Sunday, September 6, 2015

LONGMIRE | Thoughts | S.3 | Eps. 6-10

A periodic post recording my ever so slightly obsessive watching of Longmire
The latter half of season 3 sees a lot of drama and signals some really major changes for almost all of the characters.  Cady finds her legs as a litigator, Henry is freed, Branch goes through hell and back only to discover his true enemy is closer to home, Vic's marriage dissolves but her persecution ends and Walt stays really busy and stressed but is finally brought to a place where he can say goodbye to his wife, Martha.    For me this is an incredibly strong set of episodes and I gave 4 out of 5 of them a grade of A or A-.  I'm obviously a fan of season 3!

Here's my thoughts on the episodes:


Episode 3.6  | Reports of My Death

Short Synopsis: Walt re-enacts Weekend at Bernie's after finding a dead body in the town square who may be the long lost heir to a fortune. 

Short Review: A slightly lackluster episode but it does post some interesting quandaries about family loyalty, wealth and happiness.  Walt works mostly on his own this episode which is also kind of a bummer. GRADE: B

Random Thoughts:
  • It's no fun seeing Henry so down in the dumps and angry.  It' a big contributor to the overall grimness of this season.  
  • What WAS Walt like when he was 12??
  • So I guess Branch and Nighthorse are officially broken up?
  • What do you think about Welles?  Selfish asshole or brave idealist?  He's probably somewhere in the middle.  I do feel some sympathy for Penny and think Welles is somewhat cruel to his brother and sister.  After all they were all in the same boat and he escaped without a backward glance to them.
  • Well Branch is breaking up with everyone in this episode - I think he and Vic are also through.  
  • Vic: "Don't you compare yourself to Walt!" Branch: "I forgot. You two have a special relationship."  I think Branch probably idolizes Walt as much as Vic but he's been corrupted by being raised by Barlow.
  • Branch actually makes a pretty coherent argument defending his actions but there is also a big helping of self-justification.

Episode 3.7  | Population 25

Short Synopsis:  Vic and Sean stumble into a really bad part of rural Wyoming on their way to vacation and end up getting kidnapped by anti-government extremists.

Short Review:  There is a lot about this episode that doesn't make sense but that doesn't change the fact that it is Tense with a capital 't' and very exciting.  Grade: A

Random Thoughts:
  • Vic and Sean just really don't fit even when they are trying.  
  • Vic's lack of respect for her husband comes out in the patronizing way she talks to him and controls the situation after the accident.  Her plan is actually kind of ridiculous - Sean has the better idea but she has to take charge and act.  Interesting that Chance points out the lack of logic to Vic walking to his house when they had a phone. 
  • Walt to Gorski: "If you hurt her, you're a dead man."
  • So anti-government extremists eat fried bologna sandwiches.  Who knew?
  • Gorski: "The names out here.  We just don't get them out East."
  • I actually kind of like Gorski in this episode which highlights how inconsistent and ridiculous this whole Vic storyline has been.  I like it because it causes Vic and Walt to become more personally entangled BUT it is kind of a mess.  They seem to be rolling with the idea that Gorski's a little off therefore we can have him act inconsistently and explain it away as he's crazy.  He and Walt actually make a pretty great team.  
  • So why does Chance think that Sean isn't Vic's type right off the bat?  Sean is kind of preppy looking but it's not like Vic has her shitkickers on or anything. Sean is actually pretty ballsy in the initial scene with Chance.
  • It is obvious in the scene that Vic cares about Sean and is genuinely scared for him.  
  • Katee Sackhoff does an excellent job of losing her shit when she thinks that Walt may be in the body bag.  You can pretty much see her marriage dying right at that moment.  
  • So why do we even get the scene with Branch at the scene of the accident?  He does nothing of importance and we never see him again. 
  • Vic: "God I hope so, you crazed nutjob." 
  • So the final vibe from Gorski is 1) that he actually did care for Vic and 2) he realizes that Vic has "lost everything" (as he wished for in the last episode he was in) with the presumed death of Walt.
  • This episode was apparently longer than the others and it could actually have used at least 5 more minutes to explain what happened to Branch and really deal with the fact that Vic, with a serious concussion and a traumatizing experience, heads back into the fray to go after Walt.
  • Vic and Walt Update:  So I think a lot of folks feel like this is where Walt shows his feelings and there are perhaps a couple of subtle things that suggest that Vic is special to him but again I think most of Walt's actions, including the duel challenge, he would take for anybody in danger from Chance.  He almost blew the whole rescue earlier in the day to save an unknown state trooper - if Gorski hadn't been there, Walt, and Vic with him, would likely be dead.  So I don't really see that most of his actions really reveal any preference or personal feelings for Vic.  The two things that might be indicators? 1) His quote above to Gorski threatening to kill him if Vic was hurt - perhaps not meant to be taken literally but there is a lot of force in Walt's delivery. 2) He takes his eyes off of Chance for several seconds to lock eyes with and watch Vic as she is driven away.  This episode, does more to solidify even further that Vic is in love with Walt.  It's not just admiration and attraction.  She loves him.  And Sean knows it now too.

