Something was afoot in last week’s episode of Justified, and now we’re back to characters from the premiere. We open on a flashback to six days ago: Raylan delivering the bail jumping Jody he bounty -hunted down in the season premiere on a moonlighting gig. He hands the guy off to his old one night stand, a bail bondswoman, and things quickly go downhill for the transporters. They don’t get far.
And that was just the cold open.
Back at Ellen May’s trailer, Cousin Johnny is weaseling the info out of Terry as to who backhanded her. “I wanna know who put the hurt on you.” She finally gives up Colt, along with the more troubling info that he was there searching for info about the presumed dead Ellen May (because he presumably killed her already, as directed).
Raylan doesn’t get far before he’s interrupted with news of the untimely demise of his old bail bondswoman fling.
Jody is hiding out with his accomplice (one of the guys from Mad Men), and turning in a really bad Samuel L. Jackson impersonation. “Do I have your attention now, Steven Spielberg?” (The two are amateur auteurs.)
Raylan shows up to intercept Jody at Jody’s ex-wife’s house. She has implausibly left behind a hot UK grad student to housesit, Jackie Nevada. Raylan fills her in, and the Lexington police department turns up to take over.
Meanwhile, Boyd and Ava prepare for the “rich folks’ sex party” where they hope to find Drew Thompson. Boyd is charmingly nervous. “If I’m being honest, I’m just feeling insecure about this whole thing.” What if he uses the wrong fork? Ava assures him table manners will not be an issue at this sort of shindig.
“If it comes down to it, what’s a few handjobs give or take?” she asks, always ready to take one for the team.
What, they’re not even married yet, and she’s looking for an open relationship? Boyd asks.
“Baby, you give as many handjobs as you need to tonight,” she jokes.
“That’s not funny.”
Back in town, Raylan updates the Hot Sorority Girl on Jody’s crimes. He has time to lay on the Elmore Leonard charm though. “Jackie Nevada? Sounds like a name out of a Steve McQueen movie?” Her stepdad is Reno Nevada. A card player. (Please don’t let that be significant. Stop cluttering the landscape with ancillary characters!) She never met her mom. Yep. They’re gearing this sideline plot up to mean something. Count on it.
Back on the ‘right side’ of the tracks in Clover Hill, Boyd and Ava arrive at the swingers’ night and Boyd is relieved to see it looks like any other suburban party at first blush.
Host former Sheriff Napier is tending bar and tells Boyd he’s as “welcome as a case of the clap.” The hostess tells Ava, “the swingin’ and the swappin’ is just the ittiest bit of what we do up here.'” She explains that the woman are in charge at this party, as they are in Harlan in general (a bit heavy-handedly).
The Crowders divide to conquer the party, quizzing their fellow guests about their Harlan roots to see if any one of them could be Drew in disguise.
Raylan drops off Miss Nevada. She invites him in for a beer, a chat, or a hand of poker. But he has “to do a thing.” Jody has let himself in and is waiting. She is not especially surprised to see him. He wants the security code to his ex-wife’s house. The two struggle over a knife, just as Raylan arrives to save the day. “I am gonna count to one.” Jody crashes through a sliding glass door, over a deck, and onto the roof of Mad Men‘s car, just in time for a clumsy getaway.
The two criminals bicker. Mad Men wants paid. Jody wants to kill Raylan “just for the relief of it.” Jody suggests the “drama” of their situation will make an excellent movie, one they’re writing as they go.
Back at Miss Nevada’s, Raylan tells local law enforcement he’d prefer to keep an eye on her himself. Uh huh. They’ve traced the tags on the Romney-Ryan bumper-stickered car, so they know where to find Mad Men and Jody. He’ll just drop the Hot Sorority girl off at a hotel when they’re done. Arriving at Mad Men’s apartment, Jody has left behind a “movie” for Raylan to watch. It’s a “short,” really — a threat for him to watch his back. Back in the car with the Hot Girl, she confesses her crush on him (imagine his surprise), and they make a stop at the High Note, so he can pull the fire alarm in an attempt to smoke Jody out. “This isn’t a drill is it?” the bartender asks and clears the bar.
Now it’s High Noon. There’s just him and Jody (a completely unworthy adversary). Raylan’s seen the movie. “I could pull right now and shoot you.” The two square off, Wild West style. They might as well take ten paces. “You ain’t gonna shoot m…” and those are dimwitted thug Jody’s last words before Raylan takes three shots to the tune of “South on 65.” Miss Nevada appears in the doorway, visibly aroused. (Dammit Raylan! Did we learn nothing from Lindsey?)
Meanwhile, Cousin Johnny confronts Colt at Boyd’s bar. “How about a salute to the I-raqi war hero,” Johnny taunts him. He asks if he has a harder time killing innocents and civilians. (Showrunner Graham Yost has said Ellen May is integral to Season 4, but this particular subplot is getting draggy.)
Back at the other sex party, Ava is wandering the halls, peeking in at the various dens of iniquity. Two men are questioning her status as perhaps more gawker than participant, and Boyd is a little late arriving to her rescue. But they hug it out.
He tells her he thinks they’ve been invited to the party so he can be hired as muscle, to strong arm Frank Browning. A few Clover Hill muckety-mucks quiz him. “Do you know about the EPA superfund?” He quickly figures out their gig. “You want Frank Browning to bust open one of his ponds so all of you can suck off the federal teat, but he ain’t willing to play along?”
“Told you he was sharp,” says the furry fetishist judge executive. But Boyd has misinterpreted. He thinks he’s there to make a little extra money twisting Browning’s arm. They want him killed. If he refuses? They make it clear that he is only able to operate his criminal enterprises as part of their largesse. White trash noblesse oblige. Kill Browning, or they will destroy him.
Raylan delivers Miss Nevada to her hotel (not sure why the marshals would subsidize her safety at this point; he’s just shot the only threat to her). He tells her he’s figured out Jody’s game. He didn’t return to Lexington for his wife and kids. He came for the money, the money the Hot Sorority Girl is now carrying in her book bag. Raylan would have to turn in the “ill-gotten gains” if he knew for sure, but if it made its way back to Jody’s wife and kids, “that wouldn’t be a bad thing.” (Though why he would trust Miss Nevada to do that is a mystery. Again: did we learn nothing from bartender Lindsey?!)
Art calls for a check-in. Raylan explains, “don’t worry; we ain’t payin’ for the room.” (Whew.) Art teases him good-naturedly about the notion he’ll be spending the night on the couch.
As directed though, Raylan does pay a visit to Arlo, with an FBI folder stuffed full of takeout menus. He confesses he was there with a ruse to destroy Arlo’s deal, but he has come up with an alternative, a real deal. Then he tells Arlo something he doesn’t know: that Theo is looking for Drew too, and that Boyd is now on Theo’s payroll. “The son you never had is working against you.” If Arlo helps the marshals find Drew, Raylan will see to it he lives out his days in a country club jail. If he doesn’t, well, Theo will take care of that.
“I’m gonna be glad when I hear the news,” he tells his father.