In the latest Justified recap, Boyd finally makes his play on Markham’s money but not before teaming up with another Harlan local to make sure the town doesn’t land in his hands…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The central theme of any given season of ‘Justified’ as really boiled down to two specific storylines — Raylan Givens trying to get his man and Boyd Crowder trying to get away with everything else.
These two old coal mining buddies have been at odds throughout most of the show although the times they set differences aside and fight for the same team have been some of the best episodes of the entire series. Still, the end game was always going to be about Raylan and Boyd but what ‘Justified’ has managed to do during the final season is build towards that ultimate showdown while slowly and surely introducing a litany of side stories to keep things interesting in the mean time.
It’s funny how Raylan has always been the kid from Harlan who was forced to come back while Boyd was the boy from Harlan who never had a reason to leave, and it was clear this week how the people of Kentucky always seem to side with the devil they know rather than the one swooping back into town with a shiny badge and promises to clean up the bad element.
Some towns have just learned to trust the criminals more than the cops and whatever Boyd Crowder and his family have been in the past few decades, they never abandoned Harlan in a time of need. The same can’t be said for Raylan Givens and it’s part of the reason why every time he goes after Boyd in Harlan, there’s always some obstacle or another in his way.
This week a brand new roadblock got put in Raylan’s path and it’s somebody he’s come to care for quite a bit since season two, but it’s further proof that getting rid of Boyd Crowder and his influence in Harlan isn’t going to be as easy as slapping a pair of handcuffs on him and leading him to jail.
With that, let’s recap this week’s episode of ‘Justified’ titled ‘Burned’
I Smell A Rat
For as smart as Avery Markham has been made out to be, he doesn’t seem to be the most discerning employer because he definitely didn’t hire the right people to help him capture the hearts and minds (and a lot of land) in Harlan County. His military hit squad might be able to hold off insurgents and disarm bombs, but they were never what you would called skilled in the social arts and this week the final piece of that messy puzzle said goodbye.
Remember Seabass? The ginger hitman who got $40,000 to leave his former commanding officer twisting in the wind after he got caught up in a shootout with the cops. Well, it seems the money Markham paid him wasn’t enough so Seabass decided to come back for more this week while bidding Harlan a fine farewell. Unfortunately, Seabass underestimated Markham’s new fiancée Katherine Hale, who pulled the old ‘gun in a purse’ routine and shot him dead. Katherine’s ruthless execution of Seabass wasn’t as much about wrapping up that final storyline as it was showing just how violent and unbreakable this woman really is in the face of danger. She may be posing as a housewife, but deep down Katherine Hale is a stone cold killer.
That’s a fact Wynn Duffy might be smart to remember after the big revelation this week where we find out that he was the confidential informant who worked with Simon Poole once upon a time to bring down Grady Hale. Art and Raylan are finally able to put the screws to him after the files Poole had on Duffy were unsealed and now they know that the source of all of Katherine Hale’s woes didn’t come from the man she promise to marry while secretly planning to stab him in the back. It was the guy she’s been plotting with ever since she got back to Kentucky in the first place.
Art and Raylan want to use Wynn to get to Boyd because everybody at the Lexington Marshals office is convinced that Ava is about to be a useless entity now that she’s been burned. The plan is to get Wynn to feed Boyd some misinformation about Markham’s money and how he’s planning on moving it as soon as possible to finally get Harlan’s most wanted to act on his intentions to rob the vault. The quicker Boyd tries to rob Markham, the quicker the Marshals can arrest him and the faster Raylan can get the hell out of Dodge.
The plan set in motion is also there to find out if Ava really has switched sides or if she’s still working with law enforcement. So Raylan sends Duffy to Boyd’s bar where he informs his ‘partner’ about Markham moving the money and how he needs to take the vault tonight or say goodbye to $10 million. He says all of this with Ava sitting three feet away so Raylan has all of the pieces set up on the playing board and with just a few more moves it’s going to be checkmate.
Or so he thinks.
Trade a Snake for a Coyote
Welcome back to the show Loretta McCready, who we last saw turning down Avery Markham when he tried to buy her land earlier this season. When she returns home this episode she finds a headless rattlesnake waiting in her living room floor and moments after setting her eyes on this a man with a gun on his holster like something out of the Westerns pops in the back door without announcement. His name is Boone (played by the wonderful Jonathan Tucker) and he’s there just to make sure Loretta is okay after such a frightful sight as finding a snake with its head shot off.
