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Justified “The Life Inside” 

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta / FX

Last week’s episode was a pretty straightforward “find the escaped prisoner” tale with the added twist that said prisoner was extremely pregnant and actually in danger. On the drug runner front, Mags takes in Loretta. Raylan goes home to tangle with his dad, dances around whatever he and Winona are doing, and Ava has an unlikely roommate. The hour was pretty quick, directed by John Avnet, who I’m always going to hold dear because of Fried Green Tomatoes.

Let’s break it down in sections.

Mags and Loretta

The Bennett boys lime and dump Loretta’s daddy down a mine shaft, and Coover pockets his watch, so I’m sure he just signed his own death warrant when his mama finds out. The next day, Loretta’s dropped off with Mags, who fumbles over trying to make her feel comfortable while not succeeding so much. Mags apologizes about putting her in harm’s way and asks about the kidnapping. She tells her that she sent her daddy down South on a job as an apology for mistreating him, and that she’s looking forward to their time together since she had no girls of her own. And that’s all we see of them. I’m OK with the slow ramp on this but I do hope Loretta’s savvier than she lets on about being duped.

Boyd and Raylan

Raylan picks up Boyd from work at the mine with a warning that he leave the Miami case in peace, and Boyd tells Raylan he’s happy enough getting paid to blow sh-it up, per his M.O.  There’s an interesting exchange between them where he tells Boyd being underground again is the ony thing that scares him. Raylan leaves him in the bar when he’s called away to his dad’s.

Heading home

Raylan arrives at the homestead to find that Aunt Helen has stationed Arlo in an RV in the yard for his $20K rip during the Bo sting in the season finale. Raylan tells them he can’t be outside the house because that sort of defeats the purpose of home confinement. Arlos says “arrest me,” and Raylan says “OK,” and starts to cuff him and the Helen says screw it and lets him back in the house while they spew vitriol at each other. They stop long enough to tell Raylan to leave Mags alone and there’s some discussion about whether all she’s really running is the weed trade.

The case

Raylan and Tim take the case of escorting Jamie, a very pregnant inmate, to a doctor’s appointment and fairly immediately Raylan realizes they’ve been setup. Two guys with guns cuff them and leave with her. She’s spun the tale that her husband knocked her up on a conjugal but they learn pretty quickly he didn’t, and that she was actually knocked up by a guard, Cosgrove (played by Kai Lennox, who I knew from ABC’s short-lived The Unusuals). The hanging item there is that she believes her husband is coming for the baby, but that seems unlikely given that he would know full well he’s not the daddy.

The two fellows who helped her escape were hired by Cosgrove to deliver the baby, sell it, and kill Jamie. She figures out something’s off kilter, but the good guy captor/former EMT who tries to help her dies at the hand of the other guy. Raylan and Tim go talk to Cosgrove and after his wife blows all of her fuses, he cops to their theory and they swoop in and save Jamie as Tim puts a bullet in the remaining kidnapper. In an unlikely (but not) twist at the end, Cosgrove’s wife turns up on the other side of Raylan’s desk expressing an interest in the baby.

Raylan and Winona

The affair continues and we learn that Gary and Winona are selling their house. .We have a couple of scenes with Winona and Raylan at the hotel—at the beginning of the day when she insults him that he’s complicated and tells him there are times that she never wants to see him again and times she wants to run away with him to Costa Rica. They fall back into bed and then arrive at work and she mock complains that she hates smelling like him all day and he redirects that she chose the victory lap.

The banter is tamped when Gary is standing on the other side of the doors as the elevator opens. He makes overtures to grab a beer with Raylan and bitch about Winona but we learn pretty quickly that’s a ruse, when he shows up outside Raylan’s room after the baby mama debacle and figuratively pisses all over his porch that he’s going to get Winona back.

Raylan doesn’t really respond but has the last laugh when he goes inside and as expected, Gary’s wife is in his bed. She’s napping but heard him talking outside, and he declines to ID the other party. He hesitates about discussing his day but when he does, Winona tells him she can handle that more than the silence of him keeping things to himself. Then he tells her that Gary was on the porch,

In a really lovely moment in the middle of that last scene, he’s talking about the inmate and being pregnant and he quietly settles his hand low on Winona‘s stomach and keeps it there, and there’s an unspoken look between them that passes when they laugh about how neither liked each other’s choice of children’s names when they were married. I took the initial tenderness of that moment to be a nod to a lost pregnancy or the perceived loss that they never had a family, and a little nervousness at the notion that maybe now they still could.

Bo goes home

We don’t see what happened with Bo after Raylan left him in the bar, but he staggers home bloody. He’s rifling in the bathroom when the door opens and Ava (who we haven’t seen since the opening scene in the premiere) comes in, wearing a nightgown and a robe. She shoos him out into the hall and gathers first aid supplies, which she shoves off onto him with an admonition to clean himsef up. She asks him what happened and he can’t remember. She essentially tells him that if he does it again he can find another place to live. I love the idea that they don’t have anyone but each other to fall back on, so here they are, unlikely allies and roommates. They’ve come a along way from her waving a shotgun in fear that he was coming after her to fill his brother’s shoes as a husband.

I love all these seeds of story just two episodes in. I hope they let the Winona and Raylan arc ride a bit because we knew from their exchanges last year before they resumed sleeping together that there was still a lot of love there, and sadness that they hadn’t been able to make it work. Now that they’re together, Raylan’s more at ease, and the angst seems to have shifted onto Winona, who seems to be fighting with herself about what she’s doing. Gary was a screw-up, but (relatively) safe. Raylan’s a screw-up in his own way, too, but he has a gravity and swagger to him that maybe as a grownup she can’t wrap her head around having a future with him, even though I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want the life she had without him anymore, either.

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