What a fantastic episode. It did what I love Justified doing. It took you on a somewhat expected path but did so in some very unexpected ways. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected ways of dealing with the expected. Surprisingly the whole Winona subplot didn’t amount to much tonight. We also never saw the real resolution of last week. We know Raylan resolved the assassination attempts on his life but it would have been worth showing the inevitable conflict between Art and him over all this. I’d say we’d get that next week but judging by the ending tonight I think things are about to get out of hand. It’s probably just hard to fit all this stuff in an hour episode.
The best thing about tonight is that we know Raylan is out for revenge but he never quite tips over the edge into blood letting. He comes close in a pretty unexpected scene towards the end. Rather than just doing a recap I’m going to assume everyone watched it and highlight my favorite scenes. And the best one by far is the final confrontation between Raylan and Dickie. We knew it was coming. We know there’s a long history of bad blood here. Yet Raylan clearly just wants Dickie in jail and methodically goes about his police work to figure out who was behind Helen’s murder. He finally wraps it up after getting Mags to betray her own son. He and Doyle are walking away and then out of no-where he clips Doyle in the head. (That is a cliche of crime films but it never works in real life – you typically either hit them too hard doing brain/skull damage or even killing them or you just hit them hard enough to piss them off)
Raylan drags Dickie out into the woods and we see Dickie begging for his life. Everything’s been turned on their head. Is Raylan going to become what he attempted to escape? But no, suddenly the next scene we realize Dickie is in jail.
An other great part of this scene is Raylan really realizing all Helen gave him. As well as realizing just how much of a cancer this land was to him.
This was hinted at earlier in an other fantastic scene. That was the final blow up between Raylan and his dad in jail. When Raylan realizes his dad has been lying to him – something he already expected – there’s a rage there that isn’t just towards his father but almost towards all Kentucky. That subtext has been going on through the whole season. At the beginning we started with Raylan having the chance to return to Florida – what he supposedly wanted. Yet he stays in Kentucky for Winona. This is his undermining. Suddenly old feuds come to the surface. Winona isn’t what he wants her to be. His relation with Art, already not great, breaks down further. He becomes more and more ungrounded as time goes on. The death of Helen isn’t something he fully blames on all the others. While it’s never stated you get the distinct sense he blames himself. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.
Boyd was barely in tonight’s episode but those few moments were great. For the first time I think Boyd’s arc this season makes sense. I still can’t explain it. But Boyd seems more at peace than he ever has. The scene where he defends Ava against Boyd’s “disrespect” was subtle yet profound.
The other scene which was quick but great was Winona seeing Raylan’s tombstone. (Is it just me, or isn’t it creepy to already have a tombstone) There was a lot to that scene even though it lasted only about 10 second.
Finally the “rescue” of Dickie by Mags was great. Who was the woman who went to the jail though? I’m guessing it’s the maternal grandmother of the Bennetts.
Big questions remaining. What is up with Loretta? There’s some reason they showed her tonight. I don’t know what that is but I think the writers want us to keep her in mind. Is Mags coming for her next week? Is there something more to come with the whole Winona angle? I think there has to be. There’s so much unresolved there. If not next week then certainly next season. I have to admit the whole Winona subplot has been the weakest part of the season. Yet it’s kind of key to Raylan as a character. It’s also not clear how Helen’s death is affecting Ava. Clearly she must be seeing herself in Helen. And most important, will our redheaded mine employee be coming next week? I suspect so.