When promo ads for the "Longmire" episode "Election Day" said that everything would change, they weren't lying. However, things didn't change as much as they could have. They changed enough to add interest, but not enough to lose a big chunk of viewers. These are safe changes.
Walt lets loose
It's the night before the election for sheriff, and Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) is finally able to push Walt (Robert Taylor) slightly out of his comfort zone. Walt drinks a few beers, dances with a woman, and even makes a two-word "speech" ("Thank you").
It is Henry's kind words that sell the crowd on Walt, as it should be. It's always better for someone else to talk about your positive attributes than for you to tell your own stories and list your own qualities, at least if you're going to go the shy route. Fans of cute, confident guys can go vote for Branch (Bailey Chase).
One other thing to note about the party is that Cady (Cassidy Freeman) and the Ferg (Adam Bartley) let loose also, and dance very well. Ferg's face says it all: He really likes Cady.
Afterward, Walt finally lets loose a little more, and sleeps with his girlfriend. Up until now, their relationship was in limbo. She almost took the role like a weird stalker, even though Walt seemed to like her. It turns out that she was just a persistent girlfriend who took awhile to pull Walt out of his shell.
The next morning, everyone is off to the voting booth. Branch gets his vote in for himself first, and Walt drags himself in from his girlfriend's place to vote after lunch.
Meanwhile, Vic (Katee Sackhoff) and Ferg are holding down the fort. Vic is called out on a car accident with two damaged cars and no bodies ... until she finds Cady's lifeless body lying in a ditch. Cady's eyes are wide open, and she appears to be dead. It's a difficult sight to see until we learn that she is still alive.
Walt and Branch each learn of Cady's accident, and sit in the waiting room together for awhile. They still aren't allowed to see her, so they each go off to find out who is responsible for the hit-and-run.
It turns out Cady was changing a flat tire when a drunk driver rammed into her and sent her flying into the ditch. A father-son team is to blame: The son, Billy (Arron Shiver), had a bit to drink and was texting; the father, Bob (John Bishop), was fall-over smashed, as he usually is at the Red Pony.
Billy was the one who was driving, but Bob begs Walt to assign the blame to him. He was the one who called his son to pick him up. His life is already over, but he does not want his son's life destroyed for his own bad decisions.
Walt sees the parallels of what has happened to Billy, and what has happened to Cady. Walt feels responsible, and wants to take the blame for his actions instead of seeing Cady lying in the hospital. So he does as Billy's father asks and releases Billy, but puts Bob in the jail cell, despite Ferg's and Vic's protests.
The guilty party
Then Walt turns around and does the same to himself. He feels responsible because of what he did with Henry in Denver to seek revenge for his wife's murder. It turns out he may be correct about that, because Branch finds that Cady's flat was no accident. Her tire was sabotaged.
So Walt asks Henry for permission to do something that white men are not supposed to do: go on a vision quest. It requires an odd, painful ritual in which Walt gets skewered in the chest. The skewers lead to lines attached to a pole. Walt then leans away from the pole, so he is held up by the skewers.
Walt is going to stay there and think about what he did until things come clear. That is his hope, anyway. Let's wish him luck on his journey, and hope he comes back with some new insights on what course of action to take next.
Oh, and in a side note, Walt won the election. So, Branch learned a few things, too. He was there for Cady instead of drowning his sorrows with supporters, as Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez) had wanted. He actually did the honorable thing for once, and learned that it feels better to lose doing what's right than to win and feel dirty inside.
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