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Justified “Brother’s Keeper” 

Photo Credit: FX

This was the episode where the slow burn caught flame and everything went to hell in a big, hot hurry. I’m going to segment it by plot threads because there was a bit of a barreling-down-the-mountain aspect as things came together.

Boyd convinces Ava to get gussied up and accompany him to the whoop-de-doo, and she’s very fetching in head-to-toe red, but she’s sidelined for most of the party as Boyd sets about with his actual reason for attending. Seems he’s secured Arlo’s property for himself, not the mine, so he has a bargaining chip at the big boy table, and that buys him a seat during the negotiations between Mags and Carol, which go down in Mags’ living room as Raylan keeps Dickie at bay outside.

Carol gets educated on the real goings on with her company as Mags lays it out for her that the mine needs Mags’s land holdings not for the mine itself, but for the transport on and off the mountain—something Carol didn’t realize but Boyd did, and his holdings, plus Mags’s, have to be brought on board for the mine to go forward. Carol steps out to call her higher ups but sadly we do not get to see her hand the person on the other end of the phone his ass over the deception. Boo! Mags accepts a deal for a percentage stake in the mine and then returns to her party, happy with the bargain she’s driven to secure her family’s future. Boyd heads outside and takes Ava for a happy spin on the dance boards.

Loretta has been outfitted for the party in her own finery, courtesy of Mags, and that includes a Bennett heirloom comb that she places in Loretta’s hair. This draws the ire of Coover, which is important later. Raylan chats with Loretta and drives away another potential pedophile, and since she sounds even keeled to him, he moves along to his protection detail duties. Later on, Loretta goes to help Coover unload some kegs and he’s happy to have her do the lion’s share of the work. He’s also fairly loaded, having snorted oxy or some such before the party, when he also made the dumbass choice to put on Loretta’s daddy’s watch. That glaring plot device implodes when Loretta sees it on his arm and excuses herself for a mild panic attack, where she tears at her clothes aand yanks Mags’s comb from her hair.

She doesn’t call Raylan, though. Instead she shows up at Coover’s after nightfall to entice him with a wet blunt and when he seems to be nodding off, she goes looking for the watch. She finds it and finally places the SOS call to Raylan just as Dickie converges on the scene. Coover scuffles with her in the darkened house and calls her on trying to knock him out. She gets away from them, and Coover and Dickie have it out and Coover runs off after seemingly leaving Dickie for dead. He follows Loretta down the road, trailing her in his truck as she runs ahead of his headlights.

Raylan’s left the meeting at Mags and is driving Carol home as Loretta’s call comes in, unfortunately just as Carol has maybe half-seriously suggested perfectly justifiable post-meeting, pre-flight decompression sex. He leaves her at a gas station and hauls ass back up the mountain after getting Tim to GPS the phone. He stops at the Coover place to find Dickie still breathing and then heads up to the mine where Coover has returned to the scene of Loretta’s daddy’s demise and an unconscious Loretta lies nearby. Raylan struggles with Coover over a gun and then drops him down the mine shaft as Loretta runs away crying. He catches up to her and puts his arms around her as her world collapses.

Mags shows up the next morning, to confirm Coover’s dead, and to see Loretta, which she emphasizes with immediate tears. When Raylan tells her essentially not just no, but hell no, she flips an emotional switch and gets back in the car with Doyle and goes home. So I’m guessing we’re in for all hell and then some breaking loose as the last four episodes unfold. It was a taut hour, expertly shepherded by Tony Goldwyn.

I found it interesting that once again, Ava and Raylan were in the same place but had no discussion—I liked the energy of Timothy Olyphant and Joelle Carter last year so I miss that we never see them talking to each other. What’s up with that? I’m hoping it’s just because they’ve been accommodating of Carter’s role as a new mom (congrats!) but I want them in a scene at least once before the end of the season! With a recent TV Guide jumping the gun and calling Ava and Boyd a live-in couple, perhaps that’s coming down the pike pretty soon, and surely Raylan will have something to say about that.

P.S. We’re getting a third season (FYI for those like me who didn’t see the news yet), and the show was awarded a Peabody!

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