The cold open of tonight’s episode squared up the robbery from last week right away, giving us a quick montage of clips from the ATF’s interviews with Boyd and Ava. The couple stick to their story, claiming that Boyd didn’t know about the robbery until he was in the thick of it, fighting for his life and that of his woman. They both play it cool and are sent on their merry way, with good old Art Mullen even stepping in to help defend Ava’s honor at one point.
But instead of then going on to see what kind of shit the Bennetts were up to or going home with Boyd and Ava to see how they plan to get away with using the money they kept from the robbery, we see a fight between Winona and Gary over him yet again fucking up their finances, this time over a horse. The way it was filmed, with the voyeuristic shots of them from outside the house looking in, had me somehow convinced that good old Wynn Duffy might be rearing his maniacally fucking evil head again at long last during this episode. (I mean, shit, his name was dropped weeks ago and still no sign of him returning? That’s some bullshit!) As it turned out, “Blaze of Glory” wasn’t about an evil force coming at Winona so much as some surprising darkness appearing within her soul and, take note, Raylan’s willingness to do wrong himself to protect her over those troubling traits.
With no further scenes in the episode focused on what’s happening in Harlan with either the Boyd or Bennett family storylines, “Blaze of Glory” might at first seem like a strictly disposable episode (aside from the opening scene explaining how Boyd gets out of last week’s jam, naturally), but the Nerd would be awfully fucking surprised if what happened in this episode doesn’t reverberate throughout the rest of the season. First, let’s discuss the plot itself.
Winona gets some time alone in the evidence cage (in a pretty eye-rolling way, let’s be honest) and stumbles across a whole lot of money in one of the evidence lockers. She takes one one-hundred dollar bill and goes to test it out at the bank and see if any flags go off or whatever (it’s a pretty compulsive, if not out-right stupid plan) only to have the place robbed before she can leave after having quikcly come to her senses. One of the robbers takes the bill off her, hence forcing her to go tell Raylan, giving the whole precedings even more weight for him. (As if one of the dude’s molesting and stomping his ex-wife weren’t stakes enough.)
The bad guys were decent and their scam clever enough, Scott Wilson’s character managing to outfox both the Marshals and his partners in crime at every turn. (And thank god he was being crafty in the scene where he has an asthmatic attack while trying to kill the psycho dude because that shit was just weak on the surface.) Raylan gets a decent scene in his showdown with the two idiots in the second bank, for sure, but the real money scene was obviously Art Mullen and Scott Wilson facing off in the puddle jumper lot. The “chase” was classic and a great excuse to add some lore and character to one of the show’s many under-used good guy characters. Luckily Raylan is able to convince Art to give him the money to process at the end, letting Art be the hero but Raylan Winona’s hero.
Winona doing something as sketchy as stealing from the evidence locker is different enough for her character, but by doing so she has dragged Raylan into some strange territory. There may be other examples but this cover-up, small scale though it may be, feels like the most corrupt thing Raylan has done to date on the series. Everything else, be it setting up Old West scenarios with murderers or cutting Boyd some slack when he should be taken down, almost always feels totally (I apologize in advance) justified. I don’t think this cover-up will ever come up again but the moral ambiguity of both Raylan and Winona will definitely come into play sometime soon. As I call myself the “Nerd of Noir” for some fucking reason, you know I’m all for our characters going darker t00t-fucking-sweet.