Episode Title: "When the Guns Come Out"
Story by: Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Teleplay by: Nichelle Tramble Spellman & Dave Andron
Director: Don Kurt
Previously on "Justified":
Two young women, Trixie (Valerie Brandy) and Ellen May (Abby Miller) head to Boyd Crowder's (Walton Goggins) Oxy trailer, manned by Dr. Stern (Randolph Adams). And in return for more Oxycodone than their "prescription" allows, the girls proceed to offer Stern sexual favors. Moments later, Tanner Dodd (Brendan McCarthy) and Teddy arrive, shotguns in hand as they execute everyone that they see and make off with the Oxy. Only Ellen May survives by hiding under Stern's desk. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) desperately looks for Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea), who left him very abruptly.
Raylan finds that Winona has quit her job at the courthouse and she has apparently been looking into traveling to Costa Rica. Remembering the money that Winona previously stole and then put back, Raylan visits Court Officer Charlie Weaver (Casey Sander) and discovers that the money is missing once again as Charlie looks on behind him. At the U.S. Marshal's office, Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) gives Raylan a file on Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) before Raylan asks his boss, Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) for time off to deal with Winona's departure.
Instead, Art insists that Raylan investigate the Oxy shootings because they took place on property owned by his late aunt, Helen Givens. At Johnny's bar, Boyd and his associates are certain that Quarles was behind the attack, but Boyd sends his cousin, Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) to investigate before taking any action. Elsewhere, Ellen May returns to her pimp, Delroy (William Mapother), who clearly doesn't care that she barely survived the incident at the Ozy trailer. He orders Ellen May to go back out and get the Oxy they need.
Ellen May does what she is told, but at the rival Oxy trailer, she recognizes Tanner and Teddy before quickly leaving without the drugs. Meanwhile, Boyd and his girlfriend, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) visit Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) at the holler for information about the attack. Boyd is astonished when even one of Limehouse's random men; Jennings (Alfred Rubin Thompson) knows so much about him while he knows little about Limehouse. In return for access to Limehouse's impressive network of informants, Boyd agrees to bank with him. In return, Limehouse reveals that the dead girl at the scene was Trixie.
Afterwards, Ava tells Boyd that she knows where Trixie worked and that she is joined at the hip to Ellen May before volunteering to talk to the young girl. At the same time, Raylan confronts his father, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) about dropping his name to the police and hosting the Oxy trailer on Helen's property. Arlo seems to be out of it and he speaks about Helen as if she was alive before mentioning that he did it to help Boyd. Back at Delroy's, the pimp is unsympathetic about Ellen May's continuing ordeal and he beats her for failing to return with the Oxy.
At his rented house, Quarles is unamused that Raylan is using FBI contacts to investigate him. He orders Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) to look into Raylan more closely to find something to squeeze him with. After Duffy leaves, he returns and overhears Quarles beating the man tied up in the bed in a back room. Ava enters the bar run by Delroy, who assumes that she's looking for work as one of his girls. Ava claims that Ellen May owes her money, but he says that she isn't available. One of the other girls whispers to Ava that Ellen May was at the Oxy trailer and that Ava can't approach her without Delroy seeing her.
Raylan enters Johnny's bar and he is livid as he tells Boyd to keep his family name out of his criminal enterprises. Boyd calmly tells Raylan to go see Ava. Reluctantly, Raylan follows his advice and he reunites with Ava shortly before they ask Ellen May about the Oxy robbery. When Delroy tries to threaten them, Raylan easily beats him down and threatens him to keep Ellen May safe. Raylan then drives over to the Quarles controlled Oxy trailer run by Tanner and Teddy. The patrons scatter upon Raylan's arrival, and Tanner tells Gus (John-Clay Scott) to start the trailer as soon as Raylan enters.
Sure enough, Raylan is caught off guard when the trailer starts moving. And while he and Tanner fight for the gun, Gus is fatally shot. Tanner leaps from the vehicle and limps away, but Gus is dead. Later, as they deal with the scene, State Trooper Tom Bergen (Peter Murnik) mentions to Raylan that they had no luck finding Winona with the BOLO, but he mentions where he found her weeks earlier on the previous BOLO… which surprises Raylan. Elsewhere, Duffy tells Quarles that Raylan took down their Oxy trailer, but Quarles is oddly amused about it because he thinks it means that Raylan is in Boyd's pocket.
