"Blaze of Glory," episode 6 of the second season of Justified, juxtaposed some interesting interpretations of the law. It begins with Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Ava (Joelle Carter) being questioned about the mine heist, which included guys dying and lots of missing cash. Clearly they got their stories straight, and miraculously, they're released, but not before a livid Art (Nick Searcy) puts one of the agents in his place for intimidating Ava. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) isn't involved in the interrogation, but he's there to show his skepticism at the outcome, and for Boyd to express his devotion to Ava, which presumably will become romantic.
So after those two are let off the hook, we see Winona (Natalie Zea) get into hot water over what seems to be a relatively minor offense. She and Raylan wait for the evidence locker to be opened so she can deposit files on some case she was working on. They banter about their relationship, which seems to be closer than ever, obvious in the way he picks some lint off her belt as she talks about settling down again and making some "little Raylans." But this would mean Raylan essentially giving up his marshal's position, something he's clearly not ready to do. They're interrupted, he leaves and she opens the evidence box, surprised to see it's full of cash, and after a brief pause, sneaks a $100 bill. What she didn't think of is that all of the bills have been inventoried (by Tim Gutterson, apparently, and with some resentment) and can be traced. If it is, she's endangering not only her own job, but Raylan's too.
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In the meantime, she's waiting on the bank line with her $100 -- to break it? Deposit it? And the bank's held up by three men, one elderly with an oxygen tank in tow (Reasoner), who demand everyone's valuables. She surrenders her jewelry, but strangely still clutches the bill, showing how deep her concern is for money problems (loser Gary just bought a race horse, making matters worse). The thuggiest thief, a wild card, catches her withholding it and kicks her face, then shoots another innocent bystander in the leg. The marshals are on it, including a PO'd Raylan, and turns out Art knows the old guys, who'd served 30 years for bank heists, underscoring that leopards can't change their spots (ahem, Raylan), even though the crook's wife couldn't believe he'd be involved with the job.
As they're starting another heist, Raylan arrives. This time, the thug has strapped explosives to his chest, threatening to blow everyone to high heaven. Raylan, in classic form, tells him that he's from Harlan, where they know the difference between dynamite and flares, before punching the guy silly. He informs them their getaway vehicle just took off -- Reasoner, who the other two had left behind as he was having an attack of some sort, making off with the loot. He heads to the airport to put to use all those flight simulator exercises he'd done.
Art, bad knees hindering him, chases Reasoner on the tarmac, a hilarious scene of the lame chasing the lamer. Raylan shows up and offers to take the loot to evidence, and sorts through the bills, narrowing down the ones that might be Winona's, so they can replace it. At Raylan's motel room, she's grateful for what Raylan did, and he picks her up like they just got married, places her on the bed (with a bit of an Olyphant smirk), and they kiss. It's doubtful he would give up his life of danger and power for domestic bliss, but at that moment, he's closer than we've ever seen him.
And is it meaningful that Raylan is hat-less for the entire episode? Hmm.
(Image courtesy of FX)