…an episode reminding us all the importance of “loving the smell of your own farts.”
You know how some episode titles are intentionally vague or obtusely metaphorical, leaving us to scratch our heads over possible meanings? Well, that’s certainly not the case for Justified‘s fifth episode, which delivered exactly what it promised. So many people died in this episode! And I don’t mean peacefully in their sleep! (I definitely mean they subsisted on a steady diet of lead for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)
It all begins with Lee Paxton receiving a rather unpleasant phone call in the middle of the night: those bodies Carl showed Boyd last week suddenly appeared in one of Paxton’s many funeral homes. An anonymous tip pointed the coppers to Paxton’s business, and lo and behold, the corpses show evidence of foul play. Now, I’m no crime scene investigator (I leave that, like so many things in my life, to Ted Danson), but maybe the innumerable bullet holes were that evidence? Anyhow, Paxton puts the pieces together, hangs up angrily, snaps on his bedroom light, and sitting there is Boyd Crowder, having enacted the most silent home invasion in history. To be honest, I found that quite polite of Boyd. Guy’s a real class-act all around. I mean, he even provides Paxton a step-by-step tutorial on the best method for self-inflicting a gunshot wound, though Paxton didn’t seem terribly interested in the particulars. Boyd just goes that extra mile is my point, giving his illicit activities something of a human touch. Oh, RIP Lee Paxton. You were the worst.
Although the episode opens with such startling bloodshed, it would not end there. Oh no, ladies and gentlemen; Justified‘s swath of carnage would continue unabated. In an effort to tie up all Paxton-related loose ends, Boyd sets his sights on Sheriff Mooney. Ever the silver-tongued devil, Boyd convinces a dying coal miner named Hayes Workman to walk into a diner and shoot the Sheriff (though, of course, not the deputy because duh). And Hayes totally does after Boyd skedaddles. Classic Boyd! If he’s not ducking out on a check, he’s totally ordering hits on public figures in rinky-dink diners.**
**How awesome was it to watch the diner clear out, Boyd emerge, and take a seat across from Mora at the table. Trembling as blood drips from her face, she can only watch in abject horror as he calmly instructs her to leave town without claiming the recompense previously promised her. Only thing that could have made this scene better? Had Boyd, with approaching police sirens wailing in the background, concluded his threat by biting into a toasted English muffin after tipping a glass of orange juice in her direction. Tropicana advertisers, take note.
Boyd and Ava get their hopes up, as Paxton’s “suicide” (tee hee bc it totally wasn’t) destroys the DA’s case and forces the office to rescind all charges. However, I don’t think Boyd and Ava have ever seen an episode of Justified because, if they had, they would know never to get their hopes up. Ava finds herself scheduled for release the following morning, and Boyd positively titters with excitement. One small problem. Remember that rapey prison guard from earlier? Turns out he plotted with Ava’s roommate to plant a shank under her mattress. But the psychological torture doesn’t end there. He then stabs himself with the shank in front of her as the roomie calls for help. Um, creepy prison guard? Sir? I’m worried about you, like for real. This is not the behavior of a healthy-minded person, and I think you might need a dollop of counseling. Sorry to offend, but it’s true. Unfortunately, the prison system does not get hot under the collar when an inmate shanks a guard, so Ava gets transferred to the State Penitentiary and beyond Boyd’s realm of influence. #ModernRomance
Meanwhile, US Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens has a veritable bee in his bonnet over Darryl Crowe. He’s strutting around, demanding a reinstatement of his parole, but Raylan’s diverted attention allows an unforeseen storm of poo to land on his doorstep in the form of Wyn Duffy’s good friend Picker.
Remember Art traveling up to Detroit in the previous episode, where he interrogated Al, the delightful Canadian thug played by the also-delightful Will Sasso? Well, a true-blue rascal by the name of Elias Marcos (Alan Tudyk, having a blast and continuing the incredible streak of guest actors dropping in and out) finds out about Al’s chat with the federales, and he totally shoots him several times in the chest after learning he gave up Picker’s name! Shoots him until he dies, I mean. Jeez, Justified. Are we working through some anger issues? BECAUSE I’M LOVING IT!***
***Hands down, my favorite sequence of the episode has to be Art confronting Marcos in the parking lot outside of the (different) diner Picker sits in, as the two discuss the pros and cons of the Hilton versus Hyatt as far as brunch buffets go. And then Marcos showing up inside the diner anyway and threatening Picker in Spanish? Great stuff, though, given the rest of the episode as context, I felt pretty certain it would turn into the diner from L.A. Confidential, but alas no blood is shed. Let’s just say it: Art is a national treasure. You know it, I know it, Art knows it. Keep on keeping on, Art.
