Once upon a time a group of writers set around a conference table and discussed the many different ways Raylan’s past actions could come back and bite him in the ass. Ergo ipso facto Colombo, episode 8: “Watching the Detectives.”
Sammy Tonin may technically be Quarles’ boss but like a good little boy, he does what he’s told so the next time he takes a phone call from someone back in Detroit, he mentions that Raylan came to see him and intimates that our favorite U.S. Marshal offered to help out the Detroit syndicate and that he’s on the payroll of one Boyd Crowder. The FBI agents listening in via wiretap are predictably very interested in that bit of news. Raylan, meanwhile, has no idea his name is being slandered so egregiously and at that moment is sitting in the middle of a crowded bar listening to a very bad lip syncing performance.
Quarles is sitting, too, in the back seat of a car as it speeds through the night. He also takes a phone call – his is from Tanner, who wants to meet Quarles so that he can explain what happened during the clusterfuck that was the hit on the Oxy clinic. Quarles’ ride comes to a stop in front of Winona’s house and they pull a hooded Gary out of the trunk. Quarles tells Gary he wants him to deliver a message to Raylan and then fires one bullet into his chest, killing him instantly. Poor Gary – he really should have listened to Raylan and left the country.
Message to Raylan delivered, Quarles & Co. return to the house he’d hoped to turn into another scam clinic and are greeted by a visitor, Elstin Limehouse. He introduces himself to Quarles before sharing the news that Boyd Crowder is backing another candidate in a race against the sheriff Quarles just paid good money for last week. Why is Limehouse sharing this news with Quarles, you might ask? Well, Quarles wants to know the answer to that question, too and in reply, Limehouse tells him that he (Limehouse) likes to back the winning side. Which brings up a whole new question – what in the hell is Limehouse up to?
Morning finds Raylan in the bar downstairs helping himself to a cup of coffee. The bar’s owner mentions that he’d just seen someone messing around the trunk of Raylan’s car. Checking it out, Raylan notices the lock is scratched but when he opens his trunk, notices nothing amiss. That’s when his phone rings and he’s called to Winona’s old house where a dead body has been found. He identifies the dead man as Gary and then dodges questions from Gerrity, the detective on-scene, who suspects that Raylan might be the killer. At the Marshal’s office, Tim tells him that Gary has been living in Tulsa under an assumed name so Tim, at least, is pretty sure Raylan didn’t kill him. But Gary isn’t the only ghost from Raylan’s past come back to haunt him. After being instructed by Judge Reardon on how to properly word an indictment, Raylan’s old Season 1 nemesis, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vasquez, is met by Agent Barkley, Raylan’s new nemesis, who wants to see the file Vasquez has on Raylan.
Meanwhile Tanner is meeting with Quarles. As instructed by Limehouse, Tanner takes responsibility for the hit on Boyd’s clinic. Quarles gives him one more chance and sends him back to Harlan.
Having heard about Gary’s murder, Art calls Raylan into his office to find out if there’s anything that will end up involving the Marshal’s office. Winona interrupts their heart-to-heart and Art makes himself scarce so Raylan can tell her about Gary’s murder and in the middle of their heart-to-heart, Gerrity and his partner, Dempsey, show up. The police lab pulled a fingerprint off the casing of the bullet that killed Gary and that fingerprint belonged to Raylan. During questioning, Raylan explains how his fingerprints got on the bullet by describing the moment when he tossed a bullet at Wynn Duffy and threatened him by saying, “The next one’s coming faster.” Gerrity thinks that is the coolest thing he’s ever heard (and it was) but the detectives still want to talk to Duffy and Quarles to confirm Raylan’s story.
Dempsey heads to the house Quarles has been renting and when he finds the front door unlocked, walks in to have a look around. Duffy’s hired thug races to tell him and Quarles that a cop just went inside the house and, after Duffy tells Quarles that he hasn’t painted the blood-stained bedroom yet, Quarles himself heads over to the house to make sure the detective doesn’t find anything. Dempsey is seconds away from opening the door on that bedroom o’horror when Quarles and Duffy show up to distract him.
