On most episodes of “Justified,” our leading man pours on the laid-back charm, but this week shows glimmers of the old Olyphant. Raylan spends the episode royally pissed off, first by the terse “Dear Raylan” letter he received from Winona, seemingly out of nowhere. Raylan retraces Winona’s tracks, finding her absent from her office as a legal secretary (with travel websites on her computer) and the money she stole from the evidence locker gone missing again. Raylan asks Art for time off, but Art suggests that first Raylan needs to sort out a shooting that happened on his late Aunt’s property in Harlan County. Just when he thought he was out ...
The episode begins with a pair of hot hitchhikers flashing their bras at a trucker (Happy Basic Cable Mardi Gras, everyone!) before arriving at Boyd’s Oxy clinic at the Aunt Helen’s old house. Boyd’s young country doctor friend offers them a small bottle, but they’d rather take a big one: “There’s gotta be a little wiggle room in there someone,” one of the hotties, Ella Mae, says lasciviously. While she’s, uh, negotiating, a pair of gun thugs bursts in, shoots up the place and steals the Oxy, but Ella Mae survives.
Ella Mae returns to the mobile home where she lives to get an angry reception from — oh my God, “Lost’s” Ethan Rom! (Actually the actor’s William Mapother, but he’ll always be the creepy guy from “Lost’s” first season to me.) His real name is Delroy and he’s apparently Ella Mae’s pimp, with a penchant for shame-inducing mind games. Anyway, he bullies Ella Mae into going to Quarles’ Oxy clinic, but when Ella Mae arrives, she recognizes the two shooters working there and flees. Delroy uses his fists to express his displeasure when she returns empty-handed.
So there’s two investigations into who robbed Boyd’s pill operation, with Raylan on one track, Boyd and Ava on the other. Raylan’s state trooper friend directs him to Arlo, so Raylan angrily confronts his boxer-wearing Dad, then discovers that it was Boyd’s operation. Boyd suspects the robbery came at Quarles’ behest, but goes to Limehouse for confirmation. Limehouse suggests that the people of Noble’s Holler have eyes everywhere: “It’s always been our bidness to know you.”
Ava deduces that Ella Mae (as a friend of the dead girl) might have an idea as to what’s been going on, and suggests that she’ll win her trust better than Boyd would. Ava meets Delroy and notices his bruised fingers, and one of Ava’s old classmates explains that Ella Mae’s in hiding in a trailer. Meanwhile, Raylan confronts Boyd, but shows no patience for his illegal activities: “I got no interest in shitkicker-on-shitkicker crime.” Olyphant conveys Raylan’s willingness to throw punches at Arlo and Boyd alike, but he restrains himself, and Boyd sends Raylan to help Ava.
Raylan and Ava question Ella Mae, and after Delroy bursts in and tries to assert his authori-tay, Raylan pistol-whips him right in the nose. Twice. Raylan shows up at Quarles’ “community clinic” and has a tussle with one of the shooters in the back of a moving trailer office. The gun thug accidentally shoots one of his own and gets away.
So it turns out that the guys who robbed Boyd’s place were not working under Quarles’ orders. Quarles seems pretty relaxed this week — he lets off steam by torturing the poor soul still tied to his bed, and later, mellows out on the front porch in a rocking chair with a cigar and a snifter of brandy, I guess. He’s getting leery of Raylan’s attention, and when he learns of Raylan’s history with Boyd and Arlo, laughs, “Oh shit, that’s awesome!”
That night, as Limehouse butchers another hog, he chews out one of his lieutenants for fomenting tensions between Team Boyd and Team Quarles. My understanding is that Limehouse’s man hired Quarles’ shooters to attack Boyd’s clinic to ignite a war and leave Noble’s Holler free to take over the territory. Limehouse scoffs at this idea, and points out that their community thrives below the radar of the white population: “Now you done exposed us to every buried, hate-filled desire in this county!” he snaps, and orders the shooters to be either killed or silenced.
Raylan finally catches up to Winona at her sister’s house, and she confirms that they’re not getting back together. They hark back to the plan for Raylan to leave the feds, but Winona says, “If you wanted to change your life for me, you would’ve done it by now.” Which makes sense, I guess, but couldn’t she have said that weeks ago? It’s like the dictates of episodic television require Winona to behave in a self-contradictory manner. So will she still be on the show?
Winona didn’t steal the money (again), though. Turns out it was the guy who ran the evidence locker, whom we see in the final scene, driving a red convertible south of the border. Maybe Raylan and company will track him down, but it seemed like a “Goodbye” shot to me.
Limehouse again reminds me of Varys from “Game of Thrones” and other intelligence-gathering characters. He’s got sources everywhere and the dirt on everyone, but prefers to operate out of the spotlight (or the limelight). He prefers being the power behind the throne than the occupant of the throne. I like how this episode acknowledges the community’s racial history.
So if Team Limehouse kills the guys who officially work for Team Quarles, will Team Boyd take the blame? Or will a war break out on three fronts?
Seth Bullock trivia: After the events of the “Deadwood” show, the real Bullock became pals with Teddy Roosevelt and a U.S. Marshall.
Stephen Root’s judge character reminds me of Beau Bridges as the title role of the short-lived show “Maximum Bob,” another Elmore Leonard TV series.
I was wondering about the backstory of Boyd’s country doctor friend — does he have gambling debts? drug problem? — but since he’s dead, it’s a moot point now.
Raylan’s state trooper friend mentions how they found Winona through a “BOLO” (be on the lookout) on the season premiere. Maybe they mentioned that detail because Winona was actually leaving Raylan back then, but put the plans on hold after he was shot.
Delroy reminded me very much of John Hawkes’ sinister cult leader in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Perhaps his talk about the commune of dope dealers made me recall that movie.
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