Boone does everything in his power to creep Loretta out beyond belief. He even manages to throw in the prerequisite comments about just how pretty she is before he finally sees himself out. He does promise to see her again, which prompts Loretta to find someone in Harlan much scarier than this wild-eyed loon with a six-shooter on his side.
Meanwhile, Boyd prepares for tonight’s heist by getting Zachariah on board with the explosives necessary to blow the rock underneath the vault as quickly as possible. With Markham “moving his money”, Boyd needs this done immediately but Zachariah has other plans.
Back at the bar, Boyd’s going over the final plan with Ava and Earl about what’s going down tonight to steal Markham’s money at the Pizza Portal. It seems Harlan’s newest businessman is throwing a little shindig for all the local luminaries to tell them his intentions to buy up land around down while making marijuana legal in the state of Kentucky. He also plans on introducing Katherine as his fiancée to further grease the wheels of any local politicians who intend on standing in his way.
Before Boyd can get into the full breadth of his plan, Loretta McCready shows up looking for an audience with Harlan’s original bad boy. It seems a dead snake with its head shot off and an impromptu meeting with Boone the creep have spooked Loretta enough to finally bring on some extra muscle to protect her claim to the new cash crop in town. Seeing that Loretta is the perfect spoil to get Markham out of town in the long run, Boyd agrees to get all the land owners in town that promised only to sell to him to sell to her instead at a reasonable cost with no money going to him at all.
Boyd: “You keep Harlan for Harlan.”
Loretta: “Why would you do that?”
Boyd: “Cause I’m a bad man, Loretta. But Avery Markham is a real bad man.”
Boyd agrees to help Loretta with her Avery Markham problem and it seems like two of Harlan’s oldest families are teaming up for one very special cause.
A New Town Leader
With everybody who’s important in Harlan in attendance, Markham stands in front of the town as his Pizza Portal party and lays out his plans to help make this town flush with cash as he buys up land to begin his legal weed business. Markham makes the first mistake in his speech when he singles out Boyd Crowder as the reason why local land owners are too scared to sell to him. Seconds later, Loretta McCready’s voice rings out as well when she makes the people in Harlan aware that while Boyd might be making threats, Markham is the one carrying them out and the land owners he took aim at who didn’t sell are now dead and buried. Loretta is proving that all that time she spent learning from Mags Bennett is paying off.
Loretta promises to do the same thing Markham has planned, except she doesn’t want to cut out the people of Harlan — she wants to make them her partners along with one very special new partner who will ensure her safety as she embarks on this new adventure.
Loretta: “The difference is I’ve been here for generations. You all knew my daddy. You all know me. You know that I’m Harlan through and through and so is my partner.”
Markham: “And who might that be?”
Loretta: “The only other soul I know who cares about this place as much as I do — Boyd Crowder.”
Markham’s grey hair gets even greyer hearing that she’s teaming up with Boyd. Raylan isn’t much happier, especially after finding out that Markham’s latest goon is the snake killing psycho who threatened Loretta earlier in the day. Add it all together and a volatile situation is turning into a real powder keg with Harlan’s future at stake.
Here Comes the Boom
Following Loretta’s speech, Boyd decides now is the time to put his plan into motion so he high tails it out of the restaurant to meet up with Zachariah and the boys who are setting the final explosives underneath the restaurant. It seems he’s figured out that Raylan was the one behind Wynn Duffy’s sudden burst of information about the timing of this job so he’s using Ava on the inside to tell Raylan the robbery is happening next week so he’s not suspicious and while he’s drinking (free) expensive whiskey upstairs, his greatest nemesis will be robbing Markham’s vault just 100 feet away and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Except when Raylan approaches Ava and starts talking about how good she looks tonight and complimenting her up a storm, she realizes that the U.S. Marshal is already well aware of what’s going on. He knows she’s been playing both sides of the fence by feeding Raylan information that was given to her directly by Boyd. She confesses what happened in Bulletville and how she had to come clean or risk Boyd killing her. Ava also proceeds to tell Raylan that the robbery is going down tonight even though she was supposed to throw him off by saying it’s next week.
Raylan gets everyone in position and then tells Markham to come with him to the vault because he’s about to get robbed.
