“Guy Walks Into a Bar” was a whole lot of ramping up to shit, setting the scene for the last three episode of the season. In fact, though the title of the episode obviously refers to the great scene between Raylan and Quarles in the bar Raylan lives above, it could also be interpreted as, “this is the set-up, next few weeks will be punchline.” Way things are shaping up, I’m guessing it’ll be a damn sight better than, “and says ouch.”
The episode opened with Shelby interrupting some of Napier’s boys as they tried to plant drugs in his truck, scaring them off with a shotgun and some convincing lies about having cancer and wanting to keep them on the payroll once he’s elected. After Shelby hips Boyd to this, Boyd pulls out the big guns, which apparently involve Napier’s sister and the county clerk that Limehouse sets him up with. (Despite apparently getting little money for his services from Boyd thus far, so apparently he just knows that Quarles is through.)
Then we watch as Johnny’s bar is made the focus of election day, the girls who Ava’s pimping out these days giving out HJ’s and beej’s for votes for Shelby while Johnny gives em watered-down free booze. Then, they get the call the Napier won. Cut to Napier getting a visit in his office from Quarles, Quarles boldly (and crazily) insisting that he get Napier’s office and Napier move down the hall. Then the law clerk shows up, says Napier’s sister in the employ of the county and therefore makes Napier ineligible for office, boom, job goes to Napier. It’s a nifty move, and one that shows Boyd’s finesse compared to Quarles’ bluntness, Boyd’s speech to Quarles outside the Sheriff’s office putting a capper on his cunning charm.
But that shit drives Quarles off the deep-end. He’s visited by the boyfriend of one of the hustler he killed, a boyfriend with a gun, that is. Quarles talks him out of shooting, giving him a possibly true story about his childhood of sexual abuse and his violent coming of age, the scene ending in an embrace between the two crying men. Then Quarles goes over to pay Raylan a visit and straight up tells him that he’s going to kill him, the scene ending in a draw.
But while Raylan goes to fuck the hot bar owner gal, Quarles goes off to do rails and do some nude beat downs on the hustler’s boyfriend, who is tied up in his bathroom. The message ain’t too subtle: Quarles is desperate and has nothing left in Harlan nor anywhere else to go. Which of our characters will he hurt before he’s brought down?
Raylan’s journey was the least interesting of the episode, mainly just trying to find ways to keep Dickie Bennett in prison. Because Dickie was taken from prison by penitentiary employees, the state would rather let him go than deal with a lawsuit Dickie would no doubt win. Raylan tries to think of ways that would convince the judge to keep him in jail, lawsuit be damned, but ultimately decides that fuck it, Dickie will fuck up soon enough and then he’ll go back to jail or die, even says so in court. But though this was just a lot of air time leading to something we already know has to happen (they wouldn’t keep Dickie in prison – he’s too much fun!), Raylan still got to start up a possible romance with his landlord and square off against Quarles in her bar. (“Why wait?” was ridiculously badass.)
So next week we’ve got Raylan looking out for a crazed Quarles and a free Dickie, and Limehouse trying to nab Dickie before he enlists a bunch of people to help him get back the Bennett money, and Boyd trying to kill Dickie for shooting Ava and, you know, to get the money. Does this mean Loretta will come back next week? Seems like she’s got a hand in the money plot something major to me. And what Quarles is up to next week is anybody’s guess, though “something crazy” is probably the safest bet.