We open right after the preceding episode, with Raylan, whose offer of a deal for Drew Thompson was soundly rejected by Arlo, waiting to make the same offer to ex-Harlan County sheriff Hunter.
Hunter (played by the wonderful, versatile Brent Sexton) walks in, asking Raylan “Hasn’t anybody killed you yet?” Raylan tells him not to sound so disappointed. Heh! Hunter feigns ignorance about Drew Thompson’s fate, particularly in light of Josiah Cairn’s missing foot, even when Raylan mentions the sweet deal at Club Fed, possibly in Yankton (a shoutout to Deadwood fans who know that all the town’s more irritating bureaucratic evils emanated from Yankton.)
Sheriff Hunter, though a criminal, isn’t a stupid one. He recognizes that Raylan wants to screw with Arlo, which is why he’s offering Hunter the deal instead.
“I like you better than him,” Raylan says.
“I tried to kill you,” Hunter tells him, exasperated, but Raylan still likes Hunter better. Heh!
When Hunter refuses the deal, Raylan tries a different tack, trying to appeal to the lawman buried deep inside that prison jumpsuit, assuming that Hunter doesn’t want to see Arlo win. Hunter responds with a very pithy analysis of Raylan Givens: “You’re only a lawman when it suits you, Raylan. It gives you cover to do things you would have done anyway.”
One of the Rich Bastards (Mr. Johns) from Napier’s party instructs Boyd on how to kill Frank Browning, drawing him a map of Browning’s house and letting him know that the Rich Bastards don’t want Mrs. Browning killed as collateral damage. Boyd expresses surprise that Rich Bastard has experience with murder for hire, and the guy says that Boyd is right: he has a boy to mow his lawn and one to service his car, so Boyd is “the boy who takes out my trash.” (Now I want Boyd to assassinate him too!) He underlines his point by saying that if Boyd doesn’t do what the Rich Bastards want, they’ll make sure the state cops and judges on their payroll make Boyd’s life miserable, unprofitable and short.
At the prison barbershop, a seemingly catatonic Arlo is wheeled in by a guard, much to the surprise of the inmate-barber. He’s right to be surprised because he gets sapped by Hunter; the guard, who’s in on the plan, tells Hunter that he has five minutes to kill Arlo, who is heavily sedated with Thorazine or Chlorazine or something else.
Ex-Sheriff Hunter tells Arlo it’s “nothing personal” as as he reaches for one of the many sharp implements found in a barber shop. Arlo, who isn’t nearly as sedated as everyone thought, smashes a bottle of sterilizing liquid into Hunter’s face before grabbing something heavy and beating on Hunter with it.
When the guard comes in, Arlo beats on him too, perhaps killing him. (I wasn’t quite sure what the crunching noises signified, but since it was Arlo, I figured he’d just as soon kill someone as not.) Unfortunately for Arlo, he spends a little too long beating on the guard, giving Hunter time to recover and jam a pair of scissors into Arlo’s chest.
At the Marshals’ office, Drew Thompson’s “widow” is looking over the faces of people who might be Drew thirty years along. Raylan has a hard time believing that she can find so many people who resemble her “late” husband and suggests that she should try and see if she feels Drew’s aura emanating from the pictures. Heh!
In the middle of this exchange, Art calls Raylan over to tell him about the attack on Arlo and also that Arlo probably won’t make it through the night. Seemingly unconcerned, Raylan returns to the Widow Thompson, who, along with Marshal Tim, both supply plenty of concern for Raylan.
At Frank Browning’s house, Browning quickly fills us in on his history with the Rich Bastards: to make a long story short, they think he’s an upstart with a beautiful wife. Browning knows (or thinks he knows) what the Rich Bastards want with regard to his slurry ponds. Boyd tells Browning that he was sent to kill him, and he’s giving Browning a chance to beat their price. “You want me to pay you not to kill me?” Kudos, Boyd, that’s pretty astute!
Browning refuses Boyd’s offer, summoning his professional bodyguard, who’s armed with an assault rifle.
At the Crowder bar, Boyd tells Ava that everything went smoothly with Browning before summoning Colton to his office and telling him it’s a two-man job, and that he feels like “a seatcushion for two fat people at a football game.” Never change, Boyd, never change!! Colton irritates Boyd by checking his text messages during their tete-a-tete about murder for hire. I know just how Boyd feels. (Well, not the murder for hire part, but the part where it’s super-irritating when people check their messages while you are talking to them!)
Colton’s messages are about a blackmail scheme involving Ellen May (or at least her name). The blackmailer wants Colton to pony up $20,000. Wow, that’s quite a sum!
Before Boyd can get truly angry with Colton, Wynn Duffy arrives at the bar. He tells Boyd that Theo Tonin has sent a hitman from Detroit who has “killed more people than malaria.” If Wynn and Boyd can’t provide the hitman with Drew Thompson’s scalp, then he’ll be going back to Detroit with their scalps instead. Boyd comments that threatening your employees with murder isn’t sound management style. Yet again, I agree with Boyd!
