Justified is back from its ain’t-going-up-against-the-Olympics hiatus with an episode that takes us from the hills of Kentucky to the deserts of Mexico. You can bet there was a lot more to worry about than just the drinking water, too.
On the Kentucky side of the border, Raylan is finding out that being on Art’s shit list kinda sucks. First, he’s given the crap duty of handling walk-ins, a job he doesn’t know he’s been stuck with until a guy named Larry walks in carrying way more attitude than brains. Larry, it turns out, plays backgammon online and is good enough to have amassed a cool $250K worth of winnings. Unfortunately, the website he plays on is owned by Monroe, the rich guy from earlier in the season who lost his house and cars to the U.S. Marshals before being killed by Mikey, Wynn Duffy’s
hairstylist boytoy bodyguard. The backgammon website now shows an out-of-business sign designed to make everyone think the marshal service took it down but since the sign misspells the word “Marshal,” Raylan is quick to point out that Larry’s money is in someone else’s hands.
That someone is a computer hacker named TC, who’s busy playing computer games and insulting Candace, his girlfriend/cohacker, when Larry shows up with Kemp, a piece of hired muscle, and demands his money. Larry’s mouth works faster than his brain, though, and it isn’t long before Kemp realizes dead!Larry is worth $250,000, which is a hell of a lot more than the $5,000 living!Larry planned to pay him. One quick gunshot and Boom, dead!Larry. After TC informs Kemp that the money is tied up in other computer accounts and not accessible in cash, Kemp threatens and then kidnaps Candace as a bit of incentive for the hacker to pay up quickly.
Raylan, with the help of IT guy Chris (who is an asshole but funny as hell; I vote we keep him!), has also followed the cyber-breadcrumbs to TC and when Kemp notices him pulling up, he beats a path out of TC’s rundown apartment with Candace. He pauses to exchange a pithy The Fugitive joke with Raylan, a joke that becomes a little funnier a few minutes later when TC escapes from Raylan by taking off his prosthetic leg and crawling out a window. (The Fugitive was about the U.S. Marshals chasing a one-armed man. Raylan is a U.S. Marshal chasing a one-legged man. Get it? Haha? Okay… moving on.)
After TC escapes, Raylan follows a pool of blood on the floor to find dead!Larry in the bathtub and by the time he makes it back to headquarters, he’s the butt of all jokes for: (i) allowing Larry to just walk away that morning and (ii) losing a race with a one-legged man. The laughter gets a bit louder when the backgammon website leads to TC’s blog, where he brags in big bold letters about making Raylan his bitch.
Raylan is composing a witty retort when Alison calls to let him know she’s been suspended for two weeks because Wendy Crowe, putting her legal skills to work, has researched Alison’s past cases and filed a complaint alleging a pattern of misconduct. When Alison and Raylan meet for drinks later that night, Alison also complains that Wendy threatened to steal Raylan away by use of her feminine wiles. Raylan laughs away that possibility but not so funny is the fact that a few minutes later, his credit card is declined. Also not funny: TC’s follow-up phone call in which he claims credit both for the declined card and for wiping out all of Raylan’s other accounts. The call is quickly traced to a local motel’s wi-fi but when Raylan and the other marshals bust down the door they find only Candace and Kemp. TC hacked into the wi-fi service to make it look like he was calling from there. Candace, still insulted over TC’s earlier gender-based bashing of her computer skills, easily gives up his real hiding place, which is the basement of his grandmother’s house. Driving back to Lexington to deliver TC into custody, TC promises to restore Raylan’s funds and, to get on Raylan’s good side, also offers to teach him the secrets of always being the winning caller for those radio “caller number seven!” contests.
Raylan’s successful capture of TC doesn’t do much to soften Art’s attitude toward him. When Rachel delivers the latest “per the Chief” message that Raylan’s bid to have Daryl’s parole revoked is not going to happen, Raylan marches uninvited into Art’s office and demands to either be treated with the respect due his position as a Deputy U.S. Marshal or to be transferred to another office. Art agrees to make inquiries and Raylan stomps off with the news that he’s going to Florida to visit Winona and his daughter, courtesy of winning the trip via a radio contest (which may or may not be true, I couldn’t decide) and expects the change to be done by the time he returns.
