So the central mystery of Season 4 of Justified has been solved: Shelby is Drew Thompson. We still have three more episodes, however, so the fun isn’t over yet!
The episode opens right where the last one ended: with Boyd in handcuffs while Raylan et. al. search Shelby’s house. They don’t find much more than a woman’s clothes and a pair of slinky panties before Raylan has a light bulb moment: they aren’t looking for Shelby, they’re looking for Drew Thompson and he knows how to fly a plane.
Getting the hell out of Dodge by way of flying out of Harlan is exactly what Shelby/Drew (I’m going to stick with Shelby from here on out) has in mind as soon as he gets Ellen May out of the way. But she wants to stay with him no matter how dangerous it might be, and when he offers her a stack of money and a bit of advice about heading for one coast or the other, she looks a bit like kicked puppy. When Shelby drives by a stray dog a few minutes later, he gives in to fate and turns around, finds her and offers to take her with him to Mexico. Ellen May, bless her heart, is all for a new start, any new start, and the two of them drive off into the sunset and live happily-ever-after on what’s left of Theo Tonin’s stolen money.
Except, not really.
Raylan is waiting for Shelby at the small local airport and the official there seems to be on Shelby’s side enough to turn on an outside light which alerts the pretend-sheriff to the fact that the airport is not a safe place to stop. Raylan gets another road block set up on a small road leading away from the airport and out of Harlan. Shelby is smart enough to hike through the woods to check out the road first and when he sees all of the police vehicles, realizes he is out of options and tells Ellen May it’s time to turn himself in. Ellen May, still dreaming of a new life on a beach in Mexico, has an idea of her own: seeking protection and safety from Limehouse and Nobles Holler.
Limehouse, as it turns out, is a popular option. After his lawyer gets him released from custody, Boyd sends Ava there to keep her out of harm’s way until the problem of Ellen May can be dealt with. Boyd assumes the whore has told Shelby about Ava killing Delroy and that Shelby is keeping Ellen May close in order to use her as future leverage. Boyd, Colt and Jimmy (who survived the SNAKE IN THE FACE! with only a pretty nasty scar) pay a visit to the pimp who turned Ellen May. The threat of having some dental work done by a Black & Decker cordless drill is enough for that guy to scream out Limehouse’s name.
Johnny, left behind at the bar like a good little boy, calls up Wynn Duffy and relays the “Shelby is Drew Thompson” news. Duffy (who sleeps in a black velvet eye mask: who knew?) tells Johnny that it’s now his job to find Shelby so he can be delivered to Theo Tonin. Johnny questions Teri again and while he’s there, Raylan and Rachel show up for the same purpose. (Aside: Can we get a Raylan/Rachel hookup, please? Seriously, the chemistry between the two is HAWT. I say we let them go at it and see who leaves the most scratches. My money is on Rachel.) Johnny being Johnny, he whines like a little brat about how Boyd never finished building go-carts when he was a kid, wah wah wah, but Raylan cuts through the bullshit. He might help take down Boyd, he says, if Johnny helps them find Shelby.
As it happens, Limehouse knows Shelby’s true identity and when he and Ellen May appear in Nobles Holler, any hope Shelby had of paying Limehouse to keep Ellen May safe while he (Shelby) skipped off somewhere is shot to hell. Limehouse reunites Ellen May with Ava, and despite the fact that Ava tried to have her killed, Ellen May is pathetically happy to see her former madam. While Limehouse listens in, she swears again that she never said anything about what she wasn’t supposed to say anything about but when she’s gone, Ava asks how much it will cost to have both Shelby and Ellen May turned over to her and Boyd. Limehouse tells her the price is $300,000 which is, conveniently, how much money Boyd just got from what was left of the Clover Hill Gang. Nice coincidence, huh?
Unfortunately, Boyd can’t stop being Boyd and when he shows up to hand over the money to Limehouse, he’s such a dick that Limehouse immediately decides that $300,000 will only get one of them. Boyd wants to take Ellen May so she can be killed and Ava is protected but Ava insists Ellen May will be quiet and that they take Shelby for the $500,000 Theo Tonin is going to pay them. Ellen May, whose dreams of a new life in Mexico have disappeared, is distraught and tries to sacrifice herself to save Shelby from what everyone knows is certain death and when that fails, she spits in Ava’s face. I’m no expert but if I were Ava, I think I would now be very worried about Ellen May.
Boyd gives Colt the job of delivering Shelby to Nicky Augustine (Theo Tonin’s henchman). Shelby does his best to make Colt angry enough to kill him before Tonin shows up but without success. Colt hangs on to his composure and instead taunts Shelby with the long, painful death he’s facing. Fortunately for Shelby, Johnny got the news of the exchange to Raylan and as the helicopter is landing, the US Marshals drive up and voila! Shelby is saved.
Well, for now anyway. There is that messy little detail of how to get Shelby out of Harlan County alive. And whether or not Theo Tonin will kill everyone – Boyd, Ava, Wynn Duffy – for failing to deliver Shelby.
I fucking love this show.
Quote: (Art, on Drew Thompson) First thing we’re going to do, we’re going to acknowledge that this guy’s awesome.