It’s almost like Elmore Leonard loaned out Raylan Givens to Graham Yost and FX with the caveat that every season, they have to make an episode that feels more like outtakes from Out of Sight than an actual Justified episode. I’m not exactly complaining — these episodes are almost always a great time. But there’s something about being yanked out of the narrative of a season that has always seemed showy to me. Like Tony Soprano taking the week off to make a dream episode. Justified has been many things, but it’s never been a show-off. But here we are, an Elmore Leonard show doing an Elmore Leonard pastiche.
The most interesting thing about this episode is that we learn that the season’s first six episodes have only covered six days. How nuts is that? We know this because six days ago, right after Raylan turned season-premiere baddie of the week Jody Adair back over to Sharon the Sexy Bounty Hunter, Jody engineered an escape and killed both Sharon and her partner. Jody got an assist from amateur filmmaker (sometimes porn, sometimes not) Kennet, played by Paul Kinsey from Mad Men. Their relationship is really loosely defined. They’re friends? Acquaintances? Jody “acts” (does porn?) in Kennet’s movies sometimes, but they’re close enough that Jody was able to get a message to Kennet that led to Kennet slashing the tires of Sharon’s van. It feels like the kind of relationship where there’s a backstory in a novel somewhere and we’re just supposed to connect the dots.
Anyway, Jody spends the next six days recuperating at Kennet’s house and smoking weed, but he needs to go to his old girlfriend’s house so he can steal back the money he left with them.
In the meantime, Raylan is on his way to the prison to verrrry begrudgingly talk to Arlo about where he might find Drew Thompson. So when he gets the call about Sharon’s body turning up, he’s more than eager to jump into the case. He shows up to Katrina’s house at the same time that Jody and Kennet are snooping outside, and that’s when he encounters Jackie Nevada. See what I mean about how this feels like reading a short story? Jackie Nevada. And her step-daddy’s name is Reno? Even Raylan can’t buy that one. So, fine. She’s pretty. She’s in graduate school. She plays poker and drinks beer. She’s a friend of Katrina’s who’s house-sitting, and she agrees with Raylan’s assessment of Jody as “armed and dangerous and an asshole.” She also develops an incredibly obvious crush on Raylan, and not to be a total girl about it, but WHO IS THIS TRICK making goo-goo eyes at Raylan all of a sudden? Raylan’s gotten burned enough lately that he’s wary that she’s working him somehow, but she just says she has a crush on him.
Raylan drives her home, after the local cops have questioned her, but Jody’s waiting for her there. He wants the money, you know how this is going to go. OBVIOUSLY, Raylan heard Jackie dropping a beer bottle, and he manages to double back to her hotel room in time to watch Jody hightail it out the window, onto Kennet’s car, and they speed away. By this point, Jody is getting pretty unhinged with his need to get revenge on Raylan. He wants to kill him, and he knows the bar where he lives. Kennet isn’t up for any of this, and we spend an awful lot of time with him for a guy who doesn’t end up affecting the outcome of the story AT ALL. Raylan comes to question him, and he plays a video that Jody made to call Raylan out. There’s just a lot of business in this episode. Business involving characters we barely know. Raylan ends up finding Jody at the bar, though, and it’s the one part where this story line comes alive. At no point in this series has a showdown between Raylan and anyone not been riveting. This one is no different, as Jody doubts Raylan’s willingness to shoot him about two seconds before Raylan TOTALLY shoots him. Dead. Raylan’s sick of this shit.
Afterward, Raylan gets a hotel room with Jackie — he’s wary of her, and he knows she made off with the money Jody was after, but he also kind of just wants to have sex with a pretty girl, so he tells her to return the money, and he fields a call from Art and takes his gentle abuse, and Jackie takes off her clothes, and we can close this novella and start fresh next week. Or in the final moments of this week, when Raylan goes to see Arlo, sets aside a plan to bluff a confession out of him, and instead makes a very simple offer to his father: help him find Drew Thompson before Boyd helps Theo Tonin do the same. Arlo is wounded by the revelation that Boyd is screwing him over, and he’s visibly concerned when Raylan says he’s going to talk to Sheriff Hunter, but he doesn’t budge. He tells his son to eat shit, and Raylan tells his dad he’ll be glad when he hears the news that Arlo has died. There’s some real finality to these interactions. Raylan is done with the son of a bitch.
Ava and Boyd’s story line felt like a vacation from business as usual this week as well. It’s the big night — Boyd and Ava are attending the fancy-pants “uphill” swingers party! Boyd is SUPES nervous, but Ava puts him at ease: If he has to give out a few hand jobs, he gives out a few hand jobs. Boyd isn’t amused. “Lord, we’re goin’ to a rich folks’ sex party,” Ava says, honestly tickled by the prospect. “Who woulda thought?”
The idea is that Boyd and Ava will mingle and schmooze and try to coax out some information from these rich dicks as to the whereabouts/identity of Drew Thompson. But it’s Boyd and Ava who end up getting worked over just as much. Ava naturally attracts a lot of attention, what with that fur-lined coat and all. But when the evening gets to the point where everyone’s grouping off into sex rooms, Ava ends up getting menaced by some creeps. Boyd is a little slow in rescuing her, mostly because men like Lee and Gerald have taken a shine to him. Not for sex, you guys! No, they are hoping that Boyd will help them with problematic mine owner Frank Browning. There’s something to do with a conspiracy to provoke an environmental incident so they can get ahold of some sweet Superfund money. The details aren’t important. The important thing is that they’re not exactly “hoping” Boyd will help them. They lay it down: Boyd will kill Frank Browning, or else they will no longer “allow” him to run things down in the holler. I guess these rich dicks have always left Harlan to its grungy devices because it keeps them out of their hair, but these find wealthy folks uphill still think they own everything they oversee. So I guess Boyd’s going to be busy showing these rich jerks that he’s really in control, before swooping back into the Drew Thompson story in time for the season finale.
Finally, Johnny finds out (from Teri, the whore that Colt beat up last week) that Colton has been asking around about Ellen May. Which seems weird, since she’s supposed to be dead. Johnny makes an uncharacteristically smart decision and holds this info close to the vest. Oh, sure, he prods Colt with uncomfortable questions, but Johnny finally knows something Boyd doesn’t know. If he’s smart, he’ll use it.
“Hey! It WAS That Guy” Update
Raylan notes that it’s pretty unlike Agent Stephen Tobolowsky to miss work like he’s been, but neither he nor Art have started to suspect that Tobolowsky is dead, much less that he was a rat.
Network Announcements of the Future Update
My guess is that Chris Chalk, who played the recently deceased Jody Adair, will end up a regular cast member on an FX show within the year. They really showcased him on his two episodes this season.
Smart Marketing Decision of the Week
It wasn’t difficult to peg Kennet as a pornographer once you saw his license plate. In fact, “KYFLIXXX” suggests a very specific type of pornography.
Tough Crowd of the Week
Before his showdown with Jody, Raylan pulls the fire alarm at the bar. No one leaves. My kinda drinkers.