The title of Tuesday’s (Feb. 25) episode of “Justified” is “Raw Deal,” and it’s an apt description for every storyline covered in the hour.
Let’s examine just how raw things were for everyone.
Art has gone from punching Raylan in the face in the previous episode to freezing him out now, putting Raylan on crummy tasks like handling walk-in cases and delivering his orders through Rachel rather than directly. A walk-in leads Raylan to a case involving a hacker who’s tangentially connected to Charles Monroe, and it’s a nicely contained, very Elmore Leonard-ish little story.
The bigger story, though, comes when Raylan finally has a conversation with Art about the freeze-out. Art continues to brush him off, to the point where Raylan tells him “I don’t need this s***” and asks for a transfer. He says he’s taking some vacation time to go to Florida and see his child.
Allison and Wendy
Wendy Crowe decides to make life difficult for Raylan’s current girlfriend — and maybe steal him away too? It’s not clear what Wendy’s motives are in going after Raylan. She may actually into him, or she may be looking for a way to make life easier for Daryl, or a combination of the two. Either way, part of the plan involves complaining to Allison’s boss and getting her suspended for two weeks, then meeting Raylan for drinks and trying to put the moves on him.
Raylan, at least, lives up to his pledge to Allison that he won’t fall for Wendy, and even tries to enlist her in helping bring Daryl down. He tells her that Daryl killed Dilly, which seems like a genuine surprise to her, then leaves her hanging at the bar. If he really does head to Florida, neither woman is likely to be happy with him.
With Boyd on the hunt for Johnny, Ava is left twisting in the wind in the prison when he doesn’t show up. She falls in with a group of inmates — including Penny, whom we met last episode — who praise Jesus in the yard but also serve as the drug pipeline for the other prisoners. She signs on, only to find out that in exchange for being able to bring heroin inside, she’ll have to sleep with a guard upon every shipment.
Ava plants some of the latest haul on the supplier, then says she can find a different source. She’s putting a lot of faith in Boyd, but as the ringleader notes, the hard part isn’t getting the drugs, it’s getting them inside the prison walls. This could turn out to be a very dangerous game for her.
After failing to catch up with Johnny in Memphis, Boyd heads to Mexico — and discovers he’s not the only Crowder paying a visit to the cartel. Johnny seemingly has a leg up on his cousin with a bigger money offer, but Boyd has taken out insurance: Daryl and Danny, along with Boyd’s regular guys Carl and Jimmy, are in the truck where Johnny’s shipment is meant to be.
Boyd offers a deal to Johnny’s guys to go back to work for Hot Rod, which they accept — until Danny and Daryl open fire on Johnny’s men. The look Daryl and Danny exchange before opening fire suggests they had planned the massacre all along. Why? Who knows? Maybe they think they’ll get a bigger piece of the action now; maybe they see it as a step toward usurping Boyd. Their motives remain frustratingly opaque at this point, but they have for sure caused one more big problem for Boyd, considering Yoon and the cartel’s explicit instructions not to shed any blood on the Mexico side of the border.
The rawest deal of all. RIP, Johnny Crowder. Earlier in the episode Boyd tells him the life they chose “only ends one way,” and after the Crowes go off-script and Johnny taunts Boyd one last time, Boyd shoots him down. The show and David Meunier made what was initially a tertiary character into a more than credible adversary for Boyd, even if he always seemed fated to be one step behind his cousin. Given the rough road Boyd has traveled this season, it’s a shock to see him shoot his kin, but maybe not a terribly big surprise.
What did you think of “Justified” this week?