Much of the focus this week was on Art, which I love because his no-nonsense approach and his razor-sharp tongue make him my favorite non-Raylan Marshal. This week we learn that in addition to his obvious intelligence (using the GPS in Terry’s car to figure out that Terry had murdered Bill), Art is quite the badass himself when necessary. Indeed, it seems that, from his discussion with the poor Marshal Bill, Art may once have been a very Raylan-like figure himself. (He mentions that Raylan is his “penance for the shit I put my chief through.”) Unfortunately, Art didn’t get too many one-liners in this episode, although I did enjoy his confusion about reptile pets (I have wondered the same thing myself, to be honest, although I guess geckos would help if you have a mosquito problem.)
Poor Marshal Bill, of course, is not expecting that one of his “clients” in the WitSec program would kill him, but apparently once a murderer always a murderer. “Terry” even looks a bit like a rat, if you ask me. I found it a refreshingly novel situation where the Marshals’ Service is protecting someone who’s actually pretty horrible – I imagine that many of the witnesses to criminal activity probably are criminals themselves, so it was good to see a nod to that, rather than having them all be innocent Sissy Spacek lookalikes with small babies. (That said, I am so relieved that nothing happened to the mother or the two kids, but then again, Marshal Rachel is absolutely ace and I figured once she was there all would be well. Another reason I like “Justified” so much is that it’s not just the “hero” who’s competent and good at his job, which is a trope that too many cop shows can’t resist.)
Speaking of our hero, we get to see several different sides of Raylan in this episode: family man, lawman and frenemy of Boyd Crowder. First the soon-to-be family man, who is equal parts terrified and delighted by his impending fatherhood and covers both by bantering about the fetal resemblance to an alien. (I’m pretty sure they don’t do ultrasounds until eight weeks, by the way, but I’ll let that one slide.) There seems to be a sizable proportion of Winona-haters amongst the show’s audience (at least by an unscientific survey of the comments to my last post) and I was not too happy with her dragging Raylan into a crime last season, but I find their banter about the baby very endearing. They seem so comfortable with each other that I really buy them as a married (or formerly-married, now-divorced and having-a-baby-together couple.) Just as in last week’s episode, I detect some hesitation from Winona regarding moving in somewhere together with Raylan; he seems to be all-in and Winona is not so certain, until perhaps the end of the episode when she turns up just to be there for Raylan.
The murder of Marshal Bill introduces a character from Raylan’s past, Deputy Director Goodall (which made me think she should be studying chimpanzees, and indeed, the Boston mobsters were a bit ape-like), played by Carla Gugino. Unfortunately, I didn’t think she was particularly necessary to the plot, either romantically or for policing purposes. Raylan didn’t smolder at her even once, and although her trick with the mobsters was cute, personally I think I would have preferred to see Marshal Tim partner up with Raylan instead.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing fallout from the disintegration of Mags Bennett’s empire, Raylan figures out exactly why Boyd has gotten himself arrested, and interrupts Boyd’s plan for a shiv to Dickie’s carotid artery in the cafeteria. As an explanation for why he didn’t catch on sooner, Raylan blames his complicated romantic life, asking Boyd what he made “of a man who divorces a woman, then gets her pregnant, then wonders if they should maybe move in together?”
Although the idea of Boyd as an advice columnist is priceless, I think we probably won’t see that anytime soon, as he points out to Raylan that “you’re talking to a man who’s sleeping with his dead brother’s widow and murderess.”
Knowing that Raylan has arranged for him to be released the next day, Boyd realizes that he had to make his move against Dickie immediately, only to find out that Raylan was a step ahead of him and had Dickie moved to isolation. I was unwillingly impressed by Boyd’s dedication to revenge for Ava (he gets himself a beatdown from the black inmates by exposing his swastika tattoo just so he could get close to Dickie) until it turns out that revenge was only the half of it: Boyd has designs on Mags’s money. With a knife to his throat, Dickie tells Boyd that the money is guarded by one Limehouse, who will only give the money to Dickie himself. Swayed by Dickie’s obvious and cowardly sincerity, Boyd doesn’t kill him (although I have a feeling that there is a lot less of Mags’s money than Boyd believes and that perhaps Dickie is just trying to set Boyd at war with Limehouse).
In the final scene, we learn that Limehouse is a hog butcher, an occupation that I find completely sinister because if I learned anything from “Deadwood” it was that hogs are a great way to dispose of dead bodies. Also, Limehouse is very handy with a knife and very displeased with one of his underlings, Bernard, who apparently fell asleep while on duty. Bernard is given the choice of having his hand stuck in boiling lye and erasing all his debts to Limehouse or promising never to screw up again in any way because he will be turned into hog chow if he does. (Well, Limehouse didn’t say that in so many words, but I’m pretty sure that was the intent.) Bernard chooses the path of mental, rather than physical anguish, and is led away by another of Limehouse’s underlings who apparently opted for the lye treatment. Ouch!
Also, Limehouse is scary with a capital “S.” Something about the hogs and the knives and the lye is even more terrifying than Detroit Dude’s casual murder of Yvette last week. And to think I was worried that we’d have a dearth of good villains this season!
Check out the dirt on Justified’s Season 3 premiere, too!
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.