JUSTIFIED 4.04 ‘The Bird Has Flown’

Raylan and Rachel team up to track down Lindsey and Randall as Ava and Boyd decide Ellen May’s fate.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "The Bird Has Flown"

Writer: Taylor Elmore

Director: Bill Johnson

Previously on "Justified":

Episode 4.03 "Truth and Consequences"

It seems odd that we are four episodes into the current season of “Justified” and Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) still hasn’t come face-to-face with Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) yet. But both Raylan and Boyd seem to have problems dealing with women prone to flight. And while one of the women is running from Raylan, I suspect that the other one will be running to him.

Full spoilers are ahead for "The Bird Has Flown." If you’re not up to date with “Justified,” skip this review until you are unless you want to take Ava up on her offer.

I never bought into Randall (Robert Baker) as a worthy adversary for Raylan, and I’m not unhappy to see him go. But the chase and final confrontation between Raylan, Randall and Lindsey (Jenn Lyon) was worth it, especially Raylan’s hilarious final shot at Randall which was  the moment of the hour.

But we may have seen something deeper happen here. There was a moment last season when Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) proved his loyalty to Raylan as a friend and colleague by letting him “escape” when he was being looked at for a murder. In “The Bird Has Flown,” it’s Rachel Brooks’ (Erica Tazel) turn to stand by Raylan when his girlfriend has apparently run off with her bruiser ex-husband and wiped out Raylan’s slightly ill-gotten savings. Raylan isn’t a criminal, but the U.S. Marshal Service would probably have asked too many questions about how Raylan earned that money if he reported it stolen.

Rachel actually turns out to be a really good foil as Raylan’s wingman and she even gets a kickass moment of her own when a cockfighter owner won’t stop waving a blade in her face. And Rachel is  funny! Why has this character been wasted for so long? Hopefully this is where that begins to change.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Raylan met his next girlfriend while tracking down Randall and Lindsey. The bartender/fighter, Gina (Navi Rawat) seemed almost aggressively interested in Raylan and also a little too impressed when Raylan grabbed her boss by his balls while he was still naked.

But Raylan might be too broken for love anytime soon. When Raylan watches the hapless clerk, Alvin (David Dean Bottrell) recount his beating at Randall’s hands, it’s hard not to feel for the old guy as he says that he thought that Lindsey liked him. Raylan obviously felt the same way (and he outright says it), but I’m not sure that Lindsey loves anyone but herself.

The episode’s writer, Taylor Elmore wisely gives Lindsey some shades of regret to make us question whether she is Randall’s hostage or his accomplice. But in the end, she gets the better of both Raylan and Randall.

Also, Randall’s big plan was to buy a bunch of fighting roosters?! He deserves to be shot with the beanbag gun a few more times for being so stupid. But that made Raylan’s final revenge against Randall even more satisfying. Not that Raylan got his money or his girl back. And Lindsey is in the wind.

Meanwhile, Boyd got the preacher, Billy St. Cyr (Joe Mazzello) out of the way… if not necessarily the way that he wanted to. Boyd actually seemed to regret that Billy died from the snakebite in last week’s episode. And Boyd cleverly used Sheriff Shelby Parlow (Jim Beaver) to shakedown Billy’s sister, Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher) for information about anything that Ellen May (Abby Miller) may have mentioned about the various crimes that Boyd and his gang have committed.

Knowing that Billy was sincere in his beliefs really changes the way that the first few episodes of the season play a second time. On first viewing, it seemed as if Billy was just a really clever con man who was using religion to infringe upon Boyd’s business interests. If Billy had no guile, then his compassion for Ellen May was kind of touching. I doubt that Cassie has the same pure intentions.

Which brings us to poor dumb Ellen May. That girl just can’t get a break, but it’s largely her own fault. Even knowing that Ellen May is prone to dumb mistakes and running her mouth, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) still offers her a chance to rebuild her life in another city. But Ellen May would rather work as a prostitute because she doesn’t know how to do anything else.

What really seals Ellen May’s fate is that she blurts out Ava’s murder in Johnny’s bar; even while she was trying to convince Ava that she would never tell anyone! As soon as Colt (Ron Eldard) took the call in the car, it was pretty clear that Ellen May was taking her last ride… at least until she seemingly escaped.
The ending is a little ambiguous as to whether Ellen May figured out what was in store for her or if someone else took her. Either way, her absence could be a big problem for Boyd and Ava… especially if Ellen May runs off to Raylan. I don’t know that Raylan would want to put Ava away, but he’d surely love to get Boyd behind bars.

The gas station bathroom scene with Colt also gave us more insight into his character than we had in the three previous episodes. Even Colt had a problem with killing Ellen May, at least until he took a snort of whatever drug he was using. I get the impression that Colt used to be a good man, but he’s lost himself to whatever he’s addicted to. If he had spared Ellen May, Colt could have reclaimed part of his soul. But Colt’s reaction leads me to believe that Ellen May’s escape definitely wasn’t something he had in mind for her.

This season has been a little slow to get started, but the individual episodes remain satisfying. And the hook for next week’s episode was very effective.