Longmire: Episode 2.12 “A Good Death is Hard to Find”

Former Sheriff Lucien Branch (Peter Weller) on Longmire 2.12 "A Good Death is Hard to Find"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.

Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) in Longmire 2.12 "A Good Death is Hard to Find"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.

Read all Tara Gelsomino’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Tom Wopat

    FERG…da man! One thing I found odd (and maybe I missed it) was that the preview for next week’s show didn’t mention anything about it being the season finale. Also, I guess the wounds from the Eagle Wings event healed fairly quick, as I didn’t notice any scars during the Lizzie/Vic/Walt exchange after his shower.

  2. Kim K

    HA Tom, I guess that balm that Henry gave Walt for his wounds last week really did the trick! Yeah, I agree Tara that the Walt and Vic budding romance just doesn’t seem to be there. There have been some instances where Vic has shown interest or concern (confronting Lizzie on her intentions, tossing Lizzie’s gift in the drawer, being worried when Walt went looking for the escaped prisoners), but I have not noticed any inkling on Walt’s end. I totally get Lizzie being annoyed finding Vic at Walt’s house (she’s been suspect of her from the get go; young, blonde, co-worker) but I thought her ripping Walt a new one was a bit jealous crazy girl (I was embarrassed for her, I think she’s better than that). Being pissed off at his being absent from the relationship is totally understandable. I also agree that Vic is too badass to be frightened of Ed (pissed off but scared in her own house? Doesn’t seem like our girl). Odd that Walt didn’t know Vic’s backstory (wouldn’t you do a full background check on a new employee? Contact old bosses? ). Eh, tv scripts. Loved that the Ferg had his thinking cap on (hope he got the watch back!) and very nice to see Walt and Branch working with each other instead of against each other. I did notice that Branch was doing an a search on the computer for the alleged suspect in Cady’s car wreck (wasn’t that the bartender at Lizzie’s party on his computer screen?). I wonder if in next ep he will bring Walt up to speed on what he’s been working on. Very anxious to see in the next ep why Walt goes all Keith Moon on his office!

  3. taragel

    Tom, my promo specifically said next week was the season finale (a dramatic voiceover just as promo started) and that lines up with there being 13 episodes this season as ordered. I looked closely on my second viewing and could see a faint red line across Walt’s chest but it was hard to notice! I wonder what Lizzie thought about his back scars though! Those are hard to miss.

  4. taragel

    @Goaldigger Yeah, the relationship still feels pretty one-sided to me. I kind of hope that’s because it’ll be a real slow boil (like season six before they get romantic. Lol.) Lizzie’s tantrum was a bit over the top, although Katherine La Nasa is so good at playing over the top that I didn’t mind too much. Plus, if I were Lizzie, yeah, I’d be pretty peeved at this point too. Not so much about Vic as about Walt’s one step forward, three steps back pussyfooting. Hehe, TV scripts indeed.

    I thought the Jacob/Branch stuff was done last week (too soon) but then it was all over the previews for last night’s episode…and then there was nothing actually in the episode! Good catch on that computer search though–maybe there were more scenes that got cut. I imagine it’ll definitely come up again next week in finale because Cady was pretty prominent in the promo.

  5. snow dog

    I liked the episode but didn’t think they did Lucien justice. He was funny in last season’s episode and that was totally lacking in this episode. Didn’t like that they showed Lucien skirted the law several times, bending maybe but they went too far. They also made Vic too afraid, cautious yes but Vic is stronger than they made her seem in this episode. Vic undressing for the shower scene was totally done for the male viewers and beneath her and the show. They could have just done the head shot in the shower with the soap to make their point. I did like Walt in a towel however and I had to look hard to see any evidence of this most recent scars. It’s just to coinicidental that Lizzie shows up when Vic comes to stay over. I think she’s been watching Walt and had to know Vic was there especially since Vic’s vehicle was parked outside the cabin. I agree in spite of the fact that I don’t like Lizzie that she has reason to be peeved but not because of Vic. That fact that Walt ignored her when she came to the hospital after Cady’s accident after they had sex the night before and she’s nowhere to be seen in the days that followed. However I think any chance she had with Walt is now over after her outburst and acqusations about Vic. Not allowing Walt to explain. Hope this is the end of her. I guess we’ll never find out what was in the present she gave Walt. I hate when they don’t follow through on things like that. I’m afraid they are going to let the Denver thing drag on into season 3. They need to finish that. Det. Fales just popping up here and there in Durant and not really getting any information and returning to Denver is just unbelievable. It’s finally getting good and the season is over. I think it started too slow this season. Things should have been resolved and moved along quicker.

