This week on Justified, the noose keeps getting tighter around Boyd Crowder’s neck, which is exactly what Mary Steenburgen wants. At the same time, Rachel and Sanchez (I think he’s an AUSA) remind Ava that if she doesn’t have any concrete information on Boyd by the end of the week, she’ll most likely end up in prison. Furthering the RICO investigation, Raylan slips in a mention of his history with Boyd, and new character Luther; “We dug coal together.” That means a lot in Harlan, and it’s what Raylan told Art way back in the pilot episode, when he was asked if he knew Boyd Crowder. Everything is coming full circle.
Justified is one of those shows where the plot is less important than how the characters react to something that has just happened to them. Over on the Boyd/Ty Walker/Avery Markham side of the story, Boyd tries to figure out what’s going on in the pizza joint, thinking the property’s owned by Calhoun. Once Ty saunters into Boyd’s bar, his gang realise they can’t walk into the pizza joint now that their faces are known, so they send Ava along. Ty isn’t fooled by Ava’s silly southern girl act, because he can see that Ava’s smart. Then we have Choo Choo and Sea Bass kidnapping Boyd and threatening him again, while Ty and Avery Markham pay a visit to Ava. Boyd happens in on this meeting, and apologises to Markham because he assumed he was stealing from Calhoun (is Buddy Garrity going to be back any time soon?), and had no idea it was Markham. Boyd was actually stumped, because he’s usually the smartest person in the room, and it takes a lot to outsmart Boyd Crowder. It turns out that Markham has a reputation, and he knew Boyd’s father, which isn’t good. Then Boyd demands a meeting with Mary Steenburgen and asks why he wasn’t told he was robbing Avery Markham (the guy she was sleeping and smoking pot with last week). And now that he knows who Markham is? He’s going to rob him and put a bullet in his head. Boyd Crowder doesn’t cower when threatened, he thrives.
Ava Crowder was definitely the most interesting character this week. She’s getting closer to Boyd, but is it for Raylan or is she falling back in love with him? I loved the scene of Boyd and Ava getting drunk together, and I loved it when she told Raylan off for bringing Rachel and Sanchez with him. Ava knows what it is to be in love with a Crowder, and she just needs to get used to being who she was before she went to prison. Markham basically said as much – either she’s twice as hard as the men she’s running with, or she’s “Never… more than a token. Something to be threatened, or hurt, just to keep [her] man in line”. But Ava goes and scouts the pizza joint. She gets drunk with her fiance. She asks him questions at the end of the episode, and lest he get suspicious, she sleeps with him. Joelle Carter is doing amazing work this season, and not knowing where Ava’s true loyalties lie is one of the most intriguing parts of the show. She suggested to Boyd that they just run away. Does she mean it, or is she trying to trap him?
What I found interesting about Raylan’s main storyline (tracking down the explosives Boyd used in the bank job), is that he’s tailing his man the same way Boyd was tailed by Markham’s people. Luther is in charge of explosives for the mine, but some of them went missing, and Raylan doesn’t think Luther did it. He’s right, Luther’s son did. And one of Boyd’s men, Earl, wants him to get some more. Raylan pays them a visit before they go to get more explosives, then he and Rachel follow them to their destination, which turns out to be Luther’s place. Luther’s son gets two warnings and then arrested, Boyd gets two warnings, pretends to apologise to Markham before vowing to kill him. Unlike Boyd and Raylan, this kid has his father to protect him. Fatherhood has long been a theme of Justified, with Raylan trying his hardest not to end up like his father, and Boyd taking over his father’s criminal empire (and being closer with Arlo than Raylan ever was). Luther’s there to protect his son, because he feels the need to protect him, and tells Raylan that feeling won’t just go away when his daughter grows up. The tension is getting thick in this show, and I’m worried that no one will make it out alive.
- After spending a couple of weeks in the office, Rachel comes out and chases bad guys with Raylan. I really like their dynamic, and also that Raylan recognises Rachel doesn’t really like being stuck in the office all day while the boys go and hunt the bad guys.
- Wynn Duffy and that tan! Jere Burns continues to be utterly magnificent.
- It was eerie watching Avery Markham sit in Ava’s kitchen, because as we know from the pilot (and it was repeated in the premiere), Markham is sitting exactly where Bowman was when Ava killed him. Is she going to take Markham down as well?
- Dewey’s body seems to be properly disposed of and the necklace hasn’t shown up again. Yet.