Sunday, August 9, 2015

LONGMIRE | Thoughts | S. 2 | Eps. 6-10

A periodic post recording my ever so slightly obsessive watching of Longmire
The second five episodes of season two are the lead up to the much anticipated Sheriff's election.  It's an interesting move that when it finally happens it is sidelined for other plot elements.  It's a way of demonstrating to Walt what his real priorities are.  The real revelations of this won't be until episode 11 but it becomes clear how much his daughter means to him both to him and to us.  

It is not just a turning point for Walt but also for Branch. Cady is the one thing he and Walt agree whole heartedly on. As I mention several times below, episodes 6-10 are the last times we get to see confident, sane, competent Branch.  His obsession with David Ridges begins with Cady's accident and is motivated by his love for her but it becomes hard to remember that, when in season three his obsession seems pretty self-involved.  

Vic's story line also inches forward though it is not yet revealed why the appearance of her former Philadelphia colleague makes her nervous.  More than nervous really, which isn't terribly consistent with her character.  Also in two different episodes, Tell It Slant and Tuscan Red, there are suggestions that Vic is perhaps a bit of a liability for the Sheriff's department and to Walt's re-election.  In Tell it Slant there is the question by the voter which I highlight below and in Tuscan Red, her marriage to a Newitt Energy executive prompts accusations that the Sheriff's department is "in bed" with big oil.  Walt seems to ignore both of these issues.  

Ferg even gets a little character development.  He has a long-term crush on Cady that is likely a bit more than a crush.  Also he stands up to Walt for the first time.  However the most important revelation is what a swell dancer he is!

Here are my thoughts on the episodes:


Episode 2.6 | Tell it Slant

Short Synopsis: A mystery that hinges on the reports of a Cheyenne Contrary Warrior whose  psychic sister has been murdered.

Short Review:  I like the mix of personal and professional here (Walt's wife having visited the psychic) and the twist the contrary warrior creates.  Also the debate does a good job of ramping up the election stakes and contrasting Walt and Branch's different styles. Grade: A

Random Thoughts:
  • Apparently in his off time Walt dozes somewhat drunkenly on his couch. 
  • The idea of the Contrary Warrior is interesting - he is meant to push people out of their comfort zones by always saying the opposite of reality.  He announces his sister's death by saying "It's a good night to be born!"
  • I find it a very interesting piece of character development that Vic is down with psychics.  She doesn't necessarily believe in them but she doesn't think that all of them are con artists, either.  
  • I really like the Branch of this era.  He's smarmy as hell and cocky but charming.  Branch: "Vic. I'm a guy. In Wyoming.  The only cards I've had read are at the poker table."  Vic (a little later): "Kenny Rogers, Give me a hand." Hee!  It's making me kind of sad for what is to come for his character...
  • At the Debate:  "Walt I will vote for you early and often but I was pulled over by this foul-mouthed blonde lady last month and it turns out that she's not even from here.  Why are you taking jobs away from Wyoming residents?"  Sadly we don't get to hear his answer about why Vic is the bomb despite her foul mouth and her Philadelphia origins:).
  • The debate is actually really fun.  I love that Cady stands up and scores one for Walt by pinning Branch on his lack of experience.  When Aaron (the Contrary Warrior) breaks in, shooting cap guns,  Branch hits the deck while Walt keeps his cool:).
  • So how does Barlow get all the chicks?  A few episodes back he was described by a hotel employee as incredibly good looking. And in this episode his alibi involves having sex with a  24 year old stewardess. What???  I don't find Barlow attractive at all. Though perhaps it is his money that shines?
  • Neat trick at the end by Walt to get the confession.  
  • We never find out if the Cowley's actually find their daughter in Vermont.
  • ALSO...What did the spirits say about Walt??? I wish we had been allowed to hear that part of the recording! Lots of unanswered questions in this episode!

Episode 2.7 | Sound and Fury

Short Synopsis: At the Red Pony, Henry overhears a man trying to hire a hit on his wife.  Henry being the awesome busybody he is interferes in a non-conventional way and things don't go as planned. 

Short Review: A pretty decent "suspense" episode that also does some heavy lifting with character development (Branch, Walt, Henry).  Grade: B+

Random Thoughts:
  • Pretty ingenious that Henry offers to do the hit in order to figure who the guy and his wife are.  
  • I love the attitude that Vic gives the Alpha male misogynist construction worker.  
  • The advent of Ed Gorsky...Dun, Dun, DUN.  
  • The cell phone gag  - with Walt refusing to get one of his own  and using everybody else's kind of never gets old.  
  • Gutter Punks - A society I was unaware of.  They are seriously dirty.  And kind of fascinating.
  • Branch really is a good detective and even though he seems like the type that would be distracted by the beautiful lady, he isn't and continues to scrutinize her.  Again, sort of sad we're going to lose this 
  • Wife of Dead Guy: "Have you ever been married Sheriff?" Walt: "Yes." WODG: "Then you know how stifling it can be." Walt: "No. I don't."  Awwwww....
  • Walt seems to pick up on Vic's agitation regarding her old work colleague when she brings him up as the possible hit man.  
  • So I just noticed that "Scott's" tattoo, on his face looks a bit like a zipper.  Speaking of which I really like the actor playing "Scott" and the persona he creates for the character. 
  • Walt's cell phone is in the truck...hmmmm... We know when he makes that claim, that he is playing a little game with the villain. 

Episode 2.8 |The Great Spirit

Short Synopsis: The sheriff's department is called out to deal with a wild horse trampling crops and it turns out she's dragging along a dead guy behind her.  The plus side is that Walt gets a new horse.

