This was an amazing episode, but not if you happen to be a Deputy Marshall by the name of Raylan Givens. Let’s add it up: He gets confirmation that his boss knows he was up to something with Winona in the evidence locker (which means he’s probably going to get fired, maybe prosecuted); He is tasked with bodyguarding the spokeswoman for the Black Pike Mining Company (which he hates); This means he’s working with Boyd Crowder (which he double hates); His relationship with Winona seems to be losing its momentum (after all–it’s her fault he’s in trouble); The mining company spokeswoman is trying to sleep with him (not totally sure that’s a bad thing); He gets beat up by Coover Bennett (kinda surprisingly, given that Coover doesn’t have the smarts God gave a pile of rocks); He has started drinking heavily (no surprise there)…am I missing anything?
Interesting the way that the show names the episodes. There’s always some kind of ironic twist or double entendre to the name of each episode, and this one is no different. “The Spoil,” as Mags informs us, refers to the material that is left behind after the mining company is done with an area. But in this case it also could refer to Raylan’s life. Things are going South fast and he’s not helping matters by hitting the bottle and spending his free time at the batting cages (without a helmet, no less). Art is clearly pissed off at him and using his cell phone to track him when he doesn’t answer. That can’t be good, and no good can come of his new assignment to watch Carol, the redheaded spokeswoman for the mining company, who is trying to get some landowners to sign over some of their property rights, and is also trying to get Raylan into bed. The best line of the episode comes when Carol and Raylan have to bail Boyd out of jail (after Doyle Bennett hijacks Boyd while he’s on mining company business):
Boyd: Seems to me you were here the last time I got out of jail.
Raylan: You can be sure I won’t be here the next time.
Later, as Boyd and Raylan are getting in the car:
Boyd: This isn’t the first time we’ve found ourselves on the same side.
Raylan: I’m here on assignment from the Marshalls and you’re a mining company gun thug. The only thing we’re on the same side of is, like, this car.
In this episode, we also find out some of the history between Raylan and the Bennetts. It appears Raylan is directly responsible for Dickie’s limp, though Raylan was acting in self-defense. It happened at a high school baseball game when Dickie was pitching and Raylan was at the plate. He had already got two hits off of Dickie and the third time up, Dickie went head hunting and plunked Raylan. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, during which Dickie tried to kick Raylan in the face, so Raylan hit him in the leg with his bat, which broke Dickie’s knee. This was a renewal of hostilities between the clans that goes back to prohibition days when Raylan’s great uncle was shot in the chest by the Bennetts for supposedly ratting them out. Bad blood.
Carol tries to talk to Mags about their opposing interests, but Mags is chillingly polite, as always, and is having none of it. The fight that breaks out between Coover and Raylan is pretty one-sided, even though Coover still has his hand in bandages. My guess is that Raylan was too hung over to really put up a good fight, but Coover is a handful any time, drunk or sober. Loretta is clearly troubled by the fight.
The town meeting to discuss the mining company’s proposal is interesting for two reasons: (1) we find out that the plan is to cut the top off the mountain (but this doesn’t help explain why the mining company needs the rights of the landowners because the company already owns the top of the mountain). (2) Raylan speaks against the mining company (which is exactly the opposite of what Art told him to do), and Boyd breaks out his best preacher to speak for the company (Raylan was right: they weren’t on the same side). Mags speaks eloquently against the company’s plan and invites everyone to a “whoop-de-doo.” Someone lights firecrackers outside the building, which effectively clears the meeting. Raylan thinks Carol had someone do it, but she denies it.
Later, Ava has to save Boyd from the Bennetts with her trusty scattergun and Boyd studies maps to figure out why the Bennetts are trying to buy up the same property rights that the mining company is after. Raylan accompanies Carol to his father’s house to see if she can convince them to sell to her, and a sniper starts firing, hitting Arlo in the leg. It’s the plaintiffs from the lawsuit against the mining company that we saw last week, and Raylan figures out that one of them is after the judge as well, which turns out to be right. Aunt Linda tries to bribe Raylan into leaving town and steering clear of the Bennetts by offering the rest of the missing $20k. Raylan takes the money but renegs on the Bennett deal. He heads off to the Bennetts’ whoop-de-doo with Carol, as do Boyd and Ava. This should be a helluva party.
As always, it’s the details that make the difference: Dickie and Coover repeatedly try to intimidate people by threatening them with a bag of…what? weasels? Then, when Ava shoots the bag full of buckshot, Coover cries because she killed “Charlie,” who is, I guess, the pet weasel they sick on people who don’t do as they ask. Crazy. Get ready for a blowout next episode.