Six Rounds on Tonight’s Justified.
1. Ah, Wynn Duffy in his natural state–near nude in a tanning bed, bargaining for his life. Just as last week’s episode laid bare some uncomfortable truths about Raylan, so too do we get a moment of pure Duffy in all his craven glory. It makes sense that, of all our known characters, he would have been the rat that put Grady Hale behind bars and sent Markham into Colorado exile, and that his perverse survival instincts would hide him in plain sight as consigliere to Grady’s revenge-bent widow. It is not yet clear whether he was responsible for Grady’s prison “suicide,” or the murder of the US attorney whom he informed to. And while Duffy quickly became a fan favorite and has spent the last few seasons bemusedly tooling around in his Wynnebago (as Alan Sepinwall has christened it) and dispensing witty rejoinders to whomever is in earshot, it’s important to remember that he was introduced on the show as a murderous psychopath, wasting his days terrifying poor Gary (remember him) because the Dixie mafia found him too wild to trust. One wonders if we’ll ever see this side of him again.
2. We were treated tonight to one of Justified’s favorite traditions: The Big Meeting Speech, where one character takes center stage at a public gathering and makes a passionate and typically flamboyant display, ostensibly to win the crowd to his or her side of thing, but really as subterfuge for more devious maneuverings. It usually happens right around this time of the season, and tonight it was Markham’s gathering at the Pizza Parlor. Markham himself got the ball rolling with some fine speechifying, turning it over to Big Meeting Speech MVP Boyd, only to have them both outshone by Loretta McCready, whose appeal to local ownership and distrust of outsiders has more than a little Mags Bennett to it. The show has always been uninterested in the legal goings-on of Harlan, and understandably so, being a crime show and all. But an unintended consequence is that it can sometimes feel like the entire county (if not the entire state) is dealing weed and running schemes. Big public events where only criminals do the talking only strengthen this impression.
3. Honestly, Zachariah, just one more whack with the pipe would have done Boyd in, or at least left him too dazed to save himself. Here we have an example, in Uncle Z’s long-planned-yet-half-cocked revenge plan against the Crowder family, of what could either be a character flaw or a writers’ shortcut. While the tension in the moment was well-played, with Carl coming to Boyd’s rescue moments before the charges were to detonate, reflection sets in the moment after tension releases: Obviously the show won’t kill Boyd in a mine with a quarter of the final season left to go, and so he would have to be able to survive intact whatever tight spot Zachariah’s Revenge would put him in. But Zachariah sure didn’t seem to try very hard to kill Boyd, so was that an instance of a Stupid Criminal not thinking his way through a scenario, or a Lazy Writer hoping to wring some excitement out of a plot that was never fully developed in the first place. In this instance, my opinion leans toward the latter…
4. …But we only have to look at our pal Seabass, Stupid Criminal Extraordinaire, for a solid example of the former. He joins Choo Choo and Ty Walker in the great beyond after apparently thinking it was a good idea to (a) stick up his former boss for the promise of a diamond tennis bracelet and (b) allowing the revenge-bent mob widow to put her hands anywhere. And with the apparent ease and efficiency with which the hotel cleaned up after poor Seabass, as well as last season’s Exploding Mr. Picker, I can’t decide whether this is the worst hotel in Kentucky or the best.
5. Boon! Jonathan Tucker, of NBC’s short-lived The Black Donnellys among others, makes his first appearance as Boon, Markham’s new quick-draw muscle, complete with six-shooter and an unhealthy interest in our young Loretta. Since we have no time to waste at this point, Boon doesn’t even bother with playing coy about his bad intentions, all but publicly threatening both Loretta and Raylan at Markham’s shindig. This final season has been as much about subverting expectations as meeting them–goddamnit, we better see somebody blow up that safe–but an old-fashioned blackhat with lecherous eyes on Harlan’s collective daughter/tarnished hope for redemption is just asking to get shot in some spectacular manner. Or maybe Loretta will get to him first, offering her new admirer a tall glass of apple pie…
6. No, Rachel, you don’t want the big office.