Monday, September 28, 2015

Longmire Rides On: "War Eagle"

Spoilers ahead! This week's episode involved a touchy chapter in U.S. history, deception, and old wounds that just won't heal. Walt is called to the scene of War Eagle, a former Japanese internment camp, because some local teens partying there reported hearing Asian voices coming from a building. Walt and Vic immediately notice that the donation box has recently been broken into and a HAM radio tower has been erected. They find War Eagle's caretaker Thorvin Hampton dead on the floor of his office.

While investigating the case, Walt and Vic find out that Thorvin recently unearthed a family secret. His father, who had been a guard at War Eagle, impregnated a Japanese detainee. The woman gave birth and Thorvin began trying to get in touch with his illegitimate half-brother. Ferg eagerly pitches in to find out who Thorvin had been talking to. The deputy is no stranger to CB technology, having used it as a kid to keep in touch with his father, a long-haul trucker. Ferg, using the cute handle High Plains Drifter, contacts a woman who knew Thorvin. She's local, so Ferg and Walt head out to talk to "Sunshine Sally."

"Sunshine Sally" turns out to be a crazy turtle lady; she has live ones of all shapes and sizes roaming her living room. She had also "catfished" Thorvin by mailing him a picture of a much younger, thinner woman in a bikini. There's a funny bit during her interview when Walt catches a wandering turtle in his ever-present cowboy hat. Sally expresses being hurt that Thorvin ignored her when she introduced herself at a bar, but still talked to her every night on the CB. She even moved from Florida to Wyoming to be with Thorvin.

Walt and Vic locate Thorvin's half-brother, now an old man with dementia, who's being cared for by his daughter. His daughter is also resentful of Thorvin's efforts to restore War Eagle in order to turn it into a museum/tourist attraction.

Also in this episode, Walt deputizes Henry so Henry can handle evidence in Branch's case. The soil samples from Branch's rifle don't match the creek bed where his body was found, further proving it was not a suicide. A fingerprint check reveals Jacob Nighthorse to be not Jacob Nighthorse at all. Rather, he's Jacob Blankenship, a Native American radical who was once arrested for assaulting an FBI agent.

Vic has a flashback to her abduction thanks to the sight of a man carrying a baseball bat. Walt recommends she seek professional help for her PTSD. Not sure if she will follow Walt's sound advice.

Henry answers one of the letters addressed to Hector. It was written by a single mother whose neighbor is stealing money from her. He sees her in a grocery store, unable to pay for all the food in her basket because she doesn't have enough money. Henry employs a little psychological warfare when the man comes into the Red Pony. He slips a letter under the bathroom stall that reads HECTOR LIVES and scrawls the same message on the bathroom mirror with a Sharpie.

So who killed Thorvin? "Sunshine Sally"? His half-brother Francis? One of the teens who broke into War Eagle's donation box? Watch and find out!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Longmire Rides On: "Down By the River"

Thanks to my fellow members of the Longmire Posse and the good people at Netflix, us folks at home can once again ride along with the Absaroka County Sheriff's Department. If you haven't had a chance to watch Season 4 yet, this is your warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

When we last left our heroes, Branch had a serious confrontation with his father Barlow. A gunshot rang out and the screen faded to black. The season premiere opens with Walt stalking across the prairie with homicide on his mind. He intends to kill Jacob Nighthorse, the man who hired a meth addict to stab Walt's wife Martha to death. Henry has followed Walt and convinces his friend not to go through with it.

Cady goes to her father, concerned that Branch isn't answering his phone. Walt can't get a hold of him either and senses something isn't right. He organizes a search party. Walt, Vic, and Ferg find a man's body in the river, dressed only in boxer shorts with a rifle by his side. It's barely recognizable as Branch. Everyone present is stunned. Suicide is initially ruled the cause of death due to the angle of the wound and the note Vic found in Branch's house. Walt, however, firmly believes that his deputy was murdered.

Meanwhile, Henry has signed over the Red Pony's deed to Malachi. Malachi is also now in charge of day-to-day operations of the bar. People are continuing to leave letters for deceased Cheyenne vigilante Hector, asking for him to intercede in matters such as abusive husbands and drunk uncles. Henry seems to be contemplating taking over where Hector left off.

The cast is in fine form, as always. Rookie actor Adam Bartley continues to show great potential in his role as Ferg. There's an especially heartbreaking scene where Ferg breaks the bad news about Branch to Cady. He chokes out that he doesn't know how he'll get through going to Branch's house to take back the fallen deputy's uniform and squad car keys. I cried myself watching it unfold.

The season's main story arc is intriguing. Even though I already know who killed Branch, it will be entertaining to see how Walt figures it out. I'm not sure how I feel about the implication that Walt and Vic could become romantically involved. However, I can easily picture Henry becoming the next Hector; after all, Lou Diamond Phillips did play one of the Lincoln County Regulators :-)

Boy howdy, what a start!