Longmire Season Five, Episode Three: Chrysalis (Review)

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The third episode of Longmire may turn out to be a  “personal best” for the fifth season.  The subplot of Malachi being up to no good and Jacob pressing Henry to learn what the chief of security is really up to takes a back seat to the main storyline.

Cady’s story starts off the show. She is learning that the realities of helping the tribe are going to be very different from what she imagined. Jacob does not really help and his little talk with Cady leaves her feeling exposed and a little paranoid.

The main storyline begins in the casino parking lot.  A little girl sits alone in the passenger seat of a car. Cady stops and learns the kid saw her father go in but he has not come out. She does not know when he went in.

Cady calls Walt.

This episode was a proper “whodunit.”  While Walt worries about Donna, she is not returning his calls, he and Vic chase down clues to learn what happened to Olivia Parr’s father. Along the way they must figure out her mother’s issues. At first glance, it appears that Melissa Parr is a drug addict.

Walt takes the little girl home and they find her mother passed out in her car with the engine running.  Olivia asks Walt to take Melissa into the house. She tells Longmire that she will sober her up, “I’m used to it.”

Olivia’s father turns up dead on the other side of the county. His body is found near the Chrysalis mobile home park. The man has been run over and later they find his blood alcohol level is two times over the limit.

Meanwhile Cady and Henry look for space on the reservation for her legal aid office. Her attempt at giving the tribe something to actually see.

Walt tries to track the dead man’s movements and keeps drawing a blank. Olivia says that her father was a heavy winner the night before and Jacob asks Malachi to check the casino footage.

They find the man playing the night before, just as Olivia said, but there is no sign of him the night he went missing.

Walt stops by the school to drop off the girl’s  homework and he learns more about the missing Vincent Parr and his wife.  Parr is the guidance counselor at the high school and “one of the good ones” according to Olivia’s teacher. She tells Walt that Melissa seems to have an substance abuse problem.

Walt thinks that since Vincent was a heavy winner, that Malachi is up to his old tricks.   However as Walt and Vic question Olivia’s mother she  proves to be evasive and vague.

Donna finally responds to one of Walt’s calls. He asks her to check on Melissa. When she arrives Vic rips a strip off the doctor for not taking Walt’s calls. The two women have a little cat fight of the verbal variety and at the end Donna realizes she is in the wrong.

As the investigation continues it turns out that Vincent was not a “good one” after all. He was an abusive alcoholic who beat his wife and kept their daughter away from her.

Part of what Walt learns is that a company is renting out room 503 and Jacob then learns that it is being used for prostitution.  It seems that Jacob is getting tired of Malachi’s illegal activities. He learns what is going on in 503 by hiding cameras in the room.

A witness tells Vic that Melissa was near where Vincent’s body was found Mrs. Parr becomes the prime suspect.

A packet of half-eaten skittles in Vincent’s car and lack of car keys leads Walt to the killer. It was Olivia.  The 10 year old knew about her dad beating Melissa and she was protecting her mother.

By the end of the episode Olivia is in counseling and Cady finds a office. (It is a foreclosed home on the reservation.)  Jacob has tasked Henry with keeping an eye out for Manifest Destinations on Malachi’s books.

On a sidenote Cady gets the best line of the episode.  She asks Henry, “you love me like a father don’t you?” Henry responds in the affirmative.

“Well you are underestimating me like a father too.”

Ouch.

Due to Vic’s verbal telling off of Donna, the doctor does apologize to Walt and they get back together.

It does not go smoothly.  Donna first tells Walt she is pregnant. He offers to make it legal and she then explains that she is not really pregnant.  She was, she says,  trying to make a point.

While they drink a beer, she asks Walt if he knows how babies are made.  Apparently despite all the heavy breathing in the season four finale, they never actually “got physical.”

Walt explains that with the concussion he really does not remember if they had sex or not.

This episode was top notch. The mystery of Vincent’s death and his hidden abuse, along with the false face he presented to his colleagues was brilliant and touching.

On a sidenote it is interesting that Malachi helps Walt out when he wants to search room 503. Perhaps the man is not all bad.

“Chrysalis” saw Vic reach new heights of loyalty to Walt and her telling off  Donna was brilliant. (So too was Donna’s reaction to it. “Just stop with the subtle insinuations. Especially since you aren’t very good at the subtle part.”)

Longmire manages to cover  domestic violence with this storyline; keeping to the show’s tendency of covering topical issues. It could well be a personal favorite out of the new season.

All 10 episodes are available to stream over on Netflix right now. Mosey on over and catch this or all the cowboy detective’s cases from season five.

Cast:

Guest starring  Hannah Nordberg as Olivia Parr,  Anne Dudek as Melissa Parr and Beau Garrett  as Shawna Crawford.

‘Longmire’ Season 5 Ep 2 – One Good Memory (Recap/Review)

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Episode two of Longmire starts with Walt heading off the identify a “Jane Doe” that he fears is Donna.  “One Good Memory” has a lot shoved into one episode.  Walt coerces Eamon into helping him prove that Wilkins has hidden Browning.

Walt heads to the morgue and learns that the dead woman is not Donna and that Sheriff Wilkins tried to keep the body a secret.

Ferg is unhappy that Walt took his car while it was being forensically tested and when he asks for the keys back, his boss says no.   Longmire is still trying to work out who has Donna.  After learning that the arson investigator has been pulled off the burned out van, Walt investigates the vehicle himself.

The young man claiming to be Donna’s son is still in the one jail cell. Walt tells Ferg that he is to remain there till someone can verify who he really is.

Walt starts collecting remnants of the molotov cocktail in the van.  As Vic arrives he  has put the evidence together. It is a Red Stripe beer bottle and they now have a suspect for the firebombing of the doctor’s vehicle.

Vic forces Walt to give up his car keys and they head out to question Duncan Butler.

Henry almost gets shot as Hector and Mathias uses the break-in as an excuse to enter the premises. Henry is not amused.

Despite Longmire’s injury he scurries from place to place hunting down suspects and trying to find Donna. He gets a call from Eamon and heads out to an address that the deputy texts to Vic.

Henry is almost caught by Mathias as he takes photographs of Jacob’s books. They talk about Hector and their arrangement.

Walt meets Eamon at Sheriff Wilkins’ house.  O’Neill says that the sheriff is at his house with Walker Browning.  The two men climb over the gate and as they approach the dwelling Browning spots Walt and invites him and Eamon up to the house.

Walker believes that the “missing she” is Gabby and not Donna. Wilkins wants Walt arrested. Longmire gets up close and personal with Browning and learns that he did not shoot him or take Donna. Eamon gets fired.

Walt offers him a job and O’Neill turns him down.

Butler is on his own mission to find out who took the doctor. He kidnaps another veteran at Henry’s old place.

Henry calls the kidnapping in and follows Butler.  Vic cuts the man off and between the two they capture both Duncan and his kidnap victim (who tries to run away.).

Duncan is  brought in for questioning and in spite of the serious subject matter this sequence manages to be rather humorous.  Butler, who was the main suspect because of the missed appointments and the firebombed van, did not take Donna.

He was upset when she turned down his homemade rabbit stew. “Homemade” he stresses, clearly still upset at the rejection of his offering.

Donna’s son Andy finally has his identity verified and gets released.  The young man has gotten a call on his cell. He tells Walt to listen to the voice mail. It is his mother and she is speaking in code.  They use the call to narrow down where she might be.

Walt and Vic head to Tamar’s house and  find that she had Donna there.  Longmire mentions that the woman was more concerned with his resemblance to her old commanding officer than the doctor’s disappearance.

Smith has Donna and the doctor leaves a message for help in a gas station restroom.  Tamar is acting aggressively and after spraying gasoline over another customer threatens to set him on fire.

Henry and Mathias come to an understanding about Hector.  Henry outmaneuvers the officer and they agree to renegotiate their agreement.  Mathias using Henry as Hector has backfired.

Tamar tells Donna that she is afraid the press will turn their ordeal into a jealous lesbian thing.

Walt, Vic and Ferg track down Tamar to a lake; he saw a picture of Tamar sitting on a canoe by a lake at her house. Once they find the body of water, Vic and Ferg check out the other lake house and Walt the other.

He finds Donna and things get tense. Tamar comes out with his rifle. The two are at an impasse until Donna explains why Smith kidnapped her. The woman’s commanding officer raped her repeatedly in the field.

Longmire gives his gun to Donna (giving her “the power”) and Tamar leaves.  After a tender moment with Donna Walt goes to get the kidnapper.

Tamar asks to be handcuffed and then, when Walt’s back is turned, jumps into the lake. Longmire jumps in to save her and it becomes a team effort as  Donna, Ferg and Vic help.

