Week by week, Season 5 of “Justified” is playing like a treatise on the law of unintended consequences. Tuesday’s (March 11) episode is called “Wrong Roads,” and it piles still more bad outcomes on top of everything that’s come so far.
Because Boyd heard about Hot Rod’s crew getting shot in Mexico, he uses his “vacation” to go to Memphis and check in with DEA agent, Alex Miller (Eric Roberts, fitting nicely into this world), who is essentially an older version of Raylan but who doesn’t seem to inspire much self-reflection in the marshal. Which leads them to the Harris brothers, which leads to Hot Rod — a long-time informant for Miller, it turns out — getting shot, which leads them to find the brothers interrupting a meeting between Boyd, Daryl, Wynn and Picker.
Said meeting is a result of Boyd’s arrangement of convenience with Daryl and the rest of the Crowes, which is proving a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Boyd has been on to Daryl’s plan to take over his operation for some time, but he’s also for the moment stuck, needing the smuggled heroin the Crowes have half of to both supply to Ava in prison and raise the money to get her out.
Ava, meanwhile, has her line on how to get the heroin into prison via an infirmary nurse who A) demands Boyd kill the elderly man who burned down her partner’s house — in retaliation for a loved one’s overdosing while in lockup — and B) then tells Ava that she needs to kill Judith in order to keep the pipeline open. All because Ava refused the sex-for-drugs setup of the previous distribution system.
And because Danny and Dewey Crowe are not the brightest bulbs in the lamp, they get lost making their way back to Harlan with their half of the dope, arriving late enough that Miller — who knows Hot Rod’s smuggling m.o. inside and out — recognizes what’s happening and stops them. Leading to a stand-off with Danny, until Dewey guns the truck, sideswiping Danny and running over Miller while letting out a scream of frustration.
We know how you feel, Dewey.
Just prior to that, we got another tense scene between Art and Raylan, who’s being attached to the DEA for a while on the Boyd/Crowe case. Art is happy to lose him for a while, noting that “you do whatever the hell you want, somehow it all works out, and I’m the dumba** losing sleep over it.”
It plays like a self-criticism of the show, which does indeed have a track record of Raylan escaping consequences on a lot of things. That doesn’t seem like where this is headed, exactly, but Art choosing not to have it out with Raylan pushes the issue down the line some more — and leaves us wondering where this downbeat, meandering season will take us in the remaining four episodes.
What did you think of “Justified” this week?