  6. Mary Saputo

    I find it funny when people use the “relationship” word between Walt and Lizzie. All I’ve ever seen between them is Lizzie chasing him even though she’s gotten more than one clue that he’s not interested. Of course, the “sex” scene between them was the typical misdirect from men and when you have a woman like Lizzie, she’s sure to read something into it. As to a relationship between Walt and Vic, I believe their current relationship is based on friendship and respect. I think both of them would do what they could to protect each other and perhaps that’s where people “think” they see a sexual attraction. If others would quit reading into the relationship what THEY want to see, Walt and Vic would be better off. And perhaps the prodding of others HAS got Walt and Vic wondering but I certainly don’t want to see it happen. It might be something else in the book but I’m not for it on the TV show.

  7. Elaine Charton

    I hope this is the last we see of Lizzie. That was not a relationship that was being clingy.I will say i am in the Walt /Vic camp but even if they do not get together, at least on screen. Walt deserves better than Lizzie.
    I love watching Ferg, he really is coming into his own.

  8. LA LeCouter

    I think it is curious that people are actually making reference to Vic being scared at being stalked, not badass like she is in the books. If I remember correctly, In the books, very rarely does Vic actually have a dangerous situation where she is the main focal point. She is always around Walt’s universe and it’s usually him that is put into danger. She is a total badass in the books. Now, for how she’s portrayed on TV, by the always capable Katee Sackhoff, I think that her fear and frustration were right on target. HER world just got shifted with the appearance of Ed, something she is not used to. It makes sense that she would react in this way. She has no control over what’s happening. When she confronted Ed, he turned it on her. She’s frustrated, she’s mad, she wants it to go away. I’m thinking that this is the way it should have been acted, exactly as Katee performed. You actually felt that she was coming apart. Even badasses can come apart at the seams.

    I will say that the scene with Walt, Vic and Lizzie was uncomfortable, to say the least. Walt is slow and gets there eventually and I think that he DOES like Lizzie, but he just can’t reconcile his feelings about his wife and moving forward. I WILL say that I thought that Lizzie’s reaction was way over the top, especially because, as someone above pointed out, Vic’s truck was outside. How did she miss this? It’s also very telling that she does not trust Walt and immediately assumes the worst, even though Vic answered the door completely dressed. I think that really came from left field. He hasn’t given her a reason to not trust him in that way so it was confusing that she wouldn’t even listen to him when he said nothing was going on.

    I am looking forward to seeing what happens on the last episode. I think it’s just gonna leave us all wanting for more and having to suffer until next season.

  9. D'Ann

    I love Longmire. But this episode had a lot of holes in it. They completely turned Vic’s character upside down. The Vic we know and love would have kicked that guy’s ass all the way back to Philly, not cowered behind a man, any man. Not even Walt. I can’t stand Lizzie. She wishy-washy and no real man would want her pansy-acting ways. However, Walt has run her around for months. He’s been a bit of an ass, too. The mystery was too easy to solve. The writers need to up thier game a little on that one.

  10. taragel

    @snowdogmom Ha, I love that you still want to know what was in Lizzie’s present! I agree that they wasted a lot of the middle episodes this season on too much procedural stuff.

    @bitsy08 @echartonwrites While they’ve definitely written Lizzie as being far more into it than Walt…I don’t think she’s delusional. Stuff clearly happened off screen as they kept alluding to “seeing each other” in several episodes. I think she overreacted about Vic, but that it was the rest of her insecurity about the relationship because of Walt’s closed-offedness that was coming out.

