While Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder may have a slightly dysfunctional but a usually working relationship, as much as a Federal Marshal and a bad guy can have, nothing gets Raylan worked up more than being accused of breaking the law for Boyd, or worse, being on the guy’s payroll. Which is exactly what happened this week on Justified in the episode “The Man Behind the Curtain.”

timothy olyphant

JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens. CR: Frank Ockenfels III / FX

Justified “The Man Behind the Curtain” Review


Some new characters were introduced and some old faces, friendly and not, resurfaced. We also saw another layer of Quarles and his crazy. We also start to realize this season may be the one where Raylan’s southern charm starts to wear on all of his co-workers. Well, starts to wear some more than it already did. To the point where it’s actually causing some issues. That Quarles (Neal McDonough) is causing more problems for Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) than just dealing drugs in Harlan.

A lot of this week’s issues start with the arrival of Quarles’s boss/surrogate brother/pain in his ass, Sammy Tonin (Max Perlich – Gilmore Girls alum alert!). Sammy is the big boss’s son, but he’s also a bit of a tool. Quarles was essentially adopted by the big man, and took the place of “son he always wanted,” or at least that is what Quarles says. But Sammy’s still the boss. And since Quarles is making it clear to Raylan that they are at war by paying him a visit at the bar he now lives above (Really, Raylan? Really?) Raylan just wants to get to Sammy. Raylan may not know their connection, but he knows there is one and that’s enough.

Problem is, being towards the top of the food chain in a major crime family organization, the Feds are constantly following Sammy in order to build up what I can only assume is a RICO case. So Raylan keeps having Tim (the underutilized and under-appreciated Jacob Pitts) get info from his Fed buddies. This, naturally, does not go over well and gets Tim and Raylan in trouble with Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowski). He warns Raylan to stay away and warns his agents to attain Raylan if he gets near Sammy. But, Raylan being Raylan, gets around it and discovers that Sammy is Quarles’s boss and uses him for that.

This is where Quarles’s shell starts to really crack. First Raylan makes the discovery that there is a woman who teaches piano less than 200 yards away, so Quarles can’t run a clinic out his house and Raylan has him evicted. Then Raylan has Sammy stop the wire transfer to Quarles. The one thing Quarles does have going for him – he convinces Sheriff Napier to be on his payroll, essentially, and to go after Boyd (Walton Goggins) in order to get to Raylan.

Of course, just like everyone who ultimately will die, Quarles severely underestimates Boyd. While Boyd does not have Raylan in his pocket (Silly Quarles, they are just BFFs) he does have a lot of connections. He is now banking with Limehouse and privvy to all of the information he can get from him. And as for that little Sheriff problem, well there just happens to be an election coming up, and Boyd decides to put his hat in the race. Or should I say Shelby’s hat. That’s right kids. Jim Beaver is back! I miss you Bobbyyyyyy. [sobs quietly in the corner.]

Quarles also has a plan it seems, and when things go bad in Harlan he and Wynn (Jere Burns) head to Tulsa to go find Walter. And by Walter, I mean Gary. That’s right poor, poor Gary is back. That big loser. Oh dear. That can’t be good for anyone. Especially Gary. I’m not sure what the strategy is there, but it’s got to be bad.

What I loved about this episode is they worked in some small stuff too that I have zero idea where it is leading – like Arlo clearly losing his mind and heading to the Holler to look for his dead wife. And Tanner being kept in the Holler until he ready to go back to Quarles.

This episode was a lot of set up in many ways. But man the tension was thick. I can start to see the pieces starting to fall in place, but to be honest, I still have no idea what picture those pieces are making. Whatever it is, I’m sure it is bad news for someone. And will make me start to bite my fingernails again.

Favorite Justified “The Man Behind the Curtain” Quotes:

Dumb girl at the bar: Can you settle a bet for us? Were you born before or after disco?
(Shut up you dumb girl!! Who cares!?!?!? He’s RAYLAN EFFING GIVENS. Sigh….)

Raylan: I’ve got mad ninja skills, brother.
Tim: Oh yeah, you know karate?
Raylan: And two other Japanese words.
(I’m still laughing over the Raylan using the phrase ‘mad ninja skills.’ I may never stop.)

Raylan: If I was going to shoot you, you would’ve never turned around.
(Damn straight.)

Who is excited for next week? The previews gave me an anxiety attack. I’m soooo nervous and excited.

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae

Justified airs on FX and stars Timothy Olyphant.

“The Man Behind the Curtain” written by Graham Yost, Ryan Farley, Elmore Leonard (short story “Fire in the Hole”). Directed by Peter Werner.