Justified – “Shot All to Hell”: Cons, killers and lowlifes

Justified: Season 5

Episode 5 – “Shot All to Hell”

Aired: February 4, 2014

Director: Adam Arkin

Writer: Chris Provenzano

“I’m going to give you 10 seconds to leave, then I’m going to shoot you.”

– Art Mullen

Well that was a hell of an episode.

If I’m being totally honest, the episode completely won me over with that opening scene with Boyd and Lee Paxton. Boyd outmaneuvering Paxton, who was utterly frail and helpless, before giving him one of the coldest farewell speeches I’ve ever seen, was utterly riveting. He didn’t just beat the man. He didn’t just kill him. He utterly destroyed his legacy and his standing in the community, the one thing Paxton cared about the most.

Luckily, the rest of the episode was just as riveting. And the opening scene served as the template for the rest of the episode, which featured a variety of characters one step ahead of their enemies, using brilliant countermeasures in order to definitively get the upper hand.

We had Art getting the upper hand on Elias Marcos in the diner. We had Johnny Crowder getting Hot Rod’s own men to double cross him. We had Boyd bribing a coal miner to shoot Mooney, destroying the case against Ava once and for all. Boyd, quite busy this episode, all got the upper hand on Daryl and John Baptiste by not letting on who he was, then pulling a gun on them in his bar. We had the prison guard undoing all of Boyd’s hard work by framing Ava for attacking him, ensuring that she wouldn’t be getting out anytime soon. We had Danny gunning down John Baptiste purely out of spite. And we had Raylan using his reputation as a dirty marshal to keep Picker from selling him out.

All of these double crosses and countermeasures kept the power balance constantly shifting throughout the episode, which was really fun to watch. Character were constantly thinking they had won, only to have the run pulled out from under them. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of thing you could do week after week on a show, but to have one episode filled with that many twists and turns was a wonderful thing.

I also really enjoyed Art channeling his inner Raylan. Art out in the field is always an entertaining dynamic, but it was especially poignant to see him do his best Marshal Givens impression now, since this all started with Art trying to figure out if Raylan is dirty. From the interrogation room with Picker to the final scene of them drinking in Art’s office, Art continued to shoot Raylan weary glances. And our hero clearly knew something was up – realizing he was completely out of the loop on the entire investigation – which lead to his confession at the end. He seems poised to confess his involvement in Nicky Augustine’s death, even after Picker shifted the blame to Special Agent Barkley.

So if Art clearly has a little Raylan in him (and has tolerated his reckless law enforcement style up to this point) it will be interesting to see how he handles Raylan’s confession. Can he be convinced that Raylan did what was necessary or will he see it in a more black and white fashion? Could we be headed to a Raylan vs. Art clash in this final season and a half of the show? That could be really great television.

Speaking of Art, every scene he had with Elias Marcos was pure gold. Then again, every single scene Alan Tudyk had was amazing. It makes me sad that once again Hollywood has decided to kill him off prematurely. I wish we could have gotten more than one episode out of his character. There was a lot of potential there. But still, he absolutely nailed it in his one guest appearance. I could rewatch that diner scene a thousand times.

I’m not sure where we head from here. But we definitely find ourselves in a rather intriguing place. And we definitely just witnessed one of the best episodes of the show’s run. So I look forward to the next chapter.

And another thing …

  • I would really love to know more about this 21-foot rule.
  • “Death will not be the end of your suffering.” Goosebumps.
  • Even by TV standards, Hayes Workman is a ridiculously unsubtle, fake-sounding name.
  • What happened to the hot chocolate machine?

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 murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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