With Shelby safely out of Harlan County and in custody, you might think his story would be over. As it happens, however, ol’ Shel has something else on his mind, and by something I mean someone and by someone, I mean Ellen May. Since he’s decided not to testify until she’s safe, too, it’s back to Harlan we go.
Raylan enters the Marshals’ office to applause, which has nothing to do with finding out that the baby Winona is carrying is a girl and everything to do with his capture of Drew Thompson. Before he can enjoy his moment of glory (and before Art can suspend him for the side trip involving Hunter Mosley), Shelby plays his Save Ellen May Or I’m Not Talking card. After a bit of begging, Raylan convinces Art to postpone his suspension so he can go with Rachel and Tim to Noble’s Holler, where Ellen May is awaiting the certain death she thinks is coming.
She has good reason to be afraid: Boyd’s main concern is keeping Ava safe and Ellen May is a loose end he can’t afford to forget. Not capturing Shelby means Boyd doesn’t have the $300,000 to pay Limehouse for the whore so instead, he’s making plans to invade Noble’s Holler and capture her when his phone rings. On the other end is Nicky Augustine who, now that Theo Tonin’s spies have discovered Shelby’s attachment to Ellen May, also wants to find her. Nicky tried having Johnny call up Limehouse in an attempt to have the girl turned over but when Limehouse basically said “fuck you” and hung up, Nicky decides to cut yet another deal with Boyd and, to sweeten the pot, offers him the $300,000 and Johnny. Boyd wants Ellen May and he wants revenge on Johnny for his betrayal so voila! He and Nicky are partners once again.
Turns out, Noble’s Holler is that day’s most popular destination. The first to arrive are Raylan, Tim and Rachel. They’re also the first to leave empty-handed, once Limehouse tells them Ellen May is gone. Tim is left behind to coordinate a door-to-door (or outhouse-to-outhouse) search of the entire holler while Rachel and Raylan pay a visit to Johnny, following a hint dropped by Limehouse. And if you’re wondering if Limehouse was lying about Ellen May being gone, he wasn’t and she really is, and that fact does not make Ava happy when she shows up at Nobles, too. Limehouse rejects her briefcase full of cash and instead lectures her about the path her life has taken. She brushes aside his concerns and leaves in a huff, calling Boyd as she drives away to give him the bad news. Given what they know of Ellen May, the two of them decide there are two places she could have run to: Nicky Cush (her first pimp) or Cassie, Preacher Billy’s sister. Ava heads to Cassie’s tent while Boyd drops in on the pimp.
As it happens, Ellen May’s first action was to run to her old pimp for help. He’s too afraid of Boyd (and government drones and God knows what else) to be much use and sure enough, Boyd arrives at just the wrong time. The sound of an old truck starting up is the only hint that Ellen May escaped while Nicky Cush, wearing a helmet and body armor, holds off Boyd. Unfortunately, his boots weren’t armored, a lesson he learns when Boyd disarms him by shooting him in the foot.
After taking Nicky Cush’s truck, Ellen May heads straight for Cassie (which makes Boyd and Ava two for two). Without actually naming Ava, she confesses to being there when Delroy was killed and to helping hide his body. Ava arrives in time to hear Ellen May unburdening herself of the weight of her sins and draws her gun: it’s time to finally get rid of Ellen May. Except that she can’t. When push comes to shove, Ava isn’t a killer. Colt shows up at that moment and after Ava calls Boyd to tell him she couldn’t kill Ellen May, his (Colt’s) phone rings and although we don’t hear the conversation, it’s obvious Boyd is telling him to kill Ellen May. Before Colt can drag her away, Tim Gutterson is there with his gun drawn and Colt firmly in his sights. Colt refuses to drop his weapon as ordered and instead smokes one last cigarette before he reaches for his gun. Bam! Bam! Tim kills Colt.
While Shelby and Ellen May share a wordless hug on their tender reunion, Boyd and Ava decide that their final option is getting rid of Delroy’s body. Which should wrap things up, right?
Nope. Theo Tonin, via Nicky Augustine, has one more card to play, too. Ominously, the last scene of this episode is of a workman putting together a rocking chair for Winona’s nursery. She doesn’t know who sent it but we know who the workman is: Augustine henchman, Picker. Whaaa? The mob is going after Raylan’s family? I predict blood and bullets for the season finale!
And I quote: (Raylan) “Winona, I don’t know shit about girls….”