The “Justified” writers played it straight with the audience regarding the identity of the mysterious Drew Thompson, which is good. And the stories it can set up after revealing his identity in Tuesday’s (March 5) show are potentially very good. But it may mean the actor’s time on the show is limited, and that’s kind of a bummer.
Spoilers for “The Hatchet Tour,” obviously, coming right up.
The audience has been ahead of Raylan, Art, Boyd and everyone else looking for Drew, because none of them were in Shelby’s office when he was searching the database for Drew, or at his house when he told Ellen May about believing a lie long enough until it becomes true. So when Hunter says “What now, Drew?” to Shelby while Raylan is mediating between Constable Bob and the two drunk Clover Hill guys, it’s not the biggest surprise for us. But it’s also episode 9 of 13 this season, which suggests that even though we know the who of the Thompson case now, the how and why are going to be more important.
Not that the who isn’t important. Raylan said last week that he didn’t quite trust Shelby, but it’s clear that he likes the fugitive-turned-cop just fine. (Timothy Olyphant and Jim Beaver are also great fun to watch together — also not a surprise, given their “Deadwood” history.) But the rest of the season now shapes up, potentially, as a race between the marshals, Boyd and the Dixie Mafia to find him, with very different outcomes awaiting Drew depending on who gets to him first.
Raylan seems to take the revelation about Drew* mostly in stride, but it will be interesting to see how Shelby/Drew’s past association with Arlo will affect their relationship when they meet up again. Arlo has poisoned a lot of things for Raylan, and there’s not a small chance he might do the same with Shelby.
(*With Constable Bob, of all people, as the one who finally clicks everything together for Raylan by talking about Shelby and Hunter having looked after him when he first came to Harlan. Patton Oswalt has been a great addition to the weird little world of “Justified” this season, and having him serve a purpose beyond comic relief was a nice touch.)
On the downside, Shelby being Drew likely means Beaver is on his way out of “Justified,” and that’s too bad. One of the more gratifying things about the show is how lived-in and real its setting feels, and secondary characters like the one Beaver played are a huge reason for that. Beaver will not lack for work — he’s appeared on 10 series in the past five years — but he’ll be missed in Harlan.
Outside (more or less) the drew story, Johnny springing his Ellen May trap went about as well as he could have hoped — except for the result. Boyd is hardly happy to hear about Colt’s screwup, but he doesn’t run Colt out of Harlan either.
Johnny may get some help in that regard from Tim, who’s now personally invested in Colt going down for killing Tim’s junkie Army buddy. Throw in Colt’s increasingly erratic behavior thanks to his smack habit, and it does not look like a good end for him.
What did you think of “Justified” this week, and of the big reveal? What does it mean for the rest of the season?