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Justified: Decoy

Boyd: "The principal's office, huh?"
Raylan: "I thought the metaphor was apt."

They just paid off a ton of character set-up, and they did it beautifully.

Like Constable Bob. I'd grown to like him so much that watching him get savagely beaten made me cringe. I did not expect Constable Bob to come out the winner in that confrontation, much less continue to spout James Bond-like quips about Nancy Drew and Drewbacca while he was getting kicked on the floor. But I should have remembered that Constable Bob is awesome. He's a smart, courageous butterball of a man. Seriously, can they run him for sheriff of Harlan County or something? I hear the job is open.

They paid off Colt, too, and did it while showing how cool Tim was at the same time. (Tim was slightly more awesome than Colt, but it was close.) Colt's ambush didn't come off because Tim could smell it, but I loved the two of them bantering on the phone about Forrest Gump and a young Gerard Depardieu and ambushes and Afghanistan because it showed that they respected each other as opponents. The Molotov cocktail was also cool. The big question is, was Colt acting alone killing Mort the guy from Detroit, or was he doing what Boyd told him to do?

(Maybe Colt just didn't want to kill Tim.)

I've been complaining all season that there hasn't been enough Raylan and Boyd in the same room. At least they were in the same room for a couple of minutes this time, and gave us all the edgy banter we love.  The thing about this show is, we need to be on Raylan's side in something like this and of course, we are, but it's awfully hard not to root for Boyd, too. Boyd said that he didn't believe in God, which I took to mean that he didn't believe in Theo Tonin. I really want Boyd to be trying in some complicated way to be free of Tonin, but I could just be projecting my own desires onto the character.

The Constable Bob thing was upsetting, but Nicky Augustine knocking Boyd's teeth out of his mouth in the opening scene also had an imediacy and a grittiness that was very effective. We see people getting beaten on TV all the time, unfortunately, and I think we get blasé about it. It takes a lot of skill to film scenes like that and make you feel it. It unsettled me.

So did the obscene way Nicky Augustine spoke to Ava about how she became a madam. He was revolting. (I kept thinking of the lovable dad he plays on Glee, and shuddering.) I thought Ava would lose her temper, but I forgot she was the woman who cooked her husband's favorite meal to get him off guard so that she could kill him at the dinner table. It was Cousin Johnny that lost it, and I wonder if that's what Augustine was going for.

Johnny loves Ava. That explains a lot.

Finally, I so enjoyed the showdown at the high school. It was a great little plot point that the action converged at the high school because Raylan, Boyd, Johnny and Ava remembered the astronaut landing a helicopter on the baseball diamond. I loved that Raylan gave Constable Bob credit for his complete awesomeness. And I also loved that Raylan trusted Rachel to take Drew in alone on a freight train.

Bits and pieces:

-- I never would have thought you'd have to take a tow truck along with a convoy, but it makes sense. Plus, they're convenient to hide behind when you're ambushed.

-- When Yolo (You Only Live Once) was beating Constable Bob, "Love Train" was playing in the background.

-- Constable Bob also asked if the Drew Yolo was looking for was "Drew Mama" and "Drew-sitania". (Lusitania?) I honestly think Yolo was thrown off guard by Bob's quips. He probably thought Bob would fold like a cheap tent.

-- Drew told a wonderful story about how he first met Arlo, stoned on LSD, standing in front of a whorehouse in Saigon. It's too bad Raylan wasn't ready to listen to folksy reminiscences because Raylan needs to talk about Arlo to someone.

-- Drew believes he's going to die soon. Since he's awesome, he's probably right. Even though I'd like to see him make it to Mexico. Or at least bamboozling everyone he meets in prison.

-- I was expecting a big shoot out and we didn't get one. Maybe for the finale?


Art: "You wouldn't happen to have a rocket launcher, would you?"
State cop: "Sadly, no."

Raylan: "Smell that? It's irony."

Colton: "Holy shit. They circled the wagons." Which was exactly what I was thinking when he said it.

