Last night’s episode of Justified — titled, accurately enough, and more on that in a minute, “Shot All To Hell” — ran 11 minutes long, and with good reason. That sucker was jam-packed from beginning to end. I really don’t know where they could have made any significant cuts. Every scene was a 100% pure, no filler, Grade-A piece of business.
We should really start with Art, though. First, the good: Everything that happened. Especially that scene in the diner, which, for my money, was the single best scene of the season thus far. (WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE WYNN DUFFY’S ORDER?) So much of Art’s screen time is spent in the office doing the Angry Dad/Mischievous Teenager routine with Raylan, so it was really nice to see him out in the field again. He got to trade barbs with Picker and Wynn Duffy, stare down a ghostly Greek mob consigliere (TWICE, with the second one utilizing something the Marshal handbook probably refers to as “The Full Raylan Givens”), and make the biggest score of his career by taking down an infamous mob boss after a shootout in a warehouse. That’s one hell of a day. If ever anyone has deserved to flip their cap around, put their feet up on their desk, pour a glass of Pappy Van Winkle, and smoke a victory cigar inside an office located squarely on federal property, it was Art Mullen last night.
But — and this is a purely speculative “but” — the whole time I was watching the episode, I kept getting these pangs of dread in my gut. I fear Art may not be long for this world. At one point, I actually thought they were going to kill him last night. There were too many mentions of his upcoming retirement and his fishing trips, and toasts to him as though he were already gone, and things just generally working out on a show where things do not typically work out for long. Justified has been known to do stuff like that. Look at the Ballad of Ava Crowder from last night, where they zigged us with the happy rainbows-and-puppies scene between her and Boyd, then hit us with the inevitable zag. (To whatever degree a diminutive prison guard shanking himself and framing her for it as retribution for his own failed attempt at raping her can be considered “inevitable.”) I hope I’m wrong, because I will cry real tears if Art goes the way of [insert Breaking Bad spoiler], but I’ve seen too many action movies to not be suspicious.
If you gotta go, though, I mean…
And now, the rest of the highlights:
- It does say a lot about this episode that my beloved Boyd Crowder could get the vast majority of screen time, kill a prominent member of the Harlan Illuminati and the double-crossing sheriff who helped him do it, deliver a handful of Peak Boyd monologues, and get outwitted by his cousin in a major Mexican drug deal, and he still never stood a chance of scoring a spot in the intro paragraph. Busy, busy night.
- CON: Getting your head blown off in your own bedroom by a notorious criminal after he explained that your reputation would be ruined for generations. PRO: Getting to hear one last sweet Boyd Crowder speech before you go. You know, if you can appreciate the language and word choice without factoring in all that stuff from the CON.
- I like to think Boyd was sitting there silently, patiently, in the pitch black for hours waiting for Paxton to wake up.
- Just FYI: Last night’s Boyd Crowder Hair Threat Level was set at Murderous Albert Einstein.
- Favorite Boyd line of the night: “I’ve been accused of being a lot of things, but inarticulate ain’t one of ’em.”
- Daryl Crowe, Jr. Hilarious Pronuncuation Watch: Strong, authorities.
- Speaking of the Crowe family and people who have a colorful way with words, WELCOME BACK, WENDY CROWE.
- The Detroit mob consigliere — whose pale complexion and pink eyes gave him a bit of a “Doc Holliday at the end of Tombstone” vibe — was played by Alan Tudyk from Firefly and Suburgatory. Justified keeps collecting recognizable actors for its guests spots. I wonder if they think they’ll eventually be able to trade them all in for one big guest appearance next season, like Meryl Streep playing the big bad or something.
- Not gonna lie, seeing Dewey Crowe that depressed made me a little sad. He almost had it all — a small business, financial security, Marco Polo games with nude prostitutes in an above ground pool, the whole American dream — before Raylan and his cousin took it away. Now he’s just a bummed-out lackey who occasionally has a finger in his butt. He’s like Nincompoop Icarus.
- Surprisingly little for Raylan to do this week. Until the end, of course. Between his apparent confession to Art at the end if the episode, and the thing in the preview where Art punches him square in his angular jaw (NOTE: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I think it’s safe so say that things will pick up next week for our hero.
- Couple other Boyd notes: 1) The man is a master of multiple negotiation techniques, ranging from the Reverse Michael Corleone (offering to take nothing as opposed to pay nothing) to the Extended Kevin McAllister (giving Daryl 60 seconds to get out of his bar before getting filled with lead); 2) Boyd’s usual? Four fingers of Elmer T. That’s one hell of a usual. 3) Love Boyd recruiting his own Jack Ruby to take out the Sheriff, although I’m not sure if the whole “immediately returning to the table to discuss business next to the body” move was the smartest thing to do. But hey, how many murders have I orchestrated, right? What the hell do I know?
- Hey Art, can you grab me a Diet 7-Up? What? I can suck the can when you’re done with yours? Jesus, man. I just wanted a soda.
- “You guys just love the smell of your own farts, don’t you?”
- Daryl Crowe hanging a framed — FRAMED — “Hang In There” kitty poster in the main room of a whorehouse cracked me up.
- Note to all Haitian criminal-types (and everyone else, too, I suppose): Maybe don’t provoke the hot-headed murderer who’s menacingly reading the latest issue of Guns & Ammo magazine.
- Did anyone else have a flashback to The Wire during the poker game when Hot Rod asked “Why do you let him play?” I was really expecting Country Avon to reply “Got to, man. This is America.”
- I love that Art and Raylan went to track down Marcos with no back-up, and that Marcos missed like 100 clear shots at near-point-blank range with his futuristic Tommy Gun. I’ll take action over realism any day, thank you very much.
- This thing where Picker pinned the Nicky Augustine hit on Agent Barkley/Ned Ryerson, but Raylan stormed back into Art’s office to confess — or at least start to — that it was a lie … this is going to be an issue, yes?
- Someone please airbrush this image on a t-shirt for me.
That’s it. I still missed a ton, because, again, hoo boy, what an episode. Feel free to chime in below. As always, thanks to Chet Manley for the GIFs, and please do not shoot me in the stomach while I’m hiding in a shipping container in a Kentucky warehouse.