In Tuesday night’s Justified entitled “Fathers and Sons”, starring Timothy Olyphant as straight shooting US Marshal Raylen Givens, complex family relationships have further threatened the Marshal’s tenuous work life, private life, and well, life in general. Between Raylen and his ex-wfe Winona, Raylen and his dad Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), and Raylen’s foil, newly anointed man of the cloth, Boyd Crowder and his dad, Bo (M.C. Gainey), who is Harlan’s resident crime lord, and Bo and Ava, his daughter in law and sometimes Raylen’s lover who killed Bowmann, Bo’s abusive wife beating son, our favorite Marshal may have too much to handle with next week’s season finale almost upon us.
When we last left Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), she was unconscious and handcuffed, and Raylen was passing her off to Winona (Natalie Zea, Hung), who he knew could keep her safe. While Raylen may not be in love with Ava, a sore point for her, who has been acting like the jilted lover, Raylen obviously cares about her. He pulled strings with a federal judge Mike Reardon, who he was charged to keep safe, played by Stephen Root (News Radio, Office Space, True Blood), to get the terms of her parole amended so that she could leave Kentucky. That would be safest for Ava, whose band of criminal inlaws is poised for revenge, after Ava killed her husband, Bowmann Crowder, who frankly, had it coming. But the simple and stubborn Ava has not aceded to the Marshal’s Office mandate that her and Raylen can’t be sexually involved with her criminal matter ongoing, and has continually reproached Raylen’s efforts to relocate her for her own safety as unrequited love.
Winona and Ava (above). When Ava wakes up in Winona’s house, and hears Winona on the phone with Raylen, the antennas go up, and for a minute, the audience gears up for a possible cat fight.
Ava: “Yall seem pretty civil for divorced people.”
Winona: “It’s kinda hard staying married to Raylen.”
Ava may have bought Winona’s non answer, but after she flees the scene at her own house where some Crowder family cronies are holed up, she drives to Raylen’s hotel, just as Winona was leaving. What was Winoa doing there, you ask? The same Winona who seemed to emphatically slam the door shut on Raylen’s affections a few weeks ago when Raylen saved her ex-husband from the Dixie Mafia? Well, she didn’t say much, but actions speak louder than words. Winona dropped her wedding ring on the table, kissed Raylen, and then, sexy time.
A closeup of Winona (above), after she had dressed and was shamefully sliding her wedding ring back on.
With all of the developments in Raylen’s love life, we are yet to discuss the full scope of the Crowder family’s criminal reach, which has caused Raylen to interact with his own father Arlo, who used to collect for Bo Crowder while he was away, and who Raylen has a contentious relationship with. Bo has come looking for money from Arlo, who doesn’t have it, putting Arlo in jeopardy and driving him to deal with the Marshals, who are putting a case together against Bo and his various criminal enterprises. And did we mention that a Mexican crime lord who promises Bo a large shipment of ephedrine, a base material for the production of methamphetamine, also establishes with Bo a $2M bounty on Raylen’s head, who has killed a close associate of his, Tommy Bucks, in Miami–the shooting that has gotten Raylen jettisoned back to a Kentucky Marshal gig.
Bo, delighted by his son Boyd’s demolition of a trailer park meth lab, had the surviving meth makers murdered because they were witnesses to his son’s crime, and because they represented competiton in the crystal meth trade. Bo turns up at Boyd’s Jesus camp in the woods with a thick envelope full of cash, assuming that Boyd had blown the meth lab up as a favor to his dad. But Boyd tries to refuse the money, claiming from the Bible that he shall take no gift because that would perverteth the words of the righteous. Bo leaves the money on a rock, and we assume that Boyd decides to take it.
Boyd, since being released from prison, has promised not to fall back on his old profession of robbing banks, and is clinging to the Jesus shtick he picked up in jail. He claims he blew the meth lab up because it was poisoning the community, and as a guest preacher at a local church, he describes his repentant nature to the congregation while advocating the need to “strike out against evil”, as he preached right at his father Bo, who had come down too hear his son’s sermon.
Outside the church, Bo tells Boyd he is perilously close to an ill fate, and that he has pushed Bo quite far with is God stance. Boyd, a well played villain by actor Walter Goggins, tells his father that he will destroy his own father if he tries to bring meth into the community. While the Crowders have their disputes, Ava Crowder pays Raylen’s dad a visit and asks Raylen’s stepmom for a gun because she is afraid of the Crowders. After a heart to heart, Raylen’s stepmom sends her off with a sawed off shotgun, which she takes over to Bo’s hangout, and reminds him that she’s already killed one Crowder man, and would he like to make it 2? But Bo and Ava are at an impasse, because like Raylen, he wants her out of Kentucky, but she is dead set against leaving.
Raylen goes down to the VA to check on his father, who happens to be locked inside the VA’s bar as a hostage to a disillusioned soldier, who is playing with a live grenade, refusing his deployment order to rejoin the war. Arlo, the calm customer, tells him a story about his days in Vietnam that gets him to put down the grenade, but when asked about the story by Raylen, he tells him he made it up. A good bit of foreshadowing, as Arlo then tells Raylen that he’ll consent to wear a wire to collect evidence against Bo Crowder. But Arlo goes to his meet with Bo with a pad in hand, and writes to Bo to “play along”, offering to be Bo’s double agent, and expecting to play both sides–the criminals and the Marshals.
In the end we see Boyd blow up an 18 wheeler–the one headed to Harlan with Bo’s ephedrine, true to his word that he will not allow poison to enter the community. But is Boyd, who still obviously has a thing for blowing things up with rocket launchers, set on becoming a true prophet or on replacing his father as the head of the Harlan underworld under the pretense of doing God’s work?
The family dynamics that Justified has introduced has ramped up the intensity for what is sure to be an explosive finale, with Raylen’s gun staying holstered way too long. Next week, expect Raylen to unholster his gun, but don’t be surprised if season one’s finale does more to cloud than clear up Raylen’s complex relationship with his beautiful ex Winona, and the investigation into his shootings led by Assistant US Attorney David Vasquez, played by our favorite character from The Life and Times of Tim, the voice of the priest, Rick Gomez.