Lt. Leaphorn and the Navajo police are closing in on the murderer who attempted to kill Joe and Jim Chee.
But they are no closer to identifying the man (Colton Wolf) nor understanding his motivations on Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 3.
This gap in their suspect profile could cost Joe and company dearly.
The problem is that this case has quickly gotten personal for Joe, reopening that hole in his heart that was J.J.’s death in an explosion.
This began when he discovered the belt buckle which J.J. had been wearing on the day he died among the burnt items from B.J. Vines’ stolen lockbox on Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 1.
This obsession intensified when, on Dark Winds Season 2 Episode 2, Benny Charley informed Leaphorn that his murdered grandfather Emerson had told him the blond man had caused the explosion at the oil-drilling site.
Joe does seem to be investing too much into the second-hand testimony of a young boy. But he’s been looking for answers so long that he’ll grasp at any straw.
At least he finally told Emma what had been sitting so heavy on his mind. But Emma didn’t get much chance to process that information before Bern’s call about Wolf stalking Jim Chee at the hospital.
Why did Wolf choose to go after Jim in such a public setting? He must have known Chee would have given a statement by then.
Also, even if Jim was dead, Wolf couldn’t really hide in plain sight as an Aryan poster boy such as himself was bound to stand out on the rez, regardless of how well he hid his trailer.
He was right about Chee being able to identify him as he did so while on the phone with Bern. Once Wolf knew the police were coming, he should have left then, but he didn’t.
For someone recuperating from a gunshot wound, Jim did an admirable job of eluding, then battling, Wolf. But he would have been a goner if not for that young security guard rolling his Mace to Chee as he lay dying from being shot.
Wolf should have scoped out the hospital a little better beforehand. Then maybe he wouldn’t have thrown himself out of an upper window and ended up that injured.
Also, his running off into the desert was ill-conceived. Sure, he was less likely to be seen. But also there wouldn’t be many transportation options in that direction.
Leaphorn smartly hooked up with Gordo’s office to conduct a grid search of the desert for Wolf. Too bad it yielded no results.
Gordo is proving to be a great sounding board for Joe. He could tell that Joe had a burr under his saddle for this case. But rather than pushing, he just listened to gain some clarity about why.
Also, he’s the only one even more cynical than Leaphorn. They may not come from the same background but get each other.
Even the older male Navajo officer understood where Joe was coming from. After being chastised by Leaphorn, he explained to a coworker that Joe wasn’t mad at him. He was mad at the direction that his life had taken.
One of the most enjoyable scenes in the episode was when Wolf was taken in and cared for by the sassy old Indian woman, even after he stole her water.
He took the time to recover while she chattered on in her native dialect, which he doubtlessly couldn’t follow. She was just happy to have someone to talk at.
Although it wasn’t shown, she likely paid for her kindness with her life. How else would she have let Wolf ride off with her horse?
Jim’s chauffeuring Benny to his mother was also a much-needed change of pace.
He attempted to distract Benny with that disgusting combination of snowcone and spicy pickle.
After they recited their clan affiliations, Jim even went along with Benny’s declaration that he was Chee’s father. Chee, not the most traditional of Indians, really couldn’t argue with him.
Chee, who lost his mother at a relatively young age, could relate to what Benny, who had lost his father and grandfather to murder, was going through. He urged Benny to call him anytime he needed someone to talk to.
Isn’t it about time that Jim rejoins the Navajo force? There really can’t be much demand for an Indian private eye, significantly since B.J.’s lockbox has already been recovered, much worse for wear.
Also, Bern is back to treating him like a younger brother. Any chance for a romance between them is likely gone, which is probably suitable for coworkers.
Leaphorn made an intelligent call sparing Bern from the manhunt so she could figure out what those burned papers from the lockbox were all about. Anyone who has ever had to research microfiche could feel Bern’s pain. That should make you better appreciate Google.
The geological survey that Bern uncovered showed there was no oil and no uranium still at the drill site. So why is B.J. building a mine there? Why did Wolf plant a bomb there? And might it have something to do with the creepy People of Darkness cult?
What’s B.J. up to, and did he have anything to do with the explosion at the site?
How is Wolf connected to B.J.?
Is the reporter hanging around the clinic legitimate, or is she up to something shady?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.