Last week, on Justified: Wade went over the mountain; Dewey got grounded; Kendal was spirited away from the Crowes by Raylan; Boyd tried to bring Johnny into the family business so Johnny would stop stealing the family business from him; Ava was assaulted by a wee prison guard; Art took a jaunt to Detroit; and if it seems like this is a lot of information, it’s because it is a lot of information, all of which is relevant in Episode 5.
This is one of those hours (and in terms of its actual run time, it really is much closer to an hour; the broadcast clocked in at 1:11in DVR time) that Justified does so well, in which all the carefully laid strands of the previous month’s cat’s-cradling are swept up and twisted and discarded or pulled taut into a new web for Raylan & Pals to scuttle across. It’s not a new phenomenon; it’s not even new for the show, but it is a cleansing purge for a crowded season roster, and a reminder of how richly patient viewing of those deliberate, sometimes sleepy setup hours can be rewarded.
In the Boydsphere
Say, remember that pile of bodies Boyd and Carl were saving, because why waste a heap of perfectly good corpses? They’ve been moved into a Paxton funeral home, unbeknownst to Lee Paxton, who’s permanently excised from the picture with a phone call from Mooney, who informs him of the setup in grave, sheriffy tones. And a blast through the head from Boyd, who’s waiting at the foot of Lee’s bed. He’s probably really dead this time.
How could Boyd’s day possibly improve? Getting to draw a weapon on Daryl and the Haitian, who turn up at Johnny’s and are still on about him having overcharged Dewey in the purchase of Audrey’s. The reveal and pull is a beautifully shot moment, with Daryl serving as a galumphing Greek chorus: “Damn, man, that was cooool as ice!” It’d be the best thing in the episode if it and everything else in the hour wasn’t already outshone by Alan Tudyk’s work. Boyd does not take kindly to the Crowes’ request of the return of the purchase price of the bar, plus interest. “Funny, I hadn’t even considered you might say no,” says Daryl, which, yep, we can see the family resemblance, can’t we?
It’s a busy, busy hour for Boyd, who follows up his expulsion of the Crowes from Johnny’s with a visit to HR concerning the bar’s namesake (Boyd will accept no reparations for the hits on his shipments if HR turns over Boyd’s cousin), and a heart-to-heart on the bridge with a coal-mining buddy, and a breakfast meeting with Mooney and Mara. Does that last thought get your hackles up? It should: It’s already a volatile combination of personalities, and that’s before Boyd rises, telling Mooney, “I’m gonna use the bathroom, and get you what you got coming to you,” which sets off aalllll kinds of Godfather klaxons. There’s some Corleone shit going on here, all right, but it doesn’t come from the direction you might first expect: It’s Boyd’s bridge buddy, coming in through the front door and putting two shots in Mooney’s chest, spraying blood on Mara’s face (and probably the salad bar). Boyd returns, and calmly exposits: “He’s got the black lung. He ain’t long for this world. Won’t even see a trial.” And that phantom $300K, which was promised alternately to both Mara and Mooney? It’s now headed to the assassin’s wife and children. Boyd tells Mara to leave town and never come back. And here we thought they were gonna be pals.
All of which, naturally, was put into play to engineer Ava’s release from jail. In a rare visitation scene that features Ava’s lawyer actually speaking (for, like, a minute, before he puts his opera headphones back on), it appears as though she’ll be sprung in the morning. And based on EVERYTHING THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENED, this is where the dread sets back in. Something’s going to happen. Everybody’s too happy. The lawyer got to talk! Ava and Boyd were having a warm erotic moment anticipating Waffle House hash browns and waking up in each other’s arms! Boyd says he’ll be back to retrieve her at 8:59 the next morning.
Only he won’t, because she won’t be there, because that night in her cell, Officer Half-Pint returns, retrieves a stabbing implement he’s presumably planted under Ava’s mattress, and GORES HIMSELF WITH IT to frame her. By the time Boyd gets back to the jail, Ava’s already out of his reach again, gone to the state pen.
