Longmire 4.09: “Shotgun”

“You build my gallows high,” Robert Mitchum famously said in the noir classic Out of the Past. Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) can certainly identify and maybe, just maybe, think Bob had it kinda easy. In the first three minutes of the penultimate episode to season four he has plenty of trouble brewing. Another woman was about to be sexually assaulted on the reservation, but this time she had unexpected backup in the form of not only Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) acting as an avenging Hector but also Gabriella (Julia Jones) with a handgun that she uses to critically wound the attacker. Longmire, once again out of his jurisdiction (why not just call Mathias, Walt?), is arresting the would-be rapist’s friend when he hears Gab’s shot. He goes in search and fires in the dark at a fleeing figure who just manages to escape … and just so happens to be Henry.

But if Longmire is circling about a savage whirlpool, then Henry is all the way down the drain. Having been shot by his best friend, he has to remove a .30 caliber slug out of his leg, and he’s on the lam with Gab. In my reviewing of this season I’ve focused on the superior writing that’s hard to miss but let’s step back a minute to mention Mr. Phillips’s acting. A distinguished and yet underrated actor since he first exploded on the scene portraying Richie Valens in La Bamba (1987). Watching the actor’s face contort as he uses pliers to remove the lead from the wound, and later, still in pain, have to put on an act for Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman) who is lost and looking for directions is nothing short of Emmy Award-winning work. In a season of standout performances (Gerald McRaney, Robert Taylor, Guest star Michelle Krusiec) Mr. Phillips gets my vote for MVP.

The unraveling of Deputy Zachary (Barry Sloane) continues as he’s being trailed by a car. He stops in the middle of the road, gets out to confront the person only to have the car whip around and roar off. The unhinged deputy eerily mutters twice, “Not everyone is following you.” For several episodes, I thought Zachary was going to be in for the long haul but now I’m pretty sure he’s on the fast train to unemployment. Later, he’s the first to discover that his stalker is Monte (Stephen Louis Grush) and who is seemingly building a case against the sheriff’s department.

So now Vic (Katee Sackhoff) knows about Longmire’s burgeoning relationship with Doctor Donna Monaghan (Ally Walker) after spotting him talking to her in the hospital. Vic point blank asks Longmire if he seeing anyone and the sheriff sheepishly denies it. This is probably the driving force that makes her go back to Deputy Eamonn O’Neill (Josh Cooke) for a midday day quickie.

The episode ends with Henry managing to get Gab onto the Crow Reservation—with all he’s doing for her she seems annoyingly indifferent—where we are told the Cheyenne and Crow don’t get along. After pulling an Ironman competition carrying her on his back—she can’t swim—across a sizable creek and wandering around the mountainous countryside, Henry is looking for a Medicine Woman that he says can make people disappear, but he’s rewarded for all his trouble with a shotgun butt to the face knocking him back and down … cold.

Longmire creator Craig Johnson, in a Facebook post, heaped praises on this season adding, “Each one is like a miniature movie.” I absolutely agree though I would add these last few episodes (#7-9) are playing like an old film serial. Fast with addictive as hell cliffhangers. No complaints there.

Here we go into … the finale of Longmire season four, “What Happens on the Rez…”

Edward A. Grainger aka David Cranmer is the editor/publisher of the BEAT to a PULP webzine and books and the recent Western novella, Hell Town Shootout.

Read all of Edward A. Grainger's posts for Criminal Element.

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