This week on Justified, we learned that although a betrayal by a loved one may be sharper than a serpent’s tooth, a rattlesnake bite to the face may not always be fatal.
The episode opens with Boyd waiting for Cassie, whom he’s correctly sussed out as the power behind the Last Chance Holiness Church. Boyd offers Cassie a big bag of cash to direct the holiness at a different target, but Cassie’s holding out for a permanent home for her brother’s ministry, a home to be provided by Boyd Crowder’s money. She tells Boyd that he keeps misjudging Billy and Cassie because unlike everyone else in Harlan, they aren’t afraid of Boyd. In that case, Boyd tells her “we misjudged each other.” Sometimes I forget that Boyd isn’t just a charming autodidact, but the scary product of a family of criminals.
Meanwhile, Raylan and Lindsey continue the conversation they were having when Lindsey’s ex interrupted them at the end of the previous episode. It seems that the ex is not just an ex-husband but also an ex-con named Randall. He and Lindsey used to scam wealthy men by having Lindsey cozy up to them, only to have Randall steal their posessions. Randall apparently had some jealousy issues and some anger management issues and went to prison for beating one of the scammed into a pulp for touching Lindsey. Raylan’s slight unease about Lindsey’s close proximity to his large amounts of cash is erased when Lindsey strips down to her underwear.
Colton, along with Boyd’s other henchman Jimmy, breaks into the revival tent. Jimmy gets bitten by several different serpents, including one rattlesnake that hangs on to his cheek. Yikes!! Colton brings Jimmy back to Boyd’s bar, where everyone is convinced that Jimmy is about to die from all the snake venom. (Speaking of snakes, Boyd asks why Colton didn’t get Johnny to help, but apparently Johnny is incommunicado.)
Raylan decides to confront Randall at a local boxing gym; it turns out that Randall is violating the terms of his parole by being in Kentucky, so Raylan gives him a typical Givens ultimatum: leave town by 6 p.m. voluntarily, or leave in handcuffs or in a box. Randall doesn’t back down, saying that he’ll be happy to leave his “signature” on Raylan’s “pretty” face and mess up his “Gary Cooper walk.” Heh! Even the bad guys recognize Raylan’s shtick, I guess.
At the Marshals’ office, I finally get my first sighting in this episode of my beloved Art, who is busy giving Rachel (yay!) an earful about not calling for backup when alone with a violent fugitive. Rachel correctly mentions that Raylan does this kind of thing all the time and doesn’t get reprimanded for it, to which Art replies that Raylan’s a hopeless case. Hee!
After Rachel leaves, Art tells Raylan that they’ve located the widow of the not-quite-so-dead Drew Thompson. Art has another Marshal stiffy because apparently, Drew was the subject of a sealed federal warrant as a witness. Ha! Raylan and Tim are sent off to visit the widow Thompson, thought I suspect she won’t be half as entertaining as the Truth clan from last week.
In Wynn Duffy’s trailer, we find Johnny offering to sell out Boyd to the Dixie Mafia. I knew Johnny was a snake in the grass! Although I guess he has a legitimate grievance considering that he got a shotgun blast to the stomach as a result of Boyd’s conflict with his father Bo. In any case, Johnny is tired of playing second fiddle in the Crowder empire, and offers Wynn a partnership to destroy Boyd. Many have tried, Johnny, and none have been successful, so I’m putting my money on Boyd!
At Boyd’s bar, a doctor has finally arrived to remove the dead snake still attached to Jimmy’s cheek. I’m not really sure how this scene worked out because I watched through my fingers.
Tim and Raylan catch up with Eve Munro, the remarried widow of Drew Thompson; Tim, unlike Raylan, has read Ms. Munro’s file and fills Raylan in on the fact that she’s been arrested for fraud seventeen times. Eve makes some psychic small talk about how Raylan and Tim are surrounded by bad people. Eve also manages to get Raylan to tell her that he’s meeting a fighter at a boxing gym at 6 p.m. Hmmm!
The psychic reading is interrupted by the arrival of an FBI agent, Agent Barnes, at the front door. As Raylan and Tim are distracted by checking the guy’s credentials, Eve escapes through her bathroom window, only to be snatched by a man who is definitely not an FBI agent.
At the Marshals’ office, Raylan and Tim are admitting their embarrassing failure to keep tabs on Eve to Art, when FBI Agent Barnes informs the Marshals that the FBI will be handling the Drew Thompson case. Raylan is not convinced that Eve actually ran away of her own free will, because she left her car and her phone behind.
