This week of Justified starts moments after last week’s episode. Sammy gets a call that is presumably faked to tip off the feds that Raylan may be dirty. We then go to what would be a forced shot of Raylan sitting in a bar listening to music, however it is interleaved with Quarles and Duffy disposing of Gary. Goddamn I love the editing of this show. Quarles shoots and kills Gary and leaves him on the front doorstep of Winona’s house. Looks like tomorrow might not be Raylan’s best day ever.
When Quarles returns to his place of business, one Elliston Limehouse is there to meet him. Limehouse lets Quarles to know that Shelby is indeed running. Limehouse then subtly proposes an alliance between the two. Limehouse is indeed following up on his plan to get Boyd and Quarles to go to war by playing both sides. It’s a classic tactic that gets you results, or blows up in your face. There’s very little middle ground with the gambit he is pulling.
As Raylan heads off to work, he’s informed by the bartender than someone’s been messing with his ride. I’m sure that this is an inconsequential event that will have no after effect. He receives a call that there is a body on his ex-wife’s lawn. Almost instantly the homicide police try running game on Raylan. Raylan however is in no mood to play. He heads to the Marshal’s office to figure out what’s going on, and get his daily dose of shit talk from Tim. God damn I love when Tim fucks with Raylan.
The FBI is looking for dirt on Raylan. Their first stop? ADA David Vasquez. Vasquez if you remember was the man assigned to look into Raylan’s shootings. If I remember correctly he found Raylan not at fault in any of them, got “I Luv Raylan” tattooed on his lower back, and bought himself a Stetson so he could pretend to be Raylan in the mirror while dressed in his jammies. I may be confused however as that is my routine every night after I watch Justified.
Tanner shows up looking like he got thrown out of a moving trailer. In actuality he … got … well, thrown out of a moving trailer. Tanner explains his actions at Boyd’s oxy clinic. Tanner tries to talk his way out of having his balls cut off. Quarles gives him one last chance to be useful and keep his testicles.
Art pulls Raylan in for a little heart to heart. Art needs to know that Raylan didn’t kill Gary. He then high tails it out of his office so Raylan can tell Winona about Gary’s murder. Homicide then shows up and drops the hammer on Raylan by informing him that his prints were on the casing. I guess he should have left that bullet in Duffy instead of on him. Raylan explains that his print got on the shell casing because he is the baddest mother fucker on the planet. Not only can he put his finger prints everywhere, he can melt panties and deflower virgins (male and female) with a wink and a nod. Naturally, the homicide police accept this explanation, and seek out ADA Vasquez for tattoo placement ideas.
One of the police officers heads over to Quarles’ place to look around. As per Raylan’s instruction, the place has been emptied out. Since Duffy hasn’t gotten around to painting the murder room, there might be trouble. Quarles manages to stop Det. Dempsey before he can open the door. That was a close one.
The only person in the area who might be having a worse day than Raylan is Sherriff Napier. He heads out to his car, starts it, heads back to his office, and the car blows up like a 15 year old girl’s cell phone. He might need a ride from someone.
Quarles and Duffy get pulled into a murder investigation. Those two guys know how to play the game. Quarles has a silver tongue that any politician would envy, and Duffy is a sociopath who can lie like he’s breathing. They spin a fancy tale of Raylan hunting for Gary, and beating Duffy to find out where we went. They insinuate that Raylan is a drunk and has anger problems. They go on to explain how water is wet and the sun is hot.
Napier, fresh out from his reenactment of the end (or beginning) of Casino goes to find Boyd. The logic being that Boyd is an expert in demolitions, and Napier is a huge dick that Boyd would possibly like to blow up. I can’t fault him for logic. Boyd is arrested.
Next stop for Homicide is to talk to Winona. They ask the usual questions, Do you think Raylan wanted to kill Gary? Do you think that its odd that Gary hired a hitman to kill the both of you? You know, couple stuff. Winona is certainly not happy to know that Gary was even more of a d-bag than she thought. Both Raylan and Winona give consent to a search of their cars and homes. Too bad Raylan forgot about the incident with his trunk in the morning. As Winona runs away, the FBI comes in and detains him. The feds tell the local PD to fuck off and start in on Raylan. They also start in on Art by threatening to go after him for beating a prisoner. Then they go on to accuse Raylan of being in bed with the Crowders.