Short Review: The episode highlights big business agriculture and the challenges for immigrant workers.  I would have liked a more nuanced approach to the original farm owner's plight - he  comes off as 100% bad and while he ain't good, there should be some sympathy there.  Also love the way this episode ends.  Grade: B

Random Thoughts:
  • Poor Ferg.  Always left behind to man the shop.
  • Henry to Walt: "You seem more than usually irritated with Branch."  Ya think?
  • Once again Vic uses her feminine wiles to get an unsuspecting fellow to speak.  
  • Vic's "Okay. Good job."  to the horse, who she is obviously intimidated by, is adorable. 
  • I love the ending of this episode with Henry recounting the tale of what the first warrior said to the Great Spirit. "...fight for the brothers you find. Fight for them he said for they are your home."  A lovely summation of Walt and Henry's value to each other.

Episode 2.9  | Tuscan Red

Short Synopsis:  A corpse is found in the ruins of a house that exploded from methane in the pipes.  Turns out the explosion didn't kill the guy, which is a bummer for Walt and Co.

Short Review: Lots of interesting stuff in this episode.  The mystery and solution are just so-so but I like the episodes that involve the Reservation and the cultural dynamics there.  Here the insular nature of the Reservation culture is explored as well as the continued exploitation of the people on the reservation because of their poverty.  Grade: B

Random Thoughts:
  • I love how Henry pushes Walt.  In this case he forces Walt to say that he wants the Sheriff job, that he wants to win the election.
  • Cady's little speech to Branch is nonsensical I don't blame Branch for being confused.  I really like them together which prompts me to say once again how sorry I am about what's to come for Branch.
  • The coroner/autopsy guy is kind of interesting/odd and I don't think we ever see him again after this episode.  I wonder if he's a character from the later books?  If they were just trying him out as a potential new character and he ended up being just too kooky?
  • I like that Mathias is on the side of the protesters and is at the protest keeping an eye on Newitt Energy Security.  Of course the protesters are right and the energy company likely is corrupt and ruining the environment.  Poor Walt has to arrest the protestors though he's likely sympathetic.  
  • Again I think Branch and Cady's little interlude is adorable.  "Where did you get those eyes?" Hee!  It's been obvious all along that Branch really cares for Cady - she brings out the best in him.  
  • WALT:  "When a child chooses to be with someone you don't approve of, it feels like rejection..."  Hmm.... Speaking from experience Walt?
  • The conversation between Vic and and Sean is very revealing.  It's clear Vic doesn't respect or trust Sean and Sean is jealous of Vic's adoration of Walt. 

Episode 2.10  | Election Day

Short Synopsis: The episode starts with pomp and circumstance because the election is finally here, but unexpected tragedy makes the election, which the show has been building up to for two seasons, a moot point. 

Short Review:   I love how this episode progresses from the hopeful and celebratory to tragedy, forcing a shift in perspective for all the characters, particularly the two candidates, Walt and Branch.  Cady is the one thing the two men agree on.  It will have many consequences in future episodes as well.  Grade: A

Random Thoughts:
  • Vic looks stunning at the party and we don't get a single moment of Walt ogling her.  He's actually very attentive to Lizzie which makes her outburst a couple episodes down the line a little irrational.  I mean he deserves to be kicked to the curb for generally being a horrible boyfriend but he gives no indication in front of Lizzie that he is interested in Vic.
  • LOVE Ferg and Cady's dance.  LOVE that Ferg is such a great dancer:).  
  • Love the whole party scene.  
  • Vic's crestfallen face when Cady comes by the office looking for her dad saying he wasn't at home and Vic puts two and two together (that he spent the night at Lizzie's) is very revealing. She's got it bad.  
  • Walt's banter with Ruby at the polls is adorable and shows how nervous he is.  
  • Cady totally looks dead here!  Do people who have head injuries have that open intense dead stare thing going on.  I remember being completely shocked the first time I watched this.
  • Vic is obviously a little concerned about Ferg's state of mind.  We get lots of good Ferg character development in this episode.  
  • I love how the random dad Walt talks to in the waiting room ends up playing a key role in the next episode on an unrelated case.
  • Walt's protective instinct is really getting a workout/taking a beating what have you.  Totally blaming himself for Cady's accident.  
  • Again Vic reveals her feelings in trying to comfort Walt.  Walt doesn't react - he's too in his head and focused on Cady. 
  • The whole state line thing with Kellen Dawes - Vic's all..."Screw that!" Hee!
  • Walt wins by only 17 votes.  WOW.
  • Bob's self-loathing is so raw and honest that he wrings sympathy from Walt even though Walt's daughter has been gravely hurt.  Does Walt perhaps identify with him?  Just a little?
  • Ferg stands up to Walt and refuses to let loose the person he knows is the guilty party.  Good for you Ferg though it doesn't do any good.  
  • Walt is kind of interestingly superstitious - he thinks Cady's accident is a direct consequence of what he and Henry "did in Denver."  Walt: "I need to do this Henry.  There's nothing else I can do."  He HATES feeling powerless.
Episode 10 marks the beginning of a longer storyline that has major impacts in season three.  It's the start of a much more emotional and drama filled Longmire which is met, I think, with mixed feelings.  I eat it up, I really do, but part of me longs for the simple "mystery/adventure of the week" format plus subtle character development era.  The character of Branch undergoes a huge metamorphoses in season three and not for the better in my opinion so these episodes represent the last hurrah for his sanity/character.  One thing is for certain, things are definitely going to get exciting!

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