Over the weekend we had a chance to finish “Longmire” season 5 on Netflix, and over the past couple of days we had a chance to gain some additional perspective on the season as a whole.
Now that we’ve done that, where do we think this season stands in the pantheon? As of right now, we’d put it ahead of seasons 1 and 2 over on A&E, but behind season 3 or the first season on Netflix last year. It was successful in some ways, and while we wouldn’t proclaim anything a failure, there were some elements here and there that left something more to be desired for a show that we hold to a high standard — mostly because we love it and continue to root for it.
What worked – The best episode of the season was in our mind “Objection” (season 6), mostly because it combined everything from a legal process with Walt’s deposition to also him tracking down the head of the Irish mob with Shane Muldoon. This is a story that for the most part didn’t have a satisfying end this season, but when it came to this hour in particular the build and the end result — Walt visiting Muldoon all the way in Boston — proved to be rather fantastic.
In general, we’d also argue that this was the best Cady Longmire season to date, with her striking out on her own with her practice, having a shocking amount of friction with her father (who was forced to realize that she wasn’t just his “punk” anymore), and also becoming eventually a part of the Cheyenne tribe. Cassidy Freeman handled the material extraordinarily well, as she did everything from fight for the underprivileged to actually fight physically to keep herself alive. Also, hats off to Zahn McClarnon as Mathias, a consistently underrated presence who had some wonderful scenes throughout the season. Robert Taylor is consistently strong as the title character, and we’d say that the deposition was his strongest story this year just because he was forced to confront some of his past mistakes while realizing that the world doesn’t work the way that he wants to.
The issues – The relationship with Walt and Donna was a little odd, and it felt almost like Ally Walker was only available for so many episodes and the show had to use her on and off. This in turn complicated things further with Vic, who had a pregnancy story that, while interesting, doesn’t have a firm conclusion right now.
In general, we’d argue that the lack of resolution for almost any storyline is the biggest weakness for season 5, as is their overuse of frequent cliffhangers like someone’s life being in danger. What made season 4 so outstanding was that everything in so many ways was rightly put together, and here many character plots were a little more splotchy and disjointed and didn’t quite come together.
Ultimately, maybe it’s a Netflix issue for not ordering twelve or thirteen episodes instead of ten. We feel like there was a certain degree of story the writers wanted to tell, but they didn’t have time to get it all out.
Overall – We enjoyed watching “Longmire” season 5 in the way we always do the show, but in looking back it doesn’t feel quite like a complete story. We really hope that a season 6 is ordered, given that this would be a particularly frustrating way to end things at present. Grade: B.
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