After finding himself dragged into the Marshall’s office, Picker makes a deal with the DA to turn over Marcos and–in turn–the elusive Theo Tonin, for whom Marcos works. Nothing if not a team player, Picker provides Raylan and Art with a begrudging tip on where to locate the crazed hit man: a warehouse filled with shipping containers. At first, it seems like a Picker has lied, but then Marcos bursts out of nowhere firing what I imagine is a gun but looks more like an automatic anti-aircraft turret. Holy God! The preponderance of bullets expended throughout the episode served as little more than a prelude to the shoot out that followed. However, Marcos doesn’t realize that Raylan’s trigger finger feels a tad itchy because he hasn’t personally shot anyone to death in a while. But then he totally shoot Marcos through the chest. Oh, Raylan! Your insatiable bloodlust certainly points to deep-seated emotional issues, but just don’t ever change, okay?
At first, Art feels bummed because Marcos served as the only link to Theo Tonin, but then a rather observant officer finds blood pooling around a shipping container riddled with bullets. At first, they all look confused because no one ever thought inanimate shipping containers could bleed, but life is a mystery, so who knows? Upon opening the container door, who is inside in the fetal position clutching a gunshot wound? Theo Tonin, of course, gift-wrapped just in time for Art’s impending retirement!****
****I really wish Rip Taylor had also popped out in an explosion of confetti and a braying of New Years party favors just to sell the crap out of that moment. But I guess he was busy somewhere else? Well, forget you Rip Taylor.
You know what time it is? It’s #CroweTime! First off, poor Dewey. He plays Santa Clause to some hookers, pawning off a turtle dog figurine (wtf that is) and his patented necklace. I’m afraid poor, sweet, dumb Dewey might take a plunge down the rabbit hole; if his philosophical meanderings on regret and the possibility of change serve as proof, that tumble seems likely to occur sooner rather than later. Wendy arrives in Harlan on Kendall’s behalf, injecting some much needed estrogen into the family dynamic. Homegirl is fierce! She doesn’t let nobody trifle with her nohow, least of all Darryl. Speaking of Darryl, he and the Haitian have a conversation with Boyd about getting what’s owed them as far as Audrey’s goes, though of course neither of those two chuckleheads realize that they are in the presence of and insulting Boyd in his own bar. As mentioned above, Boyd had a pretty busy few days and did not feel like dealing with their nonsense for like even a second. Finally, Danny Crowe shoots the Haitian in the face with a shotgun after getting into a heated discussion about grocery shopping because it seemed a shame to leave the body count at a number divisible by two.
Elsewhere, Boyd backchannels Dunham and convinces him to turn over Johnny but not before leaving behind the marijuana business and joining him in a friendly game of Mexican Black Tar Heroin Smuggling (coming soon from Parker Brothers), Johnny turns the table on Dunham, and Picker tells the DA that FBI Agent Barclay was the fed involved in Nicky Augustine’s murder, prompting Raylan to (it seems) tell the truth to Art. Ruh-roh!
What a great episode. Trimming the fat–not that this show ever had any to begin with–of many secondary characters allowed the already complex and tight narrative to tighten even further, promising more outlandishly violent and fiendishly entertaining episodes to follow. Bring ’em on!
– Boyd [to Paxton]: “Death will not be the end of your suffering. For generations, your children and your children’s children will have a mark against their name. And that will be your legacy.” [Pulls trigger]
– Wendy Crowe: “Does your campaign of harassment against our family know no limits?”
Raylan: “I gave the boy ten cents.”
– Art: “I thought I was being rather genial. I could be a lot less so, but just between us chickens, I’m not here on official business.”
– Boyd: “I’ve been accused of a lot of things. Being inarticulate ain’t one of them.”
– Raylan: “It wasn’t Barclay, and I can tell you that for a fact.”