…an episode reminding us all the importance of “a Webelos shovel.”
I know we’re only four episodes deep, but I’m going to go out on a limb and declare this the most tightly-plotted season of Justified yet. Characters we might have presumed as one-off creations have reemerged to add more color to this beautiful Harlan tapestry, complicating the interwoven plot strands we’re seeing balanced on a weekly basis. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m more in love with Justified now than ever. I’m pretty much ready to give it a key to my place, or at least ask it to keep a toothbrush here.
We pick up with Dewey Crowe leading Wade Messer into the woods, ostensibly to make good on his promise to kill Messer, who we learned last week’s been skimming money off the top of Dewey’s brothel for Boyd Crowder. Under the auspices of digging up some buried treasure, Wade brings along a collapsable Webelos shovel to help out (all of the lol at the sight gag of him screwing it together). But this is Dewey Crowe we’re talking about here, so the “hit” does not go off as planned. I mean, sure, he plugs Wade in the chest once, but after a skirmish, Wade runs off, and Dewey chases, falling down a mountain himself before wandering around the woods looking for a man he should have killed. Oh Dewey Crowe, don’t ever change!**
**Later, when Dewey finds a barely-alive Messer, a family of campers intervenes (as he’s about to deliver the death stroke) because they fear he’s been poisoned by sunchoke. Perfect blend of comedy and suspense. When Justified can strike that balance as well as it did here, you know you’re in for a treat. I’m not saying I enjoy laughing when I watch people die on screen, but this show just gets me, you know?
But things are about to get more complicated than a screw-on shovel head. Turns out Wade’s been an undercover CI for quite some time, plying the DA with information on Boyd Crowder! Hear that? It’s the sound of my #MindExplosion. But, um, I’m also with Raylan on this one: dude’s several M&Ms short of a variety pack intellectually speaking, so this seemed like a bizarre choice of informant. Our favorite US Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens even postulates that maybe, just maybe, Boyd was savvy to this and might have possibly used this to his advantage? The DA’s all like, “Totes unlikely that your BFF’s that smart.” Little do they know!
With Raylan on the case (along with Tim as his partner because Tim is the absolute best, and that is not an opinion but a fact), the trail leads him to some deep-cut members of the Crowe family. These include such colorful members of high society as Kendall Crowe, the middle school aged bartender at Dewey’s brothel, and Danny Crowe, who enjoys a full afternoon of semi-nude dog training when he’s not engaged in philosophical discussions on the role of determinism and the metaphysics of moral responsibility with his roomie Wade. Just kidding! I am fairly sure neither of them have advanced degrees, but I hate to be judgmental. I’m loving the way Raylan just cannot avoid the reaches of family this season, whether it’s his biological family, adopted family, or rival criminal family.
After shaking down Boyd and deciding he’s likely uninvolved, Raylan tracks the GPS coordinates on Wade’s burner phone to a quaint bed and breakfast. Speaking of eating, a ton of crows were totally pecking out the eyeballs of Wade Messer, who’s dead by the way (man, isn’t everything just coming up Dewey these days?). Darryl picks up Dewey in his truck (thank God for that Verizon service coming through at last) and straight up learns Dewey but good about his inextricable link to the Crowe’s bidness now. Is it weird that I sort of feel sorry for Dewey Crowe, career lowlife? Well, I do, and I’m sorry I’m not sorry!
Raylan, meanwhile, is not really pleased with Darryl sticking his Floridian mug in where it doesn’t belong and goes to Aubrey’s to encourage them to return to Miami. Unfortunately, Darryl is a real stick in the mud as far as it goes and refuses, so Raylan pulls out a piece of paper and takes Kendall away on behalf of Child Protective Services.*** Awesome!
***Speaking of CPC, it’s possible that Allison doesn’t understand the concept of pillow talk? Because sharing an anecdote of her rescuing an eight-year-old from being chained to a radiator by an abusive father is not the best way to bask in the afterglow? Just saying.
Boyd, meanwhile, is in the midst of dealing with an awkward family situation of his own, having learned that Cousin Johnny is behind the theft of his product. After a wonderfully constructive family meeting in jail, the Crowders come to an agreement and put this whole mess behind them, embracing and showering one-another in I-love-yous. Come to think of it, that definitely did not happen. Johnny basically told Boyd to bring it, as well as to take his offer of money and crumple it into a wad before cramming deep into the recesses of his tukus. Families, right?
But this plot line took a great, surprising turn as well. You see, Boyd had henchman Carl follow Johnny. I’ll be honest, I doubt Carl can tie his shoes and chew gum at the same time, so color me surprised when he completed his orders successfully. Turns out Johnny is in cahoots with Hot Rod Dunham, the bearded gentlemen whose affairs Loretta found herself embroiled in earlier in the season. Another well-timed #MindExplosion!
But Carl was not done being a good lap dog! He then tells Boyd to cover his eyes and leads him to an abandoned building, where he pulls off a tarp and reveals a litter of new born puppies! What a pleasant way to end the episode! Sorry, I’m kidding again! Carl straight up shows Boyd many, many dead bodies****. It was an odd choice of gift, but maybe I just don’t know Boyd as well as I thought.
****Remind me never to ask Carl to plan me a surprise birthday party because I would personally not enjoy a pile of corpses.
Elsewhere, Art travels to Detroit and interrogates one of the Canadian thugs (Will Sasso) about Nicky Augustine’s tarmac murder, prompting my third #MindExplosion, Ava has a protector or fifty in jail, and Paxton receives the thoughtful gift of a severed hand.
It seems like Justified cannot be stopped right now, as it continues to add layers and depth to this ever-enriching mosaic that is Harlan County. When a show is as excellent as this one is right now, the only thing you can do is hold on tight and enjoy the consistently surprising ride. Yee-haw!
– Raylan: “He’s a drug addict and a Board-certified imbecile.”
Art: “Shouldn’t be too hard to find him then.”
– Raylan [on Danny and Wade as roommates]: “That’s a sitcom I’d pay to see.”
– Boyd: “Your use of past tense gives me some sense of foreboding.”
– Raylan: “Boyd, if we thought you did it, you’d be in a holding cell, and a happier thought I can scarcely conjure.”
– Raylan: “Tell your brother he takes any step further out of my line of sight, it’ll be the last step he ever takes.”