This season of Justified has been all over the map -- and not in a good way. Characters have spent a great deal of time apart from each other, running around in their own plotlines.
And while a number of characters come together in one plotline during this week's episode, it still feels disjointed. It still also feels off. Like, this isn't good, hot Justified. It's lukewarm Justified. It also probably doesn't help that this is an extra-long episode -- about 53 and a half minutes -- and feels over-stuffed.
A United Nations-Like Meeting
Dewey and Danny are partnered up for a lot of the episode. Their chief mission? Getting shipments across the border.
While they're doing the actual work, Daryl and Boyd are having a meeting to discuss the next phase of their partnership. Daryl is blunt: he wants to be part of the family.
Raylan, meanwhile, starts to circle in on Boyd and Wynn's drug operation, whether or not he realizes it. He decides he wants to find Hot Rod, who I nicknamed Duck Dynasty in a previous episode recap.
Raylan heads to Memphis to track him down, where he's partnered with a DEA agent named Alex Miller and played by Eric Roberts. We meet Miller, who is drinking from a flask while doing target practice.
They first go to visit the brothers, Roscoe and Jay, who are also looking for Hot Rod. They leave behind another DEA agent who is knocked out by the brothers after he tells them half their crew was killed in Mexico, likely by Boyd and his crew.
Miller and Raylan, meanwhile, discover Hot Rod's location. But by the time they get there, they find his capturer has been stabbed in the neck with a pencil and Hot Rod is bleeding on the ground, the victim of a gunshot they heard when they entered.
Miller gives his flask to Hot Rod and watches him die. Apparently, they were friends, or as much friends as a confidential informant (CI) and government agent can be.
Roscoe and Jay head to Boyd's bar and threaten the bartender, looking for information on Boyd's whereabouts. Raylan and Miller arrive not long after and are closing in on the brothers.
At the whorehouse, there's a United Nations-like meeting between Daryl, Boyd, Picker and Wynn taking place. Daryl wants 20% of the drug pie, but the other members think it's too high.
Jay and Roscoe infiltrate the warehouse and demand the drugs or the money -- Boyd gets to pick. Boyd counters by offering them to kill Daryl and get 10% of the operation's cut.
Before anything bad can happen, Raylan and Miller enter. It's not long before Miller kills Roscoe -- which seems like a suspicious kill to me -- and Jay has to ponder what to do next. Suicide by cop? Try to kill Raylan and/or Miller?
He decides to put his gun down and surrender. Nothing actually happens at the meeting. It's a whole lot of build-up without anything consequential actually happening.
Of course, towards the end of the episode, we learn Daryl's true plan. He tells Wendy that he plans to kill all three of the other members at that table and take over the entire heroin operation.
The episode then ends on a really, really weird note. Danny and Dewey are still driving the shipment when Miller pulls them over. Danny challenges him with a knife, while Miller has a gun.
But before either of them can do anything, Dewey runs both of them over with the truck.
Danny is able to stand up, but we're unsure of Miller's condition. And then the episode ends on Dewey screaming like an insane person as he continues to drive away.
Boyd Fulfills the First of Two Requests from Ava's Nurse Partner
The nurse who promised to help Ava get drugs into jail goes to see Boyd to ask for the favor she warned Ava she would request in the last episode. She wants Boyd to kill a man that set fire to the house of a woman named Verna, who was the nurse's former partner in a drug scheme in the prison.
Boyd finds the man, named Elmont Swane, in a nursing home. He says he killed Verna because his wife, Elena, was in jail for check fraud and overdosed on the drugs Verna brought into the prison.
Swane tells Boyd he has a bad heart and a bad liver and outright challenges Boyd to a draw. He backs down and he and Boyd seem to come to some understanding.
While Boyd is taking care of Swane, Ava gets threatened by a prisoner, angry about the drug supply drying up. Judith, the preacher woman, comes to her defense and gets the prisoner to back down.
Swane sort of disappears for most of the episode, while Boyd is at his United Nations-like meeting. He reappears again at the end, in a car ride with Jimmy and Boyd. They pull over and Jimmy strangles Swane to death while Boyd stands outside the car. Why did Boyd suddenly decide after all to kill him? And why didn't he do it himself?
We, the audience, then learn the other favor the nurse wants from Ava: namely, that she kills Judith.
Other Odds and Ends
-- Is there any point to the character of Kaitlin (that sounded like that was her name) who Raylan meets in a bar in the beginning of the episode? Other than it's mildly funny that he got propositioned by a hooker?
-- After spending a ton of time with Kendall and Wendy in the last episode, we only see them for a little bit in this week's. Kendall is unhappy that he's still stuck in Kentucky, while Wendy worries that all of Daryl's big promises to make the family rich are false hopes. Daryl also discovers the money Raylan gave to Kendall.
-- Art reiterates to Raylan that he wants him gone for good. This seems like a really, really slow burn for that plotline.
airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX. (Image courtesy of FX)