JUSTIFIED Episode Recap: “Decoy”

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Some of the greatest moments on Justified occur when characters are simply sitting in the same room and talking.  That’s a testament to the sharp writing and stellar cast and it’s a fact that’s been prevalent since episode one.  “Decoy” was filled with these moments, but the scenes were amplified by the fact that a bulk of the characters were holed up somewhere, waiting for the Detroit shit to hit the fan.  Add in several intense stand-offs and two horribly nerve-wracking scenes and you’ve got one of the most entertaining episodes of the season.  More on this week’s Justified after the jump.

justified-decoy-timothy-olyphantWe haven’t spent that much time with Nicky Augustin until “Decoy” and hoo boy that was enough.  What a scumbag.  I knew the Detroit snobs looked down upon the KY natives, but Mike O’Malley‘s slimy performance took that contempt to a whole other level.  In the first scene he’s relating to the biblical story of Isaac and Abraham to Boyd – who probably knows the Bible better than anyone in Harlan.  He uses the story to explain that Theo is Boyd’s new god.  A seemingly over-the-top comparison but an appropriate one for this situation.  Then he has some muscle named Yolo (really?) knock out some of Boyd’s teeth, which he assumes must’ve been purchased, because everyone knows rednecks don’t have teeth.

Throughout the episode, however, Boyd continued to prove his worth by predicting Raylan’s movements in an eerily accurate manner.  As he explained to Nicky, “If you want Drew Thompson you’re going to need Raylan Givens, and if you want Raylan Givens, you’re going to need me.”  I’ve no knowledge of the bond between folks who have shoveled coal together, but apparently it’s pretty fucking strong.

While Boyd, Colt, Picker, and Yolo (really?!) go out to earn their keep, Nicky waits at the bar.  Possibly out of boredom, but more likely because he’s an asshole, Nicky exhaustively taunts Ava – questioning how many dicks she’s had to suck to get where she is today.  The uncomfortable manner of his jeering blowjob monologue made it feel like it went on forever.

justified-decoyBy the end of the scene it’s Johnny who feels shamed, not Ava.  Now she knows about his meetings with Duffy and his love for her, which adds some terrible weight to the tragedy of Johnny Crowder.  It’s safe to say we’ll have to say happy trails to David Meunier by the end of the season.  He was great on Jericho and he’s been even better on Justified - especially this season when he’s expressed an incredible balance of desperation and malice.  Or maybe he’ll skip town and surface further down the road, but it would make more sense narratively if he was killed.

A lot of people have been hypothesizing that Shelby is Raylan’s father.  While I understand the argument (especially concerning Shelby’s mention of Mrs. Givens’ “proclivities”), I really hope it isn’t true.  Not only does it sound too soap opera-like for the Justified universe, but it also isn’t very Elmore Leonard-like.  Graham Yost and the writers have always done an excellent job of maintaining a Leonard sentiment with stories and characters, and throwing in a stunning paternity test twist just doesn’t vibe.  The shocks in Justified are usually reserved for shootouts and more subtle aspects (like how Arlo thought he was shooting Raylan in “Slaughterhouse”), not melodramatic twists usually reserved for daytime drama.

justified-decoy-walton-gogginsRegardless of where Shelby’s dick has been, he revealed some more tidbits about his life as Drew and Arlo’s past.  Arlo said he would burn the bag – maybe he hung on to it to use as blackmail?  I liked the story about how he first met Arlo fittingly outside of a whorehouse in Saigon.  It was obvious Raylan was interested in this story about his father’s past, but he hid it by compulsively looking out windows and circling Shelby.  The more he’s around Shelby, the more he’s been learning eccentric things about Arlo, whether he wants to or not.

Raylan and Rachel’s attempts to get Shelby outta town kept being foiled by Boyd.  Even with a massive decoy convoy, they were still backed into the principal’s office of the old high school.  Art, Tim, and the rest of the marshals almost weren’t able to save the day because they were stuck between a rock and an IED.  That whole scenario was fantastic and it was especially great to see Tim do his thing.  The dialogue between Tim and Colt was authentic as always.  I’m still eagerly awaiting they’re confrontation.

I would really love to have Colt around for more seasons and maybe we will.  At first he was on a complete downward spiral following the Ellen May debacle, so I figured he was a goner, but after Boyd gave him a second chance he seems to have cleaned up his act.  He sure did pull a fast one on Mort.  Why do you guys think he shot him?

justified poster season 4There are only two episodes left and hot damn did this season go by fast.  Now Shelby’s on his way outta town via coal train and nobody knows but the marshals. Think they’ll get a clean getaway?  Either way, there’s a showdown on the horizon. 

Last Call 

  • BEST ONE-LINER: “Holy shit…they circled the wagons.” – Colt.  That action by the marshals was so good, by the way.  And it makes sense in KY for that maneuver to actually be in the Marshal’s Playbook.
  • MOST BADASS MOMENT: Easiest pick ever.  Constable Bob flipping the scenario on Yolo and slaughtering him.  This scene was brutal.  Yolo practically caved his head in and Bob still managed to not only keep his trap shut (inviting a more ugly beating in the process), but he also summoned the strength to slice up one of Yolo’s arteries.  I found myself cheering in this moment and I’m sure many of you did too.  Hot damn, Bob.  You are truly one tough sonuvabitch.  Here’s hoping he makes it to another season.
  • Nice Battle of Bloody Porch reference.
  • So far all these Detroit thugs are a bunch of pussies.
  • Raylan’s line “There’s no frigate like a book” is taken from an Emily Dickinson poem.
  • Louis L’Amour was an esteemed author of Western novels and historical fiction.
  • Raylan calling Yolo “Yoo-Hoo’ will never, ever get old.



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  • LEM

    I think the best one liner was “Drewbacca”.

  • Ric

    Last week, I thought there was no way they could successfully stretch this out into the remaining 3 episodes. Obviously this is why they’re the writers and I’m just a happy viewer. Speaking of writing, I agree that it’s at an all time high. It has actually began to distract me during the show.

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