Well, Drew Thompson has been apprehended by the federal marshals, having foiled both the Tonins and the Cowders, and there are still three episodes left in the season. At least one of which will involve a harrowing and likely violent escape from Witch Mountain as Raylan and company try to get Drew out of Harlan and back to Lexington. But that's for next week. This week, a whoooole lotta stuff went down to get us to that point.
Drew ... Shelby ... I'm just going to call him Shelby because that's the guy we've come to know and (hopefully, if you're like me) love — anyway, Shelby gets out ahead of his pursuers, and while Raylan and Boyd are back at his house, jawing at each other as the Feds look for clues, Shelby is packing to skip town for Mexico. He's also giving Ellen May instructions so she can get herself put into witness protection and not in an unmarked grave in Boyd and Ava's new suburban backyard. But after a hilariously on-the-nose encounter with a stray dog on the highway, Shelby's heart gets soft and he doubles back to pick up Ellen May and take her to Mexico with him. That's a good man, considering everybody who's ever spent any length of time with Ellen May has ended up wanting to kill her
Only by this time, Raylan and the Raylettes (the whole band is together for this one: Rachel, Tim, eventually Art) have staked out the airfield where Sheby's getaway plane is and also the surrounding roads. At this point, Shelby's about willing to give up the ghost, but Ellen May convinces him to trust her to find them a place to hide out. That place turns out to be Noble's Holler, and soon we're once again laying eyes on the blood-soaked machete of Ellstin Limehouse. It's good to see the show hasn't forgotten what a crucial cog Limehouse is when it comes to Harlan criminal politics. (Though it does seem like everyone has forgotten that Limehouse and Johnny made a back-room alliance at the end of last season.) Shelby offers Limehouse $15,000 to keep Ellen May safe, but since Limehouse (through intuition or just keeping excellent tabs on what's been happening and putting the puzzle pieces together) pegs Shelby as Drew Thompson, he figures holding the both of them for ransom is the more lucrative play.
Now, at this point, the stakeholders in the Drew Thompson manhunt are many and varied. Boyd wants Drew so he can hand him over to the Detroit mob and become Theo Tonin's guy in Harlan. He also wants Ellen May in order to take her out and keep Ava safe from prosecution for killing Delroy. Wynn Duffy wants Drew also so he can hand him over to the Detroit mob and save his ass, and he's made a deal with Johnny to take out Boyd and raise Johnny to the Harlan throne if Johnny gets Drew. Raylan wants Drew because he'd be a career-defining collar, and also because he's funneling more than a little of the Arlo-rage he won't admit is there into this case.
So: Ava goes to Limehouse because they have a personal connection. He tells her he wants $150,000 apiece in exchange for Shelby and Ellen May. He also brings Ellen May out, and while Ava is scared to death about what this little girl she tried to have killed is going to do, Ellen May just runs up and hugs her and forgives her and tells her how, see, she never told no one about you-know-what. Poor Ava, man. Poor Ava's soul has been through the wringer on this thing. Boyd gets Detroit to agree to put up the money (well, and a couple hundred grand extra for Boyd), and they arrange a meeting. In the meantime, Johnny, knowing that he's at least three people deep in the queue at Noble's Holler, starts spouting off to Raylan about what a shit Boyd is and why don't the Feds just bust him for tax evasion or whatever. Raylan is pained to inform Johnny that nobody gives a shit about Boyd right now, but if he helps them find Drew Thompson, perhaps they will again in the future.
So it's a race to Noble's Holler. Boyd gets there first, in time for Limehouse to change the terms of the deal: Now that $300,000 gets him ONE of the hostages. Boyd takes a moment to confer with Ava (a true partnership of equals, pardon me as I swoon); she wants him to take Shelby, as he's their ticket to a better life. Boyd wants to choose Ellen May, to keep Ava safe, but by now, Ava's pretty confident that Ellen May won't squeal. Of course, that may now change, because when Boyd says he's taking Shelby, Ellen May flips out, spitting in Ava's face. Looks like Shelby's gonna get delivered to the Tonins, then.
For some insane reason, Boyd entrusts the handoff of Shelby to Colton, who almost gets goaded by Shelby into shooting him (and thus sparing him unspeakable torture at Theo's hand), so, you know, excellent decision on Boyd's part. Colt decides to just leave Shelby in the field, and just when the Tonin helicopter is about to land to pick him up, Raylan and the Feds come driving up. Shelby's safe now. Provided they can get him — and themselves — safely out of Harlan. Should be quite the ride next week.
Lexington Law Enforcement Appreciation Society Update
It's so great seeing the whole Lexington team working together. Rachel was particularly on fire, giving Boyd a brusque "shut up," telling Raylan she puts up with his aloofness in part because he's easy on the eyes, and informing the guys that she has the same pair of panties that Raylan termed "whore's underwear" when he saw it at Shelby's. But Art gets MVP of the week for his extended appreciation of Drew Thompson's badassery. "First thing we have to acknowledge is that this guy's awesome!" he says. Art + Shelby 4ever!
Thing That Makes One Go "Hmmm" of the Week
Maybe it was the dryly sarcastic tone Wynn Duffy took with his designated muscle, Mike, when announcing his plans to hightail it to Canada after Drew Thomson fell into federal hands. Maybe it was the comfort with which Mike allowed his bathrobe to hang mostly open when he went to wake up Wynn for a middle-of-the-night telephone call. All I know is, I want to know more about these two confirmed bachelors. Yes, I do.
Sound Financial Planning of the Week
I appreciate that Ava has her mind on the bottom line when advising Boyd to ransom Shelby over Ellen May. I love Shelby a lot — certainly enough to want to see Ellen May killed before he is — but that's their DQ money, and I'm glad Ava is willing to protect it.
Raylan Givens Withering Putdown of the Week
In response to Johnny's endless whining about how Boyd is responsible for how shitty his life has become: "You didn't get shot because of Boyd. You got shot because that's the shit that happens when you choose to live a life as a small-time asshole."
Hobbit-Related Observation of the Week (Non–Constable Bob Edition)
Loved the camerawork as Boyd and Ava prepared to hand Shelby over to Detroit. The sweeping in and out made Noble's Holler look like the Shire.