That’s called ending your season with a bang.
As A&E’s Longmire closed Season 3 on Monday night, Walt dug up the truth about Miller Beck’s murder, while Branch uncovered some damning family secrets of his own — for better or for worse.
With David Ridges dead, his white warrior ash still smudged on Walt’s clothes, Walt goes about keeping Branch out of the office and for good measure puts in motion the paperwork for his suspension. But then there’s the matter of who sicced David on Branch — and Jacob Nighthorse has an audio tape proving that he did nothing of the sort. Nighthorse then makes the mistake of taunting Walt too far, by invoking his wife, but when Walt turns to throw a punch, he clocks Vic instead. Ouch.
Later at the bar, spurred by something Henry and Cady said (and the headdress David had been wearing), Walt comes to wonder if feathers aren’t a common thread in everything. He drives to Denver to track down his old “friend” Detective Vogel, seeking his help in proving that Fales is purposely railroading the wrong man. Vogel is hesitant to get involved, but when Walt mentions the crow feather, Vogel produces an autopsy x-ray that suggests a feather was found in Miller Beck’s mouth — just as one was planted in Branch’s bullet wound.
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Presented with this possibility, Henry is anxious to dig up Beck’s body, and Walt (with little prodding) agrees. And though they’re almost caught by local cops (good comeback on the “two shovels” question, Henry!), Walt and Henry secure the coffin and, sure enough, find the broken-off end of a feather inside the corpse’s mouth.
Back home, Ridges’ own corpse briefly goes missing — prompting Vic to “pop” a tail light and pull Nighthorse over, yet come up empty. Turns out, the body had been spirited away for a battlefield ceremony, which Walt deftly interrupts, with the promise that they may continue it another day.
Cady summons ADA Sloan and Fales for a meeting, ostensibly to hear Henry make a statement. But in actuality, her endgame is for them to drop all charges, and in trade they won’t file a civil suit, seeing as evidence was suppressed that exonerates Henry. As Cady lays out many photos that link Ridges to Beck’s murder and more, the ADA cannot deny the mound of evidence.
But even as Henry embraces freedom, now is not a time for happy endings. First, we see Walt take his wife’s ashes to the spot where they exchanged vows, and scatter them — if only so that she cannot see that which he is about to do, to those behind her murder. Speaking of….
Branch confronts his father Barlow while out skeet shooting. Having joined up with the family business, he’s been checking the books and asks about the assorted monies paid to one of Nighthorse’s dummy companies. Barlow does his best to explain away his begrudging dealing with a “sworn enemy,” all in the name of helping get Branch elected sheriff years ago. But when Branch notes that Nighthorse was paid $50K the week Walt’s wife was killed, all gloves are off.
Barlow for a moment seems contrite about his despicable actions, but then with a chilling coldness he observes that at age 65, “I don’t have time to make another fortune… but I do have time to make another son.” And on that cue, he triggers the skeet trap to distract Branch, and then the camera cuts to Walt at his home as a shotgun goes off in the distance.
What did you think of Longmire‘s Season 3 finale? Did Barlow actually spin and gun down his own boy? Are you curious (or so over) the latest twists in the death of Walt’s wife? (Longmire has yet to be renewed for a fourth season. Last year, the pick-up news didn’t come until late November.)