Episode Review

Vic (Katee Sackhoff) is learning there is often no such thing as closure. After going to a support group and seeing a woman who, rightfully so, is still crying over a lost child a year later, she listens to Longmire’s (Robert Taylor) advice: instead of talking it out, she needs to—in a manner of speaking—sweat it out.

He suggests she should enter the Running Eagle Challenge—a triathlon for women that includes running, canoeing, and horseback riding—being organized by Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips). She likes the idea, and with only a day to prepare, she is coached by Longmire on the ins-and-outs of horseback riding and by The Ferg (Adam Bartley) on proper paddling technique.

Everyone’s favorite villain, Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez), shows up at Cady Longmire’s (Cassidy Freeman) office saying he can only afford another $100,000 to keep her practice open. He admits that he has budgeted poorly, and his million-dollar bail isn’t helping the cause. He’s hurriedly shuffled out by his security because someone appears to be tailing them. Not so.

Soon after they leave, she finds Zachary (Barry Sloane) staking out her business. Caught, he admits that Daddy Longmire hired him to provide security for her. Instead of being angry, she invites him inside. After bonding over career choices, she leans in for a kiss, and they are off to the races, hot and heavy. This wasn’t completely unexpected since Cady was checking out a shirtless Zach when she went to hire him as a “detective,” and for my money, the jittery boy and wide-eyed girl are a perfect couple. Dare I say, cute.

FBI Agent Decker hasn’t shown up for work according to another agent named Vance, who arrives in Absaroka County. Longmire brings Vance up to date on the Irish Mob and his suspicions of Decker’s involvement with not just Shane Muldoon but also Malachi. Longmire still has the heroin in storage, and thinking that someone has been monitoring their radio communications, he sets up a sting by announcing over the compromised channel when they are moving the shipment then planting a fully charged phone in with the kilos to track it.

Sure enough, his hunch pays off. The drugs get hijacked by none other than Decker. Vance and his agents interrogate Decker, who isn’t spilling the beans that Longmire wants to hear—namely where Malachi is—and Longmire isn’t being let in on the particulars of the investigation because it’s FBI business. However, he gets to Decker at an opportune moment when escorting the rogue agent to the men’s room where he shows him a picture of Shane Muldoon with a bullet through his forehead. The scare tactic works, and Decker tells Longmire he has been in cahoots with Malachi, regularly meeting him at a burger joint called Buffalo Betty’s.

Meanwhile, Vic’s father and namesake, Victor Moretti (John Doman), shows up after learning that she’d been shot. He’s none too happy with Walt Longmire and how he’s been running his department, accusing the “power-mad sheriff” of putting his daughter’s life in jeopardy. He offers her the chance to return to Philadelphia—where he’s a police chief—and a job making much more money with room for advancement. He approaches her with the logic, “Hey, it’s not giving up if you’re making a smarter choice.”

As she listens intently to a man she greatly respects, it’s easy to see where Vic gets her no-bullshit attitude, and Katee Sackhoff does an excellent job portraying an individual at a crossroads. Victor doubles down by going to Longmire’s office to lay it on the line: “I don’t want her puppy-dogging behind you in harm’s way anymore. You got that?” Longmire almost seems at a loss for words when he replies, “Your daughter is very important to my department.”

Vic begins strongly in the running stage of the triathlon but falls behind in canoeing and horseback riding, cursing Ferg’s and Longmire’s less-than-helpful assistance. She ends up getting thrown from the horse and trails the animal for what appears to be miles. Tuckered out and at her breaking point, she lays flat on the ground, exhausted. Looking skyward, she says, “I’m not strong enough. You win. I give up.” Miraculously, the horse returns to a grateful Vic.

The last hurdle to clear is her caring yet overly protective father. Returning to her trailer late in the evening, she reminds him that she is his daughter. He raised her. “I need you to let go just a little … and trust that I know what I need to do.” He gets that and leaves her be.

In an amusing ending, Vic asks to talk to Longmire about something sensitive. He, of course, thinks she’s going to quit. Instead, in a nice throwback to the first episode of the series, she asks for a raise. Something tells me she will get it this time.

See also: Longmire 6.08: “Cowboy Bill” Episode Review


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.


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