While investigating the murder of the group leader for a wilderness group for troubled teens and an attack on another member of the party, Walt must also contend with Vic‘s (Katee Sackhoff) increasingly jealous and estranged husband Sean (Michael Mosley) egged-on by someone who both Walt and Sean suspect is Ed Gorski (Lee Tergesen) returning to cause Vic new trouble.
After finding all but one of the missing campers (Lynn Andrews III, Melissa Carnell, Gilland Jones), Walt turns his attention on the missing troubled teen whose mother’s (Darlene Hunt) odd behavior when asked about “Wolverine” (Dustin Ingram) makes him look guilty for both attacks – especially when the creepy young man admits to scaring the young girl enough to cause her accident and his journal depicts the exact method used to kill the group leader in the woods. However, it turns out the couple (Abby Brammell, Matthew Tompkins) in charge of the excursions had their own motives for killing the victim who was having an affair on the camping trips.
After missing most of the first-half of the episode performing his own investigation into his shooting which turns up some surprising results, Branch (Bailey Chase) returns Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) back to town when Walt’s best friend begins going stir crazy and begins testing the limits of his ankle bracelet. His obsession aside, leading to more than one questionable decision, Branch’s investigation continues to showcase the man (when he wants to be) is actually a good deputy and smart enough to follow the clues left for him. With Branch’s discovery of how someone could fake their death to fool the medical examiner, Walt beginning his search for a mastermind behind his wife’s death, and the tease of Gorski’s return, “In the Pines” plays on themes of returning evil in all three of its stories each of which are likely to continue to evolve throughout the season.