In the Raylansphere
Who’s that shadowy figure trailing noted Canadian organized crime enthusiast Will Sasso to Ontario? Who has knowledge of his conversation with the marshals in Detroit? Who is OH HOLY SHIT STRAIGHT-UP KILLING WILL SASSO? A very dimly lit Alan Tudyk, who absolutely steals this episode, and it’s a hard episode to steal. Did y’all know Alan Tudyk could do this? Our opinion of him may be incomplete; all we know of him we know from Arrested Development, Wreck-It Ralph, Firefly, and Dodgeball. Is this what actual critics mean when they call something A REVELATION! in flyby text in a trailer? This feels like A Revelation.
Because next comes a scene we’d stack with the best in the series. First, it’s Art staking out a diner, which, yay! Art in the wild! There’s a lot to like about Art in the wild, because it leads to things like Season 2’s oxygen tank–hampered slow-speed chase scene. Picker arrives at the diner, followed by Tudyk, cutting an arresting figure in all black with hollow creep-show purple eyes. The rest of this scene you’ve probably rewound five times already, which is handy for us since we have no idea how to do it justice. Art sends Marcos packing with a few well-placed, matter-of-fact threats, and heads in to retrieve Picker, only Marcos has followed him, and all that electricity in the parking lot goes incandescent. The camera work is elegantly choreographed. The actors are well-blocked in a tight space. Every word drips with malice and promise. And when Art says, “I’m going to give you 10 seconds to leave, and then I’m going to shoot you,” it’s just as affectless as when Raylan does it, and it rings just as true, even when that tone of his voice could be used instructing his grandkids how to handle a wounded bird. (Art himself brings this similarity up later in the episode; Raylan credits osmosis.) Hang on, we’re going back to watch this all play out again. It’s the show’s best work of the season, in the best hour of the series since “Decoy.”
Some screwball walk-and-talk comedy between Raylan and Vasquez leads us into the marshals’ conference room, where Art has parked Picker. Tudyk’s character is named by Vasquez as Elias Marcos (elegantly described as “Theo Tonin’s consigliere and one-man Praetorian Guard”), and the marshals are using his presence and implied threat to Picker’s safety to get Picker to see whether they might still be able to track Theo down. That Raylan is even allowed in the room with Picker borders on implausible, so that when he wrangles a few minutes alone with the man, we have to think Art’s more on to him than he imagines. (A well-timed glance from Nick Searcy telegraphs as much.)
When next we see our heroes, Art and Raylan are stalking through a warehouse of shipping containers, guns drawn, searching for a particular hidden compartment in a truck. BIG GUNFIRE FROM A CARTOONISHLY LARGE GUN announces the presence of Marcos, who strides toward our heroes with the confidence of one carrying a cannon. The trio dashes around punching holes in the containers with their bullets until Raylan manages to get behind Marcos and put lead in his back. And lo! There’s blood dripping from one of the boxes! One of those hole-punching rounds punched a hole in a person! THEO TONIN (and episode director Adam Arkin) BACK, Y’ALL.
Back at the office, the marshals celebrate with brown liquor in tumblers. A jubilant Art’s hat is on backward. “Oh, one more thing”: Picker told Vasquez that the lawman on the tarmac the night Augustine was shot, the Kentucky lawman Sammy Tonin had bragged on having the ear of, was FBI agent Barkley. Who was actually dirty, but was also actually murdered by Nicky Augustine last season, apparently still unbeknownst to anybody else. It’s hard to tell in the moment whether Vasquez believes that or not, but it’s not always easy to tell with him. It’s pretty evident that Art does not. And maybe it’s another great moment from Searcy, this sad little basset hound flash in his eyes, that makes Raylan turn back just as he was leaving.
“It wasn’t Barkley. And I can tell you that for a fact.”
A Crowe of Murders
Wendy, having retrieved Kendal from Social Services, returns him to Audrey’s. This is not the happy home in Miami she promised Allison, but she does insist the boys find proper sleeping accommodations for baby brother. Wendy catches on pretty quick that Daryl wants her to stay, to make her the Wendy of their Lost Boys, and she puts up a pretty good show of pitching a fit about that, before sliding into a felonious reverie with her brother about a plan to get a house, some scheme they call “the old thing.” There was probably more to this scene, but we were completely distracted by another moment jostling in the corral for best bit of the hour: Daryl, in an effort to make the whorehouse a whorehome, putting one of those “Hang in There!” kitten posters on the wall.
