Episode Title: "Truth and Consequences"
Writer: Benjamin Cavell
Director: Jon Avnet
Before we jump into this week’s “Justified” review, I’d like to share some thoughts about the current mystery storyline revolving around “Drew Thompson.” And to do that, we need to go back to the first episode of the year, when Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) killed a man in prison for even glimpsing Thompson’s bag who was openly going to tell the mob about it.
At first, it might be easy to assume that Arlo was trying to protect his estranged son, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). But keep in mind, Arlo’s currently doing hard time in prison for killing a man whom he mistook for Raylan. Arlo’s already made up his mind about who he cares for, and it isn’t his son.
So the next question becomes: what could drive Arlo to commit another murder? Who is he protecting if not himself? Because the most obvious solution would be for Arlo to be Drew Thompson, the man that everyone wants to find... except he’s hiding in plain sight.
And that could almost work... except the timeline doesn’t add up. Raylan is in his ‘40s and that would have placed him in his teenage years or his early twenties when the original incident took place in the ‘80s. Somehow, I don’t think that Raylan would have missed Arlo having two wives and two homes in Harlan county.
But for the mystery to really make an impact, Drew Thompson has to be someone that we’ve already met... even if his old associates no longer recognize him. Or perhaps we’ll meet Drew in another identity this season before the big reveal. If Drew Thompson isn’t Arlo, then who is he? And why is Arlo willing to kill to protect him?
From this point on, there are full spoilers ahead for "Truth and Consequences," so if you’re not caught with “Justified,” stop reading now or Cassie won’t milk the snakes.
The “Justified” creative team actually came up with interesting way to tie the Drew Thompson mystery to last season’s storyline. As we eventually learned in this episode, the mob wants Drew Thompson dead because he saw Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin) murder a Federal witness. Tonin as you may recall, was the Detroit mobster behind season three’s adversary, Robert Quarles. And invoking his name here pretty much guarantees that Tonin will be back before too long.
This week, Raylan and Tim (Jacob Pitts) follow up with Thompson’s widow, Eve Munro (Julia Campbell); a supposedly psychic woman who actually pulls off a minor miracle... or she got extremely lucky. Eve is able to guess that Raylan is planning to fight or arrest, Randall Kusik (Robert Baker), the burly ex-con and ex-husband of his current girlfriend, Lindsey Salazar (Jenn Lyon).
While there is some ambiguity as to how Eve got the exact location of Raylan’s meeting with Randall, Eve could simply be extremely good at reading people. And Raylan was amusingly expressive as Eve got pretty close to what was going on with his life.
Of course, if Eve was really psychic, she would have realized that the FBI agent showing up at her front door was accompanied by a mob enforcer out in the back as she tried to flee. But feeding the enforcer and his FBI feeb the info about Raylan ends up saving her life.
There were a few good moments of tension between Raylan and the dirty FBI agent outside of the gym, but the resolution to that felt too easy. Raylan didn’t seem to try that hard to prevent the man from committing suicide, when a well placed shot from his own gun would have done the trick... and potentially left the man alive for questioning. And Raylan barely even reacts to seeing the agent blow his brains out! Raylan’s pretty jaded, but that felt like it needed a bigger reaction.
In the B-storyline, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and his crew escalated their conflict with the traveling church this week. And the conflict may be over. Maybe...
I guess that depends upon whether the snake that bit Billy St. Cyr (Joe Mazzello) was as deadly as Boyd led us to believe. Last week, Boyd correctly worked out that Cassie St. Cyr (Lindsay Pulsipher) was the real power behind her brother’s ministry and that Billy was a true believer.
And while Cassie was at least willing to talk with Boyd about accepting a payoff to move on, her asking price was a little steep. She wanted a permanent church for her brother to set up shop, but that’s probably more money than Boyd is even dreaming about at the moment.
The most shocking and hilarious moments came when Boyd sent Colt (Ron Eldard) and Jimmy (Jesse Luken) to intimidate the St. Cyr siblings only for the duo to encounter a room full of snakes, including one that bit Jimmy on his face and didn’t even release him after it was dead.
I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a severed snake head attached to a man’s face like that before. Thanks, “Justified!” And I mean that sincerely, because that was cool.
It was Jimmy’s miraculous survival that helped Boyd realize that Cassie was milking the snakes so her brother wouldn’t get hurt. But again, Billy seems clueless about the way that the world really works. Billy stopped asking for donations and he disregarded his sister’s warnings because he really believes that God will provide for him and protect him. Even Boyd tried to warn Billy before the preacher took out Boyd’s more poisonous snake... and he was promptly bitten by it.
If Billy really is dead, then it’s a bold move for “Justified” to eliminate such an interesting new character after only three episodes. But either way, I don’t expect that Cassie will let the death or the severe injuries of her brother go unanswered. She’s Boyd’s real adversary and she is probably more dangerous than she is letting on.
The only really unsatisfying angle in this episode is the love triangle between Raylan, Randall and Lindsey. “Justified” keeps trying to build Randall up into a legitimate threat to Raylan because of his size and his fighting skills... but I’m just not impressed by the character or by Robert Baker’s performance. I guess it says something about “Justified” when Randall is the least believable character on the series at the moment.
While Raylan seems to win when Randall doesn’t bother to show up for their confrontation at the gym, Raylan eventually discovers that Lindsey has run off with Randall after robbing Raylan of the money stashed in his home. Of course, Lindsey may have been under duress when she stole from Raylan, but it’s still a pretty big betrayal. And that money was meant for Raylan’s child.
"Truth and Consequences" also signaled the potential for more Tim and Rachel (Erica Tazel) stories this year. But the problem with Rachel is that most of her development is happening off-screen. We only learn that she was married second hand from Art (Nick Searcy). And in this episode, we’re told that Rachel screwed up... but we don’t actually see her screw up! That was kind of an important touch to make that moment work. Although I did love the way that Rachel referred to Raylan as “Wyatt Earp.” As for Tim, he got to be Raylan’s wingman for the week and it’s still fun watching those two play off each other... when the writers of “Justified” remember that Tim exists. Ditto for Rachel.
So far, season four hasn’t grabbed my attention as thoroughly as the last two seasons of “Justified.” But the show is still delivering solid episodes with fun characters. And I’m cool with that for now.