Longmire season 6 episode 4 is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, one of the show’s best episodes. It’s also quite possibly the best performance of Katee Sackhoff’s entire career. It’s a harrowing hour that was anchored by her ability to at times make a lot out of very few words; when she finally did let the emotions flow as Vic, they came out like waterfalls.
Let’s start with this: A Philadelphia Flyers shirt. The sight of this at the start of the episode was arguably one of the biggest fake-outs of the entire series. The interpretation that we had of these scenes in the early going was, thanks to that one article of clothing, that we were seeing Vic’s life flash before her eyes as she was in danger the moment following the shooting. Yet, that entire perception quickly changed once we realized that this was Vic seeing who she wanted to see — her daughter. The daughter that she believed she was having. She obviously got her the Flyers shirt as a tribute to where she came from and everything started to make sense. We had believed early on that this shirt was just the Longmire production team throwing an indicator in there that this was childhood Vic near her home. However, it was something very different entirely. This shirt was the symbol of the life that she wanted her child to have. She wasn’t quite sure at first how much she wanted to be a mother, but over time she came to appreciate having a true partner in life.
Then, the child was gone and Vic blamed herself immensely for it. Yet, were it not for the child and the blood they provided, Vic would be gone. She lived because the child died, and in the closing scene with Walt you could see her struggling to process it. She was struggling to come to grips with everything. She wasn’t in a place to care for Travis; she was too busy caring for herself and having Walt do so for her. He moved her RV close to his house so that he could look after her and she could recover. She’s on her way physically, but emotionally this is going to take time.
There is no beauty in miscarriage — it’s a devastating event that alters the entire course of one’s life. Yet, it was beautiful how Longmire presented this event with great authenticity and emotional complexity. The grief hits you in waves and however it’s going to hit you. While Robert Taylor is always subdued in his performance as Walt, you could still feel that extra emotion and the sheer power that he brought to many of those scenes. You felt something more from Walt — it was a real love that hasn’t always been there with Vic in the way that we wanted.
We could continue to go on with the nuances of Sackhoff’s performance and how every little action and behavior from her was justified. Let’s just say that this is a story that will stick with you and one of the best presentations of grief that we’ve seen in a rather long time.
Elsewhere in the episode
The installment rightfully chose to not overload itself with a wide array of subplots, but did provide a solid story for The Ferg as he and Meg worked together to ensure that her mother, who had cancer, was properly cared for after an incident where she locked herself in a car (designed to be a grand prize) at the Four Arrows Casino.
Effectively what we saw from her in this episode was also her channeling her own grief — she felt like she was a burden to her daughter and there was a part of her throughout the episode that was driven to give her something back. She just often didn’t know how exactly to process some of that. It didn’t start to fully come together after Meg and Ferg chased her down to keep her from selling her grandfather’s prized rifle, but repayment was a very big component of what her entire plan was.
Longmire season 6 episode 4 was a sensational episode — not only one of the best of the season but very well the entire series. It should also in turn generate a little bit of awards buzz for Sackhoff, who delivered pain in so many effective, but heartbreaking ways.
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