Justified Episode 4.04: “This Bird Has Flown”

Timothy OlyphantAfter a couple of sublimely well-written episodes, I must confess that this week’s Justified was a bit disappointing. It was hard for me to care that much about Lindsey; mostly she made me miss Winona (I know, I know, hard to believe!). I also feel that Raylan needs a “win” of some sort soon; he’s falling apart (albeit in a fairly quiet and restrained way) in the aftermath of Winona’s exit and the knowledge that his father tried to kill him to save Boyd last season. I do like that the show often deconstructs Raylan’s “Cooler than Thou” Marshal persona, and the sad-sack, pathetic and even needy aspects of Raylan are important parts of him, but we also need to see him being great at his job sometimes, so we know why Art keeps him around. Maybe next week …

The episode opens where last week’s left off, with Raylan and Rachel surveying the wreckage of Raylan’s apartment, ransacked by his girlfriend Lindsey and her not-at-all-ex-husband Randall. Raylan keeps desperately trying to figure out a way that Lindsey was coerced into scamming him for the money he kept out in his sock drawer, while Rachel sensibly points out that it looks like Lindsey was in on the whole thing from the start. “I thought she liked me,” Raylan says wistfully. I do a little cheer when Rachel offers to go along with Raylan and track Lindsey and Randall. Hurray for Rachel!

Lindsey and Randall were definitely in cahoots to defraud Raylan, though, because we cut to them visiting Joe Hoppus, the fight “entrepreneur” in the trashed mansion where we first met Randall. Apparently, they have gathered the $20,000 needed to start Randall off as a fight manager, his lifelong dream. (I though Raylan only had $10,000 so Lindsey must have squirreled away another 10K from her bar tips!)

At the Crowder bar, Boyd is somberly contemplating his “victory” over Billy in the rattlesnake handling contest last week. Our old friend Ellen May returns to the fold, because she has nowhere else to go. Poor Ellen May! She’s so sweet and clueless, and doesn’t realize that Ava considers her flirtation with religion as a possible betrayal of their deep, dark, murderous secret. Ava indirectly suggests that they kill Ellen May to silence her, but Boyd is a little more cautious, saying that they should first find the preacher’s sister and learn from her whether Ellen May really said anything about Delroy’s murder.

Raylan and Rachel arrive at Hoppus’s trashed house, and after a little chat with the bartender, a wonderful lady named Gina who offers to wrestle Raylan, they make their way into Hoppus’s inner sanctum. Hoppus scoffs at Raylan’s interest in Lindsey, saying that anyone who was conned by the “grifter Barbie” kind of deserves it. Heh! After some coercion, physical and verbal, Hoppus reveals that Randall used Raylan’s money to set up a cockfighting ring. Somehow knowing that Randall’s dream was to manage poultry makes the scam that much funnier!

At a convenience store en route to the poultry dealer, Randall steals a bottle of champagne while Lindsey flirts with the store manager to distract him. I guess they’re frugal, because I’m thinking that with $20,000 they could just BUY a bottle of champagne and avoid all the agita that follows. Randall, who is about as bright as his future fighters, gets upset and goes back to beat up the poor store manager for flirting with Lindsey. I’m now convinced that the entire grifting operation was Lindsey’s brainchild because Randall doesn’t seem to be smart enough or have enough impulse control to handle a long con.

Lindsey and Randall

Sheriff Shelby, posing as an honest lawman who wants to bring Boyd to justice, interviews Cassie, telling her that Boyd will have her killed if she has learned anything about Boyd’s less public crimes. I’m sure Cassie has done her homework, and knows that Shelby was elected Sheriff thanks to Boyd, so she plays dumb, saying that God will punish Boyd and that she doesn’t know anything about any crimes he’s committed that didn’t involve her brother and a rattlesnake. Clever girl, because Shelby has Boyd on speakerphone, listening to the entire conversation. I thought Shelby was planning not to help Boyd any more, but I guess he’s in too deep with Boyd. It was also interesting that Shelby’s looking at Drew Thompson’s autopsy report—I don’t know if that’s at Boyd’s behest or as an extracurricular activity.

Despite the reassurances from the Sheriff, Ava is still not convinced that it’s a good idea to keep Ellen May around. Boyd suggests that they send her off to his cousin Lonnie in Alabama; Lonnie is the keeper of a “no-tell motel” and a preacher, so Ellen May can explore both sides of her personality there.

As Randall beats up the hapless convenience store clerk, mercifully offscreen, Lindsey makes a phone call that is decidedly not to 911. Clearly, she’s having second thoughts about life on the chicken run with Mr. Jealous.

Raylan and Rachel visit the local cockfighting bigwig, who is set to provide the birds to Randall. I know I keep repeating myself, but I love how memorable even the very minor characters are on this show, and the cockfighting guy is no exception to this rule. Although nothing much came of this scene, I like that they included it, and that Rachel, who took umbrage at the man’s continuously waving his knife in her face, whapped him with a concealed nightstick. Rachel and her no-nonsense approach are awesome!

