This week’s Justified opens with masked men plinking a piano key as a man in an armchair begs them to be quiet because his son is sleeping upstairs. One of the masked men speaks, revealing that he’s Boyd Crowder and that he believes the man in the armchair, Dell Heywood, is really Drew Thompson.
In a desperate attempt to prove his identity, Dell shows Boyd his box of personal papers, which contains, among other things, a hilariously awful poem that Dell wrote while he was in high school. The box also contains a newspaper clipping showing that Dell was a champion athlete as a 20-year-old senior, definitely ruling him out as a Drew suspect. Boyd warns Dell to keep his memory box close at hand because “you never know when someone else might want to drop by and reminisce.”
I think Boyd’s talking about Raylan, who is still hanging out with Josiah Cairn’s missing foot, the Harlan County Sheriff’s deputies, and various EMTs, who are all wondering how long someone can survive the massive blood loss of a foot amputation. This plot reminds me a little bit of the episode last season when Dewey Crowe was the subject of a kidney theft. Of course, I don’t love Josiah as I loved Dewey, and thus, I’m less on edge about Josiah’s footloose state than I was about Dewey’s missing organ.
Also, Josiah’s plight enables Art to make a series of truly horrendous puns about “putting your best foot forward” and how the “game’s afoot” during the course of a phone call to Raylan. I may have mentioned how much I love Art, but it bears repeating. Art also tells Raylan that Arlo’s lawyer hasn’t called yet, delaying the deal Arlo was about to strike with the state of Kentucky, the deal that Raylan is racing against the clock to prevent. After Raylan hangs up with Art, he recognizes a footprint in the pool of blood outside Josiah’s house.
Speaking of bloody footprints (or bloody hands, anyway), at Boyd’s place, Ava is playing Lady Macbeth again, scrubbing away at a damned spot on the bar, as Colton tries for a fix in the bathroom, and Boyd and Johnny plan to drive off and search for more people who could possibly be Drew Thompson.
Raylan has traced Benny, the boyfriend of Josiah’s stepdaughter Roz, to a yard with an old trailer and a bunch of junky cars. He hears shots, and emerges from behind the trailer to find Benny firing at a target: a crude drawing of a Native American. As Raylan tries to find out where Roz is, Sheriff Shelby pulls up and figures out that Benny is shooting at his rival for Roz’s affections.
The rival turns out to be Teddy, a very large and taciturn Native American man, with whom Roz wants to team up to find Josiah. After Raylan threatens to have Teddy arrested for statutory rape, Roz finally tells the lawmen that two people in a highly decorated panel van came to Josiah’s place, called him Drew Thompson and then cut off his foot before they kidnapped him.
After they leave Teddy, Raylan clearly wants to part company with Shelby, believing that Shelby is in Boyd’s pocket. “Why don’t we just cut the shit?” Shelby says, telling Raylan that his only loyalty is to the law, and that he doesn’t care about Drew Thompson, but he does care about finding Josiah Cairn, a missing, and potentially dead, parolee. Raylan softens toward the idea of partnering up with Shelby.
Speaking of partners, Marshal Tim is taking a break from reading about Native American princesses. He’s at the VA hospital to help a fellow veteran and Oxycontin addict named Mark, for whom Tim serves as a sponsor. Mark requests Tim’s help in paying off a debt from his user days; as Tim and Mark are leaving, Tim sees a more recent acquaintance. He greets Colton by saying “Hey, Boyd Crowder’s ride!” (I love Marshal Tim!) Colton replies: “Hey, Marshal Givens’ sidekick.” (I don’t love Colton and I will love him less as the episode continues.) Tim asks if Colton’s there for a checkup, to which Colton gives a vague noncommittal answer.
Colton is at the hospital to score some heroin; his plan is to go into the bathroom and threaten to shoot off a random guy’s penis unless the random guy tells him where he can find a dealer. While threatening the random guy’s junk, Colton receives and ignores a call from Johnny Crowder.
