That the writers and Executive Producer Timothy Olyphant haven't forgotten why some folks watch the show. Shirtless Raylan right from the get-go. Still absolutely loving bartender Lindsay who brings the exact right level of sass to the table. I don't think any of us would kick her out of bed for eating crackers.
Speak of tough blondes, Ava hands out some hard truths. Playing a variation on her "This is the life we've chosen" theme, she tells Ellen May, "There ain't no salvation for people like us." It's interesting to see the various ways in which these (very sympathetic) criminals interact with faith and their compromised morals. Ava has made her peace with the immoral path she's chosen and she rarely shows moments of self-doubt. In that way she's even more hardened than Boyd.
Anyone else get their own Marshal Stiffy watching Art hand that other Marshal his own *ss? Apparently all the fugitives in Bowling Green, Kentucky are p*ssies. Good to know. Nick Searcy also handled a sh*t ton of exposition with aplomb including a) Rachel's marital status b) Tim's mental health and c) the fact that Art, himself, is retiring soon. I hope you washed all that info down with a $200 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle. Rumor has it Nick Searcy is leaving the show and that's bad news for Raylan who really needs Art to play the father figure in his life.
We've got a great new character in Lindsay's (ex?) husband Randall Kusik. Actor Robert Baker (last seen bleeding out on "Grey's Anatomy") is bringing all kinds of Adam Baldwin-esque brute charm to the role. Loved the frat boy fight club. Loved the "raccoon" maneuver.
After Preacher Billy crosses the line by sending warbling urchins to shame the customers at Audrey's whorehouse, Boyd calls in the big guns. It was lovely, of course, to see Jim Beaver's Sheriff Shelby and their interchange ("I expressed my opinion that we were square?" "Well now Shelby, I thought we were a circle") almost made the "best lines" section this week. We learn that in the past three years, The Siblings St. Cyr have started churches in 5 different cities. Boyd believes their grift involves squeezing the local criminal element for money before they move on. Takes one to know one.
I'd like to cozy up in a blanket made from entire interaction between Art, Raylan, Tim and the family Truth. So many priceless looks and throw away lines. Elmore Leonard's material really sings in the beats between light comedy patter and atrocious violence. I can't think of any show that pulls off that balance quite so well. It was also lovely to see character actress Beth Grant. She's been on my short list of people I'd like to see on "Justified."
Ron Eldard didn't have much to do this week but he was given another chewy little wartime speech and hats off to the commenter who referred to him as "Fat Kilmer."
I love baptism scenes and though we didn't get to go down to the river to pray, good ol' Ellen May's been saved. Better yet, we got this phenomenal verbal chess match between Boyd and Preacher Billy. Oh yeah, it's a preach-off. Boyd was smooth as silk and right in his element, but Billy held his own. Many props to Joe Mazello for doing the same.
But as much as I love Mazello's Billy (and I do)...
...I'm pleasantly intrigued by Cassie St. Cyr. We haven't her do much more than simper a lot and glower a little, but Lindsey Pulsipher is a fine actress and this whole puppet master dynamic could play out quite nicely. Also, is it just me, or does she bear a resemblance to Joelle Carter's Ava? I know thin blondes are rather thick on the ground in Hollywood, but they both have such oddly beautiful, angular faces. I wonder if it's intentional.
Finally, the moment I was waiting for since they mentioned the word "Frankfurt," Wynn Duffy takes the stage. Gone, alas, is the Duffstache.
But like an anti-Samson, Duffy seems to have grown stronger since he lost some of his hair. I really loved the panicked Wynn Duffy of last season, but Stone Cold Wynn Duffy is even tastier.
UPDATED Cocaine Dealin' Parachuter Waldo Truth (Cause of Death: Newton's Law Of Universal Gravitation.)
Dixie Mafia Heroin Dealer Danny (Cause of Death: The Ice Cold Water In Wynn Duffy's Veins.)
Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks and Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson Line Count
Potential Yostian Guns
Yost and his merry band of writers are fond of bringing items and actions from the beginning of the season back around in the finale. (See: Rail Gun, Quarles or Apple Pie, Mags.)
Frat Boy Fight Club
The Powder Keg That Is Deputy US Marshal Tim Gutterson's PTSD and Alcoholism
"You can trust me"
"I don't even trust the way you just said 'You can trust me.'"
The Gist: The twin themes of faith and fatherhood continue to weave their way through the season. In order to really appreciate the brilliant way Graham Yost has been laying down tracks all along, rewatch Season One's "Bulletville" in which Boyd loses his flock. I think Deputy Tim got more lines in this episode than all of last season. More of that please. And though Yost et. al. have stated that there is no "Big Bad" this year, I think we're doing quite well with Lindsay's Ex, Preacher Billy, Preacher Billy's Sister, Arlo Givens and all the other Medium-Sized Bads that may come our way. In the meantime, if that means more room for Jacob Pitts or Walton Goggins to chew it up, I'm for it.