Erica Tazel as Rachel in JustifiedRaylan listens to his voicemail from Lindsey, and he and Rachel follow the trail back to the convenience store, where the clerk is in a pretty bad way but able reveal that Lindsey had plans to photograph horses somewhere nearby. I thought that was just a ploy, so I’m not sure how it ended up being a way for Raylan to trace her and Randall, but ok … Rachel has to leave to go to work, but she even offers to call in sick so she can back up Raylan. Awww! I like their rapport so much! Raylan declines, saying that Art’s head will explode if neither of them turns up, so she gives him a very shiny shotgun, whose significance I totally missed at this juncture.

Meanwhile, Ellen May is not thrilled about the idea of moving to Alabama, although I bet if she knew the alternative, she’d be singing “Sweet Home Alabama” in a New York minute. Ava does the hard sell, telling Ellen May that she’s getting a second chance and that she doesn’t have to be a prostitute any more. Ava sweetens the deal with a thousand dollars in cash, all but begging Ellen May to go so the Crowders don’t have to kill her.

Raylan finds Lindsey and Randall, who have stopped in a nice open field where no innocent bystanders will be in injured in the ensuing mayhem. Raylan takes out Rachel’s shotgun, and when Randall comes at him, shoots the burly idiot. Before I can be appalled at Raylan’s casual resort to violence, I find out that the shotgun is loaded with beanbags, because Rachel thought Raylan needed some non-lethal force at his disposal. Phew! Randall manages to get the shotgun away from Raylan and then there’s an all-out brawl, so Raylan can have his once-a-season beatdown. Lindsey finally has enough and shoots both Raylan and Randall with the beanbag gun; she shoots Randall more times, though, finally clubbing him upside the head with the gun barrel, so Raylan is convinced that she did indeed like him. A backlit and angelic-looking Lindsey tells Raylan that his money is in the van.

Timothy OlyphantRaylan manages to drag himself and a handcuffed Randall to the van, which, when opened, reveals crates full of chickens. Randall, depressed at the demise of his dream job, keeps talking about how great chickens are, so Raylan fires one final beanbag shot at him to shut him up. Heh!

Speaking of dreams, Ellen May comes into Audrey’s with her bags packed so Colton can drive her to the bus station. Ellen May has figured out why Ava is sending her to Alabama. Forgetting that loose lips sink ships and result in possible felony murder charges for Ava and Boyd, Ellen May loudly informs Ava that if Ava lets her stay, she promises to tell no one, NO ONE, about Ava’s murder of Delroy. Oh, Ellen May! Her sense of self-preservation is about as well-developed as a day old chick’s!

Raylan drives home, filling in Rachel about the conversion of his cash into chickens and thanking her for her help. He figures this was all a sign that he wasn’t meant to have that money after all. I hope he remembers all this the next time he’s tempted to commit a firing offense to earn cash!

As Colton and Ellen May drive to the bus stop, Colton gets a phone call that turns him somber. It looks like Ellen May is going to find her fresh start at the bottom of a mineshaft after all because we cut to Boyd reassuring Ava that Ellen May won’t feel a thing. For all that I love Boyd and Ava as villains, I’m seriously creeped out that they’re talking about this woman as though she were a sick dog that they were going to have euthanized.

Colton pulls over at a gas station, instructing Ellen May to fill the car with ten gallons of gas while he uses the bathroom to snort some drug and pull out his gun. I guess he has the glimmerings of a conscience after all. An unseen someone bangs on the bathroom door, and when Colton comes out of the bathroom, he finds his car abandoned and Ellen May gone.

Hmmmmm! Somehow, I’m not convinced that Ellen May left of her own volition, because it seems odd to me that, if she suspected Colton was going to kill her, she’d still follow his instructions about gassing up the car before she took off. But if there’s someone else involved, I wonder who on earth it could be: is Cassie keeping an eye on Audrey’s place? Did she pick Ellen May up to use as a weapon against Boyd? Are some of the other employees of Audrey’s members of Billy’s church? I have so many questions!! Which is why even a slightly less engaging episode of Justified is still one of the best things on TV.

Read more coverage of Justified on Criminal Element.

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.


  1. Mary Saputo

    A fun fact. I was watching Family Feud the other day and one of the BIG questions at the end was: What way can you get a new car? The BIG answer? Steal it. That answers your question about the champagne. You know, I noticed that Raylan was lookin’ a little bedraggled this week. His hair looked like he could fix his car if the “out of oil” light came on. I would imagine that when your standard is – if I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all – it would tend to get you down. Let’s hope our hero has a turn-around, although in all honesty? He’s not livin’ a charmed life.

  2. Laura K. Curtis

    Bitsy –

    That reminds me of the old saying…sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. Seems lately, poor Raylan has been the bug.

  3. Ali abrar

    “The wrathful judgment of Almighty God? Sheriff, that ought to be enough for anybody.”-Cassie St. Cyr. And Timothy has played his part at his best. As he has done in Hitman. Always loved his work. [url=http://buymoviesonlinedownloadreview.com]Blog[/url] about movies online.

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