Boy. That escalated quickly. I mean that really go out of hand fast! When we last saw our good guys, bad guys, and everyone in between, things had, in the words of Champ Kind, “jumped up a notch.” Let’s run down “Measures.”
The episode picks up almost exactly where last week’s left off. Raylan’s walk of shame turns out to be not that shameful at all and a bit of His Girl Friday patter ensues with his one-night stand, Lindsay.
If I had a nickel for every time I was having some sexually charged dialogue over my morning coffee and Michael Ironside walked in to bust my chops, well, I wouldn’t be writing recaps, if you know what I mean. And that’s what greets Raylan, in addition to his morning cup of Joe. Ironside plays Sarnow, who works for Theo Tonin. The Detroit boss has sent his own set of eyes, ears, and fists to town to take care of the ever-evolving Quarles/Raylan/Oxy situation. Some words are exchanged, Raylan calls someone an asshole, and everyone agrees to dance to a later song.
For his part, Quarles is running on liquid courage with a prescription-meds chaser. He takes his head full of steam around town to raise some money, visiting his failed sheriff candidate, Napier, and putting him up to a drug-dealer robbery and reselling said drug dealer’s wares. Who says there aren’t second acts in American life?
Quarles does a fairly good impression of a nervous banker buying meth from his targeted drug dealer, then we get to see his famous temper at work as he treats said dealer’s face like a speed bag. He’s got the drugs, the money, and he pushes the button down harder on Boyd, to whom this particular narcotics trafficker was paying protection.
Dickie is looking for a quick score, too, bringing in Rodney and his crew from Memphis to help him drop the hammer on Limehouse. He’s still holding out hope that there’s more than $46,000 of his mother’s fortune left in his Noble’s Holler Savings & Loan account.
Over at Crowder & Co., Johnny wants to get paid, Ava wants order, and Boyd wants revenge. So, your usual run-of-the-mill Tuesday night kind of stuff. They find a compromise by agreeing to hunt down Dickie, but not before they get some money out of the bargain. Real team spirit with this group.
Art thinks Quarles’s threats are worthy of arrest, and after some healthy interoffice debate with Raylan, he gets his way. So while Quarles is murdering some miscreants and Dickie is gathering some top-notch intel on Limehouse (via woman of the night Ella Mae), Art and Raylan stake out Duffy’s RV. Inside, Theo Tonin’s men and Duffy talk about money, power, respect, and using human ears as props.
Boyd, Ava, and Johnny play CSI: Harlan, investigating the death of their dealer and finding out it was the “huskie” (as in dog, not body type) Quarles who did the shooting (and pummeling).
After seeing the light, with a little bit of a shove from Tim and Rachel, Rodney decides not to help Dickie with his suicide mission to retake his money from Limehouse. When Dickie finally caves and has Errol bring him his paltry leftovers, Tim and Rachel are there to make the bust.
Also getting busted is Theo Tonin’s aging gunslinger, Sarnow. He urges Art and Raylan to “let nature take its course.” And when they cuff him, surreptitiously being watched by Quarles in a car down the street, he ominously mutters, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
When Raylan and Art bust into Quarles’s apartment, they see just how screwed up the other half lives, learning of the various splits and divisions in the Quarles-Tonin axis. Wynn Duffy must just be tired of watching people get tortured.
After trying to broker a temporary residence at Noble’s Holler, Quarles hits the streets in need of capital, looking to unload his stash. Napier “helps” him, but in reality sets him up for a showdown with Boyd. Quarles has this to worry about, not to mention an angle-playing Wynn Duffy, who sets up a side deal for himself with Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin!). Deliver Quarles and he gets the Holy Grail that is the Kentucky Oxy trade.
Before Wynn can get after Quarles, Crowder tasers the rent-boy-abusing gangster and brokers a deal with Duffy. On the other side of town (figuratively speaking), Errol and Dickie hatch a plan to boost Limehouse’s bank, with an assist from the increasingly busy Boyd.
- Confused? Join the club. There’s a lot of really brilliant dialogue, some tense showdowns, and some interesting ideas about what constitutes a local and an outsider and how loyalty is doled out along those lines, but this has been a rather byzantine run of episodes. There was something almost mythical about the way Season 2 unfolded, with Raylan facing off against a rural crime queen, and the theme of patricide hovering over the narrative. This year is entirely on deals, side deals, mini-deals, and fake deals. It’s entertaining, but it’s also a bit exhausting.
- Lindsay is a delightful character. Perhaps because they don’t feel the weight of having to provide her with a storyline equal to the substance of Ava or Winona, the writers simply make her sparkle. Even Raylan seems absolutely smitten with her.
- Never thought I would say this, as I often felt like, through Season 2, Jeremy Davies was overacting in the face of Margo Martindale’s lived-in brilliance, but I would definitely pay $16 and reserve left-aisle seats to see a remake of The Defiant Ones (or O Brother Where Art Thou?) starring Dickie and Errol.
- One of the more compelling elements of this season has been the way characters shift — from sympathetic to loathsome, from hunter to prey. At various points Quarles has seemed imperious, evil incarnate, and a sad, sadistic man spinning out of control. Same goes for Boyd, who has played kingpin, pawn, prisoner, and pedestrian.
- “Yeah, man [pumps fist]. New York in the ’80s.” Had a really bad feeling something bad was going to happen to Art there. Really glad I was being hysterical.
- I stood up and applauded when Quarles sarcastically said, “Greatest generation at work” to the sword-wielding dealer. My Band of Brothers box set actually went up in value at that moment. Holy crap, Neal McDonough.
MVP: Quarles. More precisely, McDonough. This was the performance this character had been screaming out for. A really incredible depiction of a man who bases his entire life on controlling others slowly losing control of his world.
Raylan’s Love Interest Threat Level: Oh, I think Lindsay handles herself just fine.
F-Yeah, Ava Crowder: Nothing spectacular, though she does get her weekly shade-throwing practice in at Johnny.
State of Boyd Crowder’s Soul: All in. Boyd is making almost too many moves. This all feels like a setup for the final Boyd-Raylan showdown. You gotta think that, being a native and all, Boyd is going to come out on top of this villainous pileup.
Villain of the Week: Sarnow. He didn’t get a lot done, but goddamn it if he wasn’t entertaining in the process. Should be noted that whatever’s the opposite of this award goes to Theo Tonin/Adam Arkin. Seriously? Who wears a tracksuit and orders a hit over the phone? I’m a blogger and I know you’re not supposed to do that.
Best Line: “I think you were going to apologize again for not giving me a full accounting of every second of your life before you heartlessly accepted the gift of my feminine virtue.” —Marry me, Lindsay.