Justified recap – 3×12: ‘Coalition’

Courtesy of FX via TV Equals

Now wasn’t that entertaining?! As each season of Justified draws to a close, you can always expect a rash of episodes that are highly entertaining, full of twists,  shoot-outs, etc. and ‘Coalition’ is one for the books as all of our players leap into action to find Mag Bennett’s missing $3.2 million.

Let’s bitch it out…

Oh course, in true Justified fashion the real games aren’t just played out with violence and bodies (though there are always a few of each). Instead it’s often the intellectual exercise of determining who is playing who and using what angle. With this many villains at large, it’s clear that at least one would fall to the bottom, and I think that we all knew that it was apt to be Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies). In some ways I feel like Dickie has gotten dumber from his time in the pen – though it may just have been that he only appeared smart since we frequently saw him in the company of the other, dumber, Bennett boys.

In ‘Coalition’, however, it’s clear that Dickie is ill-equipped to play with the big boys as he gets played first by Limehouse’s (Mykelti Williamson) errand boy, Errol (Demtrius Grosse); then beat up by Boyd (Walton Goggins) and finally shot by Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) who is tipped off by Limehouse that Dickie will follow the money to Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever). Overall, not a banner day for Dickie Bennett (much like ‘The Devil You Know’). At least he has his health (mostly).

Now if Dickie is at the bottom of those who get played, then Limehouse surely has to be at the top. Raylan hears word that everyone is converging on the bank (Boyd to rob it, and Neal McDonough’s Quarles to rob him when he exists), so he pays a visit to Limehouse at the Noble. When he mentions The Wizard of Oz and the man behind the curtain, the description seems fittingly apropos to me. While Alan Sepinwall may think that Limehouse simply wants to be left alone, I think that this is a man who’s just as much of a supervillain as Mags was last season; he’s simply less showy. At this point Quarles is the bigger fish to fry, but in my mind Limehouse remains the big villain of the season: he’s the puppetmaster who pulls all the strings in this criminal underworld.

Courtesy of FX via TV Equals

Speaking of Quarles, he’s still kicking around and stirring up shit. After having a bad round last week, he manages an easy escape from Audrey’s and promptly seeks asylum from Limehouse, who assigns him the task of putting an end to Boyd. Raylan is quick to pick up that Limehouse has engineered it so that his two adversaries – Boyd and Quarles – take each other out, but only Quarles is predictable enough to fall for Limehouse’s trap. Like Raylan, Boyd figures things out pretty quickly. Quarles? Not so much. It doesn’t make him any less dangerous, though. Hopped up on oxy for the better part of the episode, he remains a live-wire, though it’s clear by episode’s end when he shoots Trooper Tom with his Taxi Driver ’32 that Quarles is going to end up on the receiving end of Raylan’s brand of justice in the finale…and he’s not likely to get it in the leg.

Other Observations:

  • How excited was I to see Aunt Helen (Linda Gehringer) again? For a moment I completely forgot that she was dead, and then it made me sad because it meant that Arlo (Raymond J Barry) was really sick. That and when he called Boyd by Raylan’s name. And now he’s out and about: running around off his meds with a gun. Yeah…that’s not going to end well
  • With Winona out of the picture, I’m kinda warming up to Ava (Joelle Carter). I liked how Boyd dropped everything when he realized that Ava might be in trouble after Arlo locks her in a broom closet. It’s too funny to consider where these two began and how they got to where they are now.
  • Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), my favourite Justified character, remains a key player. I was fond of how he reappropriated the comments about Leo Tonin from Sarno (the hitman from last week) when he spoke to Boyd about Quarles’ escape. Taking matters into his own hands, Duffy allows Quarles to try and take out Boyd at the end of the episode. I’m uncertain why he blew up Quarles’ car at that particular moment, unless maybe he thought the blast might be enough  to take out both Quarles and Boyd. Ultimately Quarles catches fire and Boyd is knocked out against a pole, but it doesn’t put either out of commission permanently.

Best Lines of the Night:

  • Duffy (suggesting what he’ll say to Tonin about Quarles’ escape from Audrey’s): “I’m sorry, but he escaped from a disease ridden whorehouse in inbred Harlan” Boyd (in response): “I’m going to let that one go.”
  • Raylan (to Dickie before shooting him): “You’re a stupid, craven hillbilly piece of shit.” Ouch.
  • Duffy (to Quarles): “Are you smoking oxycontin in my motor vehicle?”

What did you think of this second last episode? Has Justified been working for you this season, or do you think that last season is better? Have Quarles and Limehouse, as I wondered in this season’s opener,  joined the ranks of Mags Bennett? Finally, do you have any predictions about who lives and dies in next week’s finale?

Justified airs its third season finale next Tuesday at 10pm EST on FX.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

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