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.

Longmire Season 4 Episode 8: Hector Lives (Recap and Review)

Vic searching for clues in Walt's desk.

Episode eight of Longmire, Hector Lives, starts off with Henry continuing his transition to become the “new” Hector. Last week, Highway Robbery, deviated from the Gabriel rape case but now the show is back on track with one of the suspects turning up dead at the start of the episode.

As Henry shows up at the oil rig site, wearing sun-glasses and a company hard-hat, it looks quite suspicious when Will Balint turns up dead. The rape suspect is suffocated in three inches of mud after just being promoted. Walt, not knowing of Henry’s presence looks at the death with ideas of murder from within the oil drilling company.

Walt has to get permission from  neighboring Cumberland county’s sheriff to attend the crime scene. Sheriff Jim Wilkins (Tom Wopat) very reluctantly allows Longmire access and only agrees after deciding to send Deputy Eamon O’Neill (Josh Cooke) along.

Once they arrive, Katee Sackhoff’s Vic gets the “line of the episode award” with her response to  boss Walker Browning) while Walt questions the man about Balint’s job with the company:

Walker: “Will was a good worker. Hell, he was better than good. He was outstanding. That’s why I just promoted him to assistant driller.”

Walt:  “What was Will’s previous position?”

Walker: “Roughneck.”

Vic: “Are those the guys whose job it is to physically force young girls into having sexual intercourse?”

After deciding to look into Balint’s death further, Walt and Henry go to tell Gab that one of her rapists is dead.  Vic has to speak to Archer Loftus (Lew Temple) and she talks with Eamon about that female voice on the phone.  Loftus is missing and as O’Neill and Vic go through his foot locker they find a “lonely hearts” matchmaking card.

Henry and Walt stop at a graffitied station wagon, “Hector Lives” is painted in black on the side of the derelict vehicle. Henry explains the rationale behind the graffiti and tells Longmire that the car belonged to a “late” meth dealer, Jack Mule Deer who recently died of a heart attack.  Henry says, “Because out here, a death like that feels like justice, the kind that Hector used to bring.” He finishes, “Hector lives…as an idea and a hope.”

Walt implies that someone is taking up the mantle of Hector. Zach and Ferg make a list of all Gab’s family to follow up Longmire’s revenge theory. Sam Poteet’s name comes up. Vic goes to see Cyrano Caballero to find Archer. Walt and Zachary go to Jacob Nighthorse to get permission to see Poteet.

The casino owner refuses and learns from Longmire about Malachi’s (Graham Greene) loan sharking operation. Walt suspects that the new Hector has killed Balint and tells Ferg to check the autopsy results on the dead man. Ferg asks if there is anything in particular that Longmire wants him to look for and his boss replies, “Yeah, missing teeth,”

Hector’s old calling card.

Walt explains to his newest deputy who Hector was, after Zach asks about it. This clears up the “missing teeth” request since the original Hector used to knock teeth out of his target’s mouth. Walt explains that, in his mind, Hector was a sign that they system was broken.

As Vic gets caught going through Walt’s desk drawers looking for information about who keeps calling him, Zachary and Longmire go to see Sam Poteet.  While they talk to the plumber he hints that an army is ready to “take the field” to right some wrongs, including his daughter Gab’s rape.

Cady gets her first Res client and Vic probes Walt’s daughter for information about her boss. During their talk Cady realizes that Henry may have something to do with Balint’s muddy death. The Cumberland coroner calls the recently promoted roughneck’s demise an accident.

Walt learns that Will Balint was indeed missing a tooth.

Henry visits Gabriel and tells her to write to Hector for justice and that Hector is alive. Gab tells him that she cannot leave the house and Henry says he will deliver the note for her. The young woman writes the note and it is heartbreaking:

“Hector, I don’t know why I’m writing to you. But here’s what I know. There were two of them. One didn’t speak. The other told me to scream as loud as I wanted because no one cares enough to listen. He was right. Gab.”

Vic brings Loftus in, after she tackles him on their “date” and it turns out that he is terrified of someone at Newett Energy. Archer asks to be arrested for Balint’s murder and kept in jail in Absaroka, county not Cumberland. Loftus reveals that Balint wanted help and asked him who could help with an issue concerning Walker Browning, his supervisor.

Archer tells Walt that after referring Balint to human resources, the man was promoted out of turn and then  wound  up dead. Loftus also reveals to Walt that he believes the company set Balint  to be killed as a way of silencing him.

Henry watches as Walker Browning sends a load of girls and drunken roughnecks to the Res spot to party.  The two men talk briefly. Walt gets a copy of the autopsy report, courtesy of Eamon O’Neill and  learns that Balint was murdered.

Trot Simic, the man who “found” Balint’s body has been promoted to Balint’s position and Longmire wants him brought in for questioning.  Back at the Res party spot; where Gab was raped, the other rapist; Terry Malone, talks another young woman, Laila Bixby (Alicia Urizar) into leaving the main party. He tells her that there is  “a clearing where you can see the whole sky.” 

As Walt, Zachary and Vic close in on the party spot,  looking for Trot Simic, Malone reaches the clearing with Laila. As the sheriff and his two deputies arrest Trot, Terry Malone moves in on Laila attacking her.

Before he can complete his assault,  a masked man knocks him off the Bixby woman. Malone falls to the ground. He rises and the man, Henry, knocks him down and tells him that if he returns or harms another woman he will not just take teeth from Malone. The two men struggle and Malone breaks free.

As he turns to run, a shot rings out. Walt hears it and heads in the direction of the sound. Gab has shot her other rapist. She pauses to reload and Henry shouts at  her to run. As they flee, Gabriel drops the gun and Henry goes to get it. Walt shoots at the darkened figure.

Longmire is back on the rapist track again along with the murder mystery in Cumberland County. Clear lines are being drawn here, although Walt does not realize it just yet. As the season approaches its penultimate episode things continue to pick up pace and the sheriff  has several different cases going on at once.

This episode ends with the possibility that Henry has been shot and that Walt could just find out that his oldest friend is the new Hector.

Kudos go to Katee Sackhoff’s performance in this episode and Lou Diamond Phillips shares the honors.   This Netflix rescue effort of Longmire  has lost nothing in the transfer from weekly episodes to all 10 at once, the quality of the program is still there. Warner Horizon have not talked season five yet, but based on what season four brings to the table, the odds must be good.