Longmire has really hit its stride with the past couple of episodes. The most recent episode, “Worst Kind of Hunter,” featured a couple of long-awaited firsts for the series (long-awaited for fans of Craig Johnson’s book series). Finally, Lucian Connally makes an appearance. Lucian is the irascible old-school retired western sheriff in the book series, and the casting of Peter Weller in this role was brilliant. The first introduction of Lucian is when Walt is called to the assisted living center where he’s staying after Lucian has blasted out a window with a shotgun. He sends Vic into the room (“He’s shot lots of men. Never shot a woman though”), and our first view of Lucian is of him joyfully shooting a throw pillow with his shotgun.
The other thing this episode does is bring some of the humor that is an essential part of the book series to the forefront. “Worst Kind of Hunter” is actually closer in tone to one of the novels than any of the episodes thus far. We have a number of old West / new West clashes, including an environmentalist who shoots Vic with a dart gun to protect a bear (she is accompanying the environmentalist’s old west opposite, a bear hunter intent on killing the animal). We have a medicated Vic wandering through the hospital in her hospital gown because she’s realized that the mark left by the dart on her back is similar to the one found on a dead body. That’s just one of the comic touches in the episode. The Ferg has several good moments. And Ruby had several good lines, as well as a couple of opportunities to “comment” through tone of voice during or after radio conversations. The character of Ruby has been under-utilized in the series thus far, so it was great to see her get more emphasis in this episode. Part of what’s fun about the novel series is its self-deprecating humor, its willingness to deflate some of the posturing of the western through sarcastic or ironic comments. And no one does deflating commentary better than Ruby, so hopefully she will continue to have more opportunities for such commentary as the series progresses.