The episode ends with Tamar resuscitated and Walt holding his side and breathing heavily.

These first two episodes of Longmire continues the series theme of looking at relevant issues. Episode one and two, despite dealing with the aftermath of last season’s finale, look at veterans and their mental health.

(Anyone who does not believe this is an issue should immediately call any VA appointment number. The first item on the menu is all about mental health issues. This is a very real  thing.)

Tamar’s issues are different from the usual PTSD problems. It is down to sexual abuse, another thing that was highlighted as being an issue in the US military recently.

In a time where the police are undergoing severe problems within their own ranks and an apparent policy of “shoot first ask questions later,” Walt’s masterful handling of Tamar Smith is a breath of fresh air.

Granted Walt Longmire is a fictional character but it was still a nice resolution that ended with no one else being shot.

Longmire is streaming on Netflix at the moment and all 10 episodes are available to view right now.

Cast:

Guest starring  Josh Cooke as Eamon O’Neill,   Callum Rennie as Walker Browning, Mac Brandt as Duncan Butler and Jamie Anne Allman as Tamar Smith.

Longmire: Season Five Back With a Vengeance (Review)

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Season five of Longmire picks up after that cliff hanger ending where it looked like Walt and Donna were going to be killed to Wye Oak’s “Civilian.” The show is back with a vengeance and that long wait to see who it was that bulldozed their way to Walt’s cabin will have to hold off a little longer.

In the season starter, Walt has been shot and Cady finds him laying in the floor, disoriented and bleeding heavily. Donna is nowhere to be seen. Vic, Ferg and Cady all team up to get Walt patched up and he wastes no time beginning his search for his missing lady.

Henry and Mathias come to an understanding about “Hector” and Sheriff Wilkins is still a major douche with a badge.

Longmire, thus far, could be retitled the “Land of the Walking Wounded.” Walt, Vic and Henry are all injured from last season.  Walt somewhat more seriously than the other two but both Henry and Vic are walking with a limp.

In some ways the show looks different. There are more interior shots and less of the epic scenery on show. (Although this was the case last season as well.) It also looks more digital, i.e. not shot on film. However, regardless of production values,  the opening episode  focusses more on the interaction between Vic and Walt and their changing dynamic.

She “steals” a kiss from her boss as he lays in the hospital bed. Later Vic orders him about and in one comedic scene makes Walt re-take the pain pill he spat out onto the roadside.

Another change in terms of family comes with the revelation that Cady is working for Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez). Cady was coming to tell Walt this when she found him shot in his cabin. 

Interestingly Longmire does not explode at the news. He is clearly not happy about it but his concern for Donna overtakes everything.  So too does his lack of memory. As well as being shot, Walt was concussed by a blow to the head.

The obvious suspect in this scenario is Walker Browning (Callum Rennie) who is missing from the hospital after being let loose by Sheriff Wilkins.  

Walt and Vic team up to look for suspects while Henry is blackmailed by Officer Mathias to  work for him, as Hector.

In many ways the focus in this episode is not just the wounded Walt searching for Donna or his memory loss of the shooting, but it re-establishes the relationship he had with “Philly.”

Last season saw a distance come up between the two as Vic fought off her jealous reaction to Dr. Monaghan.  Although Walt also had a green-eyed reaction to Vic’s temporary squeeze Eamon O’Neill (Josh Cooke).

This episode sees bridges mended and Vic takes charge of Walt to the extent he will let her. At one point they come across as either an old married couple or mother and son.

Once more Netflix have offered up all of season five; 10 episodes for those who wish to binge the whole thing.  While the urge to do so is almost overpowering, Mike’s Film Talk will be watching and reviewing one episode at a time. Longmire  is too good to  watch all in one go.

The first episode was a smooth and logical start to this season, although Ruby (Louanne Stephens) was missing in this one. (She does show up later however so all is well.)

There are a few things to mention before the next episode.  Walt Longmire, aka Robert Taylor is one hirsute chappy.  And for all that passion in the season finale,  between Donna and Walt, the lawman never got to take his trousers off.

Longmire season five is now streaming on Netflix. Let us know what you think about the newest season. No spoilers please, just talk about episode one so as not to upset fans of the show.

Cast:

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: Episode 6 The Calling Back (Review)

Officer Mathias and Sheriff Longmire at the Four Feathers

Episode 6 of Longmire begins the first of the final half of a fourth season storyline that will run till the season finale, episode 10. With Help Wanted ending with the hiring of Zachary (Barry Sloane) and the non-hiring of Monte Stephen Louis Grush this latest  episode starts with two hunters discovering a partly clad woman in the woods. 

