10 Things We Learned From This Week's Nail Bitin' Episode of "Justified"

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10 Things We Learned From This Week's Nail-Bitin' Episode of "Justified"

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | March 20, 2013 | Comments ()


Things We Learned:

  • Jim Beaver continues to impress. Whether or not you buy Drew Thompson's zen-like acceptance of his fate, you have to enjoy his "folksy" reflections as they were holed up in the house that cocaine built. And yes, of course Arlo read Louis L'Amour. Of course he did.

  • Raylan gives up his Stetson early in the episode to one of the other Marshals in the decoy convoy (say that three times fast). As a result, he's hatless and hat-headed for this, the biggest case of his career. He cut a nice, lean figure, for sure. But my-oh-my, that's a lot of hair jelly.

  • When Scott Tobias used to write about "Justfied" on The A.V. Club, he would make mention of all the nerdy film references that regularly pepper an episode of "Justified." So I'll just say 1) The Wild Bunch/Battle Of Bloody Porch 2) Forrest Gump and 3) yes, Colt, a young GĂ©rard Depardieu would be parfait.

  • The beauty of this episode is that you not only have a classic cat and mouse scenario, but it's this cat and this mouse, and they grew up together. Raylan has to leverage everything he knows about Boyd and about Harlan in order to stay ahead, and Boyd has to dig deep for every possible thought that might be flitting through Raylan's hatless head. This right here? Perfect reflection of that dynamic.

  • Much like Raylan's beatdown of Hunter Mosley two episodes back, the violence in this episode was excessively jarring. First when YOLO (more on that) and Nicky cracked into Boyd (He lost a tooth! He needs all his teeth!) and then again during the miserably brutal beating of poor Constable Bob. Did you notice the extremely abrasive camera work? Of course you did. The cherry on this particularly gruesome sundae was the Clockwork Orange-esque discordant soundtrack. I'll never hear "Love Train" the same way again.

  • Why Ms. Crowder. I think I'm in love. You can't blame Cousin Johnny or Nicky Augustine for admiring her, can you? I also love this Johnny development. Yost and company haven't been walloping us over the head with the idea that Johnny adores Ava (though Rachel saw it last week), but it's completely believable and organic to his character.

  • If you're going to use a Malatov cocktail, decide beforehand who's going to toss it. Seriously, how badass were Art and Tim in their plot this week? This was the Raylan-Boyd cat-and-mouse on a smaller scale, and the writers laid the groundwork for it so perfectly. There were moments where this episode felt like a big budget action movie (remember Graham Yost wrote Speed and Broken Arrow). But the years of character development and relationship building that TV affords made the stakes that much higher. Did you spend this episode coiled like a spring waiting to pop? Me too.

  • The Principal's Office is the most fitting place for a showdown between two old high school friends. Absolutely inspired.

  • In the end, they took the 3:10 to Yuma. I love that it's Rachel here and not Raylan.


  • Detroit Mafia Sniper Mort (Cause Of Death: Colton Rhodes' Sense Of Self-Preservation.)
  • YOLO (Cause of Death: Constable Bob's Big Round Hairy Cojones. Ultimately, a gun shot wound did him in, but the pen to the femoral artery certainly didn't help. I hope with all my heart that Yost and the writers said along the lines of "Let's name a character YOLO and then kill the sh*t out of him. That phrase and the people who use it are the worst.")

    Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks and Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson Line Count

  • Rachel=Too many to count! Maybe her best episode yet.
  • Tim= Too many to count!

    Favorite Lines:

  • Nicky Augustine's takedown of our beloved Boyd:
    "Look at you Mr. Crowder. You're a well-dressed man, you've got a sense of style. You got your shirt buttoned all the way to the top. I gotta ask. Where'd you get all those teeth?"

  • And, in case you forgot you were watching a modern day Western:
    "Holyyyy sh*t. They circled the wagons."- Colton Rhodes

    The Gist: If I were in the habit of giving out grades for episodes, this one would earn an A+. One of the finest hours in recent memory. As Yost promised last year, this season has done a phenomenal job at drawing out conflict between existing characters and dynamics. Yes, we have Theo Tonin and Drew Thompson and Lindsay and Billy, etc. But this week's was such a Brother against Brother plot. Watch again and notice all the over the shoulder, back of the head shots of both Raylan (in his blue Marshal's coat) and Boyd (in his grey). Two silhouettes and two sides of the same coin. I could natter on forever about the duality in this show, but I think Boyd said it best.

