After the bloodbath that was “Shot All to Hell,” this week’s “Kill the Messenger” moved around the pieces of Justified even more on the playing field of Harlan. A lot of side characters and superfluous plots were washed away last week (in blood), so this episode took the folks that were left over and saw them forming unlikely alliances and making revelations, then sweeping them under the carpet for the time being. And one story line that’s felt like deadweight the entire season inches closer towards being more interesting. More of my thoughts on “Kill the Messenger” after the jump.
Art’s got a helluva haymaker, doesn’t he? There was five seasons’ worth of frustration behind that punch, which delivered an impressive shiner to the face of his most bothersome deputy. I was figuring Raylan would be exposed closer to the finale, not five episodes in, so where do they go from here? Raylan doesn’t have any regrets for having a hand in the death of Nicky Augustine, but he certainly feels terrible about lying to Art. He respects the man too much and that’s what drove him to come clean. Now that he has, Art can either retire with this black cloud over his head, or spill the beans and absolve himself of the cover up. Tough call. Whatever way it goes, rest assured Nick Searcy will act the shit out of it like he always does.
Like Raylan mentions in this episode, the Crowe clan is coming undone at the seams. Daryl doesn’t seem to buy Danny’s story about Jean Baptiste’s shit talking and subsequent hightail back to Florida. Also, Danny wasn’t told to run Alison off the road, he did that on his own volition. In the very first episode Daryl had one of their kin killed for a much more minor infraction, so how long will he stand for Danny’s reckless behavior?
Ava’s story line behind bars finally got a little interesting, but it’s still not all that engaging. So far this season every scene with her has been a bit of a drag. Boyd’s attempt to have her protected by the Women’s Auxiliary branch of the Aryan Union backfired, as Gunner Swift sees Boyd as a Judas to the cause. This betrayal led to a pretty badass scene that saw Boyd forming an unlikely partnership with the Crowes. I really wouldn’t call it a “partnership” exactly. I’m sure when Boyd gets what he wants from the Crowes he’ll wash his hands of them. He’s still more cunning than all of them combined, so manipulating them into doing his dirty work shouldn’t be a problem for the time being.
Boyd and Duffy’s meeting with the Mexican connection seemed to go swimmingly. But before they can reap the rewards of a fresh pipeline, Boyd’s going to have to take care of his little Johnny problem. That was smooth work by Hot Rod, dropping that sly hint over the phone, but it’s still up in the air whether he’ll make it out of the Boyd/Johnny beef alive. The writers have never really developed the Hot Rod character into someone particularly interesting, and like I mentioned last week, he seems to be the last remaining old school dealer in the region, so a changing of the guards is kinda set to take place if Boyd (or Johnny) take over his area.
The direction this season is heading in is still a little murky. By now it’s usually clear who’s going to have the showdown with Raylan, or who’s at least going to pose the biggest threat. I like that they’re trying something new this season, but sometimes it feels like for every step the story takes forward, some side plot or superfluous character takes it two steps back. But, of course, Justified is still consistently one of the most entertaining hours of television out there.
• Man, Carl can scrap, huh? Justin Welborn hasn’t gotten all that much to do this season, but now we know Carl can fight with his hands just as nicely as he snipes folks with his rifle and sniffs out lost hookers. If he wasn’t outnumbered, I certainly think he could’ve taken down Danny.
• I still kinda love how much Danny Crowe loves dogs.
• Speaking of Danny Crowe, “It was consexual.”
• In prison slang, “fish” is a new arrival and “hack” is a guard.
• Ava cutting her hair is such a classic rape/revenge film move. Victims in that particular genre frequently cut their own hair before getting their revenge on, so I believe it was foreshadowing Ava’s next moves in prison.
• Body Count: 0