We open with the aftermath of Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) pulling out the good bourbon for Ava (Joelle Carter) because of her revelation that the pizza parlor is located above a former bank. Boyd and Ava are slumped on top of the bar, and I daresay they’d be canoodling if they hadn’t been drinking bourbon for six hours. Ava gets a text message from Raylan (Timothy Olyphant); her effortless lie to Boyd about who’s texting her at the crack of dawn is all the more impressive considering how very drunk she is. Luckily Boyd is also drunk and accepts her explanation.
Ava drunk-drives her way to a meeting with Raylan at the Givens home, where she’s ambushed by Rachel (Erica Tazel) and AUSA Vasquez (Rick Gomez), both of whom take turns telling her that unless she comes up with usable information quickly, the deal that got her out of jail will no longer remain in play.
At Boyd’s bar, Carl (Justin Welborn), his brother Earl (Ryan Dorsey) and Boyd’s other henchman are discussing the pizza parlor revelation while Boyd nurses his hangover. Ty Walker (Garret Dillahunt) wanders in and delivers some dialogue that sounds as though it were written by the Deadwood writers (minus the profanity) — that’s a compliment, by the way, because Deadwood was amazing. Boyd is unimpressed and tells Ty that “you talk as much as I do.” It’s not as much fun when you have to listen to yourself, is it, Boyd? Ty praises Boyd for his tradecraft, but says there will be consequences for Boyd robbing Ty’s employer. He threatens Boyd in a rather oblique way and Boyd tells him that lots of men have come into his bar ringing that same bell, and many of them have left as corpses. Looking back on the five seasons of Justified, Boyd definitely has a point.
Rachel and Raylan drive around Harlan and they understatedly argue about Rachel’s and Vasquez’s ambush of Ava earlier. Rachel complains that it’s really hard to be Raylan’s boss, and Raylan says that he understands that she and Vazquez are nervous about not keeping him on a tighter leash, but that they shouldn’t take it out on Ava. He asks Rachel whether she wants to ride along on his next visit, which is to Luther (Brent Briscoe), the explosives manager at a local mine and former coal-digging comrade of Raylan’s and Boyd’s.
Alas, to my disappointment, Luther is not a brilliant yet wayward English policeman played by Idris Elba, but a schlubby-looking middle-aged man who reminisces about how he and Raylan used to drink a lot of moonshine. Raylan checks the books and discovers that explosives are missing and that Luther Kent has signed for them. Raylan doesn’t buy the obvious conclusion that Luther has sold the explosives to Boyd.
Ava reconnoiters the pizza parlor, where she spills a drink on her white top so she can pretend to visit the ladies’ room while exploring the back recess of the pizza joint/former bank. She sneaks downstairs and takes pictures of the safe and bedding set up down there. Our buddy Choo Choo (Duke Davis Roberts) surprises her and seemingly believes her story about getting lost. Unfortunately for Ava, Ty Walker is also there, and despite her pretence at being a dumb blonde, Ty isn’t fooled for a minute.
Boyd’s henchmen discuss Ava’s photos, which, though blurry, have enabled Boyd to figure out that there are five men in the pizza parlor operation. He also says that he’s going to need more Imulex to blow up the vault that’s in the basement of the pizza parlor.
Raylan and Rachel discuss some way to get to Luther Kent and hit upon using his son Tyler (Patrick Carlyle), for whom Luther took the fall on a DWI incident. Tyler is a fresh-faced yet debauched young man whom Boyd’s henchman Earl is currently visiting. Unfortunately for Earl, Raylan and Rachel show up just as Earl is trying to convince Tyler to get Boyd even more Imulex. Earl gets mouthy with Raylan, tries to throw a punch and then doubles over in pain after Raylan does a pincer-movement on Earl’s crotch. Rachel and Raylan leave, but only after Raylan leaves his card for Tyler and Rachel tells them “y’all be good now.” (I love Rachel and I really wish she and Tim could be in the same episode again sometime.) After they leave, Earl threatens Tyler to make him go get more explosives for Boyd.
Boyd sits in his office in the dark and hears a sound that is, unluckily for Boyd, not the harbinger of Boyd’s return but armed men in ski-masks who whack Boyd upside the head and then handcuff him.
Speaking of masks, Tyler and Earl don theirs to rob the mine of explosives since they can’t get the Imulex using the illegal but nonviolent method that was successful before. Unfortunately for them, Raylan and Rachel also show up. As Earl tries to get Tyler to make a last heroic stand against The Man, Tyler’s father Luther shows up and tries to take the fall on his behalf. Aaah, the misplaced gallantry of parents!
Boyd wakes up with a strip of duct tape across his mouth and his arms bound behind his chair. The masked men return with a pair of wicked-looking scissors, and I fear the worst when one of the ski-mask guys asks whether Boyd has seen Chinatown before kneeling to where Boyd’s hands are really close to the knife.
Luckily the guy’s just cutting the plastic tie around Boyd’s wrists. He tells Boyd that this is Boyd’s second warning, and that’s when I realize that the masked men are Choo Choo and his minder Seabass (Scott Grimes). Seabass tells Boyd it was smart for him to send Ava to do the recon, but wonders whether it will work when Ava’s not so pretty any more. Uh oh!