Back in Harlan, Sheriff Napier strolls out of his office to his squad car, remembers something he forgot and gets out of the car. Before he takes more than half a dozen steps, the squad car explodes.
Traveling instantly to Lexington and the U.S. Marshal’s office, Gerrity and Dempsey are interviewing Wynn Duffy and Quarles who are, of course, denying every element of Raylan’s story while also making it sound like Raylan is an angry drunk prone to making up shit. The detectives ask for permission to search Winona and Raylan’s homes and cars, which reminds Raylan about the dude the barkeep saw around Raylan’s car that morning. Before he can make sure nothing like the murder weapon has been hidden in his trunk, Agent Barkley and AUSA Vasquez appear to accuse Raylan of being a dirty cop.
Barclay and Gerrity have a bit of a pissing contest to determine who gets first crack at Raylan, which Gerrity loses. Art defends Raylan against the accusation that he’s dirty, only to have Barclay turn the tables and threaten to investigate Art. Raylan brings their attention back to him and then laughs when Barclay states that he believes Raylan has been working with and been paid by Boyd Crowder. (Boyd isn’t paying anyone at the moment, since he’s sitting in the back seat of Sheriff Napier’s squad car waiting for the local TV station to stage his perp walk.) Vasquez reads a bit from Raylan’s brief but colorful history in Lexington and Harlan before Raylan has enough and storms out of the conference room. Mostly to piss Barclay off, Art tells Tim to escort Raylan downstairs so Gerrity can get a turn questioning him and then returns to the conference room to ask Barclay where the idea that Raylan might be dirty came from.
In the elevator, Raylan explains to Tim that he thinks Quarles may have put the murder weapon in his car. Tim insists on taking Raylan downstairs, as instructed, but when the elevator door opens, allows Raylan to leave on his own. Raylan rushes to his car but is too late – it’s already being swarmed over by police. As it turns out, he doesn’t have anything to worry about as far as his car is concerned; Winona just found the gun in her old house. She meets Raylan, passes him the gun, tells Raylan not to look for her again, and drives off. (Here’s hoping she stays gone this time!)
Napier returns from Boyd’s perp walk to find Tanner in his office, expecting to get paid for setting off the bomb under Napier’s vehicle. Pissed that Tanner set off the explosion a few minutes too soon, Napier refuses to pay what he owes and hustles Tanner out of his office.
Raylan walks back into the Marshal’s office to be met by Gerrity with the news that (no surprise) ballistics didn’t match his weapon to the one that fired the shot that killed Gary. Also no surprise, Vasquez won’t be indicting Raylan on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s office since Barclay has refused to name the source that hinted at Raylan working with Boyd Crowder. Voila! Raylan has escaped unscathed again!
In a horse barn in Lexington, Sammy Tonin is walking with Quarles when he gets a call from his contact at the FBI who tells him about Raylan’s good luck and since the Tonin family doesn’t want to run the risk of any more attention being focused on them, they drop Quarles like a date with bad breath. He’s on his own. Quarles, needless to say, is pissed and his nifty little sleeve gun is pointed right at Sammy Tonin within seconds. Tonin begs for his life without actually begging (although I’m betting his drawers were a little wet) before Quarles slides the gun back into his sleeve and tells him to get out. Quarles is obviously losing it, though, and the thread he’s hanging by is starting to fray.
Raylan decides to take a midnight walk through the rental house Quarles had been using and finds Wynn Duffy painting a bedroom. There’s a tense little moment when Raylan accuses Duffy of being a bottle blonde, Duffy threatens to prove that his carpet matches his drapes and Raylan in turn promises to return the gun that killed Gary at the most opportune moment. Ah, young love. It’s a thing of beauty.
Quarles is driving through the night again, this time listening to some radio hellfire and brimstone radio preacher. He ignores a call from his happy looking little family and pulls out a bottle of pills. Apparently, he never watched The Wire and doesn’t know you should use your own product. He pops a pill and the next thing we see, he’s pulling to a stop on the road leading to Noble’s Holler, where Limehouse is waiting.
Yes, Liimehouse does want to back the winning side. The real question is: what exactly does “winning” mean to Limehouse?