Now we’re talking, dear reader. Now we’re where I want to be with Justified. Yes, the hostage crisis plot could be considered another disposable storyline in that it’s doubtful we’ll see W. Earl Brown again on the show (who you’ll remember as Cameron Diaz’s retarded brother in There’s Something About Mary and the ruthless fan-favorite Dan Dority in Deadwood), but it actually played into the overall arc of the series in a very interesting way. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s talk about what was overtly moved forward in “Blowback,” seasonal story arc-wise.
Turns out because of the sheriff getting busted by Raylan last week Bo Crowder gets out three months ahead of schedule. Seems because a corrupt cop’s cases have to be retried, the judge decided that any prisoner busted by the sheriff with only six months or less left in their sentence may as well be let go instead of going back to court on the taxpayers’ dime. Bo himself explains this to Ava (he also discusses the joys of homemade pie to her in the fantastically creepy opening scene) before Raylan steps in and has to resist the urge to kick Bo’s malicious-ass teeth in. This is the first of two major technicalities that are revealed to have come about byRaylan’s actions in the episode.
We also get another creepy as shit woman-being-menaced-in-a-sly-way scene between Winona and a so-called security expert who breaks into her home named Wynn Duffy, who is apparently one of the names on the list Winona asked Raylan to look into. After the intense confrontation (wherein Duffy, who was also the drug counselor for Jesse’s rehab group in the first episode of the current season of Breaking Bad, looks like a blonde Maria Shriver) Winona confronts her husband, who reveals himself to be a weasely little shit, able to come up with lies instantaneously and turn the situation back on his wife in classically manipulative ways. This cannot be the last we see of Wynn Duffy, he’s so goddamn slimy I can’t fucking wait to see him pop up again.
But then there’s the whole hostage crisis at the center of this episode, the slick little story with a tidy beginning, middle and end. Well, even if it hadn’t meant shit to the rest of the season, I’d more than likely have loved it all the same. The performances by Deadwood buddies Olyphant and Brown are fucking fantastic, helped along by that top-notch, alternately cool/funny dialogue that we’ve come to expect from this show (and, you know, from Elmore Leonard in general). The ticking clock of the SWAT team on their way (not to mention the awaited arrival of the fried chicken, for that matter) provides for some great tension and the presence of the DA Vasquez makes for some great stakes. But then Vasquez turns out to be not such a dick after all. Ends up the guy is less of a bureaucrat than we first might have assumed, even shares a drink with Ray after Ray has non-violently diffused the situation.
But the drinking scene pays off the whole hostage situation thing just fucking perfectly because Ray is thinking, like we the audience are, that hey, maybe this guy Vasquez isn’t such a turd after all – why not just get this interrogation over with? But when Ray sits on the other side of the desk from Vasquez, it becomes clear that it isn’t the fact that Vasquez is a desk jockey shithead so much as that Ray is a fucking idiot. Vasquez lays out for them exactly how Ray’s fucking Ava (which Vasquez has particularly definitive photographic proof of…) gives him no case against Boyd, and thus they have to let him free. Fucking awesome.
I was convinced for all this time that Boyd’s religious angle and snitching was going to somehow free him from prison, but it turns out that Ray’s own actions indirectly get Boyd released. With Boyd and Bo able to run around Lexington and Harlan as they please, you better believe Ray’s going to be extra vigilant, in the interest of righting his own wrong if not simply for Ava’s sake. But speaking of Ava, Ray didn’t answer that call from her at the end of the episode – could be he’s listening to his superiors for once…