Longmire: Season 4 Finale – What Happens on the Rez (Review)


Walt searches for Gab

The Longmire season four finale, What happens on the Rez ended the show in style. Goose bump inducing to the extreme; that flash montage as the boot kicks in Walt’s door exhibits all that works in the verse of this Wyoming sheriff. By the end credits we are concerned for the life of Walt and Dr. Monahan, worried about Henry and cheering Gab as she “escapes” flying free as a “red-tailed hawk.”

There are other issues still unresolved in the world of Absaroka County.  Zach is missing, Cady seems to have sold her soul to Jacob Nighthorse, Vic has apparently messed things up with both Eamon and Walt and that wild-card Monte is still about.

This season’s wrap-up was a brilliant end to the journey of Longmire…thus far. There are hints of a fifth season and with that “open” ending it seems a definite possibility. Episode 10 was full of Native American mysticism and stoic humor. Take this exchange between the Crow Medicine Woman and Henry:

“What’s wrong with your a**?

I got shot.

I have something for that.

Ibuprofen.

Reduces swelling.”

The  episode also had a lot of violence, mostly from “douche turned murderous thug” Walker Browning. This guy became instantly deplorable, although that may be hard to believe as Browning has never been Mr. Popularity, when he went beyond taking the law into his own hands. Beating Mandy (Tamara Duarte) bloody showed just what Walker was capable of.

The sight of the girl’s swollen and puffy face is enough to bring tears to the eyes of all but the most hardened of hearts. Major kudos to the makeup team and the FX folks. Duarte, as Mandy, looks in agony, and the actress sells the scene effortlessly. Callum Keith Rennie as Browning makes a brilliant villain, although in Walker’s  eyes his actions are all justified.

That the manager is prepared to murder a lawman in order to kill Gab speaks volumes about this despicable excuse for humanity. Browning is beyond misogynistic and is willing to do anything to save the rest of his “murdering, raping” boys.

While the most obvious “big bad” for this season is Walker, the montage at the end shows that in Walt’s world there  have been lot of people with “issues.” In the rapid fire footage at the end, the images of Monahan’s burnt out vehicle and Walker’s open handcuffs and his empty hospital bed  are intertwined with the lovemaking between Donna Sue and Walt and these start the ending sequence.

When the door is kicked in,  we then  see Walker Browning, Jacob Nighthorse, Sam Poteet,  Monte, Zachary, Malachi Strand, Chance Gilbert, David Ridges and Barlow Connally before the camera zooms in on Walt’s eyes.

On a hopeful note, this could all be (a la Dallas season 9)  a dream. Walt has been dreaming again, he has admitted this and we have seen them. In his last nocturnal vision, he and Donna Sue are, apparently, co-habitating at the cabin. That particular dream has him offering to make up for not washing the dishes from the night before.

To be sure, the lovemaking scene at the end  has a dreamlike quality to it. Although this whole theory is a little shot down by the events surrounding and simultaneously occurring as the camera moves jerkily toward the Longmire residence. Vic looking at the picture of her and Walt, Ferg calling Zachary and prior to the last sequence, Cady looking at the huge check from Jacob Nighthorse.

Walt is feeling melancholy however. The song he plays on the piano sounds like a snatch of some blues song and his voice over, as the camera moves through the grass:

“Do you ever feel you’ve created more evil than you’ve stopped?”

These two things combine to show us that the Wyoming lawman is feeling a little down and possibly overwhelmed with events. Things have not been good for Walt, even though he did finally solve his wife’s murder, occurrences on the periphery of his search have been dire.

In this season alone, Branch was shown to be murdered by his own father, Barlow who is then killed by Walt.  A horrific rape occurred on the Rez and the two men responsible were murdered, Cady choses Nighthorse’s money and lies to her father, Henry is the new Hector and although he saved Walt’s life, he is under arrest by Officer Mathias.

Branch’s demise alone weighs heavily on Walt, his confession to Ferg that he allowed his personal feelings to make him misjudge the Connally situation proves that. As does his decision to fire Zach, a good deputy who made a mistake in this dealings with Monte.

Walt also has issues in the nature of his relationship with Vic. Even Eamon knows this, as well as recognizing that Vic and her boss have a weird dynamic that she needs to sort out.

The music that the last of the episode is set to is Civilian by Wye Oak (arguably almost overused as the track has graced no less than six shows on television, including The Walking Dead trailer) fits the final scene like a glove and brings up the tension and sense of expectation beautifully.

Civilian may provide some clues as to what is really going on in Walt’s mind, the song itself feels as though it is all about memories and regrets, albeit set to a driving backbeat, these things seem to be  going through the sheriff’s mind. These may have come about by his decision to believe that Gab turned into a red-tailed hawk, as the Medicine Woman (Tantoo Cardinal who just kills it in this final episode) told him.

Regardless of whether this season finale is a dream or Walt and his new lady are in danger from, what appears to be, a wounded Walker Browning, the outcome will have to wait until a fifth season is approved and produced. Until then, there are words of praise to be handed out.

Major kudos to: Cardinal who manages to turn a small cameo into something beyond special. Julia Jones as Gab,  Emmy material here, Barry Sloane as the tortured and recently fired deputy, Robert Taylor, for his continued truth to the role, Katee Sackhoff as Vic, aka Philly who just rocks it each and every episode, Duarte as Mandy.