At Boyd’s bar, Boyd tells Ava that they have thirteen potential Drew Thompsons, all of whom Boyd is intending to investigate. And by investigate, I mean “threaten at gunpoint.” Ava suggests a kinder, gentler route to Drew Thompsonville; she reminds Boyd that Ellen May’s “furry” client could get them into the swingers’ party thrown at the Napier’s, where apparently all the local gentry hang out. Boyd is reluctant, saying that he and Ava won’t fit in up there, but Ava, who knows what she’s talking about, tells him that in her little red dress, she’ll fit in. I’m sure she will!
At this point, Shelby enters without knocking, and promptly arrests Boyd. I guess Shelby’s tired of being an undercover opponent of Boyd’s and has decided to throw down the gauntlet. Excuse me while I preemptively mourn Sheriff Shelby’s demise. (This isn’t a spoiler, but Boyd’s enemies don’t seem to live for very long, and Sheriff Shelby has just made himself Boyd’s enemy.)
At one of the trailers at Audrey’s, Colton is desperately looking for Ellen May and, I assume, drugs, since it’s unlikely Ellen May would be hiding in a dresser drawer. Terry, who’s Johnny’s “girlfriend” walks in on Colton’s search. Colton gets weird and scary very quickly, beating up Terry even though she insists she has no idea where Ellen May is. “I’m not a bad person,” Colton tells Terry, but I beg to differ, especially after he hits her again and threatens her with cutting out her tongue if she tells anyone that he beat her up. Somehow, I don’t think Colton’s new pal, Marshal Tim, would approve of this!
Shelby walks Boyd into the sheriff’s office, where Raylan is waiting for him. Boyd is understandably a little bitter about being handcuffed to a tree by Raylan at the end of their last meeting. Although Raylan and Shelby jump on Boyd’s use of the past tense in describing Josiah, Boyd denies that he had anything to do with Josiah’s abduction or amputation. “Assholes get old and die from being assholes.” Truer words, Boyd, were never spoken!
Meanwhile, Shelby and Raylan trade “worst job” stories, and Shelby wins by virtue of not only having been a greeter at a big box store, but also part of a crime scene clean-up crew. Boyd tells Shelby and Raylan that “as much as I’d like to participate in writing your occupational resumes, I got somewhere I got to be.” This is Shelby’s cue to accuse Boyd of engineering Ellen May’s disappearance.
Boyd manages to threaten Shelby fairly blatantly before his lawyer walks in to spring him from custody. Raylan recognizes her as Arlo’s lawyer, and asks why she’s stalling on Arlo’s deal with the state’s attorney. She doesn’t answer, of course.
At Audrey’s, Terry, Johnny’s girlfriend and Colton’s punching bag, is chatting with a client, her hair carefully arranged to hide her enormous black eye. Johnny asks her who beat her up; when she says it was a client, Johnny presses her for a name, and she finally gives up her Tuesday night regular, Max. I think it’s safe to say this isn’t going to end well for Max.
We finally see the missing Josiah, who’s being guarded by guy with very poor manners, since he’s clipping his toenails in public. I gather this is one of Josiah’s kidnappers; the other one walks in seconds later, upset that his van has been ruined by the bloodstains from Josiah’s leg. Since Josiah is a career criminal, Van Man assumes that he knows how to get bloodstains out of upholstery, but Josiah is in no condition to discuss laundry products. His ankle is still bleeding and looks horrific. Toenails and Van Man argue with each other for a bit until Boyd’s lawyer walks in. She sees Josiah’s condition and says she’ll get some bandages, but Toenails says a blowtorch should work. Van Man is clearly freaked out by this (as am I) and mentions that it may be time to cut their losses, but Toenails is a harder character and puts his knife to Van Man’s throat, threatening both him and the lawyer with death if he doesn’t get paid for Josiah.
Ellen May’s Furry friend Arnold walks into his lavish house, only to find that his wife April having a heart-to-heart with Ava Crowder about their both having been cheerleaders at the same high school. Arnold is perturbed about Ava’s presence, particularly after she unsubtly picks out a picture of his wife in cheerleader costume hugging a bear mascot. Arnold sends his wife out of the kitchen on a bogus errand, and Ava gets down to business; she wants an invite to Napier’s party, or else she’ll rat out Arnold’s bear fetish to his wife. Arnold didn’t need blackmailing at all, it turns out; Ava only had to ask.
