JUSTIFIED 4.08 ‘Outlaw’

Justified 408

Episode Title: "Outlaw"

Writers: Benjamin Cavell & Keith Schreier

Director: John Dahl

Previously on "Justified":

Episode 4.07: "Money Trap"

Justified” is widely praised because the writing is sharp, the acting is top notch and it’s just a damn entertaining show. But it’s also capable of pulling off some intense emotional moments of unexpected power.

And in “Outlaw,” a simple scene of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) having a brief moment of grief outside of an elevator was stunning. As much as Raylan has said that he didn’t care about someone important in his life,  or whether they lived or died… it clearly wasn’t the case.

There are full spoilers ahead for “Outlaw,” so if you aren’t up to date with “Justified” then you should probably skip this review or else there’s a prison haircut waiting for you.

Let’s get this out of the way. Raylan’s dad, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) is dead. And he doesn’t even die onscreen. We do however get to see Arlo nearly get out of a jailhouse assassination attempt in the prison barber shop, only to end up with a pair of scissors to his chest.

The thing is, I thought that the opening scene was a swerve. And if anyone was going to die, it was going to be Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), so that  Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) would go on the warpath and escalate his feud with Raylan.

But Arlo was the swerve. He was fatally injured by Hunter Mosely (Brent Sexton), a character we haven’t seen for years… mostly because Hunter was in jail and Sexton was on “The Killing.” It was a darkly comic moment when Raylan told Hunter that he liked him better than his father even though Hunter tried to kill him. I wonder if Raylan still feels that way now.

I’m not entirely clear on Hunter’s motivation for killing Arlo. The deal for a country club prison was down to the two of them and who could be the first to give up Drew Thompson. But neither Arlo nor Hunter wanted Raylan’s deal and Hunter almost seemed to be hoping for a SuperMax prison to be his new home.

Regardless, it’s done. Arlo fought like a tiger and he almost came out on top. But that would have been the predictable way to go. Just like a deathbed reconciliation between Raylan and Arlo would have been too easy a way out for their complicated relationship. Keep in mind, Arlo had already decided that he loved Boyd more than Raylan and that’s why he shot and killed Raylan’s friend, Tom last season. The closest that Arlo came to making things right with Raylan was in the aftermath of that incident in which Arlo actually apologized to his son before the truth behind the shooting came out.

Here, Arlo basically tells Raylan to go f*** himself. The actual language used was less descriptive, but the underlying meaning was there. Those were the last words from a father to his son. And to play devil’s advocate, Raylan kind of brought that on himself. The best he could offer Arlo in his final hours was that he might be fondly remembered by his grandchild if he helped Raylan find Thompson.

Before we go on, I have to say how amazingly creepy Matthew John Armstrong was as the Tonin Hitman was dressed as a deputy. That uniform gave the Hitman easy access to his victims and he almost got Boyd too. When Raylan stumbled upon the Hitman escorting Boyd to his demise, he hilariously stood in their way to talk to Eva about her engagement ring and her wedding to Boyd. The subsequent (and very fast) shootout between Raylan and the Hitman was breathtaking and I was certain that Eva would be dead in the crossfire.

But she’s alive! And Raylan’s invited to the wedding. I really want to see that now: Raylan at the wedding of his ex-girlfriend and his perpetual nemesis. That could be comedy gold. Raylan’s boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) actually got one of the funniest lines in the aftermath when he basically said that he was reasonably sure that Raylan wasn’t a cop killer.

As for Boyd, he got out of his predicament with the Clover Hills group. Boyd’s solution was brilliant. He simply gave his enemies list to Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) as two possible aliases of Drew Thompson and the Hitman took care of the rest. However, Boyd didn’t seem to have an immediate plan to deal with the blowback that was inevitable from that decision. It was only Raylan’s timely arrival that kept Boyd from being the Hitman’s third victim. And now Boyd is indebted to Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin) for using his leverage against the Clover Hills crowd. That could mean that Boyd ends up taking Wynn Duffy’s place at the head of the crime table in Kentucky, but he’s got no one left to bargain with if things go south with Tonin.

In the running subplots, Shelby Parlow (Jim Beaver) had an affecting scene opposite Ellen May (Abby Miller). Ellen May is not the most insightful person, but it’s hard not to feel pity for her when she tells Shelby that she wants to be more than just a prostitute. From what Shelby told her in response, it seems like he’s been living a life of regret as well.

Meanwhile, Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) is using Ellen May’s survival as leverage against Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard); who is rapidly spiralling out of control. And now Raylan’s colleague, Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) is probably going to be pulled into this storyline since Colt murdered Tim’s friend, Mark (Ian Reed Kesler) while robbing a drug dealer. If so, that’s a nice touch after Colt and Tim bonded over their respective military experience earlier in the season. And if Colt somehow manages to live through this season and stay on Boyd’s good side, then maybe Tim has his own rival in Harlan now.

It’s a good thing that “Justified” is resolving Drew Thompson’s identity next week before the mystery wears out its welcome. I still think that it has to be someone we’ve already met. And it has to be someone important. The wildest guess I’ve heard is that Art is Drew. But I like the theory that Shelby is Drew.

Who do you think Drew Thompson is? Share your theories in the comment section below!