ADA Vasquez sums up the event of the last two seasons. When you think about it, it could look like Raylan was helping Boyd. It does seem like Boyd’s enemies have a way of running up against the destructive power of Raylan and his mighty hat. Art dismisses Raylan and attacks the FBI’s information. See, if the information pops up during an ongoing investigation, the feds can’t use it, or it will blow their cover. Well done Art, you sly old fox.
Tim takes Raylan downstairs to talk with LPD. Halfway through the elevator ride Raylan informs Tim that he needs to get out of the building. Tim tells him to cut the shit and tell him what’s really going on. Raylan tells him that he believes that Quarles put a murder weapon in his trunk. Tim then lets Raylan go off to save the day.
When Raylan gets to his car, the search is concluding. However, instead of bagging a gun and slapping the cuffs on him, they put everything back and head off to Winona’s place. Winona calls and says that the gun is there. I guess the bartender scared off whoever tried to put the gun in his trunk. Once again, it looks like Sundance (Raylan) must bail out Bitch Cassidy (Winona).
The FBI is incensed that Raylan is nowhere to be found. However, they are also on the list of “People who Tim doesn’t take shit from.” Tim informs the FBI of his mental short comings and makes them feel bad about pointing it out. He informs them that he escorted Raylan downstairs and that’s that … must … refrain … Punch Drunk Love reference … damn.
Winona gives Raylan the gun and tells him goodbye … this time for reals. The gun itself, I’m just going to name it Chekov, will more than likely play into the future of the Quarles — Boyd — Raylan triple threat match that’s going on. If the Dudleys run in and yell “Get the Tables!” it will be the best match ever.
Tanner shows up at Napier’s office looking for money. Apparently Napier used Tanner to fake blow himself up as an excuse to arrest Boyd. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Napier doesn’t pay and sends Tanner out. Hypothetically if I paid to have someone fake blow me up and I didn’t die, I’d pay them for a job well done. See, if I didn’t pay, they could just blow me up for real, and then I’d be well done. Man that joke failed … why the hell did I even leave it in there?
Raylan gets some good news. He’s told that both the homicide investigation and his federal investigation have both hit walls and the parties are not proceeding at this point. Sammy also hears the news and informs Quarles that his overly complex and circuitous plan failed. He’s turning off the money tap and leaving Quarles out in the cold. Quarles does not take this news very well. He pops his little toy and considers killing Sammy. He decides that he’s already in enough trouble with his boss. Adding in “killed your son” is more than he can recover from.
Raylan pops into Quarles’ place for some good ol’ fashion face rubbing. All he finds is Duffy painting a room. Raylan taunts Duffy until Duffy’s colors come out. He tells Duffy he’s got the gun that killed Gary and he’s not afraid to use it.
In true after school special form, Quarles has a ringing phone that reads “Family” and a bottle of pain killers. He opts for the pain killers. We close this week of Justified with Quarles meeting with Limehouse in a deserted park. Time will tell how the pieces on the board move next.
I knew going in that this would be a payoff episode for the last two weeks of set up. I was happy to get some resolution, but it almost felt like that resolution was both too quick, and too easy. That being said, I still really liked this episode. I feel like the writers are not above using a resolution as a setup itself.
When I look at Justified and I look at most other TV shows there is a clear gap in quality of writing, editing, and overall story telling process. Justified’s core story is no more or less interesting than most of the other schlock out there. The difference comes in its presentation. LOST started the multiple protagonists viewpoints, and for a few seasons it worked. Then when the cast expanded, it got complicated. Justified has kept its narrative going with multiple viewpoints by keeping it simple. There are typically three main ones.
Season 1 was Raylan, Boyd, and Beau. Season two was Raylan, Boyd and the Bennetts. Season 3 is Raylan, Boyd and Quarles. I felt like this episode was Quarles’ big break. This was the first episode where it felt like he was a character in the world instead of a driving force for others. It also feels like an intentional move. Beau in season 1 doesn’t show up until the midway point, The Bennetts are present from the opening shot of season 2, and it feels like they made Quarles a hybrid of the two.