Episode 3.8  | Harvest

Short Synopsis: The murder of a local impoverished farmer doesn't add up but Walt and company have a hard time figuring out exactly what happened.

Short Review:  So this episode was always going to get a great review from me on the strength of the first scene alone!  Thankfully the rest of the episode earns that good rating.  Branch has seriously burned all bridges, and Vic is faced with the same decision she had in Philadelphia.  There is all kinds of angst in this episode.  The "mystery" is also quite poignant and highlights Walt's compassion. GRADE: A

Random Thoughts:
  • Why has Branch turn into such a Grade A asshole.  Vic was just kidnapped and terrorized and he's stuck in his little private world.  And then there's his response to Cady. 
  • Poor Ferg.  Does Walt send him out to do the grunt work because he doesn't think he's ready to be the primary deputy on a case like this?  Is he trying to get some alone time with Vic?  If so he doesn't use it...
  • Walt's response to Vic's announcement that Sean is demanding her resignation is very cold.  I think he's over-compensating because what he'd like to do is beg her to stay and he knows THAT wouldn't be professional.  
  • After she leaves in a huff and Ruby comes in he actually looks fairly peevish.  
  • I'm actually really surprised that Sean just goes along with Vic's seduction and then HOLY foot in mouth Vic.  Final nail in coffin for Sean and Vic, that.  
  • So what do you think of Nick Holman's attitude? 
  • Walt's affection for Bob and the speech he gives him is touching and shows just how compassionate and empathetic Walt is - he has that perfect combo of tough guy who can wall off his feelings with a strong sense of duty and compassion. 
  • Cady about Branch: "When I look him in the eyes all I see is this dark mean unstable man."
  • I love the final scene as Walt rolls in, sees Vic's clean desk and then his dread at her handing him a letter.
  • Poor Walt - One deputy going completely off the rails, best friend on trial for murder, having to duel crazed extremists in order to free his other deputy of whom he's overly fond of on top of all his cases.  Man needs some down time.
  • Vic and Walt Update: Finally, Walt shows his hand.  Up until the first scene of this episode Walt has done nothing definitive to reveal that he has anything but professional and perhaps friendly feelings toward Vic.  His reaching out to Vic is prompted by the traumatic situation they've just been through but also a couple of other things.  I think that what happened, and the fact that Vic is sitting with him and not her husband suggests to him that she has feelings for him.  Up to this point, while Walt is not lacking in confidence, I think he was blind to Vic's feelings because he couldn't imagine her having feelings for him because of their age difference.  The situation and his realization of her feelings push him past his natural repugnance of flouting marriage vows.  It's also quite obvious that Vic needs a hug.  And it's a really lovely hug. 

Episode 3.9  | Counting Coup

Short Synopsis: Branch has yet another sighting of David Ridges which sends the whole Sheriff's department into an uproar.  Meanwhile, Henry tries to burn the Red Pony down.

Short Review:  The last two episodes of this season are busy.  This episode does a good job of finally resolving the David Ridges story line and in dramatic fashion - the showdown with Walt is impressive.  Grade: A-

Random Thoughts:
  • Poor Ferg. He's trying so hard but he's clueless.  Has he not noticed Branch's wacko behavior.  And then Uh Oh.  It's not like Ferg is wrong to challenge Walt but... REALLY bad timing.  And Walt throws a little hissy fit. Hee!
  • Ruby: "All you did was treat Branch the way you would want to be treated. Problem is, he's not you." Truth.
  • Walt is NOT happy when Branch attacks Vic.  BUT he still gives Branch the benefit of the doubt which Vic does not.
  •  Looks like Walt is kind of dreading coming to work these days.  And again...Oh Ferg.  Walt didn't assault Branch, he just pulled him off of Vic and put him in the cell.  
  • Nice callback to the earlier snippet of information that David Ridges was a frequent blood donator at the Res clinic. 
  • It kind of looks like Walt rehearsed his whole speech to Vic.  His delivery is perfect..."The truth is Vic...I want you to stay."  
  • Vic: "You got a pen?"
  • Seriously, it's one crisis after another.  This is a truly very grim episode.  I think it's Walt's turn to have a nervous breakdown.
  • The showdown between Walt and Ridges is seriously intense and Ridges seriously almost gets Walt - driving his car off, then attacking on horseback.  A clever set up. 

