Just about everybody in Harlan County’s looking for someone, these days. What’s nice is that Justified has managed to keep all its table-setting mercifully entertaining. Really, not much major has happened over the course of the last five episodes. We’ve had a couple of developments in terms of that whole mess of cocaine that fell out of the sky back in the season premiere, and we know that Arlo is really doing a fine job of pulling some strings from his prison cell...but other than that, things have been decidedly low-key. Only a show like Justified could pull this off, while creating a thorough sense of simmering tension at the very same time. Colton definitely continues to be the show’s most interesting new character, and I’m surprised at how quickly the writers was able to endear the audience to him. (One episode. I think they pretty much did it in one episode.) He’s really starting to bounce around a lot these days, but this makes sense when his circumstances are considered. His moment of moral ambivalence in that heinous truck stop bathroom has only made his transformation into something of a rabid dog that much more jarring. (Also, I wonder who was knocking on the door just before Ellie May took off? Could it have been Shelby?) The scene where he knocks around that poor lady of the night was one of the finest moments that Ron Eldard has been able to serve up.
Another thing about which I’m good and curious is what Shelby’s play might be when it comes to Ellie May. They're really teasing out exactly what it is she knows that could damage Boyd and Ava’s empire so badly, and at this point it’s going to have to be a special kind of doozy. Clearly, it must be, since Shelby’s willing to both protect her and act so bold around Boyd. It’s also great to see him hang out with Raylan for an episode, even though the latter doesn’t do very much other than move from place to place in service of the plot’s advancement. He did get to make fun of just about everybody with whom he came into contact whilst doing so, which is always a treat. “Rapes with a Smile” as a Native American name is probably one of my favorite gags ever, and his entire attitude during the showdown with the creeps that “chopped” Josiah was pretty entertaining.
And of course, Boyd and Ava get engaged right after professing their love “over a box of cash.” It’s perfectly fitting for these two, and the scene was written with all the right notes of sweetness. Ava’s loving correction of Boyd as he puts her ring on the wrong hand is an example of why I love this show so much. Justified is intent upon doing some pretty gnarly and unpleasant things within its stories, but it always makes sure that you have a great time while you’re listening to them.
Oh, and also:
• I can't wait until we see the Pastor Velociraptor again. I feel like they're making moves right now that are tailor-made for fans of Justified. Anybody who's watched the show just knows that character won't stay behind the scenes for long.
• JUST now realized that Colton was also Elle Fanning's dad in Super 8.
• Roz is another of my favorite ancillary characters: "I didn't have no goddam sex with Teddy!"