    Joanna Robinson loves nothing more than spending an hour in Harlan County. Big ups, as usual, to Chet Manley and his fantastic gif work.

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    Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

    • Morgan_LaFai

      Loved your recap, but there are two important moments you neglected to mention:

      1. When Boyd was asked if he believed in God he said no. The show has done a good job of showing how the characters have come to accept who they are and what they do, but I believe this is the first time they established just how much Boyd has lost his faith. Obviously he has drifted from his preacher days, but to have lost his faith completely is worthy of note.

      2. Constable Bob finally fitting into this verse. Before this his character had been to funny, over the top, extreme... I can't seem to find the correct word or idiom to express the idea that his shtick just didn't fit into the Justified verse. But with his beat down and his rebuttal he finally earned his place. That scene was painful as hell and it really worked. You did comment on that a bit if your recap, but mostly in the context of Yolo, not Constable Bob.

      Yep, that's it. I think you covered everything else. My favorite parts of this episode was the other cat and mouse game played by Tim and Colt. I really hope Tim makes it out of this alive. A lot of people have been prophecizing his death this season and I just hope it ain't true. But given how much everyone seems to like Ava in this verse, I am pretty sure she is gone. Though it will be interesting to see if they kill her, take her to Detroit, and in some way scar her so bad that she just ain't the same no more. After all, there are many ways to skin a cat.

    • Ben

      This episode did two things for me amazingly. And that is desperatly wanting Constable Bob and Colt to make it to season 5. They've both been decent enough, but holy shit this episode they fucking killed it. Esspecialy Colts line about it being a mistake to understimate him for being a drugo.

      Man just those two. Fuck yes I want more of them.

      The rest was neat as hell too.

    • lowercase_ryan

      There are other great shows on TV right now, but I don't think any have writers this talented. What they have done the last two seasons just blows everything else out of the water. The nuance, the understanding of their characters, dialogue, and the action, it's all just the best.

      Give Mike O'Malley his props. Dude got a limited role and (like every other person on Justified) has brought his A game.

      Raylan shot words not bullets this episode, and holy shit did he slay with some of his lines.

      The growth of Tim and Rachel make me sooooooo happy.

      Goodbye Cousin Johnny, maybe you can find Wynn and hitch a ride to the great white North.

    • Alwayswatching

      Johanna Robinson, you rock my world! I love this show and you have captured it completely. Your comments are so relevant, the way you point out symbolism or duality so well expressed, it's poetic. I'd buy whatever book you're working on. Two sides of the same coin *swoon*. That's what I thought too.

    • A+ indeed. I still can hardly talk.

    • Guest

      The only thing this episode was Wynn Duffy, would anyone else be interested to see a Wynn on the run, spin off show?

    • yemayah

      Phenomenal, well-crafted, brilliantly written and directed episode. Pitch perfect. What I admired most is the skillful use of: the language; physical settings; character and scene mirroring; standoffs/face-offs; and implied menace, all to create almost unbearable white-knuckled tension. Dialogue as action. There are scenes of wide open spaces juxtaposed or surrounding the places and spaces within which the good guys are trapped: take a chance to go vs. stay and hold your ground- both dangerous options with no certainty of success. A combination of experience + intelligence, along with the will and courage to make a tactical decision invariably trumped the two-dimensional brute force options of the Detroit henchmen. More on that later. Additionally, the Detroit thugs' lack of knowledge of the local culture; not knowing the locales; underestimating the 'hillbillies';and being ignorant of the history of the associations of these people, failed them at every turn.

      Art, I hope you realize Tim is Awesome. Raylan is Awesome, your team is Awesome. And you did take a big risk with your team's lives by cheerleading to go it Marshals-alone, just the four of you, without having backup already in place. In my reading of the opening scene, Raylan was very, very diplomatically calling Art this. Raylan gets what it means-maybe down the road- but he is not distracted by that. He is focused on doing his job, saving lives, and making sure they all survive. DrewT is NOT awesome. Drew is a walking,steaming pile of shite (brilliantly played, though!) and, thankfully, Raylan and Rachel were not impressed and called Drew out repeatedly.

