This week's episode of Justified felt very interesting to me. It was a bit of a departure from a usual episode as we saw Raylan off-duty and "Marshall-ing" on his own and on his own free time. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that Rachel found her way into the mess, it would have been Raylan all out on his own. I liked this more than I expected because we took a break from the "what's In the bag" search for Drew Thompson. I know that storyline is likely going to very much tie into the history of Harlan, but it just hasn't piqued my interest yet. For that reason, I was okay with a more procedural departure episode and was happy it was with characters that have been established and we are invested in rather than randoms. That always feels like when the series really shines.
I thought this episode was great because it really seemed to expose the vulnerability of Raylan's character and the fact that deep down, he just wants to be loved. He was truly broken up that Lindsey was able to betray him and might not have actually had any feelings for him was almost too much for him to handle. Luckily, she showed in the end that she wasn't scamming him completely and did have some feelings for Raylan. I think his sly little smile and comment when he realized that was one of my favorite moments in the episode. I could take or leave Randall, and am mildly happy to have him out of the picture, but he and Raylan fighting did provide for some comic relief. It is quite amusing that for as much of a badass as Raylan is with a gun…he really gets his ass kicked when it comes to physical fights.
I also must note that while I have liked this season so far, I am really feeling the absence of Winona. Their back and forth dynamic is one of the best "true loves that just can't get their shit together enough to be together " second only to Hank and Karen on Californication. I know they can't be find happily ever after for a long period of time because that just gets boring but I don’t like the fact that she is just off with his baby somewhere and nowhere to be found. I can only hope it means she will show up again at some point, but with her series regular role on The Following, any extended stint is very unlikely, until that show is cancelled.
The surprising storyline of the episode revolved around Ellen May. She began as such a superfluous character, but now has become a major part of the plot. Mostly, she exemplifies the evolution of Ava and I am always surprised that she has actually become so evil. Ava always felt like the innocent sweet girl that has been put in bad situations and murdered out of need and would only hurt people that were truly bad. Now, even if it was at Boyd's urging, for the first time she has was calling for the demise of a completely innocent woman. This is, of course, to save herself from prosecution and getting in trouble, but she still has lost some part of her conscious. That isn't wholly surprising being that Boyd is likely rubbing off on her, but I still get caught off guard that her character has developed in this way.
I also was amazed that Ellen May was actually able to pick up on the fact that Colt got the order to "pop her". She is portrayed as so ignorant and stupid, that I am even a little bit confused at what tipped her off. Perhaps everyone has underestimated Ellen May and she is much more together than Boyd, Ava or really anyone would have expected. With the death of Preacher Billy, Boyd's foil for the season has died, so I wonder if Ellen May's disappearance is going to lead to much bigger things and it feels like the first really big cliffhanger of the season and I'm all for that.
The fifth episode will air next week and that is the episode in which the theme of the season really begins to develop and when the "bad guys" come out. I'm ready and waiting. Bring. It. On.
Also, Raylan still needs a haircut.