Sometime coincidence can get you into all kinds of trouble. That’s the case for Vic (Katee Sackhoff) in “Population 25” when she and her husband Sean (Michael Mosley) are stranded on the side of the road a few miles out of town on their way to a romantic weekend. Things take a dark turn when the deputy goes for help by knocking on the first door she sees which just happens to be owned by the paranoid Chance Gilbert (Peter Stormare) and his cult of followers who don’t believe a word of Vic’s story and promptly take the deputy hostage. Although it casts Vic as a victim for the entire episode, “Population 25” offers an opportunity for Sackhoff to show-off her acting chops and provides a memorable ending that leaves the fate of the show’s title character in (at least a little) doubt.
After getting a phone call from Sean, who is later taken hostage by Chance’s men, Walt (Robert Taylor) heads out to the scene only to find the suspicious Ed Gorski (Lee Tergesen) looming. At first the current and former lawmen have trouble trusting one another, but as the truth of Vic’s situation becomes clear, along with the fact that Chance has been keeping a dead federal agent on his property for months which he suspects is the cause of Vic’s snooping, Walt and Gorski form an unexpected alliance to save they deputy and her husband. Vic and Sean make it out with only minor injuries but their marriage may be on life support after Sean gets an up-close-and-personal look at Vic’s concern for Walt who may, or may not, have been injured in a shoot-out with Chance which takes place off camera just before the episode fades to black.
Catching wind of Vic’s kidnapping and Gorski’s possible involvement leads both an erratic Branch (Bailey Chase) and Ferg (Adam Bartley) to take a look into Vic’s past and for Branch to discover a letter on Vic’s laptop concerning his recent illegal actions. The very real danger Vic and Sean find themselves in allows for a tense episode and a final showdown between Chance and Walt (who learns the madman probably wasn’t involved in his wife’s death). Continuing to play on wider themes, the connection between Walt and Vic is obvious enough to deflate Sean’s hopes of saving his marriage and convince Gorski that Vic is actually better without him for the first time. Vic, and likely everyone close to the Sheriff’s office, will have to deal with Branch’s increasingly erratic behavior now that he’s seen her unsubmitted report as his obsession with finding David Ridges threatens to consume every other aspect of his life.