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 Gérard 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!
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.