Drew: "Irony's not lost on me that high school is my last stop before prison, as they are about the same."

Rachel: "My God, what happened?"
Raylan: "What happened is Bob is a tough son of a bitch."

Drew: "I want you to know I can be the man I became, not just the man I was."
I was a bit sorry he didn't get the chance. It'd be interesting to see what he'd do with the opportunity.

Art: "A Molotov cocktail. I haven't seen one of those since that Guns n' Roses concert in 1989."

Raylan: "Who's your friend?"
Boyd: "Picker. I didn't think to ask if he played guitar."
I didn't get that one until the second time I heard it.

Art: "Nobody smokes? This is Kentucky, not Sausalito. What's wrong with you people?"

Nicky (re: Ava): "Okay. I see what you like about her."

Picker: "Who's he?"
Raylan: "He's the man who killed Yoohoo."
Bob: "Yolo."
Raylan: "Whatever. People underestimate Bob at their peril."
They sure do.

Terrific episode. Four out of four cigarette lighters,

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


  1. As vile as Nicky Augustine is, I hope he sticks around a little. He's pretty terrifying and Mike O'Malley is doing such a fantastic job. That monologue to Ava was very memorable, and it almost seemed like Nicky was trying to provoke one of them.

    It's all-but-certain that Johnny's on his way out, but I hope not. He's become one of my favourite characters and David Meunier is easily one of the most underrated actors to have ever lived. Johnny is such a broken man, but he's scary too. I thought for sure he was going to kill Nicky. I bet Johnny would love to be Boyd or Raylan. It doesn't matter if it's law or crime, it's respect.

  2. This episode was great: tense but also funny with lots of witty dialogue. The interview with the showrunner (I think) on EW is very intersting for this episode.

    When Drew recalls his first meeting with Arlo it made me think of how great a prequel would be with Bo, Arlo, Drew and Megs - basically early Harlan County.

    I wondered why Boyd had no bruises on his face after the beating. And I was happy: Lots of Tim! His scenes were really nice.

  3. And I thought last week's episode was great. How wonderful to get an even better offering this week! If the next two are on the level of these last couple episodes, this season is going to go out in grand style.

    So much wonderful banter this week, but my favorite beats were the back-and-forth between Tim and Colt. What a great use of Tim, and a nice way to bring their season-long dance to a head.

    And I absolutely loved Drew's ticket out of Harlan being a coal train.

  4. First Beau, then Boyd, and now Johnny? Ava sure is a magnet for Crowder men!!!

    I'm thinking Boyd is trying to get rid of the Chicago men one at a time... probably why he's having them go after different targets individually 'cause he knows they'll be picked off.

  5. One thing you can always count on is this show ramping it up towards the end. Fantastic episode!

    I am half in love with Constable Bob. I fully expected him to either talk or die, but he was just awesome. I cheered when he stabbed Yolo.

    I'm also half in love with Tim. His sardonic comments and his kick ass ways just get more cool every week. The highlight of this episode was his conversation with Colt. Who, may I just say, surprised the hell out of me when he shot Mort. Loved how he got the gun away from him.

  6. What a great episode!

    I don't usually cringe at torture scenes, but I never enjoy them either. However, seeing Constable Bob hold his own and even kill the supposed BAMF from Detroit (or Chicago?) was deeply satisfying. We were sure it'd be Bob's end, but that's when he really shone.

    And most of the characters had some great thing to do today. One of the strongest episodes of the series.

    It's funny how this feels like much closer to the finale than we actually are. We still have two eps to go, but the past two eps seemed like a finale until their last minutes.

  7. Mike O'Malley got TVLine's Performer of the Week.


  8. That was anticlimax done right!! What a great episode, so many different ways things could've blown up yet they didn't, without giving me blue balls. Constable Bob's beatdown was brutal... Oswalt was incredibly good at that, it was hard to watch.

    Colt and Tim was my favourite bit though. Circling the wagons... awesome.


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