We’ve certainly seen many seasons of “Longmire” before where Walt has struggled under the weight of everything he has taken on, but we’ve never quite seen him in the place that he was during episode 9 of the fifth season.
By the end of the episode, this was a guy seemingly ready to throw everything away in his life, whether it be his job, the civil suit, and even his relationships, and all for one singular cause: His perception of the truth. The fact that Walt is so often wrong with some of his theories does add to the show’s appeal — he’s flawed, especially when it comes to Jacob Nighthorse. The problem here is that in an effort to arrest Jacob, Walt often misses the truth.
For example, it took until near the end of this episode for him to finally start to realize thanks to all of the mounting evidence that Henry was Hector. He confronted him on it, and in turn this led to the two of them wrecking the Red Pony like nobody’s business in a brawl. Henry’s right: He was trying to protect him, and he justifies his actions thanks to Walt’s own binary view of the world and his perception of right and wrong. Walt wants the way in which he sees the world to be the way everyone else does, where honesty and integrity always win. Yet, this is a world of gray areas sometimes and selfish actions.
Another prime example of that comes via what Jacob may have been really after all along: Using Cady’s legal aid center, which has started to gain traction in the community, as a way of him influencing tribal council. He wants to offer her more funds to expand the staff, but in doing so, he wants these new hires to be relatives of council members on the reservation. In his mind, it’s justified, but it’s the sort of thing that would lead to Walt punching a huge hole in a wall — which he nearly did at the Red Pony.
Robert Taylor’s performance throughout Walt’s gradual meltdown of paranoia and pain was fantastic, and arguably this was one of the better episodes of season 5. There was just one question we had during most of it: Where in the world was Donna for all of this? We understand that Ally Walker can’t be in every episode if she’s got other things going on, but given her profession it feels like she would be more capable of handling his descent, and him even losing the support of Cady, in a way that could ground him.
The truth is, Walt’s right for thinking Jacob is up to something — but only by fractions. Meanwhile, the same goes for Jacob’s intentions with Cady’s legal-aid center, or Henry’s intentions by being Hector. “Longmire” is a world of fractions and gray areas, and if Walt doesn’t realize this in the finale, he could be ending the season without anything he once held dear. Grade: A-.
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