The penultimate Longmire of the season delivers poetry and prisoners, stalkers and suspense. A dramatic poetry reading at the Red Pony sets the tone, a disembodied voice deeply intoning “A cowboy knows a good death is hard to find” while we see Walt opening a special package at the station—a dessicated finger. A local prisoner, James Knotley, left instructions in a safety deposit box that the digit be delivered to the sheriff when he died. The trail leads to Lucien, who arrested the man in 1989 for armed robbery… of dinosaur bones!
It’s always a pleasure to have the caustic, corrupt old coot (played with great verve by Peter Weller) back. Even better, him being Branch’s uncle paves the way for Walt and his deputy to actually work together on a case, which is rather nice.
The case itself is honestly a bit of a snooze after the exciting intro. There’s a lot of back and forth about who the finger might belong to, as well as the whereabouts of missing money, but as usual, it’s mostly a misdirect and the real culprit turns out to be tangential to the heist AND the biggest name guest star (after Weller) in true Law & Order style. (I won’t give it away by naming the person here, but children of the ’80s may get a kick out of this appearance by someone who maybe delivered the worst/best rap in the history of cinema. TOP THAT, show!)
The highlight of the whole mystery ends up being a clever move by the Ferg. He’s getting some grief from the whole office about letting a suspect speed away, when he reveals he dropped his GPS-equipped watch in the back of the vehicle so they could track him. Way to go, Ferg! (The smile Walt flashes in response to this is also pretty great.)
While they’re busy detecting, Vic finds a mysterious postcard that says “Go Eagles!” in her truck’s cab and immediately suspects that shady guy Ed who tracked her down to Durant back in episode 8, is still lurking about. He lies that he’s back in Philly, but clever cookie Vic tracks where the call is coming from and he is still in town. She confronts him about stalking her, and he insists she’s the one stalking him, much to Vic’s frustration. She’s also pretty unnerved.
At home alone, Vic walks around in her underwear with a gun like she’s the dumb blonde in a horror movie. She locks the doors to take a rather gratuitous shower, only to find someone took a bite out of her soap. Yes, really. It’s a weird, kind of idiotic “clue,” honestly (is it that intimidating to have a soap-eater after you?) but hey, you gotta justify that shower scene somehow, right? Katee Sackhoff is gorgeous, so it’s hard to complain about extra skin, but … it does feel a little bit cheap, and frankly, a whole lot stupid for Vic. In fact, when she finally unloads on Walt later in the episode, the backstory is clichéd and disappointing. Ed was the partner of a corrupt cop that Vic reported to internal affairs. The guy blew his brains out, everyone gave her a hard time about being a rat, so she and Sean ran away to Durant to keep her safe. It’s pretty standard stuff.
Mostly, it’s really hard to reconcile this scared, cringing TV version of the Philly ex-pat deputy with the fearless, take-no-prisoners Book Vic… and a little disappointing. Knowing how good Sackhoff is at playing a complete badass, the weakness feels clichéd and a bit of a letdown. It also feels like a setup to drop some anvils about the Walt/Vic relationship they’re clearly trying to jumpstart.
After she fesses up to him, Walt invites Vic to stay at his cabin with him until they clear up the problem, as hubby Sean is conveniently away again. Of course, he gets an unexpected visit from Lizzie, who flips to find Vic there late at night and Walt fresh from a shower. They protest it’s nothing, but Lizzie yells that she thought Walt would eventually come around to giving her a part of himself, even if he’s still grieving, but that he won’t because clearly he’s saving it for Vic and that he has feelings for her and is just too afraid to admit it.
Well…. That escalated pretty quickly. I feel for Lizzie honestly. I know a lot of folks feel she’s too flighty for Walt, but she doesn’t really deserve the crappy non-committal behavior he was giving her for ages. And… maybe it’s just that I have yet to see an iota of actual romantic chemistry between them, but the Walt/Vic stuff feels so forced here. I know you’re telling us as hard as you can that they have something, show, but I don’t see how anyone could imagine Walt is in love with Vic, given that he’s shown about zero interest in her as a woman at all.
He is pretty protective about his people though. (I wondered if he didn’t feel a bit of guilt too, after the Cady incident—which we don’t even get a passing reference to this week unfortunately—to see another young woman he cares about being in danger.) So when Henry calls him to tell him Vic came to ask about hiring Hector, the boxer/mercenary we met in S1’s “Dog Soldier,” Walt delivers his own brand of intimidation. He waits for Ed in his hotel room and relates the story of Achilles from The Illiad (as they do on Longmire), warning Ed that “there’s no greater enemy than the mortal enemy of a friend.” Ed’s suitably cowed, if not by the poem than by the fact that Walt towers over him when he stands up. Heh. But has he learned his lesson not to mess with Vic? I hope we’ll find out next week in the finale.
A few other plot chickens are coming home to roost next week as well, as Detective Fales will make another appearance and more secrets get revealed! Will we finally get to the bottom of the Denver mystery? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and Internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.