'Justified' Recap: To Protect and Serve?
'Justified' Recap: To Protect and Serve?
Raylan had surprisingly little to do in this week's episode of Justified. It was Quarles who occupied most of the limelight, and boy did we learn more about him than we probably wanted to know. Other than insight into Quarle's past, we had an election, a high-noon showdown, and sexual abuse. Let's run down this episode's major plotlines.

How to Not Rig an Election

Sheriff Napier sends some of his goons to plant drugs in Shelby's car. Fortunately, Shelby has the presence of mind to pull a shotgun on them, pretend to have cancer and play the psycho card. Boyd is impressed with his soon-to-be-puppet in the sheriff's office and plans to strike back against the current sheriff by harming his sister who has been living off the beaten path for years. Or so we think. Because when he pays her a visit, he enlists her for a job...

Not-So-Bright Future Prospects

Dickie Bennett is slated to be released from prison. Of course, Raylan wants to keep him inside because he is, after all, a killer. The problem is, that's not why he is in the can and there is nothing to build a murder case against him. If Raylan is not able to produce substantial and new evidence against Dickie, he will go free. But the Bennett clan still inspires great fear in Harlan County. No one wants to come forward and testify against Dickie.

How to Not Win an Election

Napier wins the election, probably not without help from the shadows by Quarles. But in a wonderful case of "be careful what you wish for," Quarles orders Napier to move his stuff to another smaller office because the Carpetbeggar needs a large space where he can ponder his misdeeds and laugh his diabolical, bourbon-infused laugh. But before that can happen, a mild-mannered city official called Harvey informs both Quarles and the Sheriff, that due to a clerical error, Napier's sister is still on the city's payroll. Because of Kentucky's nepotism laws, he is thus ineligible to be elected Sheriff, and his runner-up gets the coveted position. Seems like Boyd has time to ponder even more diabolical plans than Quarles.

It's a Draw ... For Now

Boyd also directly confronts Quarles and advises him to leave Harlan. In what must be one of the weirder character progressions the show has ever done, we first learn that the Carpetbeggar was pimped out by his heroin-addicted father as a boy, killed for the first time when he was 14, and has "set free" someone by the name of Brady Hewes who apparently shared the same gruesome childhood as the Carpetbeggar. He then challenges Raylan to draw guns wild west-style at the bar Raylan is working security at. And even though it doesn't quite come to a big showdown, Quarles still promises Raylan that he will kill him some day.

How to Not Keep Someone in Jail

And in the end, Dickie Benett is released. Raylan, sick and tired of the games, testifies in front of the court that they might as well release the criminal. He will screw up, blood will be spilled, but when that happens, the cops (or Raylan himself) will be there to punish Dickie and he will end up in jail again. What seems like a joyful occasion for Dickie turns out to be rather somber news for Limehouse, who sits on the Benett money and has no interest in any of them sniffing around for it. So as much as Raylan might be convinced that Dickie will be involved in mischief soon again, he might just bite the dust before he can get around to that.

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FX)