A&E's "Longmire" Season 2 premiere episode "Unquiet Mind" offered up all the desired cinematic tones, strikingly beautiful landscapes, and terrific acting that had been highly missed. Ten episodes in an entire year just don't seem like enough, but it's understandable given the difficulty in creating a small-screen work of art.
Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) decides to take Deputy Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) on a little field trip to transport a convicted serial killer to a group of FBI agents. Walt is his usual quiet self, while Vic becomes her usual antsy city-girl self... wanting to talk, listen to music, or something other than sitting quietly with her thoughts. This all transpires because Walt is neither a fan of outsourcing the transportation of convicted criminals from his county nor of radio static. He refuses to listen to the one staticky radio station, sending Vic into talk mode.
As is customary for the childlike Vic, she wants to know, "How long?" in her whiniest voice. Walt says it all depends on "traffic," which happens to appear before them in the form of a single enormous buffalo. Walt gets the feeling that it is protecting something, and he's right; it's protecting an extremely rare white buffalo calf. The amazing and uncommon sight is surely a sign to be revealed later.
They finally arrive at their destination, where Walt reveals that he has known all along that the man they have been transporting is convicted serial Native American murderer and gruesome human organ salesman Wayne Durrell (Dan Hildebrand). He just didn't want the horrific monster to feel famous, as if anyone knew who he was. But he does have a single question for the man: "Why?" Wayne replies that it's because of the voices in his head, adding that he has studied Walt's quiet demeanor and dislike of static on the ride over and that he knows Walt shares his "unquiet mind."
This episode adds some edge-of-your-seat tension to the show's repertoire when Wayne escapes from FBI custody, right in Walt's backyard. Wayne kills everyone at the diner where the FBI had stopped to feed themselves and the prisoners. The only survivors seem to be a waitress and the only female FBI agent with whom Wayne had agreed to speak about the location of his ninth victim's body, a young Native boy.
Walt feels personally connected to the case, demanding that Vic haul back the one convict of the group, who the FBI was transporting and who was not a murderer. The convict had turned himself over to Walt and Vic. Walt is on his own in finding the remaining three murderous convicts and their two hostages. The only problem is that he will be on foot during one of the worst storms of a decade with only Vic's spotty cell phone to connect him to civilization in the Wyoming countryside.
Walt makes his way to a small cabin owned by Omar (Louis Herthum), a local gun-toter. Walt sees that Omar has shot and killed one of the convicts, and the waitress is safely hiding in a closet. In fact, she's a little too safe... and a little too warm and cozy; she was not a hostage at all, but the reason Wayne and the other convicts were able to escape in the first place!
As Walt climbs through miles of thick snow, he has conversations with his friends, both living and dead. His unquiet mind keeps him company and helps him track down Wayne. The symbolism used to convey emotion on Walt's journey is gorgeous; its level of artistic expression is on par with that of "Hannibal," but without the gruesomeness.
Along the way, he sees an owl: a message from the young murdered boy and an omen that death approaches. Death almost overtakes Walt when he slips off the side of the snowy mountain, landing in a freezing cold river. That can't be good.
But he carries on, using sheer willpower to survive the elements and capture Wayne. The FBI agent is still alive, having killed the only other convict left besides Wayne.
Wayne's demise is Walt's job, as he is the only one who can convey the message Wayne needs to hear. The white buffalo was not a symbol of hope and abundance for the killer, as the egotistical Wayne took it to mean; it was a symbol from the people he has murdered. Their future is only bright without Wayne in it.
The pair fight in the snow, Walt burying Wayne's head in the snow until be tires and gives up. But Wayne is not dressed for the weather and has no gloves. Walt's competition for Sheriff, Deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase), and Walt's Cheyenne best friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), finally catch up with them on horseback. When they arrive, Wayne is dead, but Walt is "not yet" dead as he looks up at them with frozen stubble from under his wide-brimmed hat.