Being a Federal Marshall in Harlan County is, at times, quite annoying. Just look at Raylan Givens house in almost every scene of this week’s episode of Justified. Scene after scene you can see his headache growing. And it is glorious.
Before we get to poor, poor Raylan and all of the fine upstanding citizens he has to deal with this week, let’s take a moment with bad guy extraordinaire, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). As always, Boyd seemed to be working a constant angle to maintain his power. When a meeting set up by Ava (Joelle Carter) with Limehouse (Mykleti Williamson) doesn’t go as planned – Limehouse isn’t going to talk about Mags’s money and instead offers to take all that weed from Boyd that Devil and Arlo never burned – and Boyd is left to make new plans.
And so we welcome back a familiar setting – the bar that was formally owned by Johnny Crowder (David Meunier). With a little help from Arlo, Devil and a few other slightly unstable men with guns, Boyd takes back the bar and starts… well, I have no idea. But given Boyd’s sharp mind and love for doing bad bad things, I’m sure it will inevitably be a thorn in Raylan’s side. What was probably the most interesting part of this story line was when Devil questioned Boyd – which Boyd was he now? The one that recruited Devil back in the day, or the man who found Jesus after getting shot? Boyd’s answer: both. And it’s true. This character is never one-dimensional. With every event in Boyd’s life we see him change. He adapts. And his personality shifts to go along with that. Boyd is many things, but he is never a caricature.
One storyline I’m not sure about is the one with Dickie (Jeremy Davies) and Murphy the prison guard (Todd Stashwick). Murphy overheard the convo last week between Dickie and Boyd about the Bennett money, and Murphy wants some. But as Dickie pointed out, if that money does exist, he can’t get it while in prison. So is this how we are going to get Dickie back out into the world? And if so, how is a prison guard going to manage it? Interested to see how this will fold into the rest. All I’m sure of – it will annoy Raylan.
And speaking of annoying Raylan – this week saw the return of Wade Messer (James Le Gros), the guy that helped Dickie string up Raylan like a pinata last season. A road block was set up to get Messer and his partner in crime for the moment, JT. The two were driving a truck full of goods to be delivered to Glenn Vogel (a very creepy Pruitt Taylor Vince), who owns a pawn shop. While most of this storyline was contained to the episode – including a chilling scene where Glenn makes JT play a game of Harlan Roulette, ending with Glenn shooting JT in the head – it did lead to an intense standoff with repercussions that will last, I’m sure, the rest of the season.
While Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) are setting up their operation – essentially it’s a drug ring, but it’s so much more – they get a call from Glenn that Raylan has been sniffing around looking for Messer. So Quarles tells Glenn to kill Raylan, knowing full well Raylan will just end up killing Glenn. Either way, a problem is solved. As a villain, Quarles is frightening in his cold logic and indifference. And yet, I’m completely entranced by him. I blame the eyes.
Glenn, not wanting to go head to head with Raylan, tells Messer to call Raylan to turn himself in and then shoot him. This leads to one of my all time favorite Raylan Givens scenes. Raylan is waiting for Messer at his house, tells Messer a story about how he learned it is rude to enter a house without being invited, and then stands outside with a look of complete annoyance and frustration as he listens to Messer try to find his gun to shoot Raylan. The gun that Raylan already took from Messer’s house.
That feeling of frustration just grows as Raylan has Messer call Glenn and Glenn’s right hand man, Wally (Eric Ladin) to let them know Raylan is dead. Of course, Glenn and Wally come, feeling suspicious and then Raylan just has to deal with their nonsense too. He seems about to break, until Glenn lets slip that he knows that Wynn is up to something in Frankfort. But realizing that Glenn is about to get away with everything by giving up info, Wally gets upset. The two dimwitted bad guys end up in their own standoff and shoot each other before Raylan can get any info. He’s gone from annoyed to just pissed.
Nothing brings me more joy than an upset Raylan. Not that I wish bad things to happen to him, it’s just he is at his best when he motivated by anger more than anything else. And when he goes to see Wynn to have that non-conversation he promised last season, I cheered. But then I cowered in fear as Quarles (whom Raylan is still unaware of) turns around and threatens to kill Raylan if Raylan kills Wynn. But it marked the moment the season officially started for me. While it’s been amazing already, now that Raylan has figured out there is a new Big Bad in town, things are about to get crazy I’m sure.
And here are two quotes that made me giggle:
Quarles: And that’s why it’s called organized crime.
Raylan: These boots aren’t made for running.
Trooper Tom: Yet chasing fugitives is a Marshall’s primary function.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Do Quarles and Limehouse scare you as much as they scare me?
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae