Roots grow deep in the South, especially in small towns. Except for the occasional prodigal child, people tend to stay and settle, and many times, even the ones who leave searching for something better end up back home. Blood will out and family means something, whether it’s the family you were born to or the family you made out of the friends you grew up with. In a very real sense, Justified is a show about family and family history – running from it, embracing it, making amends for it. The fourth episode of Season 3, “The Devil You Know,” builds on what we already know about Raylan and Harlan County and moves a few new pieces into place.
This episode begins with Devil having been summoned (there’s really no other word for it) to meet with Quarles. It seems during a night of drinking with an old buddy, Devil let loose a bit of his dissatisfaction with Boyd’s way of running his fledgling criminal enterprises. Enter Quarles in his best Ace Rothstein impression – sharp black suit and matching shirt/tie combination (in pink, no less) – and you can see Devil wonder what in the hell this man’s all about. Well, what Quarles is about is attempting to plant a traitor in Boyd’s organization and he thinks Devil might just be his way inside. Quarles does his best to impress Devil with his bad-itude, from “Tell me you’re shitting me!” (not shittin’ me but shitting me. Hey, it was a nice try) to his turn at hellfire preaching (which actually was frightening). He makes Devil a one-time offer to turn on Boyd and sign on with Quarles’ own plans for Harlan County. Devil, to his own misfortune, is interested in hearing more.
Meanwhile, Dickie is taking a beating in the prison yard. Unfortunately, so is Dewey, which wasn’t part of the plan concocted by Ash, the corrupt prison guard. A friend in need is a friend indeed, though, so Dewey jumps into the fight, gets his ass kicked, and becomes part of the break-Dickie-out-of-jail plot. The prison medic, Lance, is working with Ash; he sends Dewey to sleep with a well-placed syringe, and Dickie has no choice but to play along with a plan that’s gone way outside of his control.
Raylan, with Rachel at the prison investigating how the “escaped prisoners” managed to pull off their prison break is immediately suspicious of Lance’s story that he was ambushed by Dewey and Dickie. They find out a hearse left the prison that morning with the remains of a prisoner who died the night before and, sure enough, we soon see that hearse – right before Ash executes the driver. In the back are three cadaver bags, only one of which actually holds a dead body. Lance soon joins Ash and the two escaped convicts before they separate again. Ash takes Dickie on a trip up to Nobles Holler, and Lance and Dewey head off to the motel hideout.
In case we’ve forgotten whose money Ash and Dickie are chasing, Raylan pays a visit to Loretta. She’s still living in the foster home in Lexington and still babysitting for the other children in the home, and apparently still working on her own drug business which has expanded into heroin and cocaine. Budding little entrepreneur, she is. Raylan wants to know if she knows anything about the money Mags left behind, which is a smart question because, regardless of the fact that she had Loretta’s father killed, Mags had a soft spot for the girl. And sure enough, the 14-year old does know a little something about the money and points Rayland toward Ellstin Limehouse.
On the way to Nobles Holler, Raylan shares with Rachel a bit of the community’s history. Can I take a moment and gush about Rachel? Because, seriously, I love her. I know there are complaints out there that she’s getting screen time at Tim’s expense, but she is fascinating, and she and Raylan play off each other so well, including this witty bit of dialogue:
Nobles holler. Nice community. Carved out for emancipated slaves after the civil war. Good white folks in the county have been trying to dig “˜em out going on 150 years now.
Hasn’t happened yet?
They’re still working on it.
You’re all up on your race relations.
I pay attention during Black History Month.
Oh, and you’re bringing me along as the ambassador of African America to help smooth your passage.
I heart Rachel hard. She and Raylan just click.
When they arrive at Nobles Holler, Limehouse plays his cards close to his vest. He gets in a not-so-veiled jab at Arlo, which draws Raylan’s attention and then switches his focus to Rachel, pulling from her the fact that she grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. (Stop the Presses: I live in Hendersonville! I have a connection to Justified! Oh Em Gee!) But Limehouse has nothing to say about Mags, her money, or Dickie Bennett. The marshals are left with the option of setting up road blocks on the only way in and out of the holler in hopes of trapping Dickie or stopping Limehouse from getting to him.