Mad props to Callum Keith Rennie, this actor knows that the good guy is only as good as the villain and Rennie has made Walker into a man we loathe but also fear. Well done sir.

Lou Diamond Philips worked his “shot” a** off as Henry/New Hector in this season and the man showed that, without a doubt,  he still has massive chops.

The remainder of the cast also turn in star performances each episode and a huge honorable mention goes to Cassidy Freeman as Cady Longmire. That shot  in the finale where she cradles the massive check from Nighthorse is priceless. Cady is torn about her pride of achievement and it shows on her face, there are not many who can convey that sort of emotion with just a look. 

All who want Netflix to continue airing Longmire should make sure they vote on the episodes of season four as, according to sources, the star rating will ensure a favorable response from those who matter.  This season has been well worth the wait and the time spent watching.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

21 thoughts on “Longmire: Season 4 Finale – What Happens on the Rez (Review)”

  1. Coming to the comment party a little late, though I read your post almost a full term ago. In a small way, I have to agree with the commenter who thought the show had slipped a little, but for me it was in the aspect of cinematography. The first season was mind-blowing in that regard, each episode looking like a John Ford production, but more artistic. I have missed the breathtaking outdoor shots, featuring (admittedly) the New Mexico landscape.

    As for her comments about the characters “changing,” I think it’s more that we were given the opportunity to see them more deeply, before their first cup of coffee, so to speak, instead of mere bookends for Longmire himself.

    Just one more thing (said Lt. Columbo): While I agree with Walt’s “don’t poop where you eat” philosophy, the tension was better before Donna Sue (played by a favorite, Ally Walker), and with that possibility, due to the chord-struck hearts, of Walt and Vic.

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  2. I love Longmire . He’s a never wavering decent guy with morals we all should have. The show actually has depth and is an adult story with intelligence . Finally a show with a smart interesting IQ. Please bring him back in a season 5 , 6 etc ! He’s worth the wait . The entire cast is worth the wait.

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    1. Agreed! Since Netflix have said that Walt will be back for at least another season (5), it goes without saying that we’ll all be pleased at a long running Longmire! Thanks for sharing matey! 🙂

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  3. Agree with your conclusions about the actors.
    They are spectacular; even those in minor roles just kill it.
    (I’m hoping for more Graham Greene next year.
    His oily Malachi is such a contrast to the wise sage he usually plays.)

    Where I disagree with you is in the writing of this last episode.
    There is just too much going on, too many subplots.
    It almost veered into soap opera territory with the Vic- Eamon- Walt triangle.

    The strength of the season concluding episodes previously was that the viewer is left wanting to know a central fact like what happened to Branch or who killed Martha.
    But this episode just left the viewer in a state of confusion about way too many plot strands.

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    1. I agree that there was a lot left dangling at the end, it seemed that they may have been “hedging their bets” on whether the show would be coming back. If that was the case, and I believe it was, if feel that were trying to prompt some…closure? Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Cheers! 🙂

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  4. Does nobody own a sewing kit in Wyoming? I hope they find one soon and give it to Vic to put a couple more buttons on that shirt of hers. If I saw the county officers roaming around like that where I live, I’d definitely pass around the collection jar to get her a brand new shirt!

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  5. The disconnect between the characters in S1-3 and S4 is jarring. Even Katee Sachoff argued with producers about her character in S4. Ferg went from screwup to spoiled brat, Ruby went from being the rock to snappish and a haridan, Henry talks about valuing his second chance then throws it away, Cady makes a decision to work for a firm not knowing who they are or who they represent, quits over their representation of Nighthorse then accepts a six figure check from Nighthorse. They should change the name of the series to Absaroka County because there is nothing left of Longmire. The writers – Tony Tost, John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin should hang their heads in shame. They took a hit show fans fought to revive and destroyed what made it so worth fighting for

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    1. Wow. The first negative comment thus far. While I agree there were some disconnects, the show is still better than so many others out there on offer. Still, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the season! Cady definitely moved off into left field in this season. Cheers! 🙂

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    2. @Eileen, I, for one, liked seeing Vic show the impishness, showing up with the beer, and allowing for a little more of her nature. If anything bugs me, it is Walt’s *apparent* obtuseness. He could, though, just be following Vic’s good advice not to “s*** where he eats.” If he’s nipping any such in the bud, maybe he’s wise.

      Ruby a harridan? If you had to be the anchor for all those kids acting out, you’d get snappish at times too. They need their ears twisted from time to time. (This has probably happened before, but wound up on the cutting room floor.)

      Ferg a “brat”? Nah. Uncertain and a bit jealous when the new guy seems to have it all together from the get-go? Sure. But he came to respect him.

      Everybody else seems to be doing their own thing, so why not Cady? Has she yet compromised her integrity? I doubt it. Will she get the opportunity? Likely. Check back in Season Five.

      “Nothing left of Longmire”? FINALLY, after three seasons, he has chosen to lay his wife to rest and TRY to get a life. If I have a complaint in this area, it might be that his relationship with the shrink lady is to modern-casual, and that’s not Walt. Perhaps he’s just trying to figure out who he is without Martha on his shoulder.

      Hint for Seasons Five-Plus: More exteriors, fewer interiors.

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    1. Sorry matey, as I do not go through WordPress proper, i.e. the .com side, and utilize the .org (which uses an external server) the reblog is not an option on my sharing devices. Thanks though! Cheers! 🙂

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