Raylan has not forgotten about the Crowes and attempts to get Wendy to turn on Daryl and help send him back to prison. She’s surprised when Raylan reveals that Daryl killed younger brother Dilly but, for now, appears uninterested in becoming the family traitor. Raylan probably didn’t help his case by sticking her with the tab for drinks at the bar, either.
Meanwhile, Ava’s time in prison is going about as well as you’d expect it to, which is not well at all. She’s holding up a wall on visitor’s day, waiting on a no-show Boyd. Penny offers her help again, in the form of an introduction to Heavenly Mother, a jailhouse preacher who has made a safe place for herself based not on the Good Book’s good words but on her helpful habit of selling heroin to the other inmates. Mother offers protection to Ava but only if Ava helps with the distribution network. After finding out that her assistance would include having sex with a prison guard in exchange for his turning a blind eye to the cleaning guy/runner who brings the drugs into the prison, Ava reconsiders and plants the drugs back in the runner’s mop bucket. When the runner is caught, Ava tells Mother that she can provide more heroin. Presumably she means via Boyd but if that’s the case, she might want to familiarize herself with the old saying “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”
Boyd is experiencing, shall we say, difficulties. The difficulties start with an empty warehouse in Memphis, where Hot Rod is definitely not waiting for their appointed meeting. Accompanied by the Crowes and his mini-gang of Carl and Snake in the Face Boy Jimmy, Boyd is unsurprised at this fact and already has one foot on the road to Mexico before Jimmy gets around to asking what the next step will be. Unfortunately, Cousin Johnny is already in Mexico, having left the Harris brothers behind to gather every last dime from the unfortunate Hot Rod. Johnny meets with Mr. Yoon’s Mexican drug cartel, dons a black hood and is given a ride out to the cartel’s headquarters. By the time Boyd arrives, Johnny has made himself comfortable and promised Mr. Yoon a cool one million dollars, not only to buy the Mexican heroin but also to buy Boyd, so he can kill him. Boyd doesn’t have the funds to outbid Johnny so despite his warning to Mr. Yoon of Revenge by Kentucky Rednecks, when Johnny’s million dollars arrives, Boyd is handed over to Johnny. The Mexican cartel’s warning to Johnny about not killing Boyd until they reach the U.S. side of the border makes it clear that Boyd has blown out his last set of birthday candles.
Except that we still have an entire season and a half left before Justified ends its Emmy-winning run, and there’s no way in hell Boyd is dying this early. The Mexicans deliver Johnny, with Boyd in handcuffs, to a truck left by itself off a deserted desert road but instead of containing all the heroin Johnny thinks he just bought, the truck holds the Crowes, plus Carl and Jimmy and Snap! just like that, the tables have turned on Johnny. Mr. Yoon, as it turns out, recognizes a slimeball when he sees one and he and Boyd were in cahoots to get Johnny’s one million dollars all along.
Whew. I was worried about Boyd there for a minute.
Boyd offers Hot Rod’s double-crossing people a second chance to work for the Memphis Weed King again. Considering their position at the business end of guns held by Boyd’s crew, they’re happy to uncross their double-crossing. Unfortunately for them, Danny Crowe is holding one of those guns and he’s a fucking dumbass who needs to be found at the bottom of a six-feet-deep hole in the ground. For no reason, and clearly lying about one of them pulling a weapon on him, he opens fire on the other men and suddenly, everyone not in Boyd’s crew is dead. Except Johnny but when he starts laughing about what a stupid fuck-up that scene was, Boyd turns around and shoots him, too. (Is that finally the end of Johnny? I… don’t know. Despite multiple rewatches, I just don’t know. Boyd didn’t shoot him in the head so if Johnny suddenly shows up again, I wouldn’t be all that surprised.)
Regardless of Johnny’s is he or isn’t he fate, Boyd is in deep shit. No one was supposed to die until they hit the good ol’ U.S. of A. but thanks to the fuck-up that is Danny Crowe, everybody’s seeing dead people. Poor Boyd. He just cannot catch a break.
So, what did you think? Is Johnny dead or not? What about Ava and Mother? What’s Wendy going to do now that she knows about Dilly?