Ash and Dickie have made it to Nobles Holler but notice Raylan with Limehouse and change directions, heading back to their sleazy hotel to come up with Plan B, which turns out to be Dickie calling Limehouse and asking him to bring the money to his mother’s old store.
After his conversation with Quarles, Devil finally makes it back to Johnny’s bar, which Boyd reconfiscated on last week’s episode. Boyd is dividing that week’s take and gives Devil his share; the fact that it adds up to only $360 does not make Devil a happy camper. Before that subject can be explored further, Raylan drops in. He shares the news that Dickie broke out of jail and also drops the juicy little tidbit that he himself had been out to Nobles Holler, effectively letting Boyd know that he, Raylan, knows about Mags’s money and where it’s kept while also telling Boyd an amusing little story about his mother running off to the safety of Nobles Holler after being beaten by his father. Arlo got drunk and chased after her, dragging 10-year old Raylan along, only to get the shit beat out of him by a much younger Limehouse (apparently, getting beat up was the theme of this episode). Boyd hasn’t seen either Dickie or Dewey but he does give Raylan a nod in the right direction toward the prison medic, Lance, as a possible co-conspirator.
Raylan trails Lance, and hence Dickie et al, to the rundown little motel they’re using as a hideout, but before he can even get out of his car, who should cross in front of him but Ash, the crooked prison guard, carrying takeout food. Knowing he’s been made, Ash drops the food and draws on Raylan, who runs him over and then, when Ash gets up, backs over him. Lance, his accomplices, and Dickie/Dewey escape out the back door. Hurt, begging for an ambulance, Ash tells Raylan about the plans for Limehouse to deliver Mags’s money to the Bennett’s old store.
The roadblock set up outside Nobles Holler stops one of Limehouse’s men hauling out a load of organic fertilizer (actually, it was just pig shit, but I’m trying to class up this recap). When Raylan hears that, he realizes that if Limehouse can’t get the money out, Dickie’s kidnappers will kill him. So, goddammit, Raylan is going to have to save Dickie Bennett.
The hired muscle who are escorting Dickie to his mother’s store turn out to be men who have a grudge against the whole Bennett family over the Black Pike coal mine deal the year before. They’re ready to kill Dickie the minute they find the money, or when they don’t find it. Limehouse and one of his men have made it out of the holler, though, using trails known only to the Underground Railroad, and they come in firing, killing the two men.
Unfortunately, the $3 million Dickie is expecting turns out to be a little less. It turns out that Mags had used most of the money she’d hidden with Limehouse to purchase the land she’d bought up in her Black Pick swindle. What’s left comes to $46,000, give or take a few hundred. Dickie refuses to accept the money, probably because he knows he’s going back to jail anyway and that Limehouse will continue to keep it safe for him until he gets out. He tells Limehouse to “Make that money have babies.” When Raylan arrives at the Bennett store, Limehouse is gone and Dickie is sitting in the dark surrounded by two dead men.
Dewey, meanwhile, is not going to have such a fun night. He’s in another cheap motel room, taped into a chair so he can’t escape. Lance lays out a bunch of scary looking surgical instruments before putting Dewey back to sleep with a well-placed syringe. You know all those stories of people waking up missing their kidneys that we all thought were urban legends? Well, there’s nothing urban about Harlan, Kentucky.
But we’re not done yet. Devil schedules his Come to Jesus meeting with Boyd, but things don’t go quite as he had planned. Instead, Boyd, who’d found out from Johnny what Devil was planning, turns the tables and shoots him just above the heart and then, as the episode ends, puts a bullet through his brain to help end his suffering.
What’s left unsaid but screams in the silence is that now both Boyd and Raylan have a reason to go after Quarles. I believe the appropriate response is “holy shit.”
Getting old ain’t for pussies.