Six Rounds on tonight’s Justified.
1. Tonight was a lighter bloodbath than last week, but still made its bullets count. Our favorite constable (Bob, that is) took two to the body and was left to die as Boyd rages across the hills for Ava. Bob’s cries for help draw Raylan away from a near-final confrontation with Boyd and, upon delivering a still-breathing Bob to the emergency room, put him in federal custody as per Vasquez’s BOLO. One might say all that worked out a little too neatly for Boyd, but Uncle Zachariah and his TNT Surprise might say differently.
2. On the character actor front, we say goodbye to OG hey-it’s-that-guy Jeff Fahey as Uncle Z, and say hello and goodbye to next-gen hey-it’s-that-guy Shea Whigham as the man whom Boyd briefly kidnaps and then dispatches. You might know Whigham from True Detective, the fifth and sixth Fast and the Furious movies, or American Hustle. Also, we met Audrey Wasilewski as Wynn Duffy’s supplier, from whom he buys a dog-washing van with enough room to hide several large duffel bags (of money, do you suppose, or bodies?). Wasilewski is primarily a voice actor, but might be best known for her role on Big Love, or as Peggy Olson’s older sister on Mad Men.
3. Great work once again from Joelle Carter, as she crumbles upon hearing over the police scanner that Boyd not only has escaped, but may be dressed as a law enforcement officer. As a woman on the run with a target painted on her back to the tune of $10 million, Ava does not have the luxury of some backbone-extending outlaw code like Boyd, nor the privilege of Raylan’s shoot-first-ask-questions-maybe philosophy. Survival is the name of her game, and however much of that $10 million it takes to win that game is acceptable. She has the misfortune of trying to first pay off Bob, who is too in love with being a badass lawman to ever succumb to Ava’s monied and womanly wiles, and then Markham’s two dirty cops, who pick her up with the intention of delivering her straight to their boss. Can a strategically dropped Chekhov’s Gator-Tooth Necklace save her? Only one more episode to go!
4. At this point we’re used to Loretta being precocious, usually with the upper hand on any of the grown-ups she deals with, but the show has never forgotten not only what a relatively inexperienced criminal she really is, but that at the end of the day she doesn’t fancy herself as much more than any of the show’s other Harlan scumbags. She hires her ex-boyfriend as protection against Markham and Boon, which goes about as well as you’d expect (and an oddly heartless murder for an episode that practically gave an entire arc to Shea Whigham). Then, when faced with almost certain death by Markham’s hand, the best she can offer is a teenager’s worth of experience with Harlan’s weed-growing element. Granted, she’s (albeit calmly) begging for her life here, but she’s not really negotiating herself into a better position, and it’s possible that she just doesn’t know how to. In this instance, she’s a bit like Cy Tolliver in the second season of Deadwood, arranging the sale of claims to George Hearst and believing that working for a great man will one day make him a great man as well.
5. It’s a tough, often laughable, enterprise to have a character deliver a heartfelt monologue to a dead body. Sam Elliott, ladies and gentlemen.
6. Tonight boasted some flashy camerawork, courtesy of director Michael Pressman, who also helmed the penultimate episode of Season Five. While mostly working in television for the last 25 years, previous to that Pressman had built a truly eclectic feature film resume, including the second Bad News Bears film (starring William Devane), the Dan Aykroyd pimp comedy Doctor Detroit, which really must be seen to be believed (and whose most lasting cultural impact may be the characters of Mom and her three henchmen sons on Futurama), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Rather than linking to some video of Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap,” I’ll just let your memories do the work for me.