Everybody is getting a little frustrated as Season 5 of Justified winds down. Things aren’t going too well for any of our criminals — Boyd (Walton Goggins), Ava (Joelle Carter) and Daryl (Michael Rapaport) — and lead lawman Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) isn’t having much fun either.
That’s the sense you get when Raylan pays a visit to Daryl and Wendy (Alicia Witt) and hauls off and beats Daryl with his “pleather” attache case rather than take any lip from him. It sets the tone for the episode, Weight, which ratchets up the action for this season, but puts the guns down in favor of hand-to-hand combat.
As the show opens, everyone is on edge because Dewey (Damon Herriman) has run off with an AMC Pacer full of heroin, a large chunk of the shipment Boyd and company spent the last several episodes getting out of Mexico. Dewey thinks he has a hot hand to play, but it soon becomes clear that, well, he’s Dewey. When we get to the scene where he visits his “last friend” and it’s Justified’s other village idiot, Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies), we know he’s pretty much done.
That is one of two major guest stars on this episode, and the negotiation between Dickie and Raylan for information about Dewey’s whereabouts, including Dickie drawing Raylan a very colorful “map” is priceless.
The other guest star is Oscar-winner Mery Steenburgen as Katherine, an old associate of Wynn’s (Jere Burns) who is supposed to help him work out his associations with Boyd, which seem to have gone terribly wrong, and Picker (John Kapelos), who is really frustrated with Wynn’s continuing affinity for Boyd. Steenburgen’s career is filled with sweet characters, but we get the impression the moment she suggests sinking an icepick into Wynn’s neck and softly demanding $50,000 for her services that Katherine is about as sweet as Mags Bennett.
But far from talk, there is quite a bit of action in this episode.
As we start, Ava is faced with the prospect of having to kill her protector Judith (Dale Dickey) to open up the heroin flow in prison. That leads her to break things off with Boyd, who appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough in trying to get her out. But she knows she may very well be up on prison murder charges soon, so she waves him off. Later, Boyd gives up on a half-hearted attempt to get Harlan jail guard Albert (Danny Strong) to confess he framed Ava.
Intellectually, it appears Ava and Boyd may have given up on each other. But in the context of the series, that seems doubtful.
Ava tries to take the high road with Judith, saying she doesn’t like Rowena’s (Deidrie Henry) rule-changing ways. But Judith goes ahead and attacks her in a chair-wielding fight that Ava walks away from. Will she be able to conceal her involvement, and what’s the next bad thing to happen for Ava?
The most brutal scene is what happens to Danny (A.J. Buckley), who had the worst episode of anyone. It starts when his beloved dog Chelsea gets hit by a car while Kendal (Jacob Lofland) has him out for a walk, prompting Kendal to flee back to his social worker Alison (Amy Smart). Danny is also feeling the wrath of Daryl over the botched heroin shipment. Then, when Kendal returns and reveals Chelsea was killed on his watch, in the ensuing confrontation, Kendal reveals that Danny killed Jean Baptiste. This, notably, did not spark as much anger from Daryl as we thought it would.
Danny finally gets the heroin back from Dewey, and returning to the brothel, he is confronted by Raylan. Following a moving monologue about how he rescued Chelsea from a puppy mill and raised him, Danny charges Raylan with his knife. But in the dark, he doesn’t see the grave dug for Chelsea and flips in head first, fatally stabbing himself. Like we said, confronting Raylan would not go well for Danny, but we didn’t quite see that coming. It’s another comically brutal Elmore Leonard-esque scene.
All this has been a bit much for surviving siblings Daryl and Wendy, who have as startling a brother-sister fight as you will ever see. After laying out Wendy, Daryl forces Kendal to take a blood oath to the Crowes.
Back in Lexington, Art (Nick Searcy) is exasperated with all the problems Raylan creates, but grudgingly says he will take care of it. That, according to the previews, seems to set up next week’s drama: Art being shot while trying to protect Alison, who Raylan feared would become a target of the Crowes.
It also appears there will be several suspects.
Weight was one of the more lively and satisfying episodes of the season, though it is still hard to see what exactly we are headed for, with three episodes left this season. Daryl is fairly well neutralized as crime boss, so the only question for him is whether he will get out of Harlan alive. Raylan frankly doesn’t have a lot invested in the current proceedings, though the attack on Art will likely change that.
Probably the biggest need is for Boyd to get his mojo back to set up the sixth and final season.