If two men go up a mountain and one of them has a camping shovel and the other has a gun, the odds are pretty good the first guy isn’t coming back. If the man with the gun happens to be Dewey Crowe, it’s also a pretty safe bet that things weren’t quite that easy.
When last we saw Wade Messer he was a bloody mess after being beaten by Daryl Crowe for skimming from Audry’s till on Boyd’s behalf. Messer’s sense of self-preservation doesn’t seem to be that strong, though, since he’s willingly following Dewey into the woods in the dead of night, supposedly to help dig up money Dewey had stashed away up there.
Dewey’s real plan seems to be to have Messer unknowingly dig his own grave and then kill him. Problem No. One occurs when, instead of a full size version, Messer pulls out a small camping shovel from his Webelo/Boy Scout days. Dewey’s own anxious clumsiness causes Problem No. Two, when he turns his back on Messer to load his gun and drops the ammunition in the dirt. By the time Dewey gets the gun loaded and turns around, Messer is looking at him, and it’s hard to say who is more surprised: Messer, because Dewey is pointing a gun at him or Dewey, because he’s holding the gun. Either way, Messer rushes Dewey and Dewey fires. Messer is gut shot but not dead and the two men wrestle for the gun, which Dewey drops, until Dewey finds the small shovel and beats Messer unconscious with it. Dewey goes back to the car to dig into the trunk for something to finish Messer off and when he returns, finds that Messer has run off into the dark woods. Dewey immediately gives chase only to trip and fall and end up himself unconscious at the bottom of a ravine.
Dewey wakes up the next morning disoriented and lost and wanders around for a while looking for Messer before he gives up. Divine intervention is called for so Dewey offers up a heartfelt prayer to The Man above that goes something like, “Please, God, help me find this sonofabitch and after I kill him, I promise I’ll start going to Sunday School.” Now, honestly, how could God resist that plea? Obviously He couldn’t because the next thing you know, Dewey spots a blood trail and he’s hot after Messer again. When he finally locates the injured man, Messer is barely alive. Before Dewey can finish him off, a family out for a day of hunting and four-wheeling notices Dewey and since they can’t see Messer lying in the grass, they assume Dewey (covered in blood and babbling almost incoherently) is injured and insist on “rescuing” him. Dewey is left no choice, really, and goes with them.
At the bottom of the mountain, he calls Daryl in a panic. Daryl seems unsurprised but still pissed at finding out what kind of fuck-up he’s related to and insists on driving Dewey back to the area where he last saw Messer. When the two men arrive at the nearby bed & breakfast, they find a lot of police cars and flashing lights and, wisely, drive away pretty darn fast. He locks Dewey in one of the trailers at Audry’s and when Dewey complains, gives him another lesson in the school of hard knocks. And by that I mean Daryl knocks Dewey around, all the while telling him that if Dewey goes shooting off his mouth about Daryl, etc., Dewey will go down for shooting and killing Messer.
So how did all those cops find Messer? Raylan, of course.
Raylan is a bit perturbed to find out from Art and ASA Vasquez (who’s getting a lot of facetime this season) that they’ve been running Messer as a confidential informant against Boyd. Raylan is flabbergasted that anyone would think (a) Messer qualifies as a CI and (b) that Boyd is a crime boss of the type that would need a CI. Vasquez insists Messer provided information that has led to arrests but Raylan shrugs that off as Boyd playing them by playing Messer. Either way, since Messer didn’t make a planned contact and seems to have disappeared, Art sends Raylan and Tim (yay! Tim Gutterson is back!! More Tim!!) to look for him.
Raylan goes to Audry’s first, where the GPS signal from Messer’s CI-provided phone has been pinging. He finds the youngest Crowe, Kendall (age 14), tending bar but no Messer. He and Tim then take a trip out to Messer’s house, a place Raylan last saw when he was hanging upside down getting ready to be used as Dickie Bennett’s pinata. Still no Messer but there is another Crowe in residence, a pantsless Danny (I don’t even want to know what he was doing without his pants on) and Danny’s vicious dog Chelsea, who might just be upset that Danny ignored his big doggie balls and gave him a female name. Running out of places to look for Messer, Raylan and Tim pay a visit to Boyd.
