"Longmire" aimed for the dreamlike and surreal in Monday night's episode, "Tell it Slant." At first, it appeared to be one of Walt's (Robert Taylor) odd dreams. But no, it's just some weird guy riding his horse backward. Nothing profound going on here -- just a weirdo who believes he's the Cheyenne Contrary Warrior, letting Walt know that his sister Cassandra has died.
The Sacred Clown
The mystery is piqued in this installment with some bizarre characters. The most interesting of these is the Sacred Clown, or Contrary Warrior. He is supposed to knock people off guard with backward clues as to what is going on, causing them to question their beliefs.
Vic (Katee Sackhoff) seems to think the Contrary Warrior is just "annoying." She's right, but mainly because he is not what he believes to be at all. He's just a paranoid schizophrenic drunk who wants to be special.
That wouldn't be so bad if he were simply annoying. In fact, it could add to his oddball charm. But when Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) confirms that he banned the Contrary Warrior from the Red Pony for disorderly conduct, Walt begins to realize that this supposed warrior may not be so charming, after all. In fact, he can be quite violent, as he was with Cassandra when she decided to have him committed.
Walt discovers the truth by playing into the fake warrior's contrary delusions. Walt pins his sheriff's badge to the man, then begins calling himself the Contrary Warrior. Walt, pretending to be the Contrary Warrior, begins telling the story of how he killed his own sister. The warrior, pretending to be Sheriff Longmire, fills in the details of the murder.
The road to the truth
Although the episode is book-ended with the story of the Contrary Warrior, arriving at that conclusion is a long and winding road. Cassandra had claimed to be a psychic. She was actually a researcher with piles of secret information that was used to both help and blackmail people. Any one of them could have wanted her dead.
One of those people was Branch's father, Barlow Connolly. Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez), a Cheyenne man in competition with Mr. Connolly, had paid Cassandra to move a Cheyenne burial ground from his own land to Connolly's land, then demanded that he build around the land in order to disrupt his operation.
Rather than bring this information straight to his department, Branch (Bailey Chase) decides to use it as leverage. Branch tries to do the right thing for the most part, but he is basically a corrupt politician. Absaroka County will change for the worse if he is elected.
The big debate
Cady (Cassidy Freeman) is firmly on her father's side in the sheriff's election campaign now, rather than her ex-fiancé's side. She even helps Walt look the part for the debates by pulling out his never-worn dress khakis. At least he looks great for a short while, but he opts not to even wear his uniform or khakis during the debate.
Unfortunately, Walt is no politician. He fumbles at the podium, unable to get the microphone to work properly when asked whether he is afraid of technology. To some, that will only add to his charm. To others, he appears to be a doofus.
The debates are interrupted when Mr. Contrary Man decides to crash the party and declare himself the winning sheriff. Before that, it's hard to say who really won the debate, but the young good-looking Branch may have the advantage with the offer of a fresh face, an expanded police department, and updated technology. Little do the people know that Branch is the wrong man for the job.
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