By Craig Hubert | This week on “Justified,” a showdown is taking place for who gets to keep — or kill — Drew Thompson. On one side is Raylan and the U.S. Marshalls, currently in possession of the most wanted man in Harlan County, who want to put him in prison and make a name for themselves. On the other side is an assortment of mafia henchmen, local thugs, and who knows who else. Guns are drawn, bad words are thrown about, and Constable Bob shows up once again, because why not? Two more episodes to go, and the fun is just beginning.
“We just gotta get out of Harlan County alive.”
This episode was all about strategic maneuvering. Most of the scenes, especially among the Marshalls, take place in small areas – a car, a small room, etc. It’s a way to create tension without characters running, jumping, shooting, and blowing things up. Although, those things happened as well.
Raylan’s got Drew Thompson, whom he doesn’t trust. The mafia, who Drew Thompson screwed over years ago, is seeking revenge. That the mafia has more manpower than then U.S. Marshalls is confusing, though we’ll chalk that up to televisual suspension of disbelief. Raylan seems supremely confident, even more than usual, that things are working out his way. So much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers took a left turn and let Drew Thompson escape, if only to throw a little doubt on the abilities of Raylan. If this, the biggest case of his career, doesn’t work out, maybe he will realize that there is more to life than the job and start paying attention to his ex-wife who is about to have his kid? I don’t know, just a thought.
And speaking of the writer’s, they sure do love Constable Bob. What seemed like a throwaway character in the beginning of the season, a comic foil and a wink at the audience due to Patton Oswalt’s very public championing of the show, has turned into a continuing piece of the large, puzzle-like narrative of “Justified.” This week, Constable Bob happens to get caught up with the mafia – particularly, a character named Yolo (or, as Raylan will later call him, Yoo-Hoo). The result is one of the bloodiest scenes in the shows history, but Bob makes it out alive and doesn’t reveal the whereabouts of Drew Thompson, who is currently stashed in the local high school with Raylan. The whole thing is scored to “Love Train” by The O’Jays, making the whole thing that much more painful.
To bring up the writers once again, is it me or is there a lot more cursing on “Justified” this season? I love a well-placed four-letter word as much as the next person, and the writers seem to be having fun dropping as many as they possibly can past the censors. Maybe their network neighbor, “Louie”, has influenced them? Either way, “Justified” has turned into a dirty fucking show.
“That’s not what I signed up for.”
Boyd, who is a prisoner of the mafia but trying to make his own play, begins the episode by getting beat up. Terribly beat up. He’s a pawn who doesn’t realize it, and it’s hard to watch. He still might have something up his sleeve, but it’s going to take a miracle for him to escape this unscathed.
But maybe Ava’s the one to do the saving? She seems more in control of the situation, less interested in the financial aspects of whatever deal Boyd is trying to squeeze out of his new dangerous “friends” than getting out alive. By the end of the episode she has escaped, gun in hand. If we’ve learned anything on “Justified,” it’s don’t mess wit Ava.
Mike O’Malley, maybe the least threatening bad guy on television, ever (but maybe my childhood viewing of Nickelodeon’s “Guts” is influencing that opinion), sits in a chair most of the episode, cursing, telling jokes, and being a misogynist creep. “Justified” has had a lot of disgusting characters in the past, but he might be the worst. If anybody won’t make it out of Harlan County alive, it’s him.
- Drew Thompson finally gets out of Harlan County, via coal train. Seriously, it took Constable Bob to suggest this idea?
- Why did Colt kill the mafia hitman, and how will this affect Boyd’s plan, whatever it is?
- Two more episodes left. Will Raylan’s child be born? Will Drew Thompson be safe? What will happen to Boyd and Ava?
- Constable Bob spinoff show?
Image: Prashant Gupta/FX