Boyd is just as happy as he always is to see his ol’ coal mining buddy Raylan, i.e., not at all. Boyd’s unhappy demeanor is not helped by the unsuccessful parlay he had with Cousin Johnny in a visitor’s room at the jail where Ava is being held. Johnny lies through his teeth about stealing Boyd’s heroin shipment and then throws back in Boyd’s face his offer of family togetherness for the sake of making a little money. None of that is a real surprise to Boyd, as he has Carl (the henchman who didn’t get a snake in the face last year) waiting to follow Johnny after he leaves the jail, but it doesn’t put him in any better mood when Raylan shows up at his bar.
Raylan is feeling a mite puckish, too, so what follows is an exchange so marvelous, I had to watch it twice — and then a third time with a dictionary in one hand and a thesaurus in the other before I just gave up and enjoyed the moment. It was a thing of beauty, people, and as close to a poetry reading as you’ll find in Harlan County. By the time it was over, Boyd acknowledged without actually admitting anything that he was playing Messer against Art & Vasquez and that he’d given the not-quite-CI a burner phone only known to Boyd. Because Raylan asks so nicely, Boyd gives him the number, too, which Raylan uses to track Messer to his location near the B&B, where he’s found dead.
Raylan takes that bit of news back to Boyd, interrupting a game of Scrabble between Tim and Boyd (and if there isn’t a deleted scene from that game on the DVD extras, I’ll cry). There are a few words exchanged about arresting Boyd but Raylan doesn’t really believe Boyd killed Messer and instead looks to the Crowes.
When Raylan and Tim leave, Boyd is finally free to join Carl, who has followed Cousin Johnny to a meeting with none other than the Man from Memphis himself, Hot Rod Dunham. Boyd decides to take a step back for some reconnoitering but his ultimate plan seems clear. If both Cousin Johnny and Hot Rod survive the season, I’ll be surprised.
Meanwhile, Raylan is at the courthouse arguing with Vasquez about who really killed Messer. The ASA wants to pin the deed on Boyd because it’s the most likely scenario. Raylan points him in the direction of the Crowes, which causes Vasquez to comment on the coincidence of Raylan visiting the Crowes in Florida, followed by them picking up and moving to Kentucky.
Raylan has something else on his mind, though, which turns out to be a bedtime romp with Alison. She almost kicks him out of bed afterward (silly girl) but he stays long enough to hear the awful story of her day, which involved rescuing a small child whose father kept him chained to a radiator in the garage. Despite the abuse, Dad attacked Alison for interfering with his “family.”
Those words have thoughts tumbling around in Raylan’s head and sure enough, he goes back to Audry’s, where Daryl is waiting, and comes [this close] to issuing a patented Raylan Givens Get The Hell Out of Dodge warning, complete with time limit. When Daryl grows bullish about leaving, Raylan pulls a court order out of his metaphoric hat and takes Kendall into state custody, for his own good. Daryl has no intention of giving up his little brother but Kendall himself steps forward and volunteers to leave with Raylan, defusing the situation for the moment.
A few more things of note in this episode:
First, Art gets a call from his federal friend in Detroit and flies up to meet with one of the Canadian drug dealers (Will Sasso) we last saw talking hockey and donuts with Boyd and Wynn Duffy. Hoping to get extradited back to Canada, the gangster repeats a story he heard from Sammy Tonin, that Sammy had a Kentucky lawman in his pocket and that the lawman had arranged for Nicky Augustine’s execution on the tarmac in Lexington. Unfortunately, the gangster doesn’t know any names and suggests that if Art wants the whole story, he should talk to Sammy’s old pal-turned-killer Picker. And just where does Picker happen to be staying? With Wynn Duffy.
Second, Boyd and Mara’s plan to have Paxton think Mooney killed Boyd is put into motion when Mooney delivers a severed hand marked with prison tattoos to Paxton, claiming it belongs to Boyd. Paxton seems convinced (I’m not, the man is a mortician and knows dead bodies) and in answer to Mara’s question, insists that he still plans on testifying against Ava even with Boyd dead.
Lastly, Ava has a jailhouse run-in with a sadistic little fuck of a guard, Albert (Danny Strong). Albert is not only stupid, he’s STUPID because he assaults Ava without taking notice of the fact that she is sort of a special case and has a few friends on her side. One of those friends is a female guard who finds Albert taking a cigarette break and teaches him a few things about Ava’s protected status while she’s beating the shit out of him with her night stick. Live and learn, Albert. Live and learn.