“Watching the Detectives” opens with Quarles setting up Raylan in a seemingly infallible way. He kills Gary Hawkins on Winona’s front steps using the bullet that Raylan threw at Wynn Duffy (love the callbacks to and dissection of “Next one’s coming faster” in this episode, very Leonardian breakdown of a cool, movie-ish line). Then he has the boss’ son say Raylan’s working for Boyd on his phone, which they know is being tapped by the Feds. Soon enough Raylan’s got both the Lexington PD after him for murder and the Feds after him for corruption.
But despite some really strong testimonies from Wynn and Quarles refuting Raylan’s recollection of how the “Next one’s coming faster” event went down, Raylan still avoids getting locked up. Winona, despite being even more pissed at him for finding out only now that Gary was behind their getting shot at last season, finds the gun used to kill Gary in her house just before the cops search the place, gives it to Raylan. And the Feds simply trip themselves up, with Agent Barkley being unable to tell the DA how he got tipped off to Raylan’s supposed dirtiness making their investigation moot for the moment. (Which felt kinda weak sauce to me. Yeah, the DA’s a little shit who wants Raylan’s ass but he wouldn’t be *that* blinded that he wouldn’t put together a decent case before going on the attack.)
Personally, I thought that these charges would hang in there longer, but more than one show with Raylan unable to shoot motherfuckers on account of he’s locked up or in questioning would probably get old. Instead of Raylan’s frame being a big event to hang over the rest of the season, it was just Quarles’ last game attempt at looking like he has his shit together enough for the Detroit boys to keep backing his oxy operation, failing though it may be. After he’s cut off officially following the frame’s failure, he starts taking his meds. Whether that means he was planning on going home to the fam and straightening his shit out we’ll never know, because the next scene is Limehouse offering to back him.
Now it seems like Limehouse has been the sharpest player in the game all along, so naturally there’s more going on here than meets the eye. He’s got his indebted double agent Tanner back in Quarles’ shaky graces so he must know that Quarles is desperate and lacking in Detroit mob funding and power. Also, I’m assuming that Limehouse takes to carpetbaggers same as Boyd does, so he probably doesn’t want to tangle with the Detroit boys at all if he can help it. So basically, Limehouse wants to get into business with Quarles and whatever Duffy’s Lexington boys can bring to the table. I don’t see what that is but then not all is revealed about Limehouse quite yet.
Quarles’ other move this week was to frame Boyd for trying to kill the Sheriff (the digital effects on that explosion looked about as convincing John Travolta’s hair, by the way), as he is a noted backer of Shelby for the position and a known dynamite user. How much that charge is supposed to stick beyond a chance for the Sheriff to drag Boyd in front of the cameras we don’t know yet, but we sure have been getting a lot from Tanner lately without knowing how he’s supposed to pay-off. Limehouse makes him his informant and he gets back with Quarles, then we see him trying to get money directly from the Sheriff for rigging his car with the bomb instead of Quarles as the Sheriff suggests, a scene that makes little sense now but probably will next week, if post-episode teaser’s to be believed.