Raylan Givens always gets his man but to what lengths is he willing to go to finally put Daryl Crowe Jr. behind bars?
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Raylan Givens always gets his man.
It’s both a gift and a curse that the U.S. Marshal at the center of ‘Justified’ is so conflicted with a desire to always finish what he started, he’s willing to do just about anything to get there. Bending the law to his advantage is commonplace for Raylan, while intimidation is another tactic that might be frowned upon in some law enforcement circles but not really an oddity in the right situations. Raylan’s ability to find a solution sometimes costs lives, and even in the case of Nicky Augustine required him to go completely outside of his own set of laws to make sure his family remained safe and sound. So the conclusion of Tuesday night’s penultimate episode for season five of ‘Justified’ shouldn’t really shock anyone, but at the same time the fact that Raylan was willing to go the lengths that he did to damn a teenage boy to a life behind bars just so he could gain the upper hand on his no good, scum of an uncle should send shivers down your spine.
There’s plenty to get to with the end of the episode titled ‘Starvation’ but let’s start at the beginning.
Wynn Duffy has a plan. Boyd Crowder has a plan. Daryl Crowe Jr. has a plan. And Raylan Givens certainly has a plan as well. But you know what they say about best-laid plans of mice and men — they often go awry.
The Mexicans are in Kentucky looking for retribution for the bodies that suddenly popped up south of the border, and that’s got Mr. Yoon in a vendetta kind of mood. They have arrived looking to return home with the flayed skin of Boyd Crowder like something out of a Game of Thrones episode, and the best way Wynn can save his own backside is to tell them that he already finished off Kentucky’s finest criminal mastermind. With the Mexicans content at least for the time being, Wynn calls on Boyd to warn him what’s going on while they begin to plot a way out of this situation.
At the same time this is all happening, Daryl Crowe Jr. is paying a visit to Wynn’s old hotel room, which currently smells like crispy fried Picker where Mikey is doing his best Jules and Vincent impression to clean up some fucked up repugnant shit. Daryl’s visit isn’t very welcome, but after Wynn’s henchman tries some ‘kung-fu shit’ (it was actually an armbar from jiu-jitsu but that’s neither here nor there), that doesn’t work, he’s beaten into submission and forced to tell him that Boyd’s guys Carl and Jimmy are the ones with knowledge of where the heroin is hidden.
A strategy starts to formulate in Boyd’s head, however, after he receives a visit from Raylan informing him that he’s going to rattle as many cages as needed until he finally shakes Daryl loose from whatever rock he’s hiding under currently so they can put him away for Art’s shooting instead of Kendal taking the fall, it all starts to come together. Since Raylan wants Daryl and Daryl wants the heroin while at the same time the Mexicans also want their product back, what better way to eliminate at least one if not both of your potential enemies with one fell swoop. So Boyd plots to give up the heroin (Wynn’s half I assume) and lead the cops right to Daryl’s front doorstep when he picks it up and hopefully a Mexican hit squad arrives and it’s Reservoir Dogs by the time the day is over (sorry for my second Tarantino reference already).
Raylan pays Ava a visit in prison for the first time since she went inside with an offer — convince Boyd to give up Daryl Crowe Jr. and he will do his best to get her some more privileges and maybe an upgrade in her prison accommodations. Ava doesn’t want anything but out of there, but Raylan can’t promise that so she’s got nothing else to say.
With Judith gone, Ava’s finally got some backup in prison and even when the Neo Nazi femme squad come gunning for her, the women in her nest protect the mama bird. The situation is only going to go from bad to worse because if the gangs can’t get to Ava, they’ll go to the next weakest link and that’s Penny. She goes to the bathroom all by her lonesome, and never walks out again. To make matters worse, the Nazi girl who did the shanking gets picked up by security, which leads everyone to believe Ava ratted, and that’s the worst thing you can do in a place like this. A rat is a pest all prisoners can agree needs to go.
So Ava, in one final plea to get out of jail, calls Raylan back to the prison and begs him to get her out of there. She’ll cooperate and get Boyd to do whatever he wants. It’s then that Raylan has to break the bad news — Boyd is already cooperating and when asked what he wanted in exchange for his participation he only requested a clean slate and for the law to look the other way in regards to his own personal criminal enterprise. Ava’s heart sunk even lower than it was five minutes earlier, and now it’s like a time is ticking away the minutes until she meets her demise.
Say what you will about the comedy of errors that continues to swirl around the creation of the Crowe family in season five of Justified, the one common thread that never seems to break is the fact that Daryl Crowe Jr. knows how to keep his neck from ever reaching the noose of law enforcement. Whether he’s handing off duties to his brother Danny, giving Dewey a gun and telling him to finish a lying, cheating employee or making his brother/nephew take the fall for shooting a cop, Daryl’s ability to earn money remains poor, but he knows how to stay out of trouble with his name attached to the end of an arrest warrant.
So on his hunt to get Boyd’s heroin, Daryl is smart enough to know he should be nowhere near the hideout where the drugs are hidden. He convinces his less than intelligent sister Wendy to do his dirty work instead with the promise that the money they make will help hire a superstar attorney to help free Kendal from the confines of juvenile prison. Of course the dimwitted sister complies, and sure enough the sting to nail Daryl once again fails so the Marshals have to take Wendy into custody instead.
Now it’s up to Boyd, while wearing a wire mind you, to get Daryl on tape talking about shooting Art and in exchange he will get the clean slate he’s always wanted.
The Crowes, if not anything else, are very much like their namesake. The bird that carries the same title (with no ‘e’ at the end) is often seen as a nuisance and a troublesome flock. So are these Florida imports along with one numskull cousin from Kentucky, who blows back into his hooker’s paradise looking for an alligator necklace, a turtle dog, and once he spots Boyd walking into Daryl’s web, a bag full of heroin.
