While I was less than thrilled about last week’s “Good Intentions”, this week’s episode had me over the moon. (Or perhaps “Over the Mountain.”) We’re getting to the point on the show where various plot threads start to come together into the tight, waterproof weave that I know. And now I’ll abandon that straining metaphor and tell you what happened!!
One of the things I’ve always loved about Justified, and one of the things that keeps it from being just a superbly well-written procedural show, is that actions always have consequences here, and this week we saw how far-reaching those consequences can be.
Back in Season 1, we learned that Johnny Crowder had always had his eye on his cousin Bowman's lovely bride/widow Ava, and we also watched him take a stomach full of buckshot from his uncle Bo because he did Boyd a solid. Johnny ended up spending several years in a wheelchair and still walks with difficulty, but though his physical injuries have more or less healed, he’s a big limping ball of resentment and jealousy over Boyd, who’s got all that Johnny wanted.
Note: In a show as action-packed as Justified, we can't talk at all if we can't mention plot points, so spoiler-proof yourself!
Now Johnny’s found a mentor who’s bigger (literally and metaphorically than Boyd) in Hot Rod Dunham, and wants to make Boyd pay for all the slights he feels he’s received. Johnny is a dangerous guy because he’s smarter than most of Boyd’s other henchmen have been, and now he has muscle to back him up.
Another blast from the past was Wade Messer (James Le Gros), who set up Raylan to be brutally murdered by Dickie Bennett in Season 2. It stands to reason that Raylan wasn’t particularly excited about finding Wade still alive, though to his credit, he did do his job despite his personal antipathy. Wade’s murder by Dewey Crowe was simultaneously hilarious and tragic; the entire set up with the Webelow shovel that didn’t quite work and Dewey trying so hard to be the hard-nosed assassin he just isn’t were brilliant. (I particularly enjoyed Dewey’s prayer, in which he promised God—without a shred of irony—that if he could only finish committing his first murder properly, he’d go to church on Sundays and live right.)
But there was also a pathos to Dewey in this episode (largely thanks to Damon Herriman who is superb in this role!). Despite consorting with a succession of low-life criminals, Dewey has always had a strange kind of sweetness to him, perhaps because he’s been insulated from the truly vile stuff his comrades have done by virtue of his stupidity and incompetence. Another review mentioned that Dewey is this season’s Ellen Mae, and though I don’t think he’s nearly as innocent as she was, there’s certainly some truth in that. Perhaps like her, Dewey, who’s disregarded and despised by everyone around him, will turn out to be a key player. I just want him to make it out alive and with all his internal organs intact.
As for the other Crowes, well, they’re a cold-hearted gang and no mistaking. Darryl would have been perfectly happy to kill Dewey if necessary and now is keeping the poor guy locked up and blackmailing him. And Dan and his dog are like a more ruthless and smarter version of Cooter Bennett. I genuinely feared for Raylan when he went to Audrey’s at the end of the episode.
Speaking of Raylan, I loved how he could listen to his girlfriend the social worker’s harrowing story about the boy chained to a radiator by his awful father and take away from that a way to drive a wedge into the Crowe clan’s solidarity by taking away their youngest brother Kendal.
Boyd and Raylan finally had a scene together in this episode, and it was well worth the wait. The dialogue on this show is superb, never more so than when it’s Givens and Crowder, the best of frenemies, trading polysyllabic barbs and usually ending with Boyd reluctantly helping Raylan out for his own reasons. In this case, Boyd needed to keep track of his cousin Johnny and secure his drug shipments so he can keep protecting Ava in prison and hopefully get her out of there.
As for Ava, I was genuinely terrified that she was going to be raped by the prison guard aka Evil Danny Strong, formerly beloved for playing Jonathan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (This fear was not helped by having recently read an article about how at least half of the sexual abuse in prisons comes from the guards towards the prisoners.) Thankfully, Ava was spared anything more than humiliation, and then the female guard made sure Evil Danny Strong knew Ava was well-protected.
I wonder who’s protecting her, though. If it's Boyd, I worry his increasing powerlessness and prospective fake death will place Ava in jeopardy again. Here is where I think Johnny Crowder may figure in: he told Ava that if she needed him, she just had to call. I wonder whether, in the absence of Boyd, Johnny will become Ava’s “protector.” If he’s the one to get her out of prison, I can see that being a huge issue between Boyd and Ava in the future.
My hero Art Mullen is still investigating the death of Nicky Augustine. At the time, having the Detroit mob take the loathsome Nicky out in a hail of gunfire on the tarmac in Lexington seemed like Raylan’s only option to protect Winona and their unborn child. But remember, actions always have consequences; Art is too good a lawman not to follow up on the lead the Canadian gave him and his questions are leading ever closer to Raylan’s involvement in a deeply criminal act.
Lastly, I was excited to see both laconic Marshal Tim and sardonically funny AUSA Vazquez (Rick Gomez) in the same 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.