Longmire: Episode 2.09 “Tuscan Red”

The last few Longmire episodes may have left me seeing red, but ironically this week’s installment “Tuscan Red” has me closer to tickled pink. The episode was really firing on all cylinders, featuring a case of the week AND subplots that all tied into the longer arc of the sheriff’s election.

When the burned body of a Native American man is discovered on the reservation in what appears to have been a house explosion due to methane gas, it leaves Durant in a bit of an uproar. (Ruby nearly gets trampled—which is just WRONG. You can’t hurt Ruby!!) Walt is forced to keep some order and make some tough calls, potentially endangering his likability as the election approaches, when the Cheyennes call Newett Energy on the carpet for the methane leaking due to fracking.

Like most of the show’s weekly cases, it turns out there’s something else entirely going on here and the man’s death turns out to be far more personal than political.

The great thing about this week’s plot though is that it manages to bring in a lot of plot threads and familiar faces—some expected, some not so much—during the investigation. Officer Mathias (Zahn McClarnan) makes a welcome return since this is a reservation crime, and of course, whenever there’s controversy, Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez) seems to be involved.

But Vic’s husband, Sean (Michael Mosley), who works for Newett Energy also suddenly turns up again as public enemy #1, and Vic gets to ride to his rescue by fake-arresting him for his safety. (And hey, it’s pretty fun to hear the former Starbuck talk about fracking, too.) Their relationship seems as strained as ever, with Sean still being jealous of Walt’s place in his wife’s life.

The repercussions even twine nicely into the subplot of Branch and Cady finally reconnecting. Even as Branch also worries about this controversy damaging his election chances, he doesn’t hesitate to take a chance to get close to Cady again. They have a cute opening scene where she roars through his speed trap for a ticket, just to get a chance to talk to him without the small town taking much note of it as anything other than business. There’s actually quite a bit of levity for the first time in a while, with Cady dancing at the Red Pony, and a drunk Cady and Branch having a laughter-filled water hose fight on her front lawn. (I’m sure the neighbors didn’t notice that shrieking.) Things inevitably go horizontal, with shirts being ripped open and half-naked breakfast cooking the next morning. But then they take a turn for the serious once more when Branch notices Cady reaching for a beer at 7 am. She confesses that she’s stressed because of the situation with her mom and reluctantly confides in him about the murder.

The closing scene between Branch and Walt, where he lays the info out on the table and insists that—despite Walt being pretty awful to him still—he won’t use the information against him, because he’s more concerned about Cady’s welfare.  Aww.

He suggests Walt keep a closer eye on his daughter, and it’s nice to see the show continuing to walk a careful line there, maintaining that despite his flaws, Branch is still a man with integrity, who will work hard (tracking down the red paint used on the body to all those stores!) and certainly cares a great deal about not hurting the people he loves and respects. 

So even though the status quo ultimately remains intact with regards to the election (there’s no indication that anything that transpires might actually shift public favor away from Walt or that there is any big shakeup in the works), I appreciated the potential for it to go kablooey and how cohesive this one felt from start to finish. Next week, the election finally happens, but it looks like something big is gonna go down that’s not on the ballot!

Read more Longmire episode recaps.

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. Lalecouter

    Interesting about the confrontation between Walt and Branch. I definitely got the feeling that Branch was almost trying to get Walt to drop out, by using Cady against him, suggesting that he pay more attention to his daughter. I have a feeling that Branch is gonna use this info in some way, shape or form within the next few episodes. How could he not? Even though I think he loves Cady, I think he loves himself way more.

    I am also wondering how they will rectify what’s going on between Vic, Walt and Sean. Methinks something bad on the horizon. Would be too easy for a simple divorce, even though that’s what the books say. Come on…let Vic lose her sh*t on someone! Would make for a great episode. Can you imagine???

  2. Taragel

    @lalecouter While he did say Walt should focus on Cady instead, I don’t think there’s any way Branch’ll use the info. I also don’t find him that self-centered either. He’s said multiple times that he would put Cady before his job/the election if she would give him the chance, but she’s never really wanted to commit that much. I also think that just in general, he thinks Walt’s priorities just aren’t always in the right place. (First when he was so tuned out to his job because of grief, and now that he’s not been honest with or reaching out to his daughter really. Cady was gone for weeks and we didn’t really see Walt do much about it besides send her a letter (!) and ask Henry what he knew.) Their perspectives on everything are just so different and I think that’s the interesting thing about their dynamic.