Just as silver tongued Boyd is ready to whip Daryl into a talking frenzy where the conversation would surely lead to the shooting of a certain U.S. Marshal, Dewey Crowe in all his wonder, busts in with guns pointed at both men, proclaiming that he’s taking the heroin for himself and if anyone messes with him, he’ll leave them laying on the ground with two bullets in them just like what happened with Wade Messer. Did I mention Boyd is wearing a wire?
Well, the Marshals have no choice but to bust Dewey for the heroin and Wade’s murder, and while he says he was ‘just kidding’ about all that, he’s about to go back to prison. My only hope in all of this is that he’s shacked up in a cell next to Dickie Bennett and this is the new spinoff show following ‘Justified’ ending next year. In the midst of this grand display of stupidity, Daryl is still a free man, Boyd’s deal is out the window and Raylan is no closer to finding satisfaction for Art’s shooting.
40-Years to Life
Raylan’s back is against the wall and he’s only got one card left to play to ensure he either gets Daryl Crowe Jr. to admit what he’s done, or he forces the family patriarch to do something stupid enough that he’ll get busted another way. So Raylan and Vazquez go pay a visit to an old friend — namely Judge Mike Reardon aka The Hammer. Now this guy has to be one of my favorite guests to ever appear on ‘Justified’ and with only 14 episodes to go until series is finished, I’m very happy to see him back, but under these circumstances, it’s about to be a bit of nasty business.
Judge Reardon reminds both men how he earned his nickname ‘The Hammer’ and despite the powerful reaction he gets from prosecutors and defense attorneys alike whenever he’s overseeing a case, it’s not a weapon he wields without careful cause. If the hammer is going to fall for what Raylan is asking, it’s probably going to hit more than just the one person it’s aimed at, and chances are the collateral damage will spiral like shrapnel exploding from a land mine.
A few moments later the gravitas of what Raylan is planning unfolds — to put the pressure on Daryl and Wendy, the judge has signed off on trying Kendal Crowe as an adult for the shooting and attempted murder of Art Mullen along with a penalty that might as well be a death sentence for a boy who never really got a chance to live.
USADA Vazquez: “Kendall will be tried for an attempted murder of a Federal officer as an adult, which carries a mandatory sentence of 40 years to life.”
Wendy: “Who did this?”
Raylan: “I did”
Raylan’s resolve is frightening because when he was speaking to Reardon it appeared as if there was some sense of regret or remorse in his voice, but when a petrified Wendy stands up in horror at the prospect of her son spending the rest of his life in prison, his gaze is steely and as cold as ice. Only when he locks eyes with a very angry and vengeful Daryl Crowe Jr. does Raylan finally show some kind of emotion and it’s the mirror image of the man staring back at him.
Daryl and Wendy have their ultimatum, and one way or another, Raylan will see justice done. That just leaves Boyd, who is still hanging around the office waiting to retrieve his phone and the reward for leading them to the heroin and handing over the Crowe family on a silver platter. Raylan disagrees with his assessment of this situation, and instead offers to pull out his full file and start digging deeper and deeper into the back log of drug deals gone wrong, bodies that are missing, and the bones of those buried in the wake of Boyd’s path of destruction through Harlan county.
Boyd gives Raylan a reminder as well that he’s not the only one with a few skeletons in his closet.
“What about the file on Raylan Givens? It must be just as thick. And I know there’s a page in there waiting to be filled out with the details of the role you played in the demise of Nicky Augustine.” ~ Boyd
Raylan’s look of confidence is shattered and despite Tim and Rachel both sticking up for him and reminding Boyd that a FBI turncoat was convicted of setting up Nicky Augustine’s execution, the truth has now found the air and all it takes is one good snap of oxygen and a spark becomes flame and a flame becomes fire.
On his way out of the station, Boyd sends a warning flare to his boy Jimmy to hide the rest of the heroin and batten down the hatches because there’s a storm brewing, and by the look of things a few houses are going to be uprooted and left in ruin. And in a sad ending, Jimmy already felt the first wave of this force of nature because the Mexican gangsters hell bent on ending Boyd and getting back their heroin are already standing next to him with guns drawn, and he knows these are his final moments on Earth.
Powerful episode as we head towards the season finale next week. If you didn’t shed at least a small tear for poor Ava as her hopes and dreams were once again shattered, then you might not be human. I think deep down she always believed Boyd would still have her back even if she did shun him, but the look in her eye when Raylan told her that he chose a clean slate for himself over Ava’s freedom, she took a gut punch that was like a shotgun to the stomach. Both Raylan and Boyd tend to paint the corners between good and bad in everything the do in this show, but there was a juxtaposition of characters in this episode. It was Raylan who came away looking like the villain because he was willing to sacrifice poor Kendal just to have a shot to getting the good on Daryl. Their final showdown will happen in one week, but will it end with Raylan once again stepping outside the boundaries of law and order to make sure he gets his man? Things appear headed in that direction.
Best Lines of the Week:
“Goddamn Raylan this is the third important business meeting you’ve interrupted in a row. You stick a GPS up my ass while I wasn’t looking?” ~ Boyd
“This is the worst job in the world!” ~Boyd’s poor bartender
“If you’re just gonna be a minute, you mind if I run in and take a shit?” ~Dewey
“The storm clouds are gathering son and I think this flood is gonna be epic.” ~ Boyd
“I give you a gift? The anus is on you to take care of it!” ~ Dewey
Make sure to return to Nerdcore Movement next Tuesday night for our season finale recap of ‘Justified’ and this Thursday we will have a special finale preview interview with executive producer and show runner Graham Yost!