Bullet(ville) Points: “The Hunt”

Six Rounds on tonight’s Justified.

1. We’ll start at the end, with Ava coming clean to Boyd about her activities as a CI, and the whole thing nearly coming to blows (and bullets). Joelle Carter and Walton Goggins both had a hell of a night, with a script that finally broke the two free of their holding pattern of the season’s first half–Boyd using his charm to force a sense of normalcy on their relationship, Ava accepting it with a polite remove, interspersed with some sex scenes–as each was pushed to their limits of (self)deception. Goggins made the most of his opportunity to get unhinged, playing up the masochism that often lurks under the surface of Boyd. There has always been an element of atonement, if not self-punishment, to Boyd’s schemes, from his church in the woods to his romancing of Ava. His insistence that he is a reasonable man with a moral boundary concerning violence against women becomes increasingly a threat rather than a comfort; as Ava reminds him (not that he needs it), he is still a Crowder, and there is a demon in that blood. Ava, for her own masochism, practically dares Boyd to let that demon out even before she confesses, and while the show certainly wouldn’t kill Ava with so much season left to go, the episode does a fantastic job of keeping us on our toes.

2. And no, there was no warehouse fire in 1995 that destroyed all but three cases of Pappy Van Winkle’s, but it’s a good story. And, having had just a sip of Pappy myself, I’ll agree that it is like drinking silk.

3. Raylan also reaches one of his own limits, as Winona and baby Willa come visit and Raylan must finally declare his intentions as a father. One of the season’s subtexts has been Raylan’s ambivalence toward being a father. He clearly loves his daughter, and clearly he and Winona are still in some state of affection (physically at the very least), but at the same time he’s been in no rush to leave Kentucky, and the case against Boyd can only hold so much water as an excuse. Granted, Raylan’s ambivalence toward just about everything has been one of his defining traits since the first episode, but a baby (with or without a possibly serious heart murmur) needs a father, not just a smirking cowboy who may leave one night and never come back. Raylan gives Winona and he a 51-49 shot at making it, but won’t say which odds are which.

4. Nick Searcy gets his turn tonight in the Sam Elliott hot seat. While the scene between Avery and Art ostensibly works to further the plot of who-ratted-who-and-who’s-plotting-against-who involving Katherine and her dead husband, it sure does feel like the show is making excuses to get all of its regulars and semi-regulars into a one-on-one scene with the erstwhile Stranger. Maybe Avery will kidnap Winona at some point so that Natalie Zea can get her turn.

5. Ty Walker, injured in last week’s shoot-out, finds the limits of his resourcefulness. After sucessfully pawning his flak jacket and credit card off on a pair of idiot frat boys headed to Orlando, he learns that what many Justified villains have learned before him: once you get into a holler, it’s often impossible to get back out–literally and figuratively. First his Benz breaks down, and Walker, restricted to the use of one arm from a bullet wound, can’t do anything about it. In his frustration he puts his gun to the hood–oh Ty, you can’t kill all of your problems–and then hits on the bright idea to call for an ambulance…as soon as he can get reception on his phone. When the EMTs come, however, they attempt to treat his injury rather than just giving him painkillers, so he guns them down (what did I just say, Ty?!).

6. Speaking of those two idiot frat boys, they apparently use Ty’s credit card (which the marshals are monitoring) at an adult bookstore in Murfreesboro, TN. While the writers almost certainly did not have a specific place in mind, I once had to give directions to an adult bookstore in Murfreesboro when I was working at a Hollywood Video. A man came in looking for pornos, which we didn’t have, so we recommended the place northwest on Broad St, not too far from the old GE dishwasher plant–and of course, as we’re giving him specific directions to where he could buy pornographic videos in the city of Murfreesboro, our heretofore empty store suddenly filled with mothers and children, all of them in line behind him. It was a full day.

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