I considered recapping this episode by posting a photo of my head exploding, with the words, “Holy shit!” written below and just letting it go at that. Because, my friends, holy shit. And, what. the. hell.
Where to begin… where to begin…
Let’s start with Raylan, who is in his element fucking with the Florida branch of the Crowe family tree. He wants them the hell out of Kentucky, one way or the other, and isn’t above playing young Kendall to make that happen. Sister Wendy hotfoots it up to Lexington to rescue her youngest brother from the tender care of the state. Raylan isn’t impressed with her promise to take Kendall back to Miami, and Alison, overseeing the handover, isn’t impressed with Raylan’s tactic of using the boy to make Daryl feel unwelcome.
While Dewey is waxing philosophical about his life choices, Wendy is inside his whore-house being unimpressed with Audry’s and warning Daryl that Raylan is intent on having his parole reinstated, which would necessitate him returning to Miami. Daryl isn’t impressed with (or worried about) Raylan’s threat and instead, sweet talks baby sister into staying long enough to whip the ragtag band of brothers into shape. She seems to agree to stay but tells Daryl that his first order of business needs to be providing a decent home for Kendall. (Note to Wendy: I think that ship sailed a long time ago.) They decide to do the “old thing,” which isn’t defined but probably doesn’t mean putting in rental applications at all the local apartment complexes.
In furtherance of his plans for Audry’s, Daryl and Jean Baptiste pay a visit to Boyd’s bar. They don’t seem to know who he is when Boyd walks in and he lets them insult both his bar and himself before he draws on them and gives them 60 seconds to state their business and GTFO. (Raylan’s habits have spread, obviously.) Daryl demands the return of the entire price Dewey paid for Audry’s, with interest. Boyd, predictably, refuses to play along and the pieces are in place for an epic showdown.
Later at Audry’s, Danny proves that when it comes to crazy, the Crowes aren’t running out of brothers to fill that slot. He first pretends to attack Kendall with a knife, then exchanges verbal barbs with Jean Baptiste about grocery shopping and something called the “21 ft game,” before he pulls out a sawed-off shotgun from behind the bar and, without warning and with way too much excitement about it afterward, turns the Haitian gator-catcher into Haitian hamburger.
Raylan knows about none of this (yet) as events are set in motion that otherwise require his full attention.
Way up in Canada, Al The Canadian Mobster (Will Sasso) is released in Ontario as a reward for his bit of sharing time with Art last week. There’s someone waiting for him, though, in the form of Elias Marcos (Alan Tudyk), who wants to know what Al told the U.S. feds. Al plays dumb until getting shot in the hand causes his memory to return and he spills the information about Kentucky and Picker. All the facts known, Marcos feels so bad about shooting Al’s hand that he kills Al to make up for it.
Picker is a popular person (say that five times fast!). Art is parked outside a diner watching Wynn Duffy take his eyebrows and Mike out for breakfast when Picker arrives to join them. Also watching and waiting on Picker is Marcos, a fact which doesn’t escape Art’s notice. He interrupts Marcos on his way into the diner and the two men have a nice discussion about penises and the local hotel scene before Marcos is convinced that, perhaps, he’s not so hungry as to want to eat at the diner after all and returns to his car.
Art heads inside, though, where his appearance is received with as much joy as you’d expect by Wynn Duffy, Mike and Picker. Before Art can convince Picker to take a walk with him, Marcos has a change of heart and enters the diner. Art heads him off at the pass and the two of them threaten to turn the eatery into the OK Corral before Art gives Marcos ten seconds to GTFO (see: tactics, Raylan Givens). Marcos flinches first and exits after a few more not-so-veiled threats, which means Art gets to leave with Picker in tow and Wynn finally gets to order his breakfast. What’s a man got to do to get some food, y’all?
Raylan is back at the office trying to convince ASA Vasquez (hi again, Rick Gomez!) to revoke Daryl Crowe’s parole. Vasquez is only partially paying attention, since Art has Picker in the conference room and they’re hoping Picker can lead them to Marcos, who can in turn lead them to Theo Tonin.
Considering that the last time Raylan saw Picker was when Picker murdered Nicky Augustine — with Raylan’s tacit approval and consent — Raylan is, shall we say, a bit squicked to see the man sitting in the U.S. Marshal’s office. Picker is playing it cool and is careful to reveal nothing about either Theo Tonin or Marcos. Raylan asks for and gets a few minutes alone with Picker. The two men exchange barbs about blackmail before Raylan reminds Picker that all that shit Picker knows Raylan did, Raylan will fucking do again.
