I mean this as an absolute highest compliment, but for part of last week’s episode of Justified, It felt like I’d somehow slipped into an episode of Frasier. In a deliciously choreographed outing, Raylan wears himself out trying to get Winona’s stolen money back into lockup, only to find out nobody gives a damn, and then getting caught (sort of) when he puts it back anyway. We’re also treated to return visits from Jere Burns (in a driveby) and Stephen Root (complete with no pants and his wicked innuendo). Plus, Boyd gets outfitted with Penney’s finest!
It’s another Bennett-free hour—with the exception of a passing mention at the end—and it picks up the morning after the last episode ended with Winona waking up in a sweat after remembering that her hundred had a torn corner. Raylan forgoes the shower and shave and hightails into work, where he’s chastised that he’s sans coffee on his assigned day. He’s also a hair too late behind Tim, who’s gathered and scanned the hundred that Winona took into the bank by the time Raylan catches up to him. Raylan drags back to the motel to tell Winona and assuage her fears that she won’t do jail time for one bill, and then she has a minor freakout and produces her gym bag, full of the entire box of hundreds, from underneath the bed. Before Raylan can really launch unto his own WTF, Winona goes off on a genius monologue/stream-of-consciousness mea culpa that amounts to she doesn’t know why the hell she took the money other than because it was there. Raylan calmly accepts her apology (telling her he knows she’s sorry and that’s why he’s not beating her over the head with a phone book), and then he commences a plan to get the money back into lockup.
Said plans involved him bringing Winona’s bag in through a separate entrance where him having a bag of hundreds isn’t all that odd. Before they can do the handoff, she’s shanghaied into Judge Reardon’s chambers for a confab with the attorneys on a wrongful death suit against the mine. Separately, Boyd has just been hired and whisked into a limo as the newest member of the mine’s parent company’s security team, and Carol, the VP who christens him, leers just enough that I completely expected her to be sexing him up before the end of the hour, but they didn’t get there.
Because this is that kind of show, Boyd and Carol (after a stop at Penney’s to put him in a suit) wind up in the courtroom on the case that Winona is transcribing the meeting for Reardon for just as Raylan comes into sweep the room for bombs. Boyd helpfully offers his practical expertise and Raylan declines, but Carol correctly takes the read on the room that the real love story here is Raylan and Boyd. Raylan even compliments him on his new duds!
Separately, the Secret Service lands to investigate the single hundred Tim scanned because they fear it’s a really good replica and when it’s real, they pack up and head home, but Rachel is so efficient that she’s in contact with the Feeb, who tell her the bill is from a 20-year-old robbery and that the cash was supposed to be sent back to the bank, which has since folded in the S&L debacle. They go see Charlie in evidence, who says it’s likely still there (the judge on the case passed away) and they all go to the locker, which is of course empty. So Art tells Rachel to ask the Feeb whether they care, and Raylan is quietly going a mile a minute as all this unfolds.
There’s some yadda yadda on the case that nets a bomb threat wherein the building is evacuated and the money is STILL not locked up. Raylan surmises that the threat was a fakeout to get the judge (who has ditched his pants since ending the day’s proceedings) outside, so he keeps him (and Winona) in and saves the day. Before that happens though, the bomb squad finds the bag on Winona’s desk and is just about to scan it when Raylan finds the sniper’s hideout outside.
He and Winona finally get the bag to the locker and Raylan tells her to put it back anywhere except where she found it. Art comes in, and being Art, he’s pretty quick to realize what’s gone on that day, but he doesn’t say anything, and neither does Raylan. Winona and Art exchange pleasantries and then she and Raylan take a very silent elevator ride upstairs to begin whatever their relationship is going to be now.
Boyd and his new employer head home and he apologizes for trying to get her outside during the bomb threat. She finally lays it out for him that she wants his thuggery to get the upper hand on the Bennetts, who are interfering in the mine’s plans, and for the first time, I think, we see Boyd actually a little scared.
I loved the different tone of this episode. It was paced very snappily, and the near-misses with the bag of money had me squirming. I’ve said it before, but Timothy Olyphant’s laid-back swagger is always so neat to watch because you know Raylan gives a damn, and you know he gets riled, but he just keeps everything at a slow simmer. Even here, where we as viewers knew he was nearing a state of panic about things, the only tell was that he tried to move things along quicker with the dialogue when people would interrupt him in his quest to get the money back in the locker. Natalie Zea was also awesome as she grew increasingly exasperated trying to stick to the plan and getting turned around at every angle..
Loved Root again as Reardon, and that he very plainly asked Winona who she found better than Raylan (when she divorced him) and she can’t really answer. Speaking of her worse half, the Jere Burns quickie appearance involved Gary pitching him investing in the horse. Bad idea, Gary.
We’re back to the Bennett arc tonight. Hold onto something.