An other week an other great episode. The writing tonight was particularly great. At least as good as any this season.
What I loved about tonight were all the little moments between characters. Once again a lot said that isn’t said. A feature pretty common in this show and quite difficult normally to pull off.
We start out with Raylan giving statements to the FBI and find out the assassins were former soldiers. Raylan is distracted though by Gary talking to Winona. Gary’s whole personae has changed and Raylan is suspicious. (Justifiably as we discover) More interesting is Art’s treatment of Raylan – ordering him off the case and having Tim be a minder. Tim is one of those characters on the show we’ve not seen a lot of. I kind of wish we had. Hopefully next season. Of course as expected Raylan isn’t going to take Art’s orders sitting down. The banter between an obviously frustrated Tim and Raylan is pretty funny. Yet there’s a lot of tension going on. The directors and writers know that the way to play an Elmore Leonard character is to make it straight and somewhat tense with the humor being a kind of surface thing hiding utter seriousness. It’s a hard line to walk. (Note the difference between Get Shorty and Be Cool for examples of how to do it and how not to do it)
What I really love about these scenes that continue through the episode is that Raylan always plays it straight with Tim but Tim isn’t willing to give a wink and a nod to pretense. Is this a sign that Tim knows something is up with Raylan on the missing money issue? I suspect so. All the characters are smart and Raylan wasn’t exactly being subtle. (Which is why Art figured things out fairly quickly) The real issue is what they think of Raylan. As you might recall Art wasn’t exactly happy that Raylan was back with Winona at the beginning of the season. Is Winona bad news? I suspect there’s more to learn there.
As I was waiting for my wife to come down and watch tonight’s episode last week’s was on. It was the opening scene with that great little kerfuffle between Art and Raylan. You might remember that Art says he’s a great lawman but a lousy Marshal. I think that tonight we see that. Raylan’s kind of cowboy way of doing things really means he can’t work within the system well. This is getting back to the theme that the whole show opened with. Raylan effectively challenging a mob assassin to a duel leading to getting sent to Kentucky in the first place. He’s a man out of place in many ways. (This is true in the various stories and novels he pops up in as well)
Last week I thought we’d find out that the assassins were actually after Winona perhaps as part of an insurance scam by Gary. I was completely wrong. They were hitmen hired by Gary out of jealousy. Raylan in his typical way resolves the whole mess (after ditching Tim). My favorite scene of the episode is Gary going on about how he can’t handle knowing Winona is with Raylan. He says, “do you know what that is like?” A disgusted dumfounded Raylan replies, “Yes!” (Of course Winona had left Raylan for Gary) Oddly while Raylan could have just brought Gary back to the Marshals to confess to the attempted murder he instead protects Winona by letting Gary go. Raylan has been protecting Winona a lot this season. And arguably each time gets Raylan deeper and deeper into problems.
There were some other great scenes tonight – especially the banter between Mags and Raylan. It changed my view of Mags as a character somewhat. Loved quip to Mags corrupt sheriff son Doyle. “You only brought one man for backup?” “I figured you’d bring more men.”
The Boyd situation was progressing as well. And not in a good way. Ava is really getting herself in trouble. Boyd steals Dickie’s money and then goes into hiding to split it up. Ava clearly wants in on everything. Her only rule is no prostitutes. Any of us that had any hope for a redeemed Boyd are being disappointed. Boyd clearly intends to take over the region’s crime. However Dickie’s answer is to kill Helen.
A lot will be going on next week.