After last week’s Dewey Crowe-centric episode, Justified loses a little bit of focus this week. As we head into the second half of the season, it’s clear that the players are beginning to take their places on the battlefield. On the plus side, Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) confirms that he’s leaving the sidelines, which means that Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) had better watch their backs!
Let’s bitch it out…
This is one of those challenging episodes to deconstruct, because a lot happens and yet it also feels as though very little was resolved. We find out that Winona (Natalie Zea) has officially checked out of her relationship with Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), but they don’t know what they’re doing with the baby. Additionally, two oxy “clinics” get taken out (first Boyd’s, then Quarles’) though no one is punished or captured. And although we see both Limehouse and Quarles make plans (the former to clean up the mess made by his nameless henchman, played by Demetrius Grosse; the latter to find Raylan’s weak spot), at this point neither of them have yet to move beyond talking and into decisive action.
As a result this feels like a transition episode: it was entertaining, and there were some great lines (as always), but it didn’t necessarily feel complete, or even stand-alone. And that isn’t quite as satisfying as many of the other episodes we’ve seen in season three.
Everything opens with a bang as Dr. Stern (Randolph Adams) and Limehouse’s informant Trixie (Valerie Brandy) are shot by Tanner (Brendan McCarthy). Despite his recent heartbreak with Winona, Raylan is called to the scene because the crime takes place in his Aunt Helen’s (RIP) house, which Arlo has allowed Boyd to use for his oxy business. Turns out there’s a witness – washed up prostitute Ellen May (Abby Miller) – who saw Tanner, so after Raylan tracks her down at Audrey’s (the whorehouse) and manages to get the info out of her, he finds the second oxy clinic. I enjoyed the funny little fight sequence of the trailer being driven away while Raylan and Tanner fight, but when Tanner got away and the driver was killed, it felt inconsequential.
In the end it turns out that it was really Limehouse’s henchman who ordered the hit on Boyd’s clinic, hoping that he would start a war between the carpetbagger and Boyd. It’s pretty clear, however, that this is not Quarles’ style, so it’s now a matter of time before these actions are traced back to Limehouse. He comes to the same conclusion and orders everyone associated with the hit killed or silenced before announcing that he will get involved to finish what his henchman began. Hooray!
- Raylan ends up employing Ava (Joelle Carter) to get to Ellen May. This leads to one of the best line(s) of the episode when the two of them are sitting in front of the battered prostitute and she asks “Are you here for…” (Both Raylan and Ava slowly shake their heads). Ellen May: “…You here for the oxy?” Maybe you had to be there
- How random is William Mapother’s cameo as Delroy, the pimp? The accent is a bit dodgy, but Tom Cruise’s cousin is always a welcome sight, even if is always as a creepy/shady character (see: Pregnant Claire stealing Ethan on Lost)
- In the strangest story of the night, Charlie Weaver (Casey Sander) – the policeman working the evidence cage – steals all of the bank robbery money from season 2 and runs away to Mexico. Such a random, odd end to such an integral storyline from last season, but if you consider how many times he saw Raylan and Winona sniffing around in there, he must have gotten suspicious!
- As much as I hate seeing Winona and Raylan apart, I really appreciated how angry the writers made him in this episode because he was upset. Not only does he ask Art (Nick Searcy) if he can take time off, but he is incredibly impatient and mouthy to everyone until he finds and speaks to his pregnant girlfriend. I like that it doesn’t always require a bullet to take him off his game (a la ‘The Gunfighter’), but rather that he responds to heartache the same way any of us would. It humanizes him.
What do you think, Justified fans? How concerned should we be that Quarles now thinks that Raylan is in Boyd’s pocket because of his pop, Arlo Givens (Raylan J Givens)? And – just as randomly - who is that man that Quarles has tied up in the bedroom and what is Quarles doing to him whenever Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) leaves?! I need to know what you think about that strange little quirk…do you think it’s Pulp Fiction-y?