Elsewhere, Shelby and Raylan pull up at a house with a garishly painted van parked in front of it. They draw their weapons and approach the door, just in time for a black rental SUV with a couple of sinister passengers to drive past them.
Toenails deputes the lawyer and Van Man to hold Josiah while he cauterizes Josiah’s ankle with a blowtorch. At this point, I have to look away so all I know is that Josiah screams very loudly just before Raylan and Shelby burst in. Van Man tries to escape via a locked door, and Toenails turns the blowtorch on Raylan, at which point Shelby shoots him in the arm before arresting Boyd’s lawyer. Raylan tells her she picked a couple of winners for her scheme and asks which one is her client. “The dumb one,” the lawyer mutters in exasperation. “That don’t narrow it down,” Raylan tells her. It’s hard to get good criminal help these days; look at the difficulties Boyd’s having with treacherous Johnny and out-of-control Colton as his henchmen.
Josiah, who is surprisingly still conscious, begs Raylan to call an ambulance. “Says the man who tried to kill me,” Raylan replies. Josiah insists that he’s not Drew, which Raylan has already figured out. Arlo would never give up Drew’s identity without a deal with the state in place. Color me shocked that Arlo lied to his lawyer! Josiah tells Raylan that there’s a former lawman from Harlan who knows who Drew is and where to find him. Are we being promised a reunion with Brent Sexton, ex-sheriff Hunter Mosley, who tried to kill Raylan back in season 1?
Apparently Hunter and Shelby were once deputies together, and Shelby tells Raylan about how he almost proposed to a girl one night but got sidetracked by chasing an armed robber instead. Even though the robber ran into Shelby and broke both of his legs, Shelby managed to fire off a single shot into the robber’s chest which was the last time he’d fired a gun until he shot Toenails. I think Raylan has made a friend, which just means that the dark clouds of doom gathered over Shelby just got even thicker. Raylan warns Shelby that if he has anything on Boyd, he should publicize that information quickly.
Meanwhile, Tim is still supporting Mark during a visit to his dealer’s home. The dealer insists that everyone has to strip down, so he can make sure his visitors aren’t wearing wires or carrying drugs. Mark complies swiftly, but Tim, alas, remains fully clothed. The dealer says that Mark stole drugs and money from him, and then pulls a gun on Mark, at which point Tim pulls his gun on the dealer. After this little situation defuses, Tim orders Mark to give the dealer whatever he has on him, or else he’ll shoot Mark himself. I’m really glad Marshal Tim gets his own story, but I hope it ties in somehow with the other characters, because I thought Mark was really annoying.
Elsewhere, Colton and Johnny visit Max, whom Johnny’s girlfriend Terry accused of beating her up, though we, of course, know that the creep in question was Colton. Max has no idea what they’re talking about, and protests his innocence even as Colton beats him to a pulp. “That’s for hitting a girl,” Colton says to Max as Johnny drags him away.
At Boyd’s place, Ava confesses that the death of Ellen May is tearing her apart. At least Lady MacBoyd still has some kind of conscience, although a minute later she manages to turn this into a relationship talk, telling Boyd that she’ll do anything for him, but she has to know where they’re headed if they are to continue down the twin paths of criminality and concupiscence. Boyd asks Ava to meet him at his truck, where all will be revealed.
Boyd takes Ava up to a hill overlooking Harlan and tells her about how he used to go up there to look at the lights when he was a kid. He’d pretend they were stars and he was in a spaceship, but this idyll was ruined by being run off, because poor kids weren’t welcome up on the hill. Then he hands Ava a box of cash, telling her that he’s been stashing away money for a few months, and that it represents a down payment on a house anywhere they want. In the future, Crowder will be a respected family name and no one will be ashamed to have their kids play with Boyd’s and Ava’s descendants. Somehow, I think this dream of respectability isn’t going to work out any better than Boyd’s other plans to go legit have done. Under the pile of cash is a diamond ring, and Boyd makes this a very special Valentine’s Day episode of Justified by proposing to Ava, who tearfully accepts.
Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.