"Justified" — "Harlan Roulette": "These Boots Aren't Made For Running"
Things We Learned:
I’ve watched Fried Green Tomatoes too many times to not be unnerved by Limehouse and his BBQ. As per usual, Boyd recognizes Ava’s charm and worth and sends her, the perfect envoy, to set up a meet with Limehouse. When they do meet, on the bridge, Limehouse wastes no time in addressing the elephant swastika tattoos in the room. Also, apparently not even a cast iron frying pan can knock sense into Devil and Arlo.
James LeGros returns as Wade Messer, providing some excellent, sniveling comic relief. (Trivia: Don’t know if we covered this last season, but LeGros was the first actor to play Raylan Givens in a 1997 TV movie. His presence is as much of a nod as Gugino’s.)
Speaking of returning comic relief, the TV gods seem to be granting us plenty of Dickie Bennett this season and Jeremy Davies is not wasting a minute of it. (“A rouusse”…”Ho-ho-hold your horses.”) Also, we get a new player in the race for Mags’ money in that venal prison guard. And, do we think Dickie is making a run for the “best hair” crown? Watch out, Crowder.
The episode is jam packed with great character actors and I can’t neglect Pruitt Taylor Vince as “Mr. Pawn Shop Guy,” Glen Fogle. Though that game of Harlan Roulette came awfully quick on the heels of Mr. Nix’s quickdraw schtick, there were enough twists in the scene to keep me tense.
Some of you were asking last week (as Devil did at the end of the episode) exactly which Boyd Crowder we were dealing with and what he believed in. He said it himself, and I believe him, that he and his gang were “In the service of the almighty dollar.”
We get further insight this week into Robert Quarles’ plan for Harlan County and the Oxy trade. Like the man himself, the plan is pretty tidy. As he tells Wynn Duffy. “You see, Wynn, that is why they call it organized crime.” Also, Quarles’ kid either has terrible hearing or is used to the muffled protests of his daddy’s victims in the background of their friendly father/son phone chats.
Nice nod to the competition: “If I ever break bad, I will keep that in mind.”
And though Quarles is a tidy thinker, it’s Boyd who always has the bigger picture in mind. He demonstrates this both when he explains to Devil the consequences of not burning the weed and in the way he takes back Cousin Johnny’s bar. The bartender may have brought more than a baseball bat to a gun fight, but Boyd had a second wave of henchmen. Elegantly done.
There was a lot of comedy this episode with snappy one-liners including: “The greater Lexington Area of kiss my ass.” I had to look up Frankfort on the map. It’s northwest of Lexington, whereas Harlan is, surprise surprise, deeper south. Apparently Frankfort is where Wynn Duffy parks his trailer.
And inside Duffy’s trailer, Raylan pulls off plenty of swagger. (“Next one’s coming faster.”) But Quarles’ calm cool collected response throws Raylan a little. And that’s always fun to watch.
Oxy-head JT. (Cause of Death: A Nasty Game Of Harlan Roulette.)
Glen Fogle and Oxy-head Beckett. (Cause of Death: Refusing To Listen To Raylan When He Said, “Put The Guns Down.”)
Deputy Marshall Rachel Brooks and Deputy Marshall Tim Gutterson Line Count
Minimal Winona this episode but a complete 180 from her on Raylan and his Marshall duties. “Go do your job! It’s your job!” What a supportive thing to say. 0 b*tch points for Winona this week.
“Shame of it was wasting all that ham.”
“Me and dead owls don’t give a hoot.”
The Gist: This episode made a huge leap in quality. Makes sense that the first few episodes would drag a little as the writers introduced new players and lined them up on the board. But now the plot, thick and juicy as one of Limehouse’s steaks, is cooking. I complained last week that we didn’t spend enough time in Harlan and this episode proves that it’s the deep fried Southern crime that makes “Justified” the most fun. And though this was one of the funnier episodes in recent memory (seriously, how great was James LeGros?), it reminded me more of “The Wire” than any episode or season previously. Here we get to see the variegated levels of crime, the hapless actions of the addicts, and the clever deductions of the law. Just like in “The Wire,” we, the audience, are a step or two ahead of the law, and it delights us to see Raylan circle in on his prey. (He may not have your number yet, Quarles, but he’s got your photo.) But at the center of everything this season, I would argue, is Boyd’s seductively persuasive, canny and prudent leader. Raylan better stop thinking about his boots because Boyd is already ten paces ahead of him, and he won’t be easy to stop.
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