    @lalacouter Katee’s acting was fine/appropriate to how it was written…but that’s the problem for me. The way they’re writing Vic is very disappointing. I was looking forward to Katee getting to play the much more outrageous/harder-edged Vic that’s in the books. While we don’t see her taking a lot of action in the series, her attitude is so tough that it’s hard to reconcile that Vic with this much softer version of her–and especially a Vic who ran from trouble instead of tried to face it head on with scorn and derision. She doesn’t seem so much like “The Terror” on the TV show. I know they made her calmer and more relatable for TV (probably because she’s seen in much more limited doses in the books) but… she’s also a bit more average/less interesting now IMO. I’m not even all that attached to the book series/characters, but this week, especially, the writing for Vic was very Lifetime movie-ish–cliched and a bit over the top.

    It just seems like her amount of terror does not match what we’ve seen happening. (I mean, Ed is kind of a twerp, isn’t he? Maybe it’s the casting there.) The Go Eagles note, the anonymous flowers, the bitten (?!) bar of soap–all these things are more goofy than actually legit scary. Maybe there’s more to the story she hasn’t shared? Mob connections? I don’t know but I’m kinda hoping so.

  11. Taragel

    @D’Ann Yeah, I agree about Vic. When she told Walt how/why they left Philly, I actually thought “Wow, that’s so out of character for Vic!” I do like Lizzie though and I don’t think she’s wishy-washy at all! She knows what she wants. I think Walt’s the one who’s been pretty wishy-washy with her.

  12. Kim K

    @Snowdogmom-I’m pretty sure Lizzie’s gift is some nice tea as when she tried to make some at Walt’s house when she stayed over (in his bed, Walt on the sofa) he sort of flipped out when she went to make some as his dead wife was in the tea tin. I believe she mentions to Vic it’s tea as she hands it to her.

  13. Indi

    I really, really hope they don’t go Walt/Vic on the show. Branch isn’t even in the books, is that right? So there’s precedent for not following book!canon onscreen. They haven’t set up W/V – or W/Lizzie – particularly effectively, if at all. And it’s not that I have a problem with a May/December thing. I have no doubt RT and KS could sell it, if they were handed that script, but it doesn’t seem to fit their character deveopment to date. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt had Vic sectioned off in his head as a peer of Cady’s.)

    But I think it’d be more interesting for Vic to, say, come between Branch and Cady. And/or bring in a different love interest for Walt, one who’s much more challenging and in his face. Or maybe one who’s not interested in Walt as a conquest, to begin with, but whom he comes to enjoy as a sparring partner and then seek out. Idk. Walt/Vic seems predictable and uninspiring.

    Who knew I had such strong opinions about Longmire ‘ships?! ;P

  14. Indi

    …..aaaand I just watched their latest behind-the-scenes clip with KS & RT talking about the W/V thing. I guess the show *is* going there. Ah well. 🙂

  15. DebiS

    I could be wrong but I thought another character in Teen Witch did the rap…Polly?

  16. Taragel

    @Indi yeah, the show seems pretty set on going there with Walt/Vic. It definitely could use a lot more development before it happens IMO (though it’s very abrupt in the books). I hope they’ll be able to set it up convincingly. I just don’t see any romantic chemistry there but they are both good actors at least. (Ironically, I see a ton of natural chemistry between Vic and Branch when they do have scenes together and I think the show actually missed a good opportunity there by pairing him with Cady instead.)

    @DebiS If my old brain recalls correctly, I think the friend starts it but she finishes it? Perhaps that’s not correct though?

  17. snow dog

    @Taragel I agree the Vic/Walt thing needs more development. We’ve seen hints of Vic’s attraction to Walt but not Walt to Vic in a romantic way. Vic is still conflicted and needs to deal with her husband first. I don’t see a romantic chemistry at all between Vic and Branch. I see more of brother/sister thing where they yank each other’s chains. I think Vic doesn’t see Branch as trustworthy. @golddigger, Lizzie’s present may well be tea but that is never mentioned. I’ve watched that scene where Lizzie gives it to Vic several times. It’s just a continuity thing with me, too many gaps in the whole Walt/Lizzie relationship where she just pops up after a several episode absence and we have no idea what transpired if anything in between her showing up. Maybe now she’ll be just gone altogether. At least I hope so.

  18. Mary Saputo

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