The next thing you know, Raylan and Art are hunting for Marcos in a warehouse full of shipping containers. Marcos comes out of hiding with a big ass gun that shoots big ass bullets but before you can count to five, Raylan sneaks up behind him and, pop! no more Marcos. A few minutes later, blood is found leaking out of a nearby storage container and when it’s pried open, who do they find but Theo Tonin himself.
Art enjoys a bit of celebrating with Rylan and Vasquez for having collared the Detroit mobster before, on his way out, Vasquez mentions that Picker shared the news that a federal agent had been on the tarmac when Nicky Augustin was killed and that he’d named said agent as being FBI Agent Barclay. Remember Barclay? He was the crooked agent who ended up with his blood and brains splattered all over Wynn Duffy and the Wynn-abago, courtesy of Augustine himself. Dead men tell no tales so he can’t exactly disagree.
So that’s that, right? Raylan’s involvement in a mob hit, tied up in a neat little bow and pinned on a dead man? Yeah, no. Raylan can’t stand it and instead of leaving, turns back to tell Art, “It wasn’t Barclay, and I can tell you that for a fact.” Rut roh.
Don’t cue up the dramatic Dun Dun Duuunnn! music just yet, though, because what you really want to put on the record player is some Godfather theme music because BOYD FUCKING CROWDER IS MICHAEL FUCKING CORLEONE!
That’s right, the only thing missing from Boyd’s methodical execution of EVERYONE WHO EVER FUCKING GOT IN HIS WAY was Abe Vigoda asking for mercy, just for old time’s sake.
First, he kills Paxton but he doesn’t just kill the old man, he sends him off with the most venomously malicious speech in the history of venomously malicious goodbye speeches. Boyd arranges for the corpses of the men he’d lost during his unsuccessful heroin shipments to be found in one of Paxton’s funeral homes, setting the old bastard up as someone who’d been in league with criminals to help hide bodies. As Boyd reminds Paxton, “Small towns don’t run on a 24-hour news cycle. Small towns never forget…” Paxton’s children and his children’s children will bear the stain of Paxton’s perfidy. “Your reputation is ruined. Your good word is worthless, but death will not be the end of your suffering.” Boyd forces Paxton’s hand around his own gun, stuffs it in the fucker’s mouth and pulls the trigger before Paxton can finish begging “Mr. Crowder” for his life.
Boyd takes out Mooney next, by judicious use of a dying coal miner who will, in return, have his family taken care of long after he’s dead. Mara is an unwilling witness to Mooney’s assassination and knows immediately that the miner’s family is getting “her” money and she’s getting nothing. Boyd doesn’t exactly say “I’m letting you live, bitch,” but the message is loud and clear when he suggests to Mara that she get the fuck out of Kentucky.
Next up is a meeting with Hot Rod but instead of simply gunning down the Weed King of Memphis for conspiring against him with Cousin Johnny, Boyd tries to turn him into a partner in the heroin business. Hot Rod is willing and returns to tell Cousin Johnny that he’s being turned over to Boyd. Unfortunately, Hot Rod’s men have been bought and paid for, courtesy of Johnny’s cut of the profits from the sale of Boyd’s heroin, and they turn on Hot Rod. “Well, shit,” is right.
Okay, so that one little thing didn’t go according to plan but the important thing is that with Paxton and Mooney dead and discredited, the case against Ava for killing Delroy has fallen apart and she’ll be released from jail! Woo hoo! Celebrations abound, they all make plans to meet at the Waffle House the next morning for some scattered, smothered and covered breakfast and life is good!! #BoydandAva4ever!
And then, GODDAMN YOU, JUSTIFIED! Ava is getting her hair did by her cellmate the night before her release when sadistic little fuck of a guard Albert shows up for a last minute cell check. He finds a crudely handmade shiv under Ava’s mattress, obviously planted there and as it turns out, planted there by the same cellmate who was just talking about Ava’s pretty hair. Using the shiv, Albert stabs himself in the gut and then in the arm before he calls for help and the cellmate rushes to the door to yell about Ava shanking the guard.
After a little liquid courage, Ava’s attorney tells Boyd what happened. Boyd rushes to the jail to talk to her only to find out that Ava has been transferred to a state facility.
And Boyd, y’all, loses his shit. The term “wounded howl” is the only one that describes the sound he makes when he’s struggling with the guards after they tell him Ava is gone. I have goosebumps again, just writing that. It was awful. No, it was more than awful, it was terrifying.
Harlan is going to burn, y’all. You heard it here first.