Later, alone with their thoughts and gun magazines, Kendal and Danny fight over Wendy’s instructions, and the 21-foot rule comes up somehow. (It’s Justified, so it’s not coming up for no reason.) And just when you think this would be a dramatically appropriate, albeit horrifying, moment for Danny to murder another Crowe with his stabbing hands, the Haitian pops in and offers to try Danny on the 21-foot rule himself. About things coming up for no reason: That sawed-off the brothers were contemplating getting Kendal to defend himself with behind the bar? It’s been acquired, and Danny, bringing a gun to his own knife fight, shoots a hole right through the Haitian’s chest. Bon dormi, Jean Baptiste.
Week 5 Body Count
• Paxton, for real this time.
• Sasso’s Al, courtesy of Tudyk’s Marcos.
• Mooney, dying next to the salad bar via Boyd’s black-lunged dispatcher.
• Marcos. First thing we do, let’s kill all the guest stars.
• The Haitian. This episode title is bloody truth in advertising.
Boyd Crowder Hair Raid Alert Status
Getting a little Syndrome-y around the top crest, but touchable. Near immaculate in Johnny’s. The shock of finding Ava again yanked from his grasp has not yet begun to show in his coif as of his final scene.
• MARA: Do y’all really think, given everything we know of Mrs. Paxton, that she’ll vanish quietly from Harlan?
• AVA: Speaking of going quietly: Won’t one dusting of that weapon for prints exonerate her? Don’t count Mrs. Crowder out just yet, either.
• WENDY: Doggedly sticking to the party line the Crowes are not real good at, calling Raylan removing Kendal from his position as a bartender at a whorehouse “a campaign of harassment against my family,” and the thing is, it’s Justified, so neither one of them is necessarily wrong.
• ALLISON: Siding with Wendy, but not enough screen time for any overtly shady behavior this week.
• UNSEEN: Gloria, Winona
Upset of the Week
TIE between Jimmy being any good at all at dissembling when the Crowes enter the bar and don’t recognize Boyd (remember the face he made trying to shoo Mara into the stairwell to smoke her e-cig?) and Johnny Crowder reacting amiably to a lesson on race relations. (Right. About that. The brothers Harris are back, and Johnny’s playing cards with them, and HR shows up to double-cross Johnny and take him back to Boyd, only Johnny’s used his cut to pay off his coworkers, who promptly triple-cross HR. This episode is jam-packed with information.)
Detour of the Week
A short scene with Dewey, presumably still confined to the property by his cousin, but apparently allowed visitation privileges, lolling around with the two ladies we’ve seen him frolicking with all season. He’s CHANGED since he murdered Wade, he insists, all previous murdering efforts toward Raylan apparently forgotten, and he’s giving away his worldly possessions. The most prized of these, a carving his daddy made and his gator tooth necklace, are gifts for Dewey’s Angels:
MINA: “Is this ’cause I stuck my finger up your butt last time?”
DEWEY: “No no no no, I’m just talkin’ to y’all!”
TINA: “It’s weird.”
Justified Bon Mot Week 5 Power Rankings
1. “I’m gonna have a Diet 7-Up.”
2. “Other than that drrrama, he’s fine.”
3. “I got a friend in Jesus and I support youth baseball. Whatever you’re selling, not buying.”
4. “That’s got me covered for the next 10 fishing trips.”
5. “You talk to me like that because you know I’m not here to work.”
6. “I ain’t the things I done. If I was, I’d be some jacked-up piece of pussy.”
7. “FYI, that’s kind of a thing with these marshals.”
8. “I been accused of being a lot of things; inarticulate ain’t one of ’em.”
9. “Step outside, I’ll give you a clip.”
10. “I’m gettin’ old, but I’m probably pretty good for this range.”
List of Demands
Not a one. We are full. We are sated. Watching the shapes form in episodes like this is a source of so much glee.
What’s the significance, if any, of Star Wars quotes two episodes in a row? Can you imagine what kind of rank asshole Elias Marcos would be at company softball? How have Daryl and Danny not already killed each other years before the show is set? Sweet mother of moonshine, with Vasquez bringing up his impending retirement and Art dropping lines like “Would it be selfish of me to say I didn’t want it to end?” ARE WE NOW TO BE WORRIED ABOUT ART? NOBODY HURT ART. RAYLAN. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. AND WHAT WILL ART DO. THIS SHOW. Y’ALL. THIS SHOW.