Boyd tells Wynn that he has two names who might possibly be Drew Thompson, and that they should play it safe and kill both of them.
At Frank Browning’s house, Frank and the bodyguard are arguing about their next move, with the bodyguard trying to dissuade Frank from killing everyone who’s trying to kill him. Pssst, Frank, you don’t have time to carry out this plan!
A Harlan County sheriff’s deputy rings the doorbell, and shoots the bodyguard right before he whips out his iPhone to take a picture of Browning. What did assassins do before smartphones? Faxing pictures back and forth must have taken FOREVER! Although he ascertains that Browning isn’t the target, he shoots him anyway. Ladies and gentleman, I think we’ve just met Mr. Killed-More-People-than-Malaria.
At Shelby’s, Ellen May is entertaining herself by poking around Shelby’s things. She finds a St. Christopher medal that supposedly belonged to Mrs. Shelby, just like the clothes that Ellen May is wearing. Ellen May expresses her concern about wearing a dead woman’s clothing, so Shelby reassures her that his wife left him and is still alive as far as Shelby knows. Ellen May tells him that her momma did the same thing. Awww, poor Ellen May!
Ellen May tells Shelby that someday she wants to be the person who belongs in these clothes and walks into church without everyone whispering about her past as a whore. Awww again! Shelby tells her that “if you pretend to be something long enough, it’s not pretending.” I think I just saw a big light flashing over Shelby’s head; a light that says “I’m Drew Thompson, ask me how!!”
Ellen May says her first step is to “get right with the Lord” and Shelby susses out that it’s not just her career as a prostitute that’s bothering her but something she did together with Ava Crowder. Hmmm, Shelby actually does feel like a lawman, huh? He gets a phone call that interrupts his digging into Ava and Ellen May’s bond of crime.
Speaking of criminals, Colton goes to the drug dealer who makes people (but not Marshal Tim) strip off before he sells to them. Colton refuses to strip and asks for a $20K loan. Hmm, I thought you borrowed money to pay your dealer, not that you borrowed money from your dealer. The dealer gets kind of sarcastic with Colton which is totally the wrong move, because Colton overpowers him and shoots him. He finds all the guy’s cash and drugs in a guitar case, and is about to leave when he hears a crash.
Cowering in the dining room, stripped down to his shorts, is Marshal Tim’s friend Mark, who is either at the dealer’s to score or is honestly trying to pay back the guy as Tim advised. If the latter, then his ultimate fate is all the more sad!
Mark, now dressed, continues to cower on the sofa as Colton shares a cigarette with him and tells him that “we are in the shit.” He tells Mark that someone’s trying to run game on him, and even though Mark agrees that Colton was never there and that this never happened, Colton shoots him. Speaking of management styles, Boyd, I think you need a better HR department, between your batshit-crazy, drug-addicted, gun-happy henchman Colton and your smart, but weaselly and treacherous, henchman Johnny.
At the prison hospital, Raylan sits by Arlo’s bed, asking Arlo to “give me something,” even if it’s just for Arlo’s future grandkids. Arlo’s eyes flicker, and then he mutters closer so Raylan has to bend down to hear Arlo telling him to “kiss my ass.” I guess Raylan (and we) should have expected that, because when has Arlo ever given Raylan anything. This was an amazing scene from Timothy Olyphant, with all of the contempt and pain that Arlo has inflicted on Raylan since childhood visible in his body language. Raylan pats Arlo’s shoulder and leaves.
Keener, one of the Rich Bastards, is engaged in bondage sex with a girl in a leather bikini when his doorbell rings. The same guy who shot Browning takes Keener’s picture and then, offscreen, shoots him.
In the next scene, the body’s being taken away and the girl, now draped in a blanket, is being escorted away. Thank goodness she was tied up and didn’t get killed, because there are way too many bodies in this episode already.
Shelby and Raylan discuss the fact that the MO of Keener’s murder is the same as that of Browning. He tells Raylan that it’s awfully coincidental that Keener’s name showed up on a list Raylan gave him just before Keener was murdered and Raylan explains that the list came from the Widow Thompson. Shelby seems quite interested in that lady whom, presumably, he’s never met. Raylan insinuates that Shelby is still helping Boyd, and Shelby tells Raylan that Boyd doesn’t need any help from him. Apparently Mrs. Browning mentioned that Boyd came to the Browning house hours before Raylan gave Shelby the list of names.
At Wynn Duffy’s trailer, Johnny tells Wynn that Boyd has killed three guys in the last few hours. Wynn informs Johnny that one of the men who died was Drew Thompson, and Johnny responds that there’s no way Frank Browning could have been Drew. He explains that Boyd was hired to kill Browning and Wynn realizes that he’s been played.
