Justified 5.06: “Kill the Messenger” Settles for Consexual Bloodletting

After last week’s bullet-filled extravaganza, the latest episode of Justified, “Kill the Messenger” didn’t feature a single dead body (though there was a good bit of blood flowing, even if some of it was claimed to be “consexual.”)

Various subplots came together, as the Crowes were integrated into the Crowder fold and Raylan’s girlfriend had a frankly terrifying and skin-crawling run-in with Danny Crowe, who is every bit as stupid, but not nearly as sweet or hilarious as his cousin Dewey. (I hope he and his dog Chelsea hit the road back to Florida or the great dogrun in the sky—whichever, I really don’t care—ASAP.) Thanks to Danny’s poor decision-making skills, Raylan and the ever-calm and collected Rachel disrupted Dewey and Danny’s plans to hold Boyd Crowder’s henchman Carl (Justin Welborn) for ransom. When “rescued” by Rayland and Rachel, Carl slyly claims not to be kidnapped, but to be playing rough sex games with Danny Crowe, which was one of my laugh out loud moments in the show. I already love Carl, by the way.

Marshal Tim’s attempts to find out why Art had so obviously punched Raylan were also pretty funny (although I wish he had something better to do on the show than wisecrack about the foibles of his fellow marshals). Poor Art, and his wordless expression of contempt and disappointment in Raylan, though I figured he’d know better than to break his fingers punching his deputy out. I’m honestly sadder about the rift between Art and Raylan than about almost anything else that’s happened this season. (The destruction of Dewey’s poolside dreams, of course, takes first place in the “saddest things” category!) I’m not arguing that Raylan doesn’t deserve some punishment for how he set up the death of Nicky Augustine, but maybe if he had trusted Art enough to tell him what was going on, Art wouldn’t have been so let-down and disappointed. Although thinking back, given that there was a crooked FBI agent in Kentucky who knows who else was in the pay of the Tonins? Not Art, of course, but even if Winona had gone into WitSec there was certainly a possibility that Augustine could have found and killed her so I don’t 100% blame Raylan for acting alone.

Still, since Art has always been a kind of sarcastic, but well-intentioned, father figure to Raylan, seeing him react to Raylan in the exact same way that Raylan’s abusive actual father always did was a little bit heartbreaking, as was Raylan’s wordless acceptance of violence directed towards him.

Meanwhile, Boyd also learned that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Or rather, that when you lie down with neo-Nazis, and then you change your tune and include black people among your flock, the neo-Nazis have long memories. Boyd’s attempt to use the female branch of the Aryan Brethren (Sistren?) to protect Ava in Kentucy State Prison backfired spectacularly because Gunnar, ex-Boyd follower, genuinely believed in the racist garbage that Boyd used to sprout and Gunnar’s sister, far from protecting Ava, viciously turned on her in the prison yard and… cut a few locks of her hair.

Did I miss something? I didn’t look like Ava had been beaten up or anything and her hair actually looked rather good. I’m wondering what the purpose of Ava’s continued incarceration really is, in terms of the overarching story. On the one hand, it was the impetus for Boyd to ally himself with the Crowes in this episode, but I’m convinced there’s more to it than that, especially given Ava’s discussion with her lawyer and her plea to him directly to help her. I wonder if the prospect of life in her dismal prison is going to finally drive Ava to rat out Boyd to the law. If that happens, this storyline, which I haven’t loved, will all be worth it.

On the plus side for Boyd, his heroin deal appears to be going swimmingly (unlike Dewey Crowe’s attempted sale of his pool). He even talked the Mexicans into selling him heroin without cash beforehand. However, now he knows that Cousin Johnny has somehow suborned Hot Rod (who cleverly told Boyd he’d been double-crossed on the phone), so it seems we’re headed to a showdown in Mexico, new territory for Justified. I’m hoping that Cousin Johnny makes it out alive, though I’m not sure how that's possible, because I do like his double-dealing untrustworthiness. And now Boyd has the dubious advantage of having the Crowes working for him, rather than against him. Daryl is on the smarter end of the gun thug scale, though weighed against that, Dewey is an idiot and Danny is an unstable and highly dangerous idiot. I’m glad that Daryl isn’t entirely buying Danny’s cockamamie story about the abrupt departure of the Haitian, and he has to recognize that Danny’s deliberate antagonizing of Raylan is what got them kicked out of their sweet “deal” with the hardware-store owner’s house.

And speaking of Raylan: Alison praises him in this episode for being a man who’d run into a burning building, but then chides him for being the one who sets the fires in the first place. And while the slow-burning fire of Raylan’s story is the death of Nicky Augustine last season, he’s had a very reactive role this season, while the dynamic storylines have belonged to Boyd. I did love his talk with Rachel in the car, where, just for a second, he let his guard down and let some of the truth slip out, but I hope that we’ll see a little more of Raylan front and center in the remainder of the season.

After a week off, Justified returns with a “Raw Deal” on February 25, 2014.

Gif via Chet Manley's post at UPROXX, where there are more worth seeing.

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.

Read all posts by Regina Thorne for Criminal Element.

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