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.
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.