Down in the mine, Boyd gets Zachariah to ready the charges and with a giant fuse about to get lit, he’s ready to blow the safe and watch the money literally fall down upon their heads. Unfortunately, Boyd chose the wrong partner because while his back is turn, Zachariah thumps him with a metal rod and then ties his leg to a chain while screaming how he needs to get this latest Crowder away from his niece before he does the same thing his brother did all those years ago. When Boyd comes to, the fuse is burning and he can’t reach it and his leg is chained to a wall. In a matter of seconds an explosion will rain down rock and rubble that will land directly on his head. Boyd’s panic as he tries to signal for help harkens back the fright he once had of dying underground during his days mining coal in Harlan. He finally escaped those dark, dank tunnels but now after everything he’s done here he is back in the thick of things about to get buried in a cave in and he knows just how dire this situation has become.
Thankfully, Boyd’s screams alert Carl who was about to leave the mine with Wynn Duffy before the explosion happened. He runs back in and has enough time to give Boyd a pick axe so he can cut himself loose and escape just before the explosion happens. Outside the mine, as Wynn and the other escape, Tim has eyes on them all as he has the place staked out but right away he notices Boyd isn’t among the people leaving the mine and things are about to go from bad to worse.
Inside the Pizza Portal, Raylan and Markham sit by the vault and even after the latest explosion, they both realize that the one thing they didn’t account for was the fact that Boyd — in all his exquisite planning — still wasn’t able to blast through from the basement and actually get into the vault. The dynamite blew up the rock bed beneath the vault, but the vault itself was as stable and rock solid as ever and Markham’s money was still very safe.
In other words, Raylan’s entire plan just went to shit.
The New Deal
Boyd finds a way to escape the mine and he immediately heads back to the bar where he throws everybody out except his fiancée as he finally goes one on one with Ava about what just happened down in the mine. The problem is Boyd isn’t accusing Ava of putting Raylan on his plan, but instead he believes she knew that Zachariah was going to try and kill him. Ava fains innocence and while there’s plenty she’s guilty for in this scenario, telling her uncle to kill Boyd isn’t one of them. She convinces him that Zachariah was just a crazy, unstable old man just like she warned him when he hired him in the first place.
Boyd’s rage subsides but now he’s more determined than ever to get at Markham’s money. He knows the Colorado millionaire is going to have to move his cash now that this latest attempt failed so Boyd decides that he’ll hit Markham the very next day as he attempts to transport his cash out of the Pizza Portal to a new location entirely. Boyd is going to get that money or he’s going to die trying.
As for Raylan, his plan fell apart and he’s still no closer to catching Boyd in the act. Rachel’s had just about enough of his excuses especially considering everything he had to do to get Boyd to move on the vault as quickly as he did. In the end, they are still no closer to actually putting Boyd in jail and now there’s a rocky political climate to deal with as well as the people of Harlan are all getting behind him and his new partner Loretta McCready. It’s hard enough to catch a criminal in the act — it’s even harder when he’s got an entire town willing to protect him.
Raylan — as always — promises that he’s not very far from busting Boyd and putting him in jail for good and Markham’s money is still the key to that entire plan.
“Boyd ain’t going to stop. He’s just going to go at that money harder and stupider.”
Raylan knows his mark very well because that’s exactly what Boyd is planning to do. Raylan also knows that he can miss a few times and still hit his bullseye in the long run because he only has to catch Boyd in the act once time and he goes to prison for life or at worse, he catches a bullet for his troubles. Boyd got lucky today that his grand plan didn’t work or he’d either be buried in a pile of rubble or locked away behind bars. Chances are Boyd doesn’t have the option of missing again and that means his aim better get really good or he’s never leaving Harlan alive.
Best Lines of the Week:
This is what happens when you break in on Wynn in a tanning bed
“Oh holy shit — that’s pretty high on the list of things I wish I’d never seen”
Wynn talks some trash to the Marshals
Duffy: “What if I ask you to lick my balls?”
Raylan: “In that case, we’re probably going to leave”
Mikey isn’t dealing well with the fact that his employer is now a rat
“It’s like catching daddy cheating with the woman next door, huh?”
~ Tim to Mikey
Sarcasm is awesome
“Hey Boyd, Wynn Duffy again — I know, super weird — I was just wondering could you give me an exact time for the robbery? Also wondering if you could tell me what weapons you’ll be using and who else is participating?”
~ Wynn Duffy
Rachel isn’t a Bengals fan apparently
Raylan: “Now hey, I’m not saying we’re in the end zone doing the Ickey shuffle but we are definitely in the red zone.”
Rachel: “What the hell is the Ickey shuffle?”
Tune into Justified next Tuesday night at 10pm ET and with only four episodes to go, the stakes are higher than ever before.