Justified showrunner Graham Yost says this season’s extended fugitive arc would take up a good chunk of season 4 – reducing the number of one episode stories and dipping our beloved crime show into the mystery genre. This week, the metaphorical rug was pulled out from under us as we learned (in a real “pain in the ass” way) who the real fugitive is. This quest into Arlo’s criminal past will surely lead to some grim places for Raylan, but for now Yost and co. are still having plenty of fun introducing more of Harlan’s unruly shit kickers and a tough-as-nails pugilist. Put down the bottle and hit the jump for our recap of “Where’s Waldo?”
Raylan may be a top-notch marshal (and lover), but he sucks at being a bouncer. That’s twice so far he’s let people slip in while the bar’s closed. Last season it was some Dixie Mafia goons and now it’s a hard-looking man we learn more about later. But I do love Raylan’s honesty in this scene. “I don’t know,” he replies when the man asks if he thinks Raylan can make him leave. It’s pretty easy to figure out who this cranky guy’s looking for, which spells more trouble for Raylan in an episode that seemed to continuously heap predicaments onto his weary, denim-clad lap.
Before Raylan can even finish his coffee, Art tells him about Arlo slitting the mafia thug’s throat. Raylan recognizes the guy’s mug and spills the beans to Art about the mailbag. The name Waldo Truth rings a bell with Art and he insists on tagging along when Raylan and Tim head over to the Truth house to see what’s what.
In the previous scene, there’s some talk of Art’s retirement – a thought that truly bums me out. As Art, Joelle Carter is a level-headed anchor for Raylan and the rest of his marshals. He knows when the bend the rules and when lines shouldn’t be crossed. And when to get a “marshal stiffy.”
Art can still spot when Raylan’s a little off too. During their stakeout of the Truth residence, he makes a quip about Raylan keeping “junkie hours.” He knows something fishy is up, and reminds Raylan it’s against marshal policy to do anything on the side. Gulp.
The Truth family turns out to be the most animated pack of lowlife hillbillies we may have encountered yet on Justified. From Mama Truth stabbing her husband Waldo in the ass to young Milo Truth pulling a gun on Raylan, the Truths cracked me up and I sincerely hope we spend some more time in their filthy living room.
Here’s what we learned about Waldo: he was convicted of armed robbery in 1979. In 1982 he broke his parole. Along came a pilot named Drew Thompson who hired Waldo for a job. The person who crash landed in the flashback last week was Waldo (they could tell by the scar on the corpse’s ass). Now we know Waldo’s been dead since 1983. So where’s Drew? Go ask Arlo.
Over at the Crowder camp, Boyd’s got some predicaments of his own. Ellen May’s been saved by Preacher Billy and the Last Chance Holiness Church and although she can’t pronounce “Pslams”, her conversion spells trouble in a couple ways. First, Ava loses a whore. Second, she may draw in other whores, pushers, and users from Harlan. Boyd, who’s got a severe distaste for all churches at this point, is still too stubborn to believe that Billy’s church is draining their customers. As he explains to Johnny, “people in Harlan party every Saturday and get saved every Sunday.”
At least Boyd’s getting his money’s worth outta Colt. He roughs up some dealer from the Frankfort crew he caught pushing in Harlan. Frankfort is Dixie Mafia territory, but instead of seeing this is a gross intrusion on his business, Boyd smells a partnership opportunity. Before he can figure out a clear plan in his mind, his bar is overrun by creepy, hymn-singing children of the corn. I’m not sure if these runts visited other bars in Harlan, but it seems pretty obvious Billy’s taunting Boyd.
Sheriff Shelby begrudgingly digs into Billy’s background for Boyd – finding out that him and his sister Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher, The Oregonian) have moved through five cities in the past three years. Boyd suspects they move in and chip away at the local criminal enterprises until they have no choice but to pay off the religious duo. This doesn’t make sense to me. Wouldn’t any hardened criminals in their right mind simply run the church out of town? Or just kill Billy and Cassie?
The preach-off between Boyd and Billy was fantastic. He may be a little rusty, but Boyd still spits sermons like the silver-tongued devil he is. They had a great back and forth, with a lot of lines being drawn in the sand for the souls of Harlan. Billy (who knows who Boyd is when he steps up) won the battle, but Boyd’s still confident he’ll win the war. And he thinks sister Cassie might be his key to victory.
Now that Quarles is gone, Wynn Duffy’s got his groove back. Man I missed the old Duffy. Jere Burns deadpans with the best of them, but last season Duffy was too busy being scared shitless by Quarles to crack jokes. Now he’s back to his old self and to prove it, he shoots his captured dealer in the head as cool as he’s just flickin’ off a light switch. He didn’t seem too interested in a partnership with Boyd, but he does inquire about that Dixie Mafia thug Arlo killed. I’m not sure how high up that thug was, but there may be some comeuppance on its way.
And just when it seems Raylan can forget his troubles for awhile, Lindsey’s husband enters the bar again. Earlier we found out this guy can walk the walk and that he’s got something brewing in Harlan. After being paid for the boxing match, the man asks the bookie about “the other thing.” Whatever this “thing” is, I have a feeling Lindsey and subsequently Raylan will get mixed up in it. Lindsey knows about the underwear drawer full of money Raylan’s got in his room. I’m sure her husband would love to know about it too.
Season 4 continues to barrel along at breakneck speed. We’ve got a whole new family of colorful characters in the Truths and a new catalyst who likes talking with his fists. Two episodes in and I’m okay if there are no more newcomers this season. The writers have always been great at juggling the colorful cast, but I feel like after season 3’s quantity of characters I’d like to get back to season 2’s quality. Let’s focus on the lowlifes we already have before opening the door for more.
MOST BADASS MOMENT: Milo Truth flipping Raylan the double-bird. (Also, see BEST KILL)
FUNNIEST MOMENT: After Milo draws on Raylan, Mama Truth asked how he got a gun. “We agreed it was time!” replies Judd Truth.
BEST KILL: Wynn Duffy bucking down his own dealer.
BEST ONE-LINER: “But I don’t even trust the way you just said I can trust you.” – Wynn Duffy.
The story of Drew Thompson is based on a real KY drug smuggler, Andrew C. Thornton. During a smuggling run from Colombia in 1985, Thornton got tangled in his parachute and crash landed in a backyard in Knoxville, TN.
I love the way the one extra ran out of Boyd’s bar, clutching his beer, during the children’s hymn.
Boyd was treating Johnny like a dick again. Johnny knows it’s the church that’s been draining their clients, but Boyd brushes him off like he’s a stupid kid. Something’s going to burst in between these two eventually.
Also, Boyd’s still acting distant with Ava. He’s awfully pensive lately.
There’s probably no easy retirement in the Justified universe. If something bad happens to Art I’m going to lose it.
I’m rooting for a Colt spin-off show that follows his amoral activities across the U.S.