    I don’t think Sean’s any prize but I don’t see any big developments between Vic and Walt coming anytime soon. She’s still married, he’s still grieving and hasn’t really shown any signs at all of attraction or romantic interest in Vic (unlike in the books when we know Walt’s pretty knocked out by her from the moment they meet). Plus, I can’t help but see the age difference as so drastic. Katee’s a very youthful 32 and Robert’s a pretty weathered 50-something. She’s only one year older than Cassidy Freeman’s Cady. I don’t know…it’s hard for me to see them as having romantic chemistry at this point. I think the show likes to hint at it, but like everything else, it’ll be very slow in developing.

  3. snow dog

    @Taragel. I’m somewhere in between you and Lalecouter. I hope they don’t take Branch to far into the self centered, win at all cost realm. However I disagree that Walt hasn’t done enough to support Cady. I think Cady is acting like a adolescent being selfish, spoiled and thinking nothing about her father. She seemed to deal with her mother’s dealth just fine until she found out she was murdered and now she falls to pieces? This highly educated lawyer? Don’t buy it. Taking off without telling anyone especially her father is just slefish and childish and she knew it would hurt and worry her father not to mention her friends like Henry. She seems to want a HUGH pat on the back for being around for her father after her mother died. That’s what family does! She doesn’t seem to have any empathy at all for what Walt must be feeling losing wife. Walt’s supposed to buck up deal with it yet she can run away, get drunk, act like child and we’re suppose feel for her. Grow up, she had an easy life up until now thanks to her parents. The backstories are moving a bit slow and hope they get the election over in the next episode and get the whole Denver thing resolved although I think they drag the Denver thing out into next season. Too long given it’s been in play for 2 seasons now. Walt and Vic seemed more attracted to each other last season. One of the best things about the show is Walt and Vic. We’ll see where they take the Vic/Sean relationship. I don’t care for his character at all and just don’t see them as a couple but they will probably drag that out too. I do see Vic and Walt as a couple dispite their age. Walt needs some spark besides the job to help him move forward and Lizzy I don’t think is it. Walt and Vic have a lot in common including thier love of the job and their morals seem in sync. I could see them together and hope it happens. They need to let Walt come out some from being so forelorn and stop dumping more on him. He’s still in good shape for his age it’s just between his wife’s dealth, Cady acrting the way she does, the election, and the Denver/Henry thing he has a lot to deal with. I wish they’d get rid of Lizzy. The flow of the backstories is erractic. Lizzy appears for an episode and then disappears for several episodes with no explanation. They bring in a girlfriend for Henry but don’t really do anything with her and my pet pieve is are we really supposed to believe Det. Fales come from Denver to Durant twice. Asks Walt 1 question and leaves, then comes back to ask Henry 1 question and again just leaves. Not believable! I love the show but there are some continuity issues. I just hope they don’t follow Craig Johnson’s lead as he intends in the books to just keep hitting Walt with more and more heartache so he write about how people perservere. Writing about HAPPY people doesn’t interest him he says. I hated what he did to Walt and Vic at the end of his latest book. So much so that I may not read any futur books of his and I have read them all so far. Don’t agree with that course for Walt. Those of watching want a break from all the doom and gloom of real life and see the good guy win once in awhile. I want to see Walt catch a break and have some personal happiness again. He can have turmoil in the job not his personal life. Cady obviously is not perservering very well. Hope we get a season 3. Acting is first rate and Robert Taylor is the perfect Walt Longmire.

  4. Taragel

    @snowdogmom Thanks for commenting! I like that it leaves room for a lot of different interpretations, but on the other hand, I feel like if Cady was around more and in every episode the Walt-Cady relationship evolution might have been a bit smoother? They’re both a little stubborn and self-indulgent I think. But it’s hard to know where they are at certain points because she’s not in every episode. Like you said, continuity is a bit rough sometimes because they’ve got big, convoluted weekly plots to service and then the character bits get shoved in around the edges.

    I’m surprised there’s been no S3 renewal yet as the ratings are as good or better than they’ve ever been. Not sure what A&E is waiting for!

  5. snow dog

    @taragel I agree with you. I don’t understand what A&E is doing. They never provide any information on Facebook or elsewhere to viewer questions. They had announced season 2 of Longmire in JUNE of last year. I’m glad I’m not the only one wondering what’s taking them so long to say whether there will be a season 3. I really wish Longmire was on another network, like TNT. A&E is too reality show focused and I don’t think promoting Longmire appropriately. To be honest Longmire and Glades are the only programs I watch on A&E. I hate all the A&E reality shows and I think some of them are really offensive and promote animal cruelty. They have changed so much from what they used to be and not for the better.

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