      Drewby: Raylan and Rachel are not buying your woe-is-me-my-end-is-nigh BS. Raylan is smart enough not to trust you with a weapon because he knows what you were and still are (I had to stand up and cheer!). Raylan is not interested in your folksy war stories involving his dad, because he knows what Arlo was and still is, even in death. Furthermore, Raylan is not taking your baiting him about riding around with you for 2 days, nor you telling him he could be the butt of jokes. Rachel has your ass on the 5:30-to-Lexington and you better not mess with Rachel. She will take you out of your clothes, unchain your django, take give you a hosing-down you won't forget.

      Stuff goes around Marshals' offices faster than greased lightning so-in the age of cell phones- I would not be surprised that what Art said about Tim to Patrick was in the Guam office before Patrick got back to Louisville. So I just about fell out of my chair when Tim threw that PTSD line back at Art. That was my reading of that scene: Tim very, very diplomatically letting Art know he should not assume...).

      I have stated my thoughts about Drewby already many times, in the end being a sniveling, about to wet his pants coward. Boyd, Ava, Raylan, Tim, Art, Rachel all faced almost certain death square in the face. They may have metaphorically wet their drawers, but both Boyd and Ava faced Nicky. Scared Johnny turned his gun on Ava!. Most heroically- Constable Bob faced Yolo, accepted the pain and impending death rather than give up and compromise Raylan and law enforcement. Sheriff Bob!! You have earned it.

      EVERY actor was just superlative. The ensemble direction of scenes was
      breathtaking. But top honors go to Olyphant, Pitts, Goggins and Carter. Folks, this is
      Raylan rising to a high bar. Raylan proved that he can be Chief, be a team
      leader, work a Team, and work with whatever situation is dealt to him and keep
      his cool (Raylan-plus!): (1) Coordinating tactics and constantly reassessing; (2) Looking out
      for his people, knowing their positions; (3) Trusting and positioning his teams
      to optimize their chances even when options were limited (i.e., trusting Rachel
      to hold the position and handle Drew so that he could extract Constable Bob; (4)
      Getting them to the school; (5) TRUSTING, open to and listening to fresh ideas
      without being threatened- listening to Constable Bob, which allows Rachel to get
      Drewby to the train; (6) Facing the enemy and laying out the options as he did
      in the staircase (now that was worthy of an Emmy!)(7) I am sure he also decided
      the team/decoy to send out (sending Art with them)because he trusted Tim (and
      Tim proved his cool, badassery. Raylan made a tactical decision even knowing it
      could go south and cause loss of life . FYI, if you take charge, you get to
      position your bosses, too!

      I am such a mega Raylan/Olyphant,
      Boyd/Goggins, Tim/Pitts fangirl. How lucky am I to love the most superior show
      on TV with not one, not two, but three fantastic leads + their alter-egos to fangirl! They all
      can make me swoon & weep; all so gifted. Right at this moment, I am a happy
      GutterSniper. TimTimTim!!!!

    • jptaylorsg

      Turns out Constable Bob's go bag is just what he carries his massive cojones in. As Raylan said: "You underestimate him at your peril."

    • alone in the dark

      When Colt shouted that Drew was there, I thought the show was going to kill Art. There's been rumors that Nick Searcy is leaving and so much talk about Art retiring that I could see them putting a mistaken bullet through the Chief Deputy's melon.

    • Ben

      I was expecting him to take the rifle and shoot Tim. The tension between those two.

    • Nadine

      OH MY GOD RIGHT?! I was so afraid.

    • Nadine

      Just OH MY GOD;

      So okay, even though I was just so completely certain Frances would be a part of Arlo's drive to protect Drew(and to some degree still do, the man is alive to keep talking...)I loved the background we got on Arlo, that he was a reader, that Raylan was too but just never knew his father was.

