OK this was by far the best episode of the season in my opinion. A lot of us felt a bit underwhelmed by last week. But this week we see why that setup had to happen the way it did. It turns out that Winona wasn’t just being petty and stupid in taking a single $100 bill from the evidence locker. She took all the money. The parallels with Ava just keep piling up.
I think that most of the “problems” with this season have really been writers setting things up for later episodes. It should be taken as a whole. That’s a bit different from last season where there really were many one off episodes. While there are elements of that this season it’s becoming clear that we should view each episode akin to a chapter in a book. A particularly good Elmore Leonard book.
There’s still a bit we’re missing. For instance why is Winona’s husband (is he ex yet?) going back in business with the very people who tried to kill him last year? I think there’s more to this race horse than meets the eye. And what exactly are Winona’s financial issues? It’s not clear beyond both Winona and Ava having big mortgage problems and getting mixed up in crime to solve them.
I also think that Art’s comment from several weeks ago questioning Raylan’s sanity in getting back together with Winona are going to indicate that the breakup wasn’t just good for Winona. It was good for Raylan. And tonight we see why. Winona might just be bad news. Certainly she’s bad news for Raylan tonight. But Raylan is in love and getting drug down into things he best not be getting into. It’s kind of nice since we still have our classic Raylan hero. But now he’s out of his comfort zone and off balance. It’s an aspect of him we’ve not seen before.
To cut the description short, the bill Raylan thought he’d found last week turns out to have been in the pocket of the captured bank robber. And before Raylan can swipe it the bill is scanned and sent to the secret service. It turns out it was part of a bank robbery from 1991 and the money was supposed to have been sent back but never had been. Raylan is trying to play it smooth through all this but he’s off balance and we can’t help but figure one of these people will start putting the pieces together.
When Raylan discovers that Winona has all the money and not just a single bill they come up with a plan to put it back by sneaking the money in through the Marshall door since there is added security at the front. (Thanks to the Boyd subplot which is starting to come together) Unfortunately a bomb threat evacuates the building. The director and writers do a fantastic job keeping tension up. We’re never sure if Winona is going to get caught as the bomb squad start looking at her bag with the money in it.
Meanwhile the owner of the coal mine where Boyd had worked hires Boyd for security. Supposedly this is more body guard duty. This leads to a great moment where Boyd and Raylan meet in the court room while Raylan is checking it for bombs. It’s probably my favorite scene the whole episode. Apparently the coal plant had accidentally killed someone who was trespassing on a mountain while they were blasting. Unfortunately for the company the whole thing was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube. Thus the bomb threats.
The judge in the case is Judge Reardon whom Raylan had protected last season. It’s a great role for one of my favorite character actors, Stephen Root. He shines tonight providing most of the Hitchocking tension of Raylan’s plan getting interrupted and nearly foiled. When one of the plantiffs is ejected a bomb threat is called in and everyone is evacuated. Fortunately this gets Raylan back his mojo and he becomes the on the ball confident guy we all love. He quickly figures out it’s a ruse to allow a sniper to kill Reardon. It turns out the plantiffs are behind it. The two women are arrested but the lone gunman escapes.
Back to Boyd we find out that the mine owner didn’t just want Boyd for his protective services (nor some hinted at loving) but for Boyd’s “outlaw ways.” Apparently she is having trouble with the Bennet clan. We’re not sure over what (although the preview for next week gives some hints). However clearly all these disparate threads are coming together.
The episode ends with Winona and Raylan finally getting the money back into the holding area. Just as Art shows up. I think it clear Art read all the signs of Raylan’s odd behavior and put two and two together. The final scene is great. Just Winona and Raylan in the elevator saying nothing. As is so often the case with Justified a whole lot is said between the lines.