Even moreso than usual this season, Tuesday’s (March 18) “Justified” heightened the contrast between the two halves of its story. A bleakly comic story involving Raylan’s search for Dewey Crowe and his heroin stash (the “Weight” of the title) stood mostly apart from the ever-darkening Ava-Boyd thread.
Since the two pieces stood mostly apart from each other, let’s deal with them separately.
Dewey, Raylan and the dope
Frankly, Dewey should know better by now that he’s not quite cut out for this kind of thing, but you have to give him credit for persistence in the face of repeated failure. He’s the Sue Heck of criminals. After semi-pulling off his getaway from Danny and DEA Agent Miller in last week’s episode, he calls Daryl and tries to arrange a deal, then calls on his old friend Dickie Bennett for some jailhouse advice. Raylan pretty easily susses out what’s going on, tries to get Dewey to take an easier path out and then pays Dickie a visit of his own.
The scene between Raylan and Dickie is a great one, with Timothy Olyphant and Jeremy Davies clearly relishing their characters talking copious amounts of smack. Dickie, though, is ultimately not much cagier than Dewey, and Raylan correctly concludes Dewey will just end up giving the dope back to Boyd’s network.
Danny Crowe, distraught over the death of his beloved attack dog Chelsea, makes the pickup and then encounters Boyd outside while he’s bent over the body. The sudden revelation of a human side to Danny as he relates how he found and raised Chelsea probably tipped off savvy viewers that he wasn’t long for this world. His death — falling in the unseen hole dug for his dog, stabbing himself in the process — is as darkly funny in that Elmore Leonard way as anything “Justified” has ever put on screen.
His death also prompts another Art-Raylan scene, with Art apparently having moved from anger to resignation as he arranges protection for Allison and waves Raylan away once again.
Ava, Boyd and the dark clouds
The other great scene in “Weight” also takes place inside prison walls, as Ava tries to untether herself from Boyd, having been through hell in the past few weeks. Their relationship has directly or indirectly led to most of their ordeal, and while Ava is clearly still in love with Boyd she knows she can’t rely on him to protect her in her current world. Their phone conversation is brilliantly staged, with anguish playing over both of their faces and a great use of sound design to register their unamplified words through the glass.
Wynn and Picker, meanwhile, are growing (understandably) more frustrated with Boyd’s operation, so much so that Wynn calls in an old friend/business associate (Mary Steenburgen, making the first of several appearances) to assess the situation. There’s no telling from her brief screen time how she’ll figure into the story, but Steenburgen and Jere Burns make excellent scene partners.
Ava later tries one more negotiation with Judith to get out from under Nurse Rowena’s thumb, but Judith is not in a negotiating mood. Ava ends up stabbing her repeatedly in the gut, in about the same place jail guard Albert stabbed himself, the thing that got her transferred to state prison in the first place.
And Albert, the sap, did it for … love? So distraught was he, apparently, when Ava rebuffed his attempted sexual assault earlier in the season, that he had to get her sent away lest his unrequited love overpower him, or something. Boyd is skeptical, but Albert is so pathetic that he can’t really do anything but let him go.
Crowe family meeting
Following Danny’s death, Wendy tries to convince Daryl that it’s time to cut ties and get out. They have no heroin and no leverage with Boyd, and even if Danny hadn’t died trying to prove the 21-foot rule, it’s hard to see him staying with the family after Kendal reveals Danny killed Jean-Baptiste.
Daryl’s twisted notion of “family,” however, leads to one of the nastier fights we’ve seen on the show as he and Wendy go from insults to blows, and he leaves her bruised and crying on the floor. It’s brutal and scary, made all the moreso by Daryl then insisting on a “blood bond” with Kendal. Daryl’s desperation to prove himself as the leader of this family is leading to some very dark places, it appears, even if it’s still not entirely clear where they are.
What did you think of “Justified” this week?