A review of tonight's “Justified” coming up just as soon as that guy aplexes me…
“And that is how we are going to finish it: together.” -Raylan
Even with the return of Constable Bob – kicking ass, tasing dudes and shaving with a straight razor, because you get to do that after you've taken out Yolo – and Limehouse, and the addition to the larger ensemble of Jeff Fahey(*) as Ava's uncle Zachariah, “Sounding” wasn't quite as giddy an affair as our last two episodes, though it was a fairly necessary one from a plot/character standpoint.
(*) Add Fahey to the list of People I Can't Quite Believe Weren't on “Justified” Before Now. In addition to his more famous roles like Lapidus on “Lost” or the Lawnmower Man, he was the star of a super-underrated show about U.S. Marshals called, simply, “The Marshal.” (Here are a few scenes.)
At a certain point, Ava had to try to run. She just had to. Her situation is so fraught with danger, from so many different angles, that it would have seemed against her character not to try. The problem is that when you put Ava into so tight a corner, the tone of the episode begins to evoke last year's prison arc, which was also an arguably necessary but not very fun stretch of the show.
This one was at least livened up by our various guest stars, and by the concluding scene where Ava and Raylan kiss for the first time in forever.
On the former, I'm glad to have Patton Oswalt back for a little bit, and I appreciate the changed dynamic between Raylan and Bob in the wake of the Yolo incident. Raylan trusts him more now, and Bob's swagger seems less like posturing and more like a guy who knows he can do the job, even if he sometimes needs advice on how to get it done.
And it made perfect sense to bring Limehouse back for this situation: given his relationship with Ava, he's exactly whom she'd go to for help making her escape. The question now is whether he's simply going to write her off for trying to screw him over, or if he'll get more involved in the story as he also tries to get his hands on Markham's money. Much as I enjoy Mykelti Williamson in this role, I think I'd just as soon be done with the gang at Noble's for the duration; “Justified” has a penchant for overcomplicating its plots at times, and I think we have enough other players here as is.
As for Raylan and Ava's kiss, it's yet another full-circle moment in a season, and episode, full of them. (See also Boyd reluctantly going back into a mine to gain access to the blackdamp.) I'm not on any 'ship for this show, be it Ava/Boyd, Ava/Raylan or Raylan/Tim, but these two do have a history on multiple levels, and they both have multiple reasons for wanting to get involved on this level again – cards the show can hold close to the vest for now – and it's only going to complicate matters emotionally going forward. (Complicated emotions are much more interesting, and easier to deal with, than complicated plots.)
So, no, there wasn't anything on the level of the Wiz blowing up all over Boyd and Wynn, or Loretta serving Markham a glass of Apple Pie, but “Sounding” moved the pieces along for the next stage of this fun final game.
Some other thoughts:
* We get not only the return of Limehouse, but of his once and future right-hand man Errol, last seen getting shut during the hijinks with Robert Quarles at the end of season 3. As he explains to Ava, he survived his wound and eventually mended fences with the boss.
* A good episode for Wynn's bodyguard Mikey, who not only shows a flair for Scrabble, but gets to zap Albert Fekus a bunch with the cattle prod. If the “Wynn, Lose or Draw” spin-off ever comes to pass, I hope Mikey is in the Wynn-ebago right alongside his man.
* I also liked seeing multiple methods of electro-shock administration, with Wynn explaining why tasers are now inconvenient for criminals, while an honest lawman like Bob can still get away with using one.
* Choo Choo continues to be unpredictable in that Elmore Leonard henchman way, first obsessing over the bartender who's skimming from the till, then punching Calhoun so hard – “You ask me, he gets Amtraked!” – that he dies before Seabass can get any information from him. I look forward to seeing the very stupid way in which he dies.
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com