Saturday, October 11, 2014

Red Sky at Morning in Absaroka County

Is the sun setting on Longmire as we know it?
One of the promises I made to myself over the summer is that I would stop wasting time on idle television viewing so I could enjoy my favorite shows.  This has, actually, worked pretty well, and has freed up a tremendous amount of time I did not realize I was wasting.  One natural consequence, of course, is that I became very interested in those few shows with the inevitable outcome:  one was cancelled.  As a reader, I am a great fan of the cozy novel, and Longmire certainly qualifies as a cozy novel and cozy television.  Yes, I do tweet my support under the #LongLiveLongmire hashtag, but, as a viewer who also writes, I have some reservations about season four.  I don't know about you, but, despite some excellent performances, the plot had become a bit claustrophobic.  I'm ready to meet some more of the fine (and wicked) folk of Absaroka county.  As for the core cast, there are some issues that need to be addressed:

Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) is done as a deputy, even if he survives his duel with his father.  Although he doesn't appear in the novels, I have enjoyed the character as a foil for Walt's traditionalism.  He may be the only character on the show (with the possible exception of Ferg) who admires Walt while seeing his human frailty.  I'd love to see how the character rebuilds his life, but, given all the activity on Bailey Chase's IMDB Filmography, I'm not holding out much hope.

Barlow Connally (Gerald McRaney) has been counting coup on Walt Longmire for many years and, as much as I enjoy watching McRaney chew up the scenery, I like the symmetry of Walt and Branch killing each other's "White Warrior."  Barlow was a big character whose death could reverberate through the plotlines for a while.

Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez) is a mystery to me, and I'd like to know more.  Just how shady is he?

Malachi Strand (Graham Greene) is almost a stereotype "big bad" and seems too obvious for this series unless there's a lot we don't know.  Still, any Greene screen time is fun.

Matthias (Zahn McLarnon) is another mystery.  Is he just a younger Malachi, or is there more to him?

Ruby (Louanne Stephens) is the best "office mom" ever, but, just once, I'd like to see her chew on Walter.

Ferg (Adam Bartley) is getting a promotion this year whatever happens.  He'll no longer be the "kid" and the character has a long way to go before anyone will take him seriously as a deputy.  Could be fun to watch.

Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman) has grown up some, but the aftermath of season three could be even more challenging.  I'm a die-hard Branch/Cady shipper and would really enjoy watching them work out a future together, even with all the roadblocks season three threw in their way.  Without Branch?  Oh, please don't pair her off with the lawyer friend; Cady needs a cowboy to keep in line.

Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) gets a pass this year because he was the damsel in distress and he played it well.  Actually, he's the only one of the major characters, except Branch, who stayed true to his principles.  More Henry, please.  And let's find out what he plans to do with the jar!

Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) has been the most disappointing character this season, between mooning over Walt and hiding out in his office to be safe from Branch??????  Please.  Where's the tough Philly beat cop we thought we knew and loved?  The whole stalker plotline unraveled for me the minute I found out she'd slept with a married man.  Now, not even divorced, she's mooning over Walt, who happens to be her boss.  Next she'll be complaining that the citizens of Absaroka don't respect female cops.  Small towns have long memories.

Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) has reverted back to pre-season one, without the Rainier beer.  He has been so focused on the Martha/Henry case that he's neglected a major investigation (David Ridges case), neglected a subordinate spiralling out of control (Branch), and, oh, aided and abetted a fugitive while robbing a grave.  So much for nobility and honor.  Walt is deeply flawed, deeply human, and deeply decent; that's why we love him.  But he, and the show, desperately need someone to remind him that he isn't a saint.  With Branch gone, and Vic in love, I wonder who that might be.

So, even if it finds a new network, changes are in store for the fans of Longmire.  I hope we get to see them!