“Justified” has run through a lot of story in the past couple of weeks, what with the search for Drew Thompson intensifying and seemingly everyone on both sides of the law taking an interest in the case. So when a major event in Tuesday’s (Feb. 26) episode passed off-screen, it could have felt like the show was short-changing it.
(Spoilers for Tuesday’s episode, “Outlaw,” coming right now.)
But the way the show handled Arlo’s death and Raylan’s reaction to it felt about right, actually. The two Givens men have never had anything like a father-son relationship. For proof, look no further than Arlo’s last words to his son: “Kiss my ass.” For Raylan to mention his dad’s death in passing to his co-workers, betraying no emotion about it to them, is entirely in keeping with his character.
So is his private moment at the elevator, when he drops his stoic bearing and lets himself grieve just for a moment. Raylan has never really believed Arlo was capable of being anything other than the S.O.B. he was, but more than once “Justified” has suggested that fact is a disappointment to Raylan.
Also keep in mind that Raylan is having one really rough week. Last week’s episode established that Season 4 has taken place over the course of just a few days — he handed over Jody Adair to Sharon, his bail bondswoman friend/one-time lover, only six days before the events of “Money Trap.” In that time, he’s seen his current girlfriend leave him and take the money he got from apprehending Jody, almost gotten killed by the hill folk, and dealt with Jody murdering Sharon. Now he has to process his father’s death. He can be forgiven for feeling the weight of the moment.
Finally figuring out who Drew Thompson is — something “Justified” showrunner Graham Yost has said will happen in next week’s episode — might help Raylan close the book on his dad a little bit more. It would be hard to believe Raylan would take such a deep interest in a 30-year-old case were it not for the fact that Arlo was somehow involved.
As for who Drew actually is, the smart money now has to be on Shelby (Jim Beaver), given how interested he seems to be in seeing Drew’s former wife (Julia Campbell). His line to Ellen May about pretending to be something for long enough that it’s no longer pretending felt like a tipoff too (either that, or Shelby is a follower of George Costanza’s philosophy).
Once Drew is uncovered, though, there will be consequences that play out over the rest of the season, one of them no doubt being Boyd’s pledge to Detroit boss Theo Tonin to deliver Drew’s head on a platter while Raylan, Art and the marshals try to protect him. Raylan and Boyd haven’t been on screen together much this year, but there’s no way their paths don’t cross on this before the season is done.
What did you think of how “Justified” handled Arlo’s death? Where do you think the Drew Thompson case is headed?