While Bernie and Sheriff Gordo look for Joe and The Blond Assassin, Joe is tempted to terminate his prisoner.
Warning: This is an overview of Episode 204 of Dark Winds, so there will be scads of spoilers here. We strongly recommend that you not read this if you have not yet watched the episode on AMC or AMC+.
Lt. Joe Leaphorn is pushed to the edge by his prisoner. Sgt. Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito takes charge while searching with Sheriff Gordo Sena. Jim Chee is paid in full by one client, then offered even more money by the client’s husband. What are we to make of this? Here are our five takeaways from “The March,” Episode 204 of Dark Winds.
Takeaway No. 1
OK, admit it: You thought Joe would shoot the SOB, didn’t you? Especially after he told Sgt. Manuelito: “This is the man who murdered my son, Bernie! I’m not gonna lose him!” — and then jumped into a canyon to pursue The Blond Assassin, aka Colton Wolf (Nicholas Logan). But no: Even though Joe banged himself up pretty seriously when he landed on the rocks below, he still managed — more or less through sheer force of will — to get the drop on Wolf, handcuff the guy, and then become a “sheepherder” by tying a rope around his prisoner’s neck and leading/yanking him to where they might catch up with Bernie, Sheriff Gordo (A Martinez) and other members of the local constabulary. During the forced march, Wolf repeatedly tried to bait Joe, and at one point insisted that the two of them were very much alike. (Sounds a bit like the mind game that The Swede tried to pull on Cullen Bohannan on Hell on Wheels, doesn’t it?) Joe insisted they were nothing alike. But, all things considered, it’s probably a good thing Bernie showed up before Joe changed his mind.
Takeaway No. 2
This is an episode they should submit to Emmy Award voters next year in their campaign to land a Best Actor nomination for Zahn McClarnon. Indeed, just his ambiguous expression in the episode’s final moments should be enough for two or three glittering prizes.
Takeaway No. 3
Meanwhile, Bernie took advantage of her familiarity with the search area — and made a take-no-guff assertion of her authority — while she and Sheriff Gordo searched for Joe and Wolf on horseback. And when Gordo complained that, gosh, she sure wasn’t making it easy, she snapped: “Making it easy never got me anywhere I wanted to go.” Perhaps she wasn’t thinking only of her determination to find Joe (and, maybe, prevent him from taking the law into his own hands). Her words might have also reflected her previously expressed discontent with her current job, and her desire — despite her loyalty to Joe — to consider other employment opportunities.
Takeaway No. 4
Poor Sally Growing Thunder (Elva Guerra) is feeling the strain of teenage motherhood in the worst ways — to the point of telling Emma Leaphorn (Deanna Allison) that, while she appreciates what Emma and Joe have done for her, she feels having a baby (fathered, it should be remembered, by the last person on earth she’d want to have as a father for her child) is just another way she has been denied the chance to make choices for herself about her life. Are viewers being set up for something, well, tragic? Maybe, maybe not. But it sure seems that, based on the brief conversation they had before they were pointedly interrupted by Emma, Mary Landon (Jacqueline Byers), the L.A. Times reporter looking into forced sterilizations of Native women, may become Sally’s confidant in the not so distant future.
Takeaway No. 5
Chee was visited in his motel room by Rosemary Vines (Jeri Ryan), wife of B.J. Vines (John Henry Diehl), and… hey, wipe that smile off your face. She was there to give him final payment for the detective work she hired him to do. She offered some transparently BS excuse that she made a mistake by involving herself in her husband’s business, and really should have asked Chee to find the lockbox stolen from their home. Chee took the money, but couldn’t help noticing Rosemary’s stricken reaction to his reference to the death of Thomas Charley. (Like, she hadn’t yet known he had been killed.) But Chee didn’t have much time to wonder about whether Rosemary and Thomas had been, ahem, close. B.J. barged into the motel room, gun in hand, and accused Chee of having an affair with his wife. Chee convinced the guy (after disarming him, of course) that he was a detective, not an adulterer — so B.J. immediately changed course and offered B.J. more money than you can shake a stick at, plus the stick, to find out with whom Rosemary has been cavorting. Later, during an ineffably creepy dinner scene in the Vines’ well-appointed home, B.J. “requested” that Rosemary stop sticking her nose into his business. He also gave her an engraved necklace (reading “Fidelis,” or faithful). Nothing good is likely to come of this.
Photos: Michael Moriatis/AMC