When a show you like goes horribly, terribly wrong
As you may remember, Gentle Reader, my beloved Ramón bought me the four-pack of Longmire seasons for Christmas this year, which gladdened my heart and inspired my writing thanks to a certain snarky Louisianan. So today, since it’s cold as Ann Coulter’s heart here in the clavicle of Texas, I settled in after work to finish season 3 of the series. Up to now I’d been enjoying it greatly, mainly due to the great dialog, interesting cases, and the fact that Robert Taylor takes his shirt off at least three times a season. The whole subplot about Walt’s dead wife and who really killed her was starting to wear a bit thin, but I knew that it was going to be resolved in the last ep (thank you, IMDb).
And then I got to said last episode. Now, I know A&E cancelled the series after the third season, whereupon it got picked up unexpectedly by Netflix, so maybe this had something to do with why the plot of this episode makes no damn sense whatsoever. First, Detective Fales’s characterization went straight out of the window; instead of being the crusading cop bent on taking the supposedly crooked sheriff down, he turns into, well, an asshole. He deliberately obfuscated evidence, had the original investigating officer somehow transferred to another division (yeah, no, that’s not how it works) and was going to make sure Henry got a life sentence for the murder of the meth head who killed Walt’s wife because … he felt like it, as far as I could tell. I dunno. That made no sense to me.
Secondly, Walt and Henry have to find evidence in the corpse of said dead meth head that will prove someone else killed him and exonerate Henry. So they traipse out to the graveyard in another jurisdiction, dig it up without any official permission, fast-talk some decidedly slow deputies into letting them take the body back to Absaroka County, and … once again, I’m not sure. Enter it as evidence? And when the Denver DA and Fales show up at Henry’s bar supposedly to take a statement from Henry, they’re presented with evidence of Fales’s deliberate fuckup and the proof in the dead meth head and given an offer — drop all charges against Henry and they won’t sue Denver PD for wrongful prosecution. The DA folds, and a fuming Fales rides into the distance as far as I can tell. Except that the FIRST thing the DA should have said was, “So where’s your permit to dig up this dead meth head? You don’t have one? Wait, you STOLE it from another county? So both of you have just committed a new crime. And Longmire, you’re forbidden from escorting Henry anywhere because you’re too close to the case — that’s breach of parole regulations. Also, have any of you heard about this thing called chain of custody? The judge is going to laugh this straight out of court.” So I may have had some problems with my suspension of disbelief here.
And then we turn our attention to the dysfunctional Connolly clan, where Branch, after being tormented by the White Warrior David Ridges and suspended from duty for generally acting like a psycho with a gun, decides to join the family business (whatever that is). Except that he digs into the company records and finds out that not only did his father pay Jacob Nighthorse $100K to funnel into Branch’s campaign for sheriff, but Barlow also paid Nighthorse $50K for “consulting services.” As it turns out, these consulting services were for David Ridges to head down to Denver, find a meth head to kill Walt’s wife (I can only assume to make Branch’s campaign easier), then kill the meth head to cover up the trail.
Yeah. Slightly baroque, almost Borgia-like in its complexity. But I could kinda maybe buy it, except that when Barlow comes to Branch’s house, he brings a box of business cards listing Branch as a company VP, saying that he had them printed six years ago. Throughout the show Barlow has been portrayed as a ruthless businessman devoted to building his company as his legacy and passing it along to his family. And yet he not only let his only son run off and work as a deputy, he secretly funded Branch’s campaign for sheriff, going so far as to pay a man to kill the wife of Branch’s competitor to make it easier for his son to win.
Yeah, no. Daddy Connolly never wanted Branch to be a cop in the first place; he wanted Branch securely working in the family business, and always seemed annoyed that Branch insisted on working as a deputy. What was far more likely would be him standing back, watching Branch run for sheriff and fail, then say, “Okay, son, you had your chance. Now how about you come work for me like you were supposed to.” But this? And then, after ALL that sturm und drang, for Barlow to announce “I don’t have time to make another fortune, but I still have time to make another son” and give the impression that he just shot Branch is just utterly irrational.
So I had a wee bit of a problem with the end of Season 3. Here’s hoping 4-6 are a little more sensible. In the meantime, I’m reading the Longmire books and enjoying the hell out of them. If you like solid mysteries set in the West with some drop-dead hilarious dialog, I highly recommend this book series.