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Justified: Brother's Keeper

"You pick the devil you run with."

I guess Mags really wanted to raise Loretta. It's hard to tell with Mags, but I think she saw Loretta as the innocent young girl she never got to be. She prettied her up like a toy, decorated her with a family heirloom, and unintentionally made her a sacrificial lamb, because it made Coover hate Loretta enough to kill her.

Coover deliberately put on the watch and let Loretta see it so she would confront him and he could take her out. And that's just what Loretta did. Those scenes were all edge-of-your-seat, especially the way-too-long nerve wracking scene where she was searching the house for the watch. (When she lit the match to read the inscription, I was yelling "No! Get out of the house, Loretta!")

She seemed so small and helpless next to Coover, but she held her own. It was lovely that Raylan dropped everything and came immediately when she called him, just as he'd promised, and that he was there to save her in the end. Sure, we knew Raylan, our leading man, would live or the show would be over, but that fight in front of the mine shaft was tense, probably because we just saw Coover beat the crap out of Raylan in the previous episode.

Coover may have been a disappointment to Mags, but jeez, he was still her son and her cruelty toward him actually continued after his death. Would she have acted the same if she had lost Doyle or Dickie? All she did was beg Raylan to let her see Loretta just once more. When he said a final no, her face became expressionless. Her acting didn't work, so she didn't even bother to try and show emotion. I think that blank face was the real Mags. What does she feel?

As horrible as her sons are, they have some human qualities and I found myself feeling sorry for both Dickie and Coover. Coover loved his mother so much that he begged her forgiveness after she broke his fingers with a hammer. Would Coover have still been a mean, childish drug addict if he'd had normal parents? And Dickie showed so much genuine emotion. Coover knocked him across a room and nearly strangled him to death, and Dickie still cried and begged Raylan not to hurt his brother. I actually felt bad for Dickie when Raylan was hurting him, even though I was completely behind why Raylan was doing it.

All this, and I haven't even mentioned the party yet. Mags, sitting securely and smugly on her home turf surrounded by food and music and friends, screwed over Big Coal and had a grand time doing it. Not surprising that Mags and Boyd tag teamed Carol Johnson, since Boyd is so smart. He backed the right horse. I think. Has he decided to take on his father's business, after all? Ava won't like that.

Boyd and Ava danced. How delightful. Ava's red dress was amazing. It was only eclipsed by the party ensemble Dickie was wearing that featured a flowered shirt and necktie, a vest I am at a loss to describe, gloves with the fingers cut off, and a pair of hideous rolled-up jeans. He looked bizarre. Well, Dickie is bizarre. I think the title of the episode referred to Dickie, though, because he certainly did try to save his brother.

My review has been pretty much all Bennett, but Raylan was wonderful. I think I take him for granted because Timothy Olyphant is always wonderful. Especially dropping everything and rescuing Loretta. In fact, I wonder if Raylan shot Coover to keep Loretta from doing it herself.

Bits and pieces:

-- Loretta gave Coover a blunt treated with formaldehyde. Can you say "foreshadowing"? I was also disturbed by Coover snorting coke off his cast.

-- Dickie said he was the heir apparent. Is he? Mags would never have left her business to Coover, and I guess Doyle does have a career in law enforcement.

-- Carol was actually pretty cool, getting out of the car and telling Raylan to go get Loretta, don't worry about me. Carol also refused to shake hands with Mags. Boyd shook with Mags.

-- Mags sang "High on the Mountain", which was an appropriate tune. My family used to do that sort of family sing until my great uncle died. I still have his guitar, but I don't play it much any more.

-- Gold acting stars for pretty much everyone, but particularly Brad William Henke (Coover), Jeremy Davies (Dickie), Margo Martindale (Mags) and Kaitlyn Dever (Loretta).


Mags: "I used to tell people I dropped him on his head when he was a baby. The truth is, I got no excuse for him."

Raylan: "I never was much for clogging. I had a cousin next county over, called him Heinz..."
Carol: "Heinz?"
Raylan: "Yeah, like the steak sauce? Claimed he knew fifty-seven dance steps that no one else had ever done before."
Carol: "Why isn't he here?"
Raylan: "His wife shot him."

Carol: "Miss Ava! Enjoying the party?"
Ava: "I'm finding it ever more tiresome as it grows on, actually."

Loretta: "How do you know you didn't just scare off my future husband?"
Raylan: "You can do better than that."
And indeed she can. Hopefully, she'll have that chance now.

Four out of four blunts laced with formaldehyde,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Amazing episode. Just stellar from top to bottom. I thought Boyd, Carol, and Mags going toe to toe was incredibly transfixing. But the stuff with Loretta, Coover, Raylan, and Mags was the highlight of the episode.

    I agree 100 percent that the sequences in the trailer and at the mine shaft were incredibly tense. I couldn't believe how tense I got during the Coover and Raylan fight, when I knew for certain that Raylan wouldn't be killed or maimed. That's a pretty fantastic accomplishment for the creative team.

    That final moment between Mags and Raylan may be my favorite of the season. I felt strangely heartbroken for Coover, when Mags couldn't bother to get emotional over his death. It truly seemed that all her grief and even her turn to cold, vengeful silence was all about not being able to say goodbye to Loretta. I'd been actively rooting for the bastard to die mere moments before, and then I suddenly felt utterly crushed for him. To not even be mourned by the mother from whom he so desperately wanted approval. Just sad.

    Ava's red dress was definitely amazing. Of course, she rocks pretty much anything she wears.

  2. Frakking fantastic. One of the series' finest episodes.

  3. Without a doubt, the best episode of the series so far. Simply amazing from beginning to end. Both the writing and the acting were top notch.

    One of the best things about this series is that none of the characters is one-dimensional. Each has some good and some bad in them.

    Coover is a sad case. He reminds me of Lennie in Of Mice and Men, especially when he was strangling Dickie. I was convinced he wasn't entirely aware of what he was doing. He also calls Loretta Mags' "prize bunny" - a definite shout out to the novel. And, funnily enough, Dickie reminds me of George, always looking out for Coover and trying, in vain, to keep him out of trouble.

    But as awful as Coover was and in spite of the truly hideous things he did, he was just a boy who wanted to be loved by his mother. The final scene, where Mags doesn't mourn him and tries to manipulate Raylan (well done him for seeing right through her), was incredible. Acting kudos all around. I can see why Margo Martindale won an Emmy.

    I was thrilled that Boyd figured out Mags' plan and put himself in the middle of it. Something tells me that he and Raylan are going to find themselves on the same side again; the Bennetts are not going to forget what either of them did.

    Why is it on television shows that they never show the figures when people are negotiating with money? Is there some rule that makes it illegal?

    I also liked the dedication at the end of the show. I looked up the two Deputy Marshals. They were both shot and killed in the line within a month of each other. What makes this doubly tragic is that they were first men killed in the line since 1992.

  4. I didn't get that future husband crap.
    The first time we see Loretta, she's completely creeped out, and with good reason, by a grown man so much as talking to her, but now she's about to get drunk with this 20-year old douchebag?

  5. Lmao I've never felt more sorry for anyone than I did for Coover in that cold open... look at his expression listening to his mom and Loretta through the door. Poor, poor bastard :(

    Was it really acting on Mags's part? Why would she want to see Loretta so badly, then?

    @Anonymous: That obviously has less to do with her seeing the fool as a genuine prospect and more about her missing her dad, since Raylan's protectiveness reminds her of his absence and the growing question of why he's missing. Almost subtle but still clearly a mandated YOU ARE NOT MA FATHA scene.

    Love Dickie


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