Some of the complaints (including my own) revolving around this season of Justified have to do with Raylan taking the hypothetical backseat to Boyd’s sluggish heroin shipment, Ava’s dour prison story line, and the Crowe’s family feud. He’s been there to crack wise and deliver his ever reliable comic relief, but what he’s lacked in season 5 is drive – some incentive to get him to do more than hope to be transferred. Well “The Toll” certainly gave him a powerful goal to strive for. And it happened to be one that Raylan is damn good at achieving. More on this episode of Justified after the jump.
Before we get into this episode’s shocking turn of events, can I just say HOLY SHIT A CIGARETTE BOMB?! How Elmore Leonard was that?! It was an impressively cunning trick, even for Boyd. Earlier in the episode he explained to Candy that the “time has come to make a change.” He’s been playing the businessman with Duffy and the Detroit boys for a while now, but with the brazen murder of Picker, Boyd reminded them that they’re dealing with Harlan’s finest outlaw – not some backwoods slob who’s going to scratch for percentages. Hopefully this buries the heroin shipment debacle that has dragged on the entire season.
In last week’s recap, I briefly mentioned that I had a bad feeling about Art going alone to see about Allison Brander. Shit, I wish my hunch was wrong. The look on Art’s face when he realized he was shot was devastating. You could practically see “But I’m about to retire!” flash in his eyes. He’s still in critical condition at the end of the episode, but I wouldn’t worry too much. There’s a good chance Nick Searcy will be sticking around for the final season – he’s basically stated as much in interviews. Still, it was rough seeing the old man go down.
The positive to come out of Art’s shooting is that it’s getting Raylan off his ass. He’s got a very important goal now: take out Daryl Crowe (the old fashioned way, I assume). Their face-off as Daryl was leaving the marshal’s office gave me chills. Finally, Daryl came off like a real, cold-hearted, honest-to-goodness villain – not just a bumbling con man who’s been out in the Florida sun too long. That look Michael Rapaport gave Raylan as the elevator closed said it all. Daryl feels untouchable right now, which makes him dangerous to himself and especially Raylan, who is without a doubt going to come after him.
When Raylan stated, “You shot the one man that makes a difference to me,” it sounded like he was more admitting it to himself than Daryl. He’s been dealing with the guilt over shit heap Art’s going to face if the truth of Nicky Augustine’s demise gets out, particularly since it will destroy Art’s legacy. Taking out Daryl (and the “web of bullshit” he’s protecting himself with) isn’t going to change that, though it might get Raylan back on Art’s good side. He didn’t care so much when Arlo died still so filled with venom for him, but Art’s status as father figure is actually worth a damn to Raylan. Ah hell, I’m just glad something’s lighting a fire under his ass now.
Oh, Ava’s still in prison, only now she’s drowning in ice cream! Seriously, even if this prison story line leads up to something great, it doesn’t excuse wasting such a great character and actress for an entire season.
• The brand of cigarettes Boyd used was “Escalus,” a fictional label. I tried to find deeper meaning in this, maybe something to do with Escalus from Romeo & Juliet or Measure for Measure. But who wants to suck the fun out of such a kick ass moment by over-analyzing it?
• The tense scene between ADA David Vasquez and Katherine Hale seems to be hinting that she’s going to be a big deal in the final season. Otherwise why would they introduce her and bother presenting a vaguely notorious backstory for her with only two episodes left? I’m cool with that. In the few scenes she’s been in, Mary Steenburgen has proven she’s got the criminal chops to hold her own with the boys.
• I thought it was hysterical that Duffy and Boyd’s little hotel pow-wow picked up exactly where it left off after their intermission with the marshals. Being accused of murdering the chief marshal and dragged into custody didn’t phase them at all.
• Best one liner: “I may not know a lot about a lot of things, but I do know how to blow shit up.” - Boyd
• I bet seeing his mother’s face swollen up was all the convincing Kendall needed to take the fall for Daryl.
• Congratulations new interim chief marshal Rachel Brooks, just stay the hell away from Art’s stash of Pappy Van Winkle’s!
• “You’re not where you’re needed…where you can do the most good,” is another example of a women eloquently summing up Raylan’s conflicting moral existence. Also see: Allison’s line about Raylan running into a burning building he set fire to himself from earlier this season.
Body Count: 1