We're denied something so, so critical in this week's episode of Justified
We didn't get to see how Raylan tried to, or didn't, "justify" his partnership with Sammy Tonin last season when he told Art he was involved in Nicky Augustine's death. But everything we did get -- a lot of it unexpected -- was pretty great in a pivotal episode.
Raylan and Art's Relationship is Destroyed
The show opens with Raylan going to meet Art for a drink in absolutely pouring rain. We, apparently, have skipped ahead of the conversation Raylan and Art were about to have at the end of the last episode.
And without nary a word, Art punches Raylan squarely in the face.
We don't get to see Art's initial reaction, but we get to see the tension between the two of them for the rest of the episode. What Raylan did is not only damaging to him, and damaging to Art, but it's damaging to all the marshals.
The whole office picks up on the tension, too. Rachel addresses it head-on with Raylan towards the end of the episode when she notes that Art has a swollen fist and Raylan has a black eye.
Raylan refuses to tell her what happen and Rachel astutely says she knows it'll affect the whole office.
A New Partnership is Formed
Raylan doesn't get much time to deal with his destroyed relationship with Art when Alison is attacked. Unfortunately for me, your reviewer, I had that surprise spoiled for me in the episode description, but perhaps you, the viewers, didn't know an attack was coming for Alison at some point in the episode.
(When Danny tries to scare her with his dog as she's leaving his house, I thought for sure it's happening then. But no, he instead runs her off the road a few moments later.)
When Alison goes to tell Raylan what happened, they have a borderline hysterical conversation about it.
"What the hell happened to your face?" she asks him, noticing the black eye Art gave him.
"You first," he says.
Rachel wisely teams up with Raylan to investigate. They quickly almost wind up in a shoot-out situation at the Crowes when Dewey and Danny are waiting inside, weapons drawn, as Wendy tries to tell Raylan he needs a warrant to come in. Luckily for everyone involved, Raylan backs down and leaves.
What Dewey and Danny don't realize, however, is that Raylan was there for answers on Alison's attack -- not because he was looking for Carl, Boyd's right hand man, that they have beaten up inside.
Next, Rachel and Raylan go to visit Kendall, who is working in a convenience store owned by someone named Mike. Raylan confronts Mike, thinking that the Crowes have basically stolen his convenience store and home -- the place where the Crowes are now living.
He says they're friends and Raylan asks him about his second home, the hunting lodge. It's there that Danny has Carl tied up inside.
Raylan and Rachel go inside the home. Danny is about to attack Raylan, but Rachel saves him. Happy that he can finally nail the Crowes on a crime, Raylan is crushed, however, when Carl says, "Suppose he never kidnapped me."
And right there is the beginning of the friendship of the new in town Crowes and the Crowders.
The Crowes help Boyd get back at his friend Gunnar -- more on that in a moment -- and the partnership goes so well, Boyd tells Daryl he wants to hire the Crowes to help him kill his cousin Johnny.
To Protect Ava, Boyd Forms a New Partnership
Ava moves to her new home, the Kentucky State Prison, at the beginning of the episode.
Boyd tries to arrange protection for her very quickly, knowing that she'll be a target. So he calls an old friend, a racist Nazi named Gunnar. He wants Gunnar's sister, Gretchen, to look out for Ava.
Penny, however, is the prisoner that first approaches Ava in the yard. She's pretty friendly until about 15 threatening-looking black women approach Ava. They back off, however, when Gretchen comes by.
Gretchen is no friend to Ava, though. She headbutts her, punches her and then cuts off her blonde hair, which all the prisoners were admiring. Apparently, Gretchen and Gunnar don't like that Boyd works with so many non-white people.
In a moment that reminds me of the times I used to feel sorry for Ava -- before she hooked up with Boyd, that is -- she trades for a weapon later in the episode that she uses to finish cutting her hair so that it looks good.
Other Odds and Ends
-- A friendly reminder: the show is off next week because of the Olympics.
-- Is Danny going to wind up being the wild card bad guy this season? Daryl seems concerned that Baptiste, who Danny murdered, is missing.
-- It's about time Dewey sold his pool that Raylan shot up in the season premiere. Unfortunately for Dewey, he did a poor job of trying to duct tape it back together. Which is, of course, hysterical.
-- It's an interesting casting choice with Boyd's new "business associate" Mr. Yun being played by James Kyson (Ando from Heroes). I'm still not exactly interested in Boyd's business dealings, however.
airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX. (Image courtesy of FX)