Justified: Season 3
Episode 9 – “Loose Ends”
Aired: March 13, 2012
Writer: Ingrid Escajeda
“Help me clean this up.”
– Ava Crowder
As the title implies, this week’s episode had a variety of characters looking to tie up loose ends in order to protect themselves. Most of these loose ends centered around Tanner, Robert Quarles’ soldier, who ends up meeting a rather gruesome fate.
While Tanner was looking to take out Briggs, the man who built the bomb Tanner used to frame Boyd Crowder with, he had Errol tagging along looking for a chance to take Tanner out in order to protect Errol and Limhouse from any blowback from the hit on Boyd’s oxy clinic. Meanwhile, Sheriff Napier was also looking to, as Raylan put it, do “some gardening” with Tanner, killing him to protect himself since Raylan and his “ATF agent” knew Tanner, not Boyd, planted the bomb on Napier’s car.
Our old friend Delroy the pimp had his own loose end to deal with – Ellen May. Ellen May, who was in the oxy clinic when Tanner robbed it, once again finds herself in an unfavorable situation as she and two other working girls are forced to do a little armed robbery of their own. When Crystal is shot during the botched stick up, Delroy decides to take out the other two girls to protect himself. Ellen May escapes and runs off to Ava, who shelters her, takes out Delroy and appoints herself the new madam of the whorehouse.
Meanwhile, Robert Quarles enlists the help of Limehouse to win Napier the election. However, Quarles’ new campaign manager isn’t prepared for Boyd Crowder, who gets out of jail just in time to make an impassioned speech at the public debate, which reinvigorates Shelby’s campaign. There’s nothing more dangerous than Boyd Crowder with a public platform. Watching him get evangelical in his defense of Shelby and managing to spin his own criminal past and Shelby’s inexperience into positives as he painted Napier as a soulless company man looking to screw over the little guy was a thing of beauty.
What was interesting is that Boyd was only able to make that speech thanks to Raylan, who got him sprung from jail. While Quarles is wrong in his assumption that Raylan is a dirty marshal on the take from Boyd, clearly Boyd is a master at manipulating Raylan into helping him out anyway. Much like the last episode featuring Ellen May, when Boyd found a way to sick Raylan on Delroy to help Ava’s investigation, Crowder is great at dangling information in front of the good marshal in order to get him doing his bidding.
While Boyd’s campaign speech was great, I also really enjoyed two Limehouse scenes in this episode – first with Quarles, then with Raylan. Quarles mocking “shoo-fly pie” with his sarcastic Southern accent and throwing in the “sociology of baked goods” quip was fantastic. Similarly, I enjoyed Raylan calling Limehouse out for his disingenuous clueless barbecue cook routine. I loved the tension in the scene with Raylan where Limehouse brings up his beating of Arlo (which he previously pretended not to remember). When that fails to upset Givens, he instead brings up Raylan’s mom, which does anger the marshal.
Speaking of moms, Tanner’s was clearly his Achilles heel. First, the nice new television he purchased for his mom tips Raylan off that he’s been in contact with her. Then, Errol uses Tanner’s love of his mom to talk his way out of the room with the bouncing betty in it. And, when Errol stays true to his word and delivers the bag of cash to Tanner’s mother, that tips Raylan off to the connection between Tanner and Limehouse’s crew (which is what got Tanner killed in the first place).
I really loved his mom too. Raylan manipulates Art by not letting on that his tip about Tanner came from Boyd, then he manipulates Napier by having his truck driver buddy pretend to be an ATF agent, but he completely underestimates Tanner’s mom. She sees through his “I’m just trying to help your son” routine and calls him a “no dick lawman.” Of course, if she had given up Tanner’s whereabouts to Raylan, he might have been able to save him in time. (I also really like how the scene with Raylan and Tanner’s mom paralleled the story Raylan tells Ava about “Tiny.”)
Overall, this was another strong episode in what has been an overall solid season for this show. I like that Raylan got close to finally getting some dirt on Quarles – Tanner was ready to talk – only to have the rug pulled out from under him again. And I really like how the battle for Harlan is shaping up. (I got ridiculously excited when Timothy Olyphant delivered the “There’s a war coming” line to Limehouse.)
And another thing …
- Raylan is really keeping the gun that killed Gary in his apartment? That seems like a horrible idea.
- Ellen May has really had a tough couple of weeks, hasn’t she? Hopefully things will get better now that Ava’s in charge.
- Raylan has clearly noticed that Devil is no longer around and Boyd’s response when Raylan brought it up to him was far from a denial that he had anything to do with Devil’s disappearance.
- Am I the only one who gets really hungry every time they film a scene at Limehouse’s restaurant?
- Hollywood writers sure love “bouncing betties,” don’t they?
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org.