      I love how in very small, tiny ways we have learned that Raylan's perception of his father has not always been totally fair and while he is more than in his right to just assume Arlo was an asshole all the time, I do like how they have managed to flesh the old man and take him up another level, as well as give some insight into Raylan's personality.

      I loved Raylan's anger towards Drew and the reasons he gave, not just 'Drew is a criminal' but the comment about how it was Drew's fault the high schools were merged- Drew brought coke ('hard drugs') to Harlan, which appeared to have been a county of weed growers and dealers before he arrived.

      I loved the lack of violence in the Raylan scenes and that they left it to the actors, writers and directors over there. Soooooo many beautiful shots happened.

      Constable Bob is my new favourite everything. That scene was incredible and horrible, and Patton Oswalt was just spectacular, to the point at times I wanted to cry at the noises he was making, but oh my god Bob is SUCH a BAMF.

      Yolo was reaaaaaaally sexy though. Really good looking. Sad to see that one go.

      Ava is still so, so doomed. Johnny I think will end up in Witness Protection for next season. Well, I hope. His plot(which I am really not a fan of) just seems destined to end badly and bloodily.

      But, she was a complte fucking badass this week. When she went for the lighter and the cigs I was certain she was trying something but Yost says it wasn't written that she planned to get the brandy. That came when Nicky started really tearing into her. But I think she went to the bar with the inclination to try something, start something and see what came to her in the moment. Ava was her normal self again, a badass, but vulnerable, just a tiny bit, when she had to be.

      I think I love Nicky Augustine? As hideous as he was to Ava, I was just laughing like...a bunch. The entire dick speech 'it's gotta be like the alarm goes off I'm suckin' a dick' with that deadpan?

      Please, Please, Yost, if you read these, please have written at least one scene where Nicky and Tim are talking to each other. For the love of everything good and right, let there be one scene where they just snark and dead pan each other. Please.

      SPEAKING OF MY FAVOURITE DEPUTY; I was not prepared for both the amount and the sheer badassery of Tim Gutterson this week. Good sweet Godtopus, HE WAS INCREDIBLE.

      The line about PTSD with the actual self doubt in his eyes was a thing of beauty, Art's decision to gently ask 'you get that a lot?' managed to make me laugh out loud even as I was having FEELS SERIOUS FEELS.

      The phone conversation was fantastic and while I am dying to see Tim put Colt down I am hoping so much they have more scenes together before Colton has to die. If I'm honest a big part of me is now sort of hoping Colt gets shot but not killed. I wouldn't mind him coming back.
      Jacob Pitts has had a chance this season to show off what a genuinely excellent actor he is. I am just delighted with what's been done with Tim.

      Tim just proved he was the most badass member of the whole team this week, as if there was doubt.

      I would have given just about anything for Art to have made a comment about how incredibly cool Tim was being. Because he was being SO cool, I can't even like. You know when you're a little kid and there really are 'cool kids' and not just the pretty bitches but the people everyone genuinely loves because of their genuine coolness?

      Tim is that guy. Jacob Pitts, you guys.

      I still have a theory he could end up getting involved in the Ellen May situation and that could lead to him being the one to kill Ava, if indeed she is to die, but at this point I don't think they can do anything that will let me down.

      Part of me is concerned that since this was a pretty huge action episode in some ways, the finale is going to go for the super fucking sad angle rather than try and up the action. I am scareded.

      But what a cracking episode.

    • lowercase_ryan

      Arlo was not a reader. At least that's how I took it.

    • Nadine

      You think? Hmmm.

    • lowercase_ryan

      Yup, I think.

    • Nadine


    • Bodhi

      The Tim/Colt exchange was pure gold. Its been said before, but Ron Eldard is totally killing it this season. I'd like to see him live on, too. Boyds gonna need someone since Cousin Johnny is going to go buh-bye one way or another.

      I love Patton Oswalt & I was bummed that his role this season seemed to be stunt casting... until last night! WHAT? Way to bring it, Constable Bob!

      The twist with the train, oh man. They could have bashed me over the head with it & I still would have been just as blind sided. Once more, Bob FTW!

      I bet Boyd figures it out pretty quickly when he finds out that Drew is gone.

