“You understand me, Earl? I’m going to shoot your dick off.”

– Raylan Givens

This whole season – and really, the series as a whole – boils down to Raylan vs. Boyd. Two people with a shared past who find themselves on opposite sides, but deep down aren’t so different from one another. We know that ultimately it’s going to come down to the two of them squaring off one final time. And unlike their first encounter in the pilot, it’s unlikely that either man won’t be shooting to kill.

What’s fascinating about this episode is that we discover there is another, similar conflict brewing – one between Katherine Hale and Avery Markham. Like Boyd and Raylan, the two have a complicated shared history. We don’t know the full extent of that history, but we do know that the two had an affair behind Katherine’s husband’s back. We know Avery left town. And, for some reason, he’s back and Katherine is intent on using Boyd to steal his money (and kill him, apparently).

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As I predicted, this week confirms that Avery is Ty’s boss. And we also discover that Katherine manipulated Boyd, concealing that it was Avery’s money even though she knew all along who they were robbing. Interestingly though, even after he has all the facts – and after Avery and Ty show up at his door to threaten Boyd and Ava – he still decides to go forward with their plans.

So far, Ty and Avery have been happy to follow the philosophy Avery laid out to Katherine. They both have been polite, but firm, giving Boyd every opportunity to walk away. But that is unlikely to last. The next time they catch Boyd scheming against them, I expect their payback to be severe.

While it was the villains who had the most compelling plotline this week, it’s Raylan and Rachel’s investigation that gives the episode its name. The two figure out where Boyd is getting his explosives from and attempt to shake down his suppliers in order to get them to turn evidence against Boyd, but they both stonewall him and Raylan’s old coal mining buddy takes the fall for his son, even though his son was ready to rob him in order to get the goods. In a show that often has very tragic father-son relationships, it was oddly touching that the old man was willing to protect his boy no matter what.

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While Tim is usually better at exchanging witty one-liners with our hero, I always enjoy the Raylan-Rachel pairing. Now that she is running the office, it is interesting to see how she deals with Raylan. Much like Art, I think she realizes that she must begrudgingly work with this cowboy because his connections to Harlan open a lot of doors that would otherwise remain closed to the marshals. Interestingly, she seems to be getting fed up with Raylan’s patient approach to the Crowder investigation and seems to be pushing him to be a little more aggressive in his pursuit.

Still, as of right now, the marshals are on the outside playing catch up while the real conflict heats up between Katherine and Avery.

And another thing …

  • Choo-choo’s attempt to hit on Ava was absolutely adorable.
  • Nothing good happens at Ava’s dinner table. It’s where both Bowman and Boyd Crowder were shot and this week it’s where Avery and Ty threaten Ava.
  • Everything about Wynn and Mikey’s exchange at the end of the episode was pure gold, but I especially enjoyed Wynn’s instructions to get Boyd’s cigarettes when patting him down.

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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. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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