So Tanner finally pays off in “Loose Ends,” a very strong episode of no small amount of incident. We kick shit off with Ava getting Raylan to go see Boyd in jail, with Raylan planting one on her for her trouble. Boyd tells Raylan that Tanner Dodd is the one behind the oxy shack shooting a while back, and also the real bomber of Sheriff Napier’s car. Raylan starts looking into Boyd’s claims and finds them to be legit, even has some fun with Napier at his office by having a trucker play the part of an ATF agent who traced the explosion back to Tanner.
While Raylan waits for Napier to lead to him to Tanner and hopefully getting the opportunity to pick up Tanner for his multiple crimes and bust Napier for attempted murder, he gets a call that Tanner’s standing on a bomb with a body in front of him. The scene with Limehouse’s man Errol and Tanner trying to rip off the bombmaker is classically Leonardian, both gleefully stupid and violently absurd. Way it all shakes out, Raylan loses Tanner to the bouncing betty before he’s able to give up too much dirt on his employers, but he does watch Errol pay off Tanner’s mama (that was nice of him, wasn’t it?), thus solidifying for him that Quarles and Limehouse are now working together.
But while Raylan ran around trying to wrap up Tanner’s bullshit, Ava got a helluva lot of good shit to do. Delray the Pimp from a few episodes ago returns, this time getting his girls to rip off a check cashing place. But shirt turns sour when one of them is killed and Delray has to clean up his mess, taking out one of the hookers while Ellen May steals away. She makes it to Johnny’s bar where thankfully Ava’s the only one on shift, and Ava hides her. When she tells Johnny about Ellen May he points out that they owe it to Delray who pays for their protection, to give Ellen May over to her. Ava makes like she’s gonna go through with turning Ellen May in to be murdered, and as she’s just had a discussion about what she’s willing to do for her career criminal man with Raylan, there’s a moment there where I thought we’d get a colder, more detached Ava on our hands.
Instead she blows a hole through Delray and then gets rid of the body with the help of Ellen May. When Boyd is released, she confesses to him straight up what she did then expresses interest in being a madam to Delray’s now pimp-less hookers, and Boyd agrees. But while Boyd takes it all in surprisingly decent stride, Johnny Crowder may, like Devil before him, come to question Boyd’s decidedly softer approach in the near future.
What can’t be argued is Boyd’s charm. He shows up at the VFW debate between Napier and Shelby and buries Napier, calling him an exploiter of the working man, a shill for Black Pike Mining. It’s a great speech from Boyd, but it doesn’t exactly spell out victory just yet. Limehouse has hired a campaign manager for Napier, and when Quarles is forced to sit down and discuss demographics with him, we see how disinterested Quarles is in the honest work part of criminal influence and how nervous he is upon seeing how deep Limehouse’s local connections go.
So the lines are getting more and definitive, with Raylan now fully aware that Quarles and Limehouse are associated with Napier and, whether he likes it or not, himself being quite clearly aligned with Shelby and Boyd. And after that fucking fantastic one-scene teaser we got at the end of this episode (“Why wait?” Fucking awesome), I’m extremely jazzed for next week’s episode. What do you guys think of what’s been going down, Justifans? One thing I found curious is that in an episode called “Loose Ends,” where we see numerous examples of , you know, the tying up of a lot of ’em, we open with Raylan putting the incriminating gun in a box in his new digs. When’s that shoe gonna drop? Also, we saw a little bit of bark but no bite from Art this week, making me wonder if Raylan’s gonna get suspended or worse later on, or if Art will come to his defense. Personally, I think Art’s too cool to be forced into “Back off from Scorpio, Callahan!” police chief cliche bullshit.