    • Nadine

      I'm gonna be spending weeks rewatching that conversation. It was amazing, the dismantling of each other, Pitts delivery, just...so good.

    • Meggrs

      Whoever lit this episode deserves a big nod. The contrasts, as Joanna mentioned, were brilliant, and Erica Tazel was haloed like a goddess. Not that she's not always beautiful, but she just glowed.

      I could not love Tim Gutterson more. And the Gerard Depardieu line made me cackle. I LOVE self-aware in-jokes about the actors. "Glee" was really good at this in the first season--Sue describing what's-her-face as a "bush baby" was effing dead on.

    • Steph

      Too many fantastic lines to even choose my favorites. The whole thing was amazing. I bet the Detroit boys know what a constable is now!

    • R-Dawg


      I can't be sure because of the aforementioned abrasive camerawork, but I think Constable Bob actually stabbed YOLO with a knife he pulled from his belt. Once again adding to his badassery!

    • JoannaRobinson

      You know, I wasn't sure myself. But I couldn't lock in on when he pulled out the knife and when I first watched, methought it was a pen.

    • R-Dawg

      Joanna: I read the postmortem that Graham Yost does each week with EW and he mentions this scene. It was in fact a knife, and it is in regard to the first episode when Bob asked Raylan to pull on him in the car. BEEFSTEW!

    • JoannaRobinson

      Of course!!!

    • dizzylucy

      Beefstew! Yes!

      Love the contrast of how casually he said that back then, vs. what he was actually going through when he had to do it.

      If only he'd had his go bag with him...

    • Nadine

      I genuinely shouted 'CONSTABLE BOB' when the knife came out, I was so proud of him. I love, LOVE how when I think about it going back, he has actually always been a badass, it's just filtered through his Bob-ness.

      I did genuinely hate watching him get beat on. It was just horrible. But Yolo was sexy and that's just science.

    • Two things:

      While I'm still worried about Ava's future, I'm so glad she got to be a bad-ass in this episode.


      The dialogue in this episode may have been the best in Justified history, and that's saying a lot. So many good lines, so little time. I think I'll have to watch the episode again - I probably missed some the first time around. ;)

    • Slash

      Yeah, I hated that "Yolo" guy just because of his nickname. But beating up Constable Bob didn't endear him and it was satisfying to see Bob kill the shit out of him.

    • wsapnin

      Great episode. But we sat reflecting on the fact that nothing has ever come up about the FBI dude that has gone missing since getting shot in the face in Wynn Duffy's trailer.

    • Slash

      Yeah, I've been wondering about that myself. I'd think that when an FBI guy disappears, the FBI investigates. Maybe next season.

    • JoannaRobinson

      This killed me.

    • kilmo

      Didn't mention this last week, but Jimmy!!! So glad that snake bite didn't wreck his pretty face. Also hoping he isn't a casualty this week, because I haven't watched this episode yet. Just needed to be mentioned.

    • DannyExplosion

      "Only when I'm handling firearms in public"
      This show kicks so much ass!

    • dizzylucy

      This whole season has been great, but the last three episodes have blown me away. When Raylan told Bob to hide and he was standing there in plain sight, I thought he was a goner.
      Now that is how to use Rachel and Tim (and Art). I know everyone loves
      them, myself included, but there are some episodes where they don't
      always fit into the story well. This was perfect though. "I thought you
      were going to throw it!" made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

      I so wanted Ava to light Augustine up. Loved the Colton/ Gerard Depardieu comment, I've noticed the resemblance and it was funny to hear. Also loved Augustine calling Boyd out on his buttoned up collar and teeth, and the way they filmed the stairwell scene with mirrored shots of Raylan and Boyd.

      Best part had to be Raylan calling YOLO Yoda and Yoohoo.

    • I have never been more in love with Tim and Ava than I am after this fantastic episode.

    • Alwayswatching

      I am so with you!

    • Bodhi

      GodDAMN that was a good one. My husband works nights & doesn't watch Justified, but he follows comedy & knows that Patton is on this season. I sent him a text said "Holy shit, Constable Bob is a bad motherfucker" and I stand by that statement this morning.

      Also, the Colt & Tim conversation was ahmazing!

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