Episode Title: "Kin"
Writers: Fred Golan & V. J. Boyd
Director: Peter Werner
Previously on "Justified":
“I’ve come to a conclusion... I don’t like you.” - Boyd Crowder
After keeping Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) separated for the first four episodes, “Justified” finally brought the duo back together in “Kin.” And while circumstances briefly caused Raylan and Boyd to be on the same side, that’s not a scenario that’s likely to repeat itself any time soon.
Full spoilers are ahead for “Kin,” so if you aren’t up to date on “Justified” then you should come back later or else something will be afoot. Or “a foot.”
Despite Raylan’s obvious distaste for Boyd, I do believe that there was some part of Raylan that liked Boyd... right up until Raylan’s father, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) shot and killed Raylan’s friend, Tom Bergen because he thought that Tom was Raylan holding a gun on Boyd. And then Boyd happily let Arlo take the fall for Devil’s murder as well as Tom’s.
When they’re reunited in this episode, Raylan’s not in much of a talking mood. But he and Boyd briefly overpower their captors. And when Raylan was spared, he did go out of his way to save Boyd’s life... before handcuffing him to a tree in the forest. That was the last straw for Boyd, who uttered the words at the beginning of this review.
In some ways, Boyd’s belief that Raylan was his friend may have held him back from more lethal alternatives to keep Raylan out of his way. It will be interesting to see if Boyd is more willing to kill Raylan now that any illusion of friendship is gone from Boyd’s mind.
Raylan and Boyd now have a common goal: to find Drew Thompson, the man behind this season’s mystery arc. Thanks to some proven corruption within the FBI, Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) has the case turned over to the U.S. Marshals, much to the anger of FBI Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowsky).
After Barkley has the nerve to fume about it and once again accuse Raylan of being dirty, we learn that Barkley is on the payroll of Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin), who is “talking to the ear” angry about the recent turn of events. It was disappointing to see that Arkin didn’t appear in this episode for a brief cameo. Instead, we got Mike O’Malley as Nick Augustin, one of Tonin’s surrogates who apparently shared a friendship with Barkley that went back for decades. Not that it stopped him from blowing Barkley’s brains out when the FBI agent tried to get a significant amount of money for his cooperation. So it falls to the unflappable Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), who barely reacts to the murder inches away from him. Burns has been very good this season and he’s managed to pave over the image of Duffy as Robert Quarles’ spineless lackey.
Although we’ve previously been told that Drew Thompson witnessed Tonin murder a federal informant, Augustin reveals that Thompson shot Tonin in the eye, stole his cocaine and left him for dead. Both things may be true, and it goes a long way towards explaining why Tonin wants Thompson brought to him alive for retribution.
The case doesn’t become personal for Raylan until he learns that Arlo is on the verge of getting a deal that will make him a free man in exchange for giving the feds Thompson. Meanwhile, Duffy brings Boyd into the hunt by promising pretty much anything that Boyd wants. Naturally, Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) is alarmed by the turn of events, but Duffy assures him that his promises to Boyd are empty and that Johnny will still be free to kill his cousin.
Raylan and Boyd’s quest brings them into the custody of the Hill People, a rural band of families who don’t really trust or welcome outsiders. It’s only Raylan’s blood ties to his mother’s cousin, Mary (Bonita Friedericy) that save both of their lives. One of the Hill People was even portrayed by Christopher Douglas Reed from “Sons of Anarchy.” So every time that Daniel was on screen I kept thinking of him as “Filthy Phil.” Maybe FX should layoff of the cross program casting, otherwise Charlie Hunnam might show up on “Justified” sporting a pair of female breasts.
If Mary served a purpose, it was to give us a rare glimpse of what Raylan’s mother, Frances was like. She also confirms that Thompson was hiding among the Hill People at one point and that Boyd and Raylan’s fathers helped Thompson get away in exchange for the cocaine that he stole. For Arlo, that makes perfect sense. Killing the prisoner to protect Thompson’s secret was never about friendship. It was simply Arlo’s way of guarding his only piece of leverage to escape life in prison.
Reluctantly pointing Raylan to the Hill People was TV legend, Gerald McRaney as Josiah, a cranky career criminal held under house arrest by an ankle bracelet. Raylan’s method of interrogation was pretty damn hilarious. In the real world, we don’t want law enforcement dragging people with their cars to get information. But in the context of this show it was funny.
For a while, it seemed like Josiah got the better of Raylan by warning the Hill People that he was coming. But when Raylan went back for a word with Josiah, he found that someone had relieved Josiah of his ankle bracelet... and his foot. Given the savagery of Tonin’s men, it’s probably someone from the Detroit mafia. So, Nick Augustin is the likely culprit.
The main subplot this week belonged to Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard), who quickly unraveled while desperately trying to find Ellen May (Abby Miller). Colt’s screwup has put him in the doghouse with Boyd for avoiding contact with him... and Boyd doesn’t even know that Ellen May is still alive yet! It’s hard to see Colt coming out of this alive when Boyd learns the truth.
However, Colt’s desperation made him oddly endearing and we once again get a glimpse of how far he’s fallen. Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) and Colt strike up a conversation while waiting for Raylan and Boyd and they actually seem to like and respect each other. But when Tim floats the idea of Colt working for the Marshal service, Colt quickly shoots it down... possibly because that level of scrutiny would expose Colt’s other secrets.
As soon as the gas station security footage showed Ellen May getting close to a police car, it was pretty obvious that Sheriff Shelby Parlow (Jim Beaver) was behind her disappearance. We haven’t met any of his deputies, so it wouldn’t make sense for any new character to insert himself into this story. And Ellen May could be Shelby’s key to getting out from under Boyd’s heel. Of course, that’s Boyd’s fault for not backing off of Shelby and for letting Shelby know that Ellen May had something on him and Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter). It’s good to see Beaver getting a larger role this season.
Natalie Zea and Patton Oswalt also made welcome returns as Winona Hawkins and Constable Bob Sweeney, respectively. But both characters were underserved in this episode, particularly Winona. I know that Zea is primarily tied to “The Following” now, but if she can’t appear in more than a single short scene then what’s the point of bringing her back? The sad thing is that she’s not really used that much on “The Following” either, at least in the first few episodes.
Constable Bob is fun to have around as Raylan’s sometimes sidekick, but hopefully he’ll get a bigger role in the weeks ahead now that the separate plotlines are merging together. As far as I can tell, the casting for Drew Thompson still hasn’t been announced by FX... which keeps the possibility alive that he’s someone we’ve already met...