Speaking of “not so pretty”, Katherine Hale’s (Mary Steenburgen) once and current boyfriend Avery (Sam Elliott) turns up at Ava’s door along with his #1 henchman Ty Walker. Don’t invite them in, Ava! They’re clearly vampires and then you’ll have a heck of a time getting rid of them.
Alas, poor Ava has no choice (as with many other things in her life at the moment) and when we return from commercial we find Avery making himself at home in Ava’s dining room. (I wonder if he knows that’s where she shot her husband, though!) Avery is not a very gracious guest, because instead of drinking down the bourbon Ava gave him, he tells her he’s not a fan of bourbon despite being raised in Kentucky.
Ava impresses me by keeping a brave face and a steady voice as Avery tells her that unless she’s harder and tougher than any of the male criminals, she’s just a soft thing who can be threatened or hurt to keep her man in line. Boyd watches Ava’s house from the shadow of a nearby tree.
Back at the mine, Raylan tries to argue Luther out of taking the fall for his dumbass son, but Luther gives Raylan a little parenting lesson instead. He says he wishes he could have paid for his son to go to school and have an actual career, but since he couldn’t this is the only thing he can do for Tyler. The man who flips on Boyd Crowder will have no life at all in Harlan, so he’s going to save his son a painful death and burial in a slurry pit.
Boyd comes into Ava’s house and Avery reminisces about the time he met ten-year-old Boyd when he was doing business with Beau Crowder. Yes, everyone really does know everyone else. I like that this final season of Justified is reaching back deep into the roots and family background and making Harlan such an important part of the whole affair. I bet Raylan knows Avery too (or at least I’ll bet that Avery probably has some memory of Arlo Givens being horrible to Raylan that he’ll whip out when the time is right!)
Boyd apologizes in a very wordy and Boyd-like way for stealing Avery’s stuff. Avery is unconvinced about Boyd’s sincerity and tells Ava and Boyd that he never wants to see them at his pizza place again (though he invites them to order in — delivery in 30 minutes or the pizza’s free). If they must have their pizzas in person, Avery will kill them.
Back at the mine, Rachel asks Raylan what he plans to do now; he tells her that he’s sending Earl back to Boyd to see what happens. Hmmm, considering that Boyd’s last dumb (former) henchperson who had a close encounter with The Law was Dewey Crowe and considering what Boyd did to him, I’d say Earl’s life expectancy just plummeted.
And now we come to one of the greatest scenes of this or any other Justified episode: Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) in what looks like a plastic thong bikini is laying on a tanning bed in his hotel room. Wynn’s not best pleased to be interrupted by Henchperson Mike (after all, interruptions cause your tan to be uneven!); Mike (Jonathan Kowalsky) tells him that Boyd called to say that he’s coming to the hotel and he wants both Katherine and Wynn to be there. He also wants a hotel room. And a pony. (Wait, I made the last bit up!) Wynn hasn’t lived this long turning his skin to leather by being stupid, so he tells Mike to be extra careful patting down Boyd and to take away any cigarettes he has. Either he’s been watching Breaking Bad and is worried about ricin or else he thinks Boyd is making a cigarette bomb.
Katherine Hale is present at the meeting, just as Boyd requested. Boyd tells Katheirne and Wynn that he’s found the money, and demands to know why Katherine didn’t tell him she’d hired him to rob Avery Markham. Katherine explains that she was worried Boyd wouldn’t take the job if he’d known who he was robbing. When Boyd presses her, she admits that she’s sleeping with Avery, which is how she knew about the realtor.
Bathrobe-class Wynn asks whether this means Boyd is backing down, and in the most chilling way possible, Boyd says that, contrary to Wynn’s insinauations, he’s doing the opposite of backing down: he plans to rob Avery and then stick a bullet in his head. I’d be very interested to know if Katherine and Wynn realize that Boyd would also gladly put bullets in their heads. Katherine says Boyd is the man of her dreams. I bet!
Ava lays in her hotel bed, wide awake. When Boyd turns up, she asks whether Katherine came clean and Boyd tells her that Katherine was as “clean as she’s going to come.” Ava asks Boyd how he intends to proceed further and when that doesn’t work, she suggests that she and Boyd run away and start things over again. Boyd tells her that he’s not leaving Kentucky with nothing. He admits that since Ava got out of prison, he feels like he doesn’t know who she is.
In order to stop the dangerous direction of this line of thought, Ava whips back the covers from the bed to reveal that she isn’t wearing anything underneath them. Boyd, smart as he is, falls right in with her plans and joins her on the bed.
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This was another great episode of Justified that introduced the guy who may be the season’s villain; I’m loving the palpable sense of menace this season (see, you can keep the suspense high whilst keeping the body count low!!), as well as the moments of hilarity like Wynn Duffy tanning and Garret Dillahunt’s delivery of the high-falutin’ language of his scene with Boyd. Fingers crossed the next ten are as good as the first three!
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.