Walt has to evict Vic, who initially thinks he is paying her a social visit, and the nearly nude woman in the woods turns out to be Gabriella Langton (Julia Jones). The young woman has been raped on the “Res”  by two oil-rig roughnecks. May Stillwater (Irene Bedard) comes to Walt’s office and asks if Cady will help Gabriella. The young woman is so traumatized that she will not leave May’s car.

Vic now has no place to stay as the new casino opening has filled every hotel in town. Zachary is trying to fit in and Ferg is jealous of the new deputy. The main storyline, however, is Gab’s rape by two white oil rig workers on reservation land. As Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) points out, this particular crime falls between the two men’s jurisdictions, Walt’s and his. 

Longmire suggests cross deputizing one another and Officer Mathias says if he allows Walt any authority on the Res he will lose his job. The two men find a poker chip from the new casino and Malachi Strand (Graham Greene) reluctantly helps the two lawmen, but only after blackmailing Mathias into letting one of the casino employees out of the Res jail.

This is an especially frustrating episode. Poignant and tragic, Gab needs help but the system cannot oblige  and her mother will not cooperate. Henry, Walt and Cady all try, but because the attack took place on reservation property and was committed by white strangers, the federal authorities must be “petitioned” to step in and help.

Walt, Ferg and Zach head down to the oil fields and pick up the two men identified by Gab. Meanwhile Cady works on  Federal Prosecutor Bradley to step in and help out and she agrees. Apparently this is an ongoing issue and not just at the local Cheyenne reservation . Bradley tells Cady that  oil rig roughnecks were doing the same thing in North Dakota.

Walker Browning, the boss of the two men arrested by Walt on suspicion of rape, comes to see the sheriff and says that if the men are guilty to “throw the book at them.”  Later Gab is kidnapped by someone from the oil company who tells Longmire that the young woman will be released when the two suspects are.

Vic moves in with Cady, staying in her spare room, Zach continues to learn about his new job and Walt questions Mandy about the men the girls met at the casino. He finds out the the man who was with Mandy (Tamara Duarte) took her to a storage unit. Ferg and Zachary stake out the roughnecks and the new deputy assaults one of the oil workers after provoking him by taking a video of all the men on site.

Walt finds that the footage Zach shot provides a clue to where the storage facility might be and he finds Gabriella, trussed up with duct tape and fastened to a chair, in one of the lockups. Thus begins one of the more frustrating segments of the episode. Gab’s mother Linda (Stefany Mathias) brings the investigation into her daughter’s rape by two white men to a screeching halt. 

Episode six’s title, The  Calling Back, is in reference to the Sweat that Gab attends after her rape. The medicine woman, who reveals that Gabriel’s name is Morning Star, begins the ceremony to call back Morning Star, the part of Gab that was taken by the attack.

After the sweat ceremony May leaves and speaks with Henry. Stillwater tells him that she   is writing to Hector.  This installment continues the thread of Hector’s mantle being taken over by Henry.

The story of Gab/Morning Star will continue while other storylines move into the spotlight. As usual, the actors in this show keep knocking it out of the park in terms of performance. Robert Taylor gets to show a sensitivity that is deep and impressive. Cady (Cassidy Freeman) tells her father that Gab will talk to him because he treated the victim like his own daughter. 

This piece of dialogue is telling.  To the younger members of Walt’s team, Longmire is the father figure. At times punitive and at other moments kindly and forgiving. Kate Sackhoff‘s character still seems to be somewhat fixated by Walt, not seeing him as a father figure at all. 

Kudos to Barry Sloane as the “new kid on the team” and major mad props to Julia Jones (who actually made this viewer “well up” more than a few times) and to her screen mom, Stefany Mathias.  These two ladies, as well as Tamara Duarte, knocked it out of the park. Julia’s suffering as Gab was painful to see,  Stefany was obnoxious and aggressive enough to annoy even the most sincere pacifist and Duarte was all attitude.

Without going into any detail, as the entire season has been watched now, this storyline will rule emotions throughout the rest of the fourth season and the roles of the players, Walt, Henry, Cady and Vic will shift and change as the plot plays out. Streaming on Netflix with all 10 episodes on offer, Longmire may have changed venues and format but there is no loss of quality.

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