Justified: season three, episode eight


Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has to endure an investigation by FBI Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowsky) in the eighth episode of the third season of "Jusified." © FX photos by Prashant Gupta.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not watched the March 6, 2012 episode of Justified but intend to, do not read further.

The title of Tuesday night’s episode of Justified was Watching the Detectives, which unites two of my favorite things: Justified and Elvis Costello. But you also could have called it Game Change – maybe a bit too political these days – or Raylan and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Too kid lit?

Winona (Natalie Zea) is shocked to learn her ex-husband was murdered on her front lawn.

Well, Alexander (click that last link) didn’t have two law enforcement agencies sniffing around him the way Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) does in the Costello episode. When Gary (William Ragsdale) shows up dead on Winona’s (Natalie Zea) lawn at the beginning of the episode, thanks to Quarles (Neal McDonough) and Duffy (Jere Burns) — Did they drive him all the way from Tulsa in the trunk of their sedan? — Lexington police naturally suspect Raylan. But fear not backers of Lexington’s finest, because they come off looking a lot better than the FBI, led by Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowsky).

After overhearing Sammy Tonin (Max Perlich) tell an associate Raylan is working with Boyd (Walton Goggins), like Quarles told him to do last week, the Feds are sure they have the Marshal that’s been making their lives miserable where they want him. In Tobolowsky’s performance, Barkley becomes one of those obnoxious, arrogant characters you can’t wait to see endure a humiliating comeuppance, which sort of happens when he can’t continue his investigation because he’d have to admit that his source on Raylan’s supposed corruption is a crook they have under surveillance.

So their case falls apart and the Lexingto PD can’t scare up enough evidence to pin Gary’s murder on Raylan, especially when Raylan and Winona break Quarles’ frame.

It’s all a bit of a diversion, albeit an really uncomfortable one, especially as close allies like Winona and Art (Nick Searcy) seem to wonder if some of the accusations are true.

But the real game change comes as the episode winds down. When the Feds case against Raylan doesn’t stick, Tonin informs Quarles that his dad is pulling his support. Quarles, the big, bad, rich mobster from Michigan is now on his own, and at the end of the episode, he has to drive down the Harlan to ask Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) and his men for support. The No. 1 most fascinating thing in next week’s episode will be seeing how Limehouse plays this development, as he has fairly firmly wanted to remain on his own.

This was mostly a Lexington episode, though some stuff does happen in Harlan. The biggest thing is Sheriff Napier (David Andrews) has his police cruiser blown up and frames Boyd with the crime – see, Raylan and Boyd aren’t on the same side, but similar things keep happening to them.

Napier takes Boyd on a perp walk for the cameras, and it seems like a prime opportunity for Boyd to pull a little wise-acre stunt, but that does not happen. The best exchange of the night comes between Raylan and Duffy, reminding us that even if Limehouse’s men take Quarles out in that dark field, Raylan will not lack for enemies.

News: There’s cool news for Justified fans. FX announced today that it has ordered a fourth season of the series that has enjoyed an eight percent increase in ratings over last season.

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