Longmire: Episode 2.10 “Election Day”

Yard sign from Longmire episode 2.10 "Election Day"The long-awaited and pivotal day has finally arrived: Absaroka County will elect (or re-elect) its new sheriff. But the political gets very personal in this stellar episode that just might be the best of the show’s two seasons thus far.

We open at a political rally/shindig for Walt where everyone’s letting down their hair a bit. They’ve brought their casual clothes out of mothballs, Ferg and Cady are cutting a swift-footed rug (that Ferg is indeed light on his feet!), Henry’s giving speeches (as he does), Ruby and Vic are having some libations, even Walt is coerced into dancing with a constituent by a laughing Lizzie.  And after the party, our fair sheriff finally gets a little horizontal action that doesn’t involve handcuffs or gunplay (er, we think). Life is good…

But not for long…this is a melancholy drama, remember? Unfortunately, shortly after Cady leaves the party to shepherd some non-driving voters to the polling place, Vic and Ferg get a call for a hit-and-run and the victim is none other than Walt’s daughter, unconscious and critically injured.

SEE ALSO: The whole shooting match of Longmire posts for every season and episode, plus other fun stuff, too!

The site of Cady's crash from Longmire's "Election Day"And though I say unfortunately, her accident is actually just the shot in the arm the show needs, because for the first time in a long time, we get some real emotion from our gang. We’re reminded that these people aren’t just coworkers who are often irritable or downright angry with each other but…they actually like each other and care about each other! We discover that Ferg’s long harbored a crush on Cady and he’s so distraught about the accident that he’s a bit out of control and Vic has to rein him in. Adam Bartley and Katee Sackhoff have a lovely, genuinely moving scene in the sheriff’s office where they’re trying to get on with solving the case and are just overcome, their voices breaking with emotion.

Election Day hoopla: Branch Connally for SheriffBranch, who finds out belatedly as he’s been caught up with his own election day promotions, is literally floored, having a breakdown when he goes to investigate the car that hit Cady.

And Walt, as anyone would imagine, is completely in pieces on the inside and completely numb on the surface. He keeps flashing back to Cady as a baby and little girl, and when he finally is roused to help with the case once Vic and Ferg hit some dead ends, his anger explodes, not just at the perpetrator of the accident, but at himself more than anything.

If we didn’t already know Walt had a martyr complex, this episode seriously drives it home. He berates himself for being selfish and putting his own happiness first and “allowing this to happen.” Which….uh…okay. (Because of his one night stand? because I don’t remember Walt being too happy otherwise! Poor Lizzie! I suspect it’s the last we might see of her.) Then later, Henry talks to him about his own guilt, thinking that the things they did in Denver brought this bad luck around. Walt agrees and wants to do penance via a sacrifice ritual that “white men aren’t supposed to do.”And it’s some pretty freaky stuff involving eagle feathers (?) and being strung up to a post by a lead attached to steel rings pierced through his chest! (Too bad, Lizzie could’ve probably had some fun with that.) It’s honestly a little much, making Walt look like the world’s biggest masochist/drama queen. But it sure is a dramatic way to end an episode. And Lou Diamond Phillips’ Henry gets to do a full Native American dress and war cry.

The whole episode is actually a really fantastic showcase for our five leads, as well as some nice moments for Cady, Lizzie, Ruby and Bob Barnes. There are a lot of great brief scenes where it’s just nice to see these characters interacting in new or moving ways because their emotions overcome them. Vic gets a bit touchy-feely comforting Walt in the hospital and then sort of abruptly realizes what she’s doing. A hurt Ferg actually confronts a shocked and abashed Branch about why he had to date Cady of all people. These are the kinds of scenes that really flesh out the emotional journeys and develop these characters in interesting ways that I wish could be incorporated in every episode of the show. It’s the best kind of drama because the mystery thoroughly and deeply impacts and even CHANGES these characters in profound ways.

Walt Longmire arrives to vote for himself for sheriff.Oh yeah, and that election—Walt won…by only 17 votes. That’s a pretty narrow margin right there. The episode nicely sets up another mystery to carry out the last three episodes as well, when Branch discovers that the tire Cady was changing when she got hit was intentionally sliced (by someone who didn’t want her to get those voters to the polls for Longmire, perhaps? A certain Jacob Nighthorse protecting the money he invested in Branch?) It’ll be interesting to see what Branch will do next, as it’s hard to imagine him remaining a deputy (as Vic gleefully points out in the promos for the next episode). And of course, Cady’s still in critical condition too.  Hopefully, her continuing peril will bring yet more emotional waves to crest through the remaining episodes of the season.

Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and Internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.

Read all Tara Gelsomino’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Kim K

    I’m glad I TIVO-ed this ep because so much happened that I want to watch again. I concur that the ending with Walt doing the sun dance ritual was a bit over the top. I haven’t gotten the sense that he is all that spiritual (Native American or otherwise) so that came out of left field for me. While I understand why Walt let Bob take the wrap for his son’s accident, I am with Ferg at being disappointed that the son wasn’t held accountable for his actions. It will be interesting to see where Branch ends up. I’ve gone back and forth on him all season. He can be a real asshat but I also see someone who respects the law (and Walt) but who is also being pulled by the political aspirations and business dealings of his father and Jacob (these 2 are like characters out of Casino!). So, do you think the ice pick from the party was used to slash Cady’s tire??

  2. Tom Wopat

    There was a screen shot of an ice pick early on when everyone was at Walt’s political shindig. Wonder if that has anything to do with the tires getting slashed? Although the slash on the tire looked more like a knife puncture.

  3. Michelle St. James

    This really was a fantastic episode on so many levels. I’ve felt that the election storyline was dragging the show down a bit, so I’m thrilled this episode was so meaty and character moment-filled and I’m looking forward to the election aftermath, especially with Branch’s discovery about Cady’s tire. That should force Walt and Branch into some sort of tense detente, and it should be interesting.

  4. snow dog

    I think the ice pick was used to produce a slow leak in Cady’s tire. I think there is more to the accident. If Cady was changing the passenger side rear tire she would have been off the road not in line to be hit and wouldn’t have be thrown so far. I think that neither Bob or his son actually hurt Cady. I think Cady was already hurt before Bob’s son hit her car. He said he didn’t remember hitting her only the car and she was down in the gully when he first saw her. He was the one that called 911. This is a takeoff on one of Craig Johnson’s books where Cady gets hurt in Philly and what appears to have happened and what actually happened turned out to be totally different. I think we’ll see the same here. I liked this episode. So good to see all the main characters have meaty parts in the episode. Way to go Ferg with the dancing! I think Barlow Connally was noticably absent. Can’t tell me he wouldn’t be around to vote and support his son. I’m with you that the sundance ritual/vision quest at the end was bit much. I can’t believe Walt thinks of himslf as selfish/guilty and that this would his way to appease his guilt. I don’t like Lizzie and was surprised Walt gave in but given he feels guilty after what happened to Cady that will probably be it for Lizzie. I want to see the Walt/Vic relationship move forward. Only 3 more episodes in S2 so I suspect we will have a lot of unanswered questions at the end unfortunately and hopefully A&E will tell us soon there will be a season 3. Not sure what they are waiting for.

  5. Elaine Charton

    I loved last nights episode, As mentioned earlier, it was a take off on one of the Craig Johnson books. One of my favorites.
    I actually felt a little sorry for Branch. But not for long. I don’t like Lizzie at all, I think she’s trouble.I also think, and I may be wrong, that Jacob is in there somewhere.
    An intense episode that gave everyone a chance to show thier acting chops. I love seeing Ferg start to grow. There is more to that man than meets the eye.
    Can not wait until Monday.

  6. Laura K. Curtis

    I really don’t like Lizzy. I know lots of people do, but I sort of hope Walt decides to give her the boot. IMHO, Walt just made more trouble for himself sleeping with her.

    I wonder how slim a margin 17 votes is. How many people live in Absaroka county?

    If I had to guess, someone (in the pay of A. Martinez is my guess) punched that hole in Cady’s tire to stop her from taking people to the polls and after that things got out of hand.

  7. Mary Saputo

    Boy, Laura, I’m with you about Lizzy. Give her the ole’ heave ‘ho! I do enjoy these episodes but also feel they got better towards the end. As to Walt’s little dance – a bit much for me, too. What does that have to do with “coming clean?” Seems to me Walt doesn’t have a good hold on how to cleanse his conscience. And then again, what if this way is easier and less painful than really coming clean?

  8. Richard Mann

    In the books, Walt gets pretty deep into the Cheyenne mythos, seeing and hearing old ghost warriors helping him out of blizzards, and so forth. (My memory is hazy, but it was one of the aspects of the books that I thought was laid on a bit heavily.) Therefore, the Cheyenne ritual at the end is pretty much in character with the Walt I fuzzily recall from the books.

  9. Saundra Peck

    I have to admit that I am about to watch this episode for a third time. I keep seeing details of what is FOR SURE the best ep yet!!! And I love that Walt almost denied himself some lovin’, then went back and took it. Hot! I do not care who it was he was with, it was a big step for Walt…. Sadly, he made it into the pain he has to atone for—which is why this show is one of the best on tv. I entered to win the trip to the set. You all stay away from my sweepstakes!!!

  10. Kim K

    I see Lizzie as being a bit forward, but that doesn’t bother me at all! (Sometimes a woman has to take charge!!). I feel sorry for her in that she is trying to have a normal relationship with someone who hasn’t quite let go of a past relationship and is carrying a lot of baggage (I’ve been that person, my current boyfriend was very patient). I see her as very spirited and wanting to be in a fully engaged relationship so I wager she will be the one to dump Walt because of his lack of attention/commitment.

  11. Tara Gelsomino

    @goaldigger @TomWopat I think it was the ice pick too! That bartender had some shifty angry looks going on! Jacob hired him perhaps!

    @michstjame I want to see a compromise from Walt and Branch too at this point. I thought maybe they’d go there in the hospital waiting room scene, but they didn’t… I wonder if Walt expects to fire Branch post-election but then he comes to Walt with the evidence about the slashed tire and possibly other stuff and proves his mettle as a deputy and that he cares about Cady and wants to do good work, etc.

    @snowdogmom Ooh, look at your crafty sleuthing on the accident. There could well be more than meets the eye there. Surely, they don’t want to send Bob to jail for attempted manslaughter! He’s a nice bit player for the team. I wondered too where Branch’s dad was. I guess Gerald M. wasn’t available for filming.

    @echartonwrites I liked this better than the book version of Cady’s accident since it was on home turf and had repercussions for everyone, and I’d assume that her rehabiltation will be much swifter and easier than in the books. (Although I do still hope we go to Philly at some point to meet Vic’s family–or that they come to town!)

    @laurakcurtis Poor Lizzie! I don’t think too many people are fond of her but I have to say I loved Katherine LaNasa’s turn on Deception as an over-the-top matriarch and that led to me liking Lizzie a bit more. I think she’s kind of fun and I wish Walt had more of a sense of humor around her (since we do get to see it in glimpses with Ruby and the deputies).

    @bitsy08 @algernon99 I think Algernon is right on that the show often tries to nod toward the Native American culture and sense of spirituality that culture has, which is so prevalent in the books, but that it doesn’t translate as smoothly/often/well in the TV show. So that makes these kinds of moments a bit more awkward. I think because Walt said it was a ritual that white men aren’t allowed to do, it also made it seem uncomfortably like they were co-opting NA culture to have him do it. I don’t know…

    @ski1336 I too liked Walt going back and then being in such good spirits the next morning. I think he needed that! Lol. It is a shame that it got mixed up with his guilt about Denver and the accident and his daughter.

    @Goaldigger You really think Lizzie will dump him? She seems to have been endlessly patient with him up till now when he wouldn’t even commit to admitting he was seeing her. Plus…I don’t imagine there are that many good choices for single ladies out there in Absaroka… Cady said as much!

  12. Clare 2e

    Without the internal narrative of the books, the TV Walt can be such a self-involved mope. It’s all my fault, blah-blah, and then he’s going to do the absolutely WRONG thing with Bob’s son. Ferg knows. I know.

    All along I’ve been watching this version of Branch get kicked and slighted by Walt, then his daughter. He doesn’t get credit from his dad or anyone he respects, Jacob just thinks he’s bought and sold, and yet he’s supposed always to rise above and do the right thing for the interests of justice and Team Walt. He HAS been choosing that so far, not that anyone cares to notice or appreciate it. He’s working on the investigation, such as he can, and the newly-elected Walt’s gone walkabout in the desert trying to flagellate away his depressive’s lack of coping skills.

