Talk about an episode hitting the ground running! “Collateral” exploded like a Raylan quick draw!
Editor’s Note: As this series winds down to the finale, just one more episode left after this, there’s no filler! Events take on Shakespearean proportions, so please don’t read further if you don’t know or aren’t ready to be spoiled.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) pulls over a driver (Shea Whigham) at gunpoint to catch a ride, while elsewhere, Art (Nick Searcy) arrives at the scene to find Tim (Jacob Pitts) watching after Earl (Ryan Dorsey). Art discovers Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has left his bona fides in the car — it appears that everyone’s smooth talking marshal has gone rogue — and is on foot hunting for Ava (Joelle Carter) and her uncle, Zachariah Randolph (Jeff Fahey), and the ten million in stolen loot. Raylan stumbles upon Cope (Tom E. Proctor) and his mountain men, the ones who in a previous season almost killed him. Raylan draws, threatening to shoot Cope first if they don’t lay down their weapons. They oblige. All this was in the first four minutes!
Zachariah buries Grubes, and Ava is arguing that they don’t have that kind of time. Bute her uncle doesn’t see it as feasible to lug around three hundred pounds of money in wilderness country where they could get lost. Ava is right that they are running out of time, because Raylan is closing in on their hideout. He uses Cope as a hostage of sorts to get farther up the mountain and away from the man’s hillside gang. Cope lets Raylan know his father, Arlo Givens, was a son-of-a-bitch for the way he treated him and the other men running drugs. Raylan borrows a notepad from Cope and signs his father’s old house over to an astonished Cope. “He did you people dirt,” Raylan says, “this is payback.” He lets it be known that, “I don’t need the money from selling it. I need to find Boyd and get to Florida.”
At the morgue, Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) stands over his love, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen), who is lying on the slab. He’s gently rebuking her for not allowing him to kill Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) like he promised. He concedes he may be talking to a ghost but that he is still a “practical man” — He will kill Duffy and locate his money. And how convenient for Avery that Duffy is being immediately let go — a stretch of believability for me, but, hey, I’d like Wynn out there where he can get his comeuppance — by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vasquez (Rick Gomez), who informs the Dixie mafia lout that he is free to go, but that they have frozen his bank accounts. Wynn tells Vasquez he has no interest in staying in Kentucky because Boyd, Raylan, and Avery are coming together, “Like the aligning of the planets, if the planets carried guns and hated my guts.” But, of course, it’s all a lie, because later Wynn is on a park bench telling a supplier he needs a specially equipped vehicle (a mobile dog grooming van), a gun, topographical map, and two passports. He slyly pays for it, in part, using Katherine’s engagement ring.
Zachariah and Ava have a police radio and hear the dispatch that Boyd is an escaped fugitive. Ava loses it, chuckling, “Don’t you get it? We’re dead.” Zachariah believes they should stay at Grubes and make a stand against Boyd, but Ava insists that’s suicide.
Loretta Mcready (Kaitlyn Dever) is holed up with Derek (Riley Bodenstab) for protection in a barn when psychopath gunslinger Boon (Jonathan Tucker) easily finds them. He outdraws Derek, pops some lead in the kid’s shoulder, and leaves him bleeding crimson on the floor. I’m sure a majority of viewers can’t wait until this two-bit hard-case is riddled with bullets himself. Boon is, hands-down, one of the top villains in the show’s six-year history.
Tension runs high at HQ in Lexington when Vasquez confronts Tim over an official bulletin regarding Raylan. Tim sarcastically elucidates to Vasquez that when a marshal life’s in danger, they put out a bulletin hoping a fellow law enforcement officer brings ‘em into protective custody. Vasquez isn’t buying it, knowing the marshal service is attempting to avoid any bad press. In a moment exemplifying Tim’s dry wit, he calls Art, and as Vasquez is talking on his phone and relaying his plans, Tim mimics all the pertinent conversation including that Vasquez is putting out an FBI search for Raylan. When they catch him, they will indict.
Constable Bob Sweeney (the funny as hell Patton Oswalt) finds his police car stolen, assumes Raylan has it, and begins to follow the GPS to the missing vehicle. Raylan arrives at Grubes’ home, finding Zachariah calmly sitting in wait. Later, after being roughed up by Raylan, he still isn’t spilling any info on Ava’s whereabouts. Though he does condemn Raylan and Boyd for the way he feels both men used his niece for their own selfish reasons.
All the while, Ava has taken a lone backpack of cash and is running to beat the devil through the woods. She manages to get to Bob’s Crown Vic, but the constable is waiting and gets the drop on her. He handcuffs her to the car but then hears a gunshot and goes to investigate. Boyd, just down the road, squeezes off a round that paints the driver’s brains (not even so much as a thank you) against the window. Ava hears four shots. Frightened, she manages to escape with the money.
Raylan finally catches up with Boyd and, once again, they begin shooting at each other. Boyd wants to know why it wasn’t possible that he was just a boy scout wandering about. “Your teeth glow in the dark,” Raylan retorts. They continue their usual back-and-forth, verbal jujitsu, but Bob Sweeney begins wailing in the distance. When Raylan says that Bob can take care of himself, Boyd answers, “Why, hell, Raylan. Then I have already won.” In his Ahab-like quest for Boyd, Raylan may have appeared to have lost a little of his humanity, but when he gives up (temporarily, I’m sure) on catching Boyd to save his friend Bob, we see that he hasn't completely gone over to the dark side. Poor Ava manages to get to a main road only to be caught by two of Avery Markham’s dirty cops. This lady can’t win for losing!
Boon brings Avery to where Loretta is, and Avery chastises Boon for leaving Derek alive. He shoots him, then asks Loretta why he should keep her alive. Avery knows the answer and just wants to hear her cool-headed response that she will be his contact to all things in Harlan County. Loretta is a cool customer, and I’m betting this is an uneasy alliance for her. The girl is known to be full of surprises, and here’s hoping she drops one on Avery.
Raylan finds Bob, who is shot up bad, and drives him to the hospital just as Boyd catches up with Zachariah. But Ava’s uncle has a nice fiery surprise of his own that he detonates. It doesn’t kill Boyd, but wounds him severely. Since we still have the final episode to go, I’m sure Boyd will be back on his feet and hightailing it again.
At the hospital, Bob is wheeled inside as a voice inquires, “Raylan Givens?” Two deputy sheriffs have their guns drawn on him.
“I don’t suppose you would believe me if I said no?” Raylan deadpans.
There were several implausible coincidences (for example, with all the cops searching for Ava, that she ended up again in Avery’s grasp), but this penultimate episode of Justified was so damn entertaining, who am I to squabble over a few sticky plot points? And we’re all excited for next week’s series finale!
Read all of Edward A. Grainger's posts for Criminal Element.