Duffy doesn't quite believe it, but then he remembers that Arlo is a member of Boyd's crew. Meanwhile in the holler, Limehouse berates his lieutenant (Demetrius Grosse) for starting the war between Boyd and Quarles. Limehouse refuses to take the man's life for his actions, but he orders his lieutenant to make sure that it can't be traced back to them. Later, Raylan tracks down Winona at the house of her sister, Gayle (Bridgett Newton). Much to his surprise, Winona didn't take the money, but she doesn't seem to want a reconciliation with Raylan and she insists that if he was going to change his ways for her then he would have already done it.
At the U.S. Marshal's office, Raylan shares his woes with Art, who sympathizes with him… before bringing up the missing money from the evidence room. Art tells Raylan that one of the marked bills was used in El Paso and that Charlie Weaver hasn't been seen in days. Raylan and Art seem to realize that Charlie must have taken the money and ran. In Mexico, Charlie is stopped by two Federales who then let him go. Then Charlie laughs as he rides off into retirement with his ill-gotten money.
The writers of "Justified" appear to have perfected the art of crafting stand alone episodes that advance the season long story arc at the same time. More remarkably, there isn't a narrative thread in this episode that doesn't work.
Near the beginning of "When the Guns Come Out," the script and Timothy Olyphant's performance literally put the audience into Raylan's head. Collectively, we remembered the money just as Raylan did in the elevator. And by returning the action to the scene of Winona's crime from last season, it was more than reasonable to assume that Winona had stolen the money again and fled the country. But a more brilliant touch was Raylan's discovery of the theft foreshadowed the end of the episode when Charles silently watched him open the container. Charlie's ride off into the sunset was also amusing. He wasn't a major character by any stretch of the imagination, but if Winona didn't take the money again than Charlie was the next logical suspect.
Besides Raylan's split with Winona, the biggest thing to come out of this episode is Quarles' belief that Raylan is a dirty Marshal. From our perspective, we know that it's not true. But if anyone was looking at it from an objective stance, the circumstantial evidence against Raylan stacks up pretty quickly. His father is in Boyd's crew and he does rely on Boyd whenever he needs information about certain underworld activities. It could even be argued that Raylan was in on Boyd's plan to get him thrown into prison and then quickly released when Raylan changed his statement. In this case, perception will be everything in the eyes of the law and the mob. And now, Quarles thinks that he has the perfect leverage against Raylan. It may not be accurate, but it can still hurt him.
There's also something interesting going on with Arlo, who was as disconnected from reality as we've ever seen him. Some of that might have been an act, but Arlo seemed to be talking to someone who wasn't there and under the impression that his former wife, Helen was still alive. There's no love lost between Arlo and Raylan, hence Raylan's subdued reaction to Arlo's ranting. But if Arlo's mind is really starting to go, Raylan could soon loose his last living parent… especially if Quarles believes that they are close.
This episode also skillfully used some of the supporting players, by killing off Trixie and Dr. Stern and bringing Tanner to the forefront after several previous appearances in the early episodes of this season. On "Justified," the B-stories almost never feel like filler because they can unexpectedly become a larger part of the A-stories.
Olyphant was particularly strong this week as an increasingly angry and unhinged Raylan. Of course, the split with Winona and the trampling on his aunt's legacy really bothered him, but I believe that Raylan was also angered by the beating that Ellen May received at Delroy's hands and he took the time to lay out a little payback of his own. That was enjoyable, although Raylan should have probably hit Delroy a few more times. I doubt that Delroy's going to stop abusing his girls after just one beatdown.
Walton Goggins was great as usual. Boyd really has become very good at manipulating Raylan to do what he wants with just a few choice bits of intel. Raylan even knows what Boyd's doing, but he goes along with it anyways because it suits his needs. On the other side, Duffy seems a lot more sympathetic every time we see more of Quarles. Jere Burns really sold the alarm on Duffy's face when he returned and overheard Quarles mercilessly beating his prisoner. Keeping that visual off camera also made it more horrifying than anything that could have been shown.
As a whole, "When the Guns Come Out" was one of the best episodes of the season… which isn't that surprising given the consistent quality of the show. But I think that at this point, it will be a huge shock if "Justified" ever has a bad episode. It's been three years, and it hasn't happened yet.
Crave Online Rating: 9.3 out of 10.