    Also, and this may get me in more hot water, what’s with Cady as everyone’s Queen Bee? I know it’s kind of mean to say now that she’s comatose, but I keep trying to figure out what’s so appealing about the TV version that we’re supposed to adore her. She’s lovely–it’s not that–but she’s also routinely snarky and dismissive. Mostly, she treats Branch badly (but, hey, maybe that’s his thing) and is mostly inconsiderate of her dad (so maybe that’s a Longmire thing). It’s like I’m supposed to admire her on credit when almost all I get to see, up until ferrying folks today, is the behavior of a doted-upon only child.

    I don’t know how TV Walt imagines protecting a grown woman from what happened, except by bubble-wrapping her into a cardboard box and feeding her through a tube. And no matter how much of his own blood he spills, it won’t work. Many, many parents would willingly sacrifice themselves if it spared their children pain. Without the context of the book Walt’s ongoing and deep experiences with the unseen, this Walt’s actions seemed to me over-the-top at minimum, more dysfunctional and immature.

    My last nit: I like Lizzie. It will come to no good (in fact, my personal wild theory is that she’ll morph into the dangerously nutsy rich girlfriend from one of the books), but I like the character before me.

  13. Laura K. Curtis

    I totally agree that the TV Walt needs more development. The humor we get from his internal monologue in the books is missing, as is his spirituality. It makes it hard to see why everyone around him admires him so much.

    On the other hand, this Walt has a very different backstory, so maybe that’s what they’re working with.

    I have NO idea why he felt like he couldn’t telly Cady that her mother was killed by a mugger. Ummmm…seriously, this woman was already dying of cancer, so it’s not like Cady had not had some time to come to grips with her mother’s mortality. I think that was a poor writing choice.

    I have to say, I haven’t really cared for Branch a whole lot right from the beginning. He’s too brash for my taste. And, yeah, he doesn’t get a lot of respect but right up until the moment someone he actually *cares* about got hurt, I also never saw him do anything to deserve it. I hope that now that the election storyline is over (at least for the moment) we’ll get to see him as a better cop. I hope that without feeling like he has to prove himself, Walt will let go the reins a little bit. I’d like to see Vic get some more action, too.

  14. Tara Gelsomino

    @Clare Ha, you’re singing my tune, lady. It’s okay, we’ll be on #TeamBranch together. The hardest thing for me about TV!Walt is that he doesn’t have the humor or self-deprecation that makes book!Walt a fun and tolerable narrator. Don’t get me wrong, I think Robert is a wonderful fit for the role as they envisioned it and does a lovely job, but that particular cocktail of grumpy, emotionally closed-off martyrdom is not my fave.

    It was interesting to read in an interview that Bailey Chase actually originally auditioned for Walt before learning they wanted someone much older and they liked him so much they crafted the part of Branch for him. It would’ve been a very different show with him as Walt Longmire.

    @Laura To be fair, the show is written so that Walt is the only one right/capable/saving the day in most situations. One of my fave things about this episode is that with Walt sidelined, you got to see how good all the deputies were at their jobs for the most part–even while stressed. I wish they’d give Vic and Branch not just more to do but more ways to show their experience. Vic was a homicide detective in Philly! Branch grew up in this county and has been a deputy for at least 2 or 3 years at a bare minimum AND filled in for Walt while he took a year to cope with his wife’s death. All of that has to mean they could handle more than the show is giving them. Unfortunately it frequently chooses to make them look clueless so that Walt can bark at them about what they should be doing instead. His manner is always weary and brusque about it too. He seldom talks to them like he’s teaching them or, really, has any respect for them, which bothers me.

  15. Veronica Gorton

    Tara where are you? I have been following you on Longmire & Homeland.

    Longmire is over, but Homeland is finally back!! I have been waiting to read your blog on it……….where is it? Where are you? I miss your blog!!!
    you are fantastic! And I look forward to your thoughts on the show.

    Hope you are still writing.


  16. blove

    The Indian ritual was fantastic …similar to the scene in the classic movie A Man Called Horse

  17. Betsy Sloan
  18. marty

    Oh come on! I haven’t read the books but the Walt we know from TV is not believable as a martyr atoning with an Indian ritual for punishment for whatever is his angst at the moment. I agree that Lizzie is just not that appealing and probably would not have been able to move Walt into a relationship. Disappointing skript for this show.

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