Wynn has good news and bad news for Johnny: the good news is that Boyd will soon be shuffling off his mortal coil; the bad news is that Johnny is now responsible for hunting down Drew Thompson for Theo Tonin. Uh oh!
At the Crowder bar, Raylan arrives just as Not-Really-a-Sheriff Terminator is taking Boyd away in handcuffs. Raylan and Sheriff Terminator have a suspicious little conversation about why Shelby didn’t mention he was sending a deputy to arrest Boyd fifteen minutes earlier when Raylan talked to him.
Ava distracts Raylan by waving her fingers around so Raylan notices her engagement ring. Boyd assures Raylan that “as acrimnoious as our relationship has been lately, you’re still on the guest list.” Heh! Boyd is a forgiving sort, considering that he’s now engaged to the lady who killed his brother! Raylan tells Ava that the defintion of crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result; Raylan should certainly be an expert on that, given how he keeps reaching out to Arlo, hoping that his father will do something decent.
Sheriff Terminator tells Raylan to step aside or he’ll shoot, and then we have an Olde Skoole Western gunfight in a saloon. Raylan shoots Sheriff Terminator several times as Ava and Boyd skedaddle out of the way (complete with hilarious little yelps of distress from both of them). Raylan steps toward the body saying “Jesus, I hope I got that right!”
Colton goes into a bathroom at a playing field to drop off the money he stole and texts his blackmailer. We cut to Johnny Crowder dumping his phone into a trash can, amazed at just how dumb Colton is. Heh! The Crowders are definitely among the smarter echelon of criminals in Harlan County.
Boyd calls Nick Augustine, Theo Tonin’s enforcer. He uses his thirty seconds as a job interview, telling Theo’s man that Theo should switch his support from Wynn to Boyd. “Why would you want to back the man who got took when you could back the man who took him?” Once again, Boyd has a point. Boyd says he needs Augustine and the Tonins to do something for him; Augustine says anything they do is a debt that needs to be repaid, not a favor. Theo Tonin doesn’t do favors.
At the Marshals’ office, Shelby lets Raylan know that he’s in the clear. Raylan and Art are relieved; Art was “almost certain you weren’t a cop killer.”
Shelby has more questions about the Widow Thompson, further fueling my theory about his real identity. He also drops a tidbit about Boyd’s Rich Bastard friends, Paxton and Johns, and then comes back to the widow, saying he can keep an eye on her. Art tells him that the Widow Thompson is under the protection of the Marshals’ Service, and in passing Shelby remarks: “Why do the pretty ones always go for the bad boys?”
“I ask myself that every day,” Art responds. “I guess they think they can change us.” I'm just going to enjoy the idea of Art as a Raylan-like bad-boy in his youth!!
After Shelby leaves, Art mentions that there are still two guys Theo Tonin is after: Drew Thompson (whoever he is) and Arlo Givens. This is Raylan’s cue to dispassionately tell Art that Arlo is dead. Arlo tells Raylan that he’s sending Raylan home for the week, and after an argument, Raylan says he’ll take two days to go collect his father’s body, but then he’s coming back to the case.
Raylan waits by the elevator in the Marshals’ office and Timothy Olyphant once again knocks this completely silent scene out of the park. You can see hairline cracks in Raylan’s facade of indifference about his father’s death just from the way he sighs, and slumps his shoulders.
At Boyd’s bar, the Rich Bastards have convened at Boyd’s bidding; they’ll overlook his summoning them to a meeting just this once because he took care of Frank Browning, but he better not make a habit of it. Boyd mentions to them that their pal Keener is also dead, killed by the same guy who killed Browning. The Rich Bastards get pissy and threatening at Boyd, so he tells them to call the judges and cops on the payroll. No one picks up, because Nick Augustine and Theo Tonin have supplied a bigger stick than the Rich Bastards can. After Boyd tells one of the Rich Bastards to “sit [his] white-collar ass down,” he issues his revolutionary manifesto. Although the Rich Bastards are certainly criminals, they’re helpless in Boyd’s world. “I am the outlaw,” he reminds them in tones reminiscent of Walter White’s “I am the one who knocks.” Boyd shakes down each of the three for $100,000 and also wants their help getting a Dairy Queen franchise. (Okay, that’s just hilarious! I love Boyd!)
Boyd goes into his office where Ava, who’s listened to all of this, expresses her worry that Boyd won’t be able to find a bigger stick to beat Theo Tonin with, even though he was able to manipulate everyone lower down on the criminal food chain. Boyd tells Ava that he can handle Theo Tonin. If anyone can make that promise, I’m sure it’s Boyd, but I do hope this isn’t a bit of hubris on Boyd’s part.
In the prison morgue, we have a close up on Arlo’s withered old foot and then on Raylan’s emotionless face before we come to the end of this fantastic episode.
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.