Things got really messy — literally, in some cases — on Justified this week.
It started with the shooting of Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) as he was taking Alison (Amy Smart) into protection, Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) being concerned the Crowes may come after her for her in retaliation for the death of Danny Crowe, by an accidental self-inflicted wound, in a confrontation with Raylan.
And those fears were well founded as Art was shot leaving with Amy and spent the episode in critical condition. Though we knew the moment was coming, thanks to previews, it was still shocking and emotional to watch Justified’s rock go down. And Raylan feels the brunt of it, particularly when Art’s wife (Leslie Riley) asks him why he wasn’t there, where he was supposed to be.
Raylan can’t escape the fact that the situation has been something of his creating, and he has a hard time making it right as Detroit chief Ed Kirkland (Shashawnee Hall) arrives and puts Raylan on a short leash. There’s a bit of a diversion as Detroit mobster Theo Tonin (unseen) says he ordered the hit and points to Picker (John Kapelos) as the shooter. This leads to the line of the night.
Picker, along with Wyn (Jere Burns) and Katherine (Mary Steenburgen) are assembled at their hotel room to get an answer from Boyd (Walton Goggins) as to what happened to the Mexican heroin shipment and how he intends to make things right. As their conversation is about to turn serious, Boyd asks if he can smoke. Wyn informs him they are in a no-smoking suite, and just as Boyd is twirling his cigarette between his fingers, a team of marshals storms in. “I see this hotel takes that no smoking policy seriously,” Boyd says, laying on the ground with a marshal’s gun at his head.
Boyd has gotten very serious about his endeavors too.
In his first scene, where prostitute Teri (Cathy Baron) proposes doing something for him to make up for the fact that the interrogation of Albert, which she lured Albert into, did not yield the desired results, Boyd politely declines but declares he is going to make some changes and takes up smoking.
Now the little field trip to Lexington for the criminal crowd is merely a diversion. The marshals figure out Picker didn’t shoot Art, but the exercise leads to another moment of character establishment for Steenburgen’s Katherine. Before being released, she has a brief meeting with ever-present attorney David Vasquez (Rick Gomez), where we learn that her criminal heyday as the wife of mobster Grady Hale was too far in the past for most marshals in the Lexington office to remember. But he does. David believes she is worse than her husband, and he kind of wishes she was dead.
Steenburgen is subtly establishing a delicious profile for Katherine, simultaneously more sweet and refined and nastier than Margo Martindale’s Mags Bennett in Season 2. It’s too early to tell if her role will be on Mags’ scale, but it is getting interesting.
When they regroup in the hotel room, Picker has had it with Boyd and advocates putting his head on a stick and delivering it to the Mexicans. As Wyn and Katherine confer, Boyd offers Picker a cigarette, clicks the box and tosses it to him. No sooner does Picker say, “These things will kill you,” then the box blows up in Justified’s second gruesome death in as many weeks.
It’s a big declaration that Boyd is back to his old ways.
But that isn’t the most shocking thing that happened in The Toll.
As police are preparing to take a statement from Kendal and his mother, Daryl Crowe Jr.’s (Michael Rapaport) sister, Wendy (Alicia Witt), Kendal begins a confession to the crime. It could not be more robotic and pre-planned if his name was Hal 9000, and everyone is aware he is taking the fall for Daryl. But the confession is enough to spring Daryl, who is eager to leave the marshal’s office leaving his nephew behind to pay for his crime.
Raylan intercepts Daryl at the elevator, promising to take everything Daryl has, and Daryl continues to act like he’s some tough guy, lounging in the catbird seat.
As the elevator closes, we have snarling Daryl: an inept drug dealer who beats his sister, makes his nephew take the fall for him and then says the kid needs toughening up (I’m using his nice phrasing there), mocks the good man he just shot while claiming to be mourning his bully brother he probably would have shot anyway if Danny hadn’t died from his own stupidity. Let’s also point out, despite all his tough talk, Daryl came into the marshals’ office to surrender because he was afraid of meeting Raylan out in the open. Who’s a … well … family publication.
At the end of season two, we were sorry to see Mags Bennett go. Daryl will receive no such pity.
This season of Justified finally got what it needed: a bad guy we can really hate for the last two episodes.