In the elevator of the Marshals’ office, Agent Barnes calls the kidnapper, so now we know he’s a bad guy, too. The kidnapper Mason questions Eve about Drew’s whereabouts, threatening with her a slow death if she doesn’t tell him about her ex-husband’s current location.
At Boyd’s bar, Johnny walks into the aftermath of the snake removal without even a cover story about his whereabouts. I’m thinking Johnny is really not cut out to be a criminal mastermind! Boyd is temporarily distracted by the doctor’s puzzlement at how Jimmy is still alive; I too am puzzled at how anyone survives a rattlesnake to the face.
Raylan keeps his “High Noon” (or 6 p.m.) appointment with Randall at the boxing gym, but Randall has vanished, along with all of his possessions. Raylan takes a moment to enjoy the success of his macho posturing before he heads outside, where he’s greeted by Barnes who hurriedly ends his phone call and asks Raylan if Drew Thompson is inside the gym.
Rayan replies that he’s there on personal business. The only two people who knew where Raylan was going were Tim and Eve, so Raylan infers that Barnes knows where Eve is and who’s with her. Raylan offers Barnes a deal and witness protection, but Barnes is so scared for his family that he shoots himself in the head after he tells Raylan where to find Eve. That Panamanian diplomatic bag is still sowing mayhem and death after all this time!
Eve’s kidnapper pulls her out of the closet where he stashed her and threatens her with a wicked-looking curved knife, and I’m getting very, very nervous for her safety. Luckily, Tim, Raylan, and a couple of guys with shotguns burst into the motel room. After the kidnapper is arrested and Eve’s injuries are attended to by a couple of ambulance guys, Art arrives to fill us in that the kidnapper, Mason Goines, was an associate of Theo Tonin (aka the former employer and adoptive father of Robert Quarles). The plot, as they say, has just thickened (and I’m really excited to think that we might see Alan Arkin as Theo Tonin again.)
Art tells Eve that if she cooperates with the Marshals and their search for Drew Thompson, she’s earned herself protection from Theo Tonin; if she doesn’t, she’s on her own. She’s a smart lady, so she tells Art that Drew saw Theo Tonin murder a government informant, which presumably is why Drew went into hiding thirty years ago (and why he got Waldo Truth to die in his place). Well, now the plot is thickening like delicious caramel sauce! I cannot wait to see where this goes.
At the Last Chance Holiness Church, Billy is preaching to his flock about the devil and how his serpents saved him by casting devils out. And speak of the devil, Boyd certainly does know how to make an entrance! He comes in carrying a toolbox that rattles ominously, saying that the congregation deserves a chance to judge whether Preacher Billy is legit, because this is one snake whose venom Cassie hasn’t had a chance to milk. So that’s why Jimmy didn’t die!
Billy obviously had no idea that his snake handling wasn’t on the up-and-up; Cassie tells him that she saw their father die from handling rattlesnakes and she didn’t want that to happen to him. Boyd, having proved his point about the foundations of Billy’s church being built on deceit, is ready to leave but Billy is determined to show that his faith is genuine. Boyd and Cassie both plead with Billy not to risk his life, but Billy opens the toolbox and takes the snake out. The snake, who’s obviously been having a hard day between being removed from its natural environment and carried around in a toolbox, takes a few minutes to chill out in the open air before it bites Billy on the wrist. I have to say, that’s one of the darker things that’s ever happened on Justified and Walton Goggins was amazing at showing Boyd’s conflict here; you could see that he wanted Billy to be a hypocrite to justify his own cynicism, that he was horrified when Billy called his bluff, and that he was envious of the purity of Billy’s faith.
Raylan returns to Lindsey’s bar, where he finds Rachel hanging out waiting for him. Raylan and Rachel have a brief conversation during which she tells him that she left her husband (again I ask: when was Rachel married?) Raylan is relieved to hear that Rachel doesn’t want to talk about it.
Raylan asks the other bartender, a middle-aged guy, whether Lindsey is in. The bartender tells Raylan that she’d gone up to Raylan’s place a couple of hours earlier to wait for him. Hmmmm! Raylan and Rachel go up to Raylan’s apartment which is completely trashed. The illegally earned bounty money, of course, is gone, and Raylan realizes that he’s been harboring his own snake in the grass.
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.