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.