Episode 3.10  | Ashes to Ashes

Short Synopsis: So many things are mostly resolved.  Miller Beck's killer is finally identified. It's enough to get Henry off but it's clear that the killer is just a pawn and that there was a conspiracy behind Walt's wife's death.  Also Branch gets suspicious and paranoid with a new quarry. 

Short Review: Cady comes into her own in this episode and it is awesome to see. Paired with Walt and Henry's emotional releases and the cliff hanger ending, it would have been a crime to not continue this show.  Grade: A

Random Thoughts:
  • I really adore how Walt handles Branch.  He honors his need for closure while firmly making it clear that he, Branch, still has a lot to answer for.  
  • And seriously, Walt was just in a battle for his life and he just calmly drives himself back into town and logs the body into the morgue.  
  • Walt is adorably protective of Vic here.  Looking at her while he makes it clear Branch will not be coming back to the office any time soon, telegraphing clearly that going after her was the most unforgivable thing Branch did.  Aww....
  • There was some mildly disgusted chatter that of course now that Vic is free there was going to be a big smooch between Walt and her.  Instead he (accidentally) punches her in the face.  That's why this show is so awesome. It also just kind of breaks the slight awkward tension between them.
  • The scene in the Red Pony is one of my favorites  - all the interactions are funny and Vic's rather intimate way of tending to Walt's wound and the fact that Walt doesn't even register it as something weird or awkward is awesome.  Cady on the other hand does a double take.  
  • So how great is it to see Henry and Walt working together in this episode? Super great!  I love them together and they are particularly good here.  
  • Cady's smackdown is epic and I love that she gets to do it.  I've enjoyed her character a lot this season.  
  • Henry's first visit is to Hectors wall:(. Poor Hector.  Henry takes the jar of pleas  - does this mean Henry is going to take up Hector's mantle?
  • Oh...the scene between Walt and his wife.  Really great scene and Robert Taylor knocks it out of the park.  It is a little odd that he doesn't bring his daughter along but we needed this scene as did Walt.  
  • And that ending. Holy Sh*&.  Thank god for Netflix picking up season 4!!
  • Vic and Walt Update:  In this episode, it feels like things have shifted between them.  There's a settled intimacy and comfort between them.  Nothing's happened between them but with Vic free and Walt likely in no doubt of her feelings for him, it's no longer a taboo idea so I think they have relaxed a bit.  I also like to think that one reason for Walt finally beginning the process of letting his wife go, is the prospect of new love.  His decision is more complicated than that for sure but I don't think Walt would truly feel right pursuing something with Vic when his wife still haunts him. 

Despite the slightly grimmer and more emotionally charged tone of this season, I still found it immensely entertaining and I like where the show is going.  Folks that want a straight police procedural probably got a little disgusted, but I like a mix that includes relationship complexities and longer story lines.

Season 4 drops September 10 on Netflix and from what I've seen so far, my extreme excitement has not been diminished.  The overall theme of the season is second chances which fits so well with where all the characters are at, at the end of season 3.  Branch, if he's alive, will be out from under his father's thumb (maybe) and needing a new career, Vic is divorced and ostensibly free of her Philadelphia stalker, Henry has been exonerated and has his freedom back, Cady has gone from unemployed to gaining some confidence as a courtroom lawyer and Walt has ostensibly finally said goodbye to his wife though perhaps not to avenging her.  I love the idea of each of them struggling with how to do the right thing with their second chance. Should be a very interesting season! 

What am I hoping for?  I hope we don't lose Branch and that he gets back to his old self (before David Ridges) a little bit.  I'd like to see Cady continue to be bad ass and perhaps re-kindle some romance with Branch.  I'm interested in the idea of Henry picking up Hector's mantle as vigilante and how that might bring he and Walt into conflict.  I'd like to see more character development for Ferg.  Finally, I'd like to see more air time/storylines for Vic and of course an exploration of a relationship between her and Walt.  Walt has always been the center of the show and I don't have any specific hopes for him except that he really be over his wife's death (fat chance) and that he, at least once, makes a bit of a fool of himself over Vic because she deserves that, having to deal with his stoicism.  More generally, I'd like to see more about the people and life on the reservation. 

Here's the official season 4 trailer which I think illustrates one of my favorite things about the show - the music and how they use it:

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