I’m sure there are more professional ways to start out a recap than by typing “holy crap” in all caps, but seriously, HOLY CRAP. How good was last night’s episode? The scene at the beginning with Nicky and Boyd, the whole standoff between Tim and Colt (especially the phone call), Drew telling Raylan about meeting Arlo in Vietnam, Ava going FULL Ava Crowder on Nicky and Johnny, Constable Bob turning an enforcer named Yolo into beef stew, all of it. Any of those scenes could have been the high point of another episode, but instead Graham Yost and crew stacked them on top of each other like a gun-toting, wise-cracking, 30-foot tall sentient totem pole, and the result was one of the most enjoyable hours of television in recent memory.
A season that started with Raylan Givens happily boinking a bartender and going toe-to-toe with her cage fighter ex-husband has smoothly transitioned into a battle between the U.S. Marshals and the Detroit mob involving helicopters, snipers, and booby-trapped cars lining a rural Kentucky road, and has occasionally featured a bumbling constable spraying bullets into things. All in the course of like a week or two in the characters’ lives. Stay frosty, Justified. Stay very frosty.
And now, the highlights:
- As Graham Yost explains in his weekly postmortem with EW, a bunch of the action in this episode was inspired by Tarantino films (mostly notably the scene where Yolo beats the snot out of Constable Bob while “Love Train” plays in the background), which is kind of a snake-eating-its-own-tail homage since Tarantino has listed Elmore Leonard’s books as one of his own inspirations.
- Speaking of that Bob/Yolo scene, Tom Scharpling, host of The Best Show on WFMU, had a call-in topic on a recent show about what song would be the worst to get beat up to. My answer is still “The Chicken Dance,” but after last night, let’s go ahead and put “Love Train” on the short list.
- One more Constable Bob note: Patton Oswalt did an interview with Esquire where he talked about his burgeoning acting career, and he said that he “got nervous” acting around Jere Burns. This seems reasonable. Wynn Duffy will do that to a man.
- Look, I know he was kind of being a dick about it, but it was still nice of Nicky Augustine to compliment Boyd on his teeth and his snazzy wardrobe.
- From now on, whenever anyone asks me why or how I know a lot about a person, my answer will be “We dug coal together.” (Ex. – “Hey DG, you sure seem to know a lot about Boyz II Men.” “We dug coal together.” “Uh… what?”)
- Note to self: DO NOT INSULT AVA CROWDER OR CONFESS YOUR LOVE FOR HER AFTER YOUR PLOT TO DOUBLE-CROSS HER BEAU HAS BEEN REVEALED.
- My favorite part of the Tim/Colt Kentucky IED standoff? The fact that Tim named him “Lt. Dan” in his “screenplay.”
- Wait, I lied. My favorite part was when Art said “This is Kentucky, not Sausalito” when he found out there were no smokers in the crew who could provide a lighter to ignite the Molotov cocktail.
- I lied again. My favorite part was ALL OF IT.
- How have I made it this far without mentioning that (a) Raylan Givens is apparently a big reader, and (b) Drew met Arlo when Arlo was reading a book outside a Saigon whorehouse because he thought the name of the poor sap who drugged him was in there and he wanted to find out so he could castrate him? Seriously. This goddamn episode.
- Two things: 1) If an astronaut had landed a helicopter on the baseball field of my high school, I would never shut up about it either. 2) I love that Boyd Crowder — a well-read, eloquent man known for using 40 words when four will suffice — still refers to this as “the coolest, most awesomest thing” that ever happened to him in high school.
- TV PITCH: Justified High, featuring teenage versions of Boyd, Raylan, and Ava back in the late 80s doing geometry and screwing around in detention and so on and so forth. Make it a cartoon and air it after Archer.
- “Playing the part of a lawman doesn’t mean you know sh-t about sh-t.” Put that on Raylan’s gravestone and engrave shotguns on either side of it.
I’ll stop here because I could go on forever. Feel free to add your favorite moments in the comments. As always, GIFs from Chet Manley are on the following pages. Please do not beat the hell out of me while listening to the O’Jays.