If you were doing something else at 10 p.m. Tuesday, like watching the Cats or the President’s State of the Union speech, you missed perhaps the most bizarre prayer in television history.
To set the scene, on the order of his cousin Daryl (Michael Rapaport), Dewey (Damon Herriman) took his thieving colleague Wade Messer (James LeGros) into the woods to kill him for robbing his brothel. Of course, Dewey messes up his assignment, and after shooting Messer once, the wounded Messer flees into the woods with Dewey in pursuit. Dewey gets banged up, and starts thinking he’s not going to make it. So he prays to Jesus that if he will save him, and help him finish off Messer, then he will straighten out his life. A prayer only a half-wit like Dewey could pray.
And this begins a episode largely and oddly focused on a search for Messer, such a loser of a character he works for Dewey.
Turns out Messer has been informing on Boyd (Walton Goggins) to the Feds, so when he goes missing, Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Tim (Jacob Pitts) are dispatched to Harlan to find him. While most of the officials in Lexington suspect Boyd is behind Messer’s disappearance and ultimately his murder, Raylan is pretty sure the Crowes have something to do with it.
In some ways, that fuels Raylan’s colleagues’ distrust of him when it comes to Boyd, something telegraphed loud and clear by the fact he had not been told Messer was an informant.
We do get our first face-to-face encounter between Raylan and Boyd this season, usually a treat in Justified. And this was amusing, with Boyd eventually giving Raylan the evidence that helps him find Messer, shortly after he dies in the woods and one step ahead of Dewey and Daryl. But it doesn’t have quite the spark of some of their previous scenes.
This is really Daryl’s first big episode in Kentucky, where he essentially takes over the brothel and puts Cousin Dewey in check. Having Dewey kill Messer was part of his plan to trap Dewey, who’s shown plenty of evidence he’d like to run away. If he goes squawking to the Feds about the Crowes, Daryl promises, they’ll give him up for the murder of Messer. Remember, Daryl is less bothered about offing family than Michael Corleone.
This episode also has the first confrontation between Raylan and Daryl, and for a moment, we think this episode is going to end very badly.
Inspired by a story about an abused child Alison (Amy Smart) told him, Raylan decides to get a court order to take Daryl’s little brother Kendal (Jacob Lofland) into custody after he initially found him tending bar in the Crowe’s brothel.
Initially, there is “over my dead body” talk, but Kendal himself diffuses the situation by volunteering to go with Raylan, leaving with an ominous, “You know what to do,” to Daryl.
That’s one of several ominous moments for main characters.
~ There is definite trouble in paradise for Boyd and Ava (Joelle Carter) as Boyd’s focus seems to be much more on his own business than getting Ava off her murder charge, and she knows it. There’s an early confrontation between Boyd and returning Cousin Johnny (David Meunier) under the pretense of asking Johnny to join Boyd’s operation. But Boyd really wants to find out exactly what Johnny’s up to, after figuring out he’s been messing up his drug shipments. Following him, he figures out he’s in cahoots with Hot Rod Dunham (Mickey Jones). Boyd vows revenge, and Boyd is a lot more skilled at this than Dewey.
Ava has troubles of her own with an attempted rape by a prison guard, Albert (Danny Strong), which is foiled by the appearance of another guard, Susan (Ariane Alexander). Susan’s subsequent beat down of Albert seems to portend some interesting plot twists.
~ Something is also up with now conscious Lee (Sam Anderson), who is presented with a hand that is supposedly Boyd’s by Mara (Karolyna Wydra) and the wannabe sheriff Mooney (William Gregory Lee). Lee says he still wants to continue the case against Ava, which seems to be an ominous sign for him.
~ But nothing is as ominous as the clouds gathering for Raylan. Art (Nick Searcy) travels to Detroit where a goon tells him that before he was killed, Sammy Tonin bragged that he had a Kentucky lawman in his pocket. Art is getting closer to discovering that Raylan was present when Nicky Augustine was executed at Bluegrass Airport.
Several characters need to be saying some prayers.