Tuesday’s episode of Justified was titled Shot All to Hell, and it wasted no time getting down to its title. In the opening scene, Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson) was awakened by a phonecall from Sheriff Mooney (William Gregory Lee) saying the bodies of murdered drug runners were in his funeral home. Already shaken, Lee turns on the light to find Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) sitting in his bedroom … with his gun.
In Justified’s most chilling murder since Mags Bennett served her first glass of apple pie on the show, Boyd informed Lee that due to the setup, he was going to die in permanent disgrace. “Small town never forgets,” Boyd purrs, as he stages Lee’s suicide.
The very next scene, we see the guy who gave Picker up to the feds get whacked by Tonin’s lead goon Marcos (Alan Tudyk), a minor nuisance in this episode.
Two scenes, two murders. Justified is back to its old body-counting ways. That has been controversial among some fans and even critics, who think the violence of Justified has gotten to be too much in recent seasons. And the last few episodes have been relatively quiet. That’s over.
There is a lot of taking care of business in this episode, particularly for Boyd, who is solidifying his place as Harlan’s undisputed criminal overlord. In a few scenes, he dispatches Mooney (shot by a guy Boyd paid off) and Mara (Karolyna Wydra) (by scaring her to death), sets up some new partnerships and wins the first face-off with the new thug in town, Daryl (Michael Rapaport).
In the line of the night, Boyd tells Daryl, ”I’ve been accused of being a lot of things, inarticulate ain’t one of them.”
In trying to draw Hot Rod Dunham (Mickey Jones) closer, Boyd and he have a conversation about the morality and business of marijuana vs. heroin, which Boyd is getting into, that was interesting considering recent news headlines,
Everything seems to be going Boyd’s way. Even Ava (Joelle Carter) is set to get out of jail, Boyd having murdered or scared off enough people to make the case against her fall apart.
But the little creepy guard that tried to rape her (Danny Strong) has some revenge of his own, framing Ava for attacking him and getting her sent off to the state penitentiary. The last we see of Boyd, he’s trying to claw his way into the jail. Boyd can’t have everything, but based on the rest of the episode, we have to think that guard is not long for this world.
Most of the Crowe action is a family affair, except for the barroom confrontation with Boyd, where we find out Boyd’s drink of choice is four fingers of Elmer T. (Did no one tell the writers Maker’s Mark is a major sponsor of this show?)
Maybe the biggest surprise of this episode is that Jean Baptiste (Edi Gathegi) is already out, shot by Daryl’s cousin Danny (A.J. Buckley), who is turning into quite the little bully, pushing 14-year-old Kendal (Jacob Lofland) around. Kendal is back with his family after lawyer and sister Wendy (Alicia Witt) gets him out of social services custody, promising to take him back to Florida, which she doesn’t do. Wendy is smarter than Daryl, who we can easily see meeting his end in the next eight episodes. But somehow, he is snookering Wendy into joining the Kentucky operation.
Meanwhile, back in Lexington, we kick things off in a classic Elmore Leonard setting: a diner scene. Art (Nick Searcy) has shown up to get Picker (John Kapelos). But Marcos shows up and stages a confrontation that, like last week’s face-off between Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Daryl, comes one happy-trigger finger short of being a blood bath. Picker and Raylan have a moment where Raylan basically gets him to give up Marcos’ location, and thereby gets Marcos off his back, in exchange for not telling the Feds Raylan was present at Nicky Augustine’s execution last season. Art and and Raylan go off for a final confrontation with Marcos and end up capturing a dying Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin, who also directed this episode).
The Detroit gang appears to be about done. And Memphis isn’t doing so well itself Cousin Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) having turned the tables on Hot Rod, setting up a Crowder vs. Crowder showdown.
What was the final body count? I kinda lost count.