This is the episode where I have finally put my finger on why I’m enjoying Justified this season, but not obsessed with or fascinated by it as I have been in years past.

This season, the show just seems to be going through the motions and hitting some of the same old plot points. This doesn’t mean it’s bad-Justified, it just means it’s lukewarm-Justified.

The Hunt for Wade

The bulk of the episode is built around hunting for Wade, who apparently is a CI (confidential informant). It’s a plotline that gets all the regular characters involved — which I like — but one that doesn’t have as much payoff to the intense urgency we felt early on in the episode.

Dewey shoots Wade within the opening minutes, just as his cousin Daryl ordered him to at the end of the last episode. Of course, Dewey being Dewey, he can’t even do that right. He winds up wrestling with Wade, tries to beat him to death with a tiny shovel and somehow lets Wade, a man who’s been shot and beaten, get away.

When US Attorney Vazquez realizes Wade is missing, he has Art dispatch Raylan to go look for him. Knowing that Raylan probably won’t look too hard, he makes Tim go with him.

Raylan and Tim first go to a bar — not Boyd’s bar — that Wade works at. A boy barely hitting puberty is working behind the bar and his name is Kendall Crowe; he’s a cousin of Dewey and the son of Daryl. They don’t get much info out of him and wind up heading to Wade’s house, where Danny Crowe is living inside. He also isn’t very helpful.

Dewey, meanwhile, wandering through the wilderness, even praying for God’s help at one point, stumbles upon Wade. But before he can do anything, a helpful family that grows by the minute — first a young child, then a mother and then a father — thinks he has sunstroke and coaxes him to come away with him. Dewey plays into the insanity associated with sunstroke and even raises his voice as he leaves, to help cover the fact that Wade is asking for help on the ground, just out of sight of the family.

It’s a tense moment where you’re not sure how far Dewey will go to protect what he’s up to. But it’s also the high point of the episode with about half of it left to go.

Dewey calls Daryl, crying, and the two of them go out to look for Wade together. Tim and Raylan confront Boyd at his bar, but Raylan leaves to continue looking for Wade, while Tim makes sure Boyd doesn’t do anything. (They wind up playing Scrabble together.)

Daryl and Dewey pull up to where Dewey left Wade, only to see the marshals and Raylan in particular watch a body bag being laid over top of Wade’s dead body. Problem solved for the Crowes.

Raylan isn’t too happy about what happened and he knows the Crowes were involved. So he goes back to Daryl’s bar with an order allowing him to take Kendall into the state’s custody. Daryl threatens Raylan, who threatens him back, but Kendall decides to go with Raylan before a fight breaks out.

Raylan coming into custody of a minor seems to be too much of a retread of season 2, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Ava’s Protector

Now in the fourth episode of the season, we finally start to get a hint of a storyline for Ava that doesn’t necessarily involve Boyd. She’s almost raped by a security guard named Albert (played by Danny Strong), even though she accuses him of being “a little short for a Stormtrooper.”

Albert is interrupted by a female security guard named Crane (assuming that’s a last name), who later beats the hell out of Albert, threatens to put a lit cigarette in his eye and tells him that Ava is protected.

We’ll have to assume Crane is being paid by someone on behalf of Ava. It’d be a bit too obvious if it was Boyd, no?

Other Odds and Ends

— Boyd also has to contend with attacks on his drug business throughout the episode. He lures Johnny to Ava’s prison in the beginning of the episode and has one of his men follow him. But that plotline sort of gets sidetracked with all the business with Wade.

— Art is interrogating someone about what happened to Nick Augustine. The man he’s interrogated suggests he talk to Picker, who he says killed Sammy Tonin. And, apparently, Picker is currently hanging out with Wynn. This plotline, ladies and gentlemen, this is the plotline that’s going to be worth watching this season, I’m betting.

— Raylan and Alison seem to be doing fine since, the first time we see Alison this episode, she’s riding on top of Raylan. She gives him a weird speech about not cutting and running and he decides to stay at her house for the night.

— Mooney gives Paxton a fake severed hand, claiming it’s Boyd’s. Unless I’m wrong, it’s never thoroughly explained in this episode where that hand came from.

— The episode ends with Boyd looking at a bunch of dead bodies from one of his shipments that was attacked. Is that the second or third episode this season that’s ended on something having to do with Boyd’s drug business? 

Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX.  

(Image courtesy of FX)

Alan Danzis

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV