In the season four opener of Justified, everybody’s got a secret stash in the wall or, as new edition to the show Constable Bob Sweeney (a hilariously excellent Patton Oswalt) might put it, a “go bag.” Raylan’s may be banging the babe who owns the bar he lives above but he’s squirreling away cash for Winona and the child on the way in her belly, Raylan taking less-than-legal skip tracing gigs from a sexy former-fling bail bondswoman to raise said cash. Boyd, finding that the oxycontin biz is drying up some, hides the cash he collects off one of his dealers in the ceiling tiles, asking his old war buddy/new gang member Colton Rose (familiar face Ron Eldard, best remembered by me as the guy who killed his kids then himself in one of the few great episodes of late-era Homicide) to keep their financial success from Ava. Then there’s Arlo, whose peculiar bag in the wall containing an old driver’s license of someone named Waldo Truth sets off the main story of this episode and possibly the main arc of this season, who kills the trusty in prison to ensure the secrecy of that bag’s existence.
But before we get into the questions raised by these dirty secrets, let’s quick go over what all happened in “Hole in the Wall,” a fucking just-dandy episode of the most fun crime show on television. (Afraid I can’t quite say best as, you know, we live in a world where Breaking Bad exists.) We’ve got Raylan taking a job picking up bail jumper Joey Adair for the cute-butted bondswoman (no time wasted getting to what’s allowed nudity-wise on basic cable this season!), being forced to put the guy in the trunk when Constable Bob tells him he chased off some kids looking to steal the copper out of his old man’s house. Raylan swings by and finds the odd bag with the license in it and goes to pick up some building materials at the hardware store (sure isn’t in any hurry to get Adair locked up) where he gains an eyeful of teenage tit and loses the car, Adair and the bag both in the trunk.
Though certainly meant to be a figure of fun, Constable Bob isn’t completely useless as he suggests they go to the scrapyard for the car and they make it just in time. (“Crusher Man! Crusher Man!”) There’s another classic Justified standoff that ends with one of Constable Bob’s fuck-ups with his trusty knife going in his favor, his stabbing the girl in the foot managing to save the day. Raylan then presents the bag to Arlo in prison, gets stonewalled, then Arlo cuts the shifty trusty’s throat right outside his cell, witnesses and consequences be damned. Love the way the trusty is set up as a possible recurring character, the guy coming off as genuinely interesting and a nice addition to the cast before he is quickly cut down. (That’s what you get for rec-ing an Alan Furst novel…)
On Boyd’s end we watch him struggle to make ends meet as the leader of a criminal enterprise, Johnny (who is now much more mobile) asleep at the wheel in the oxy business and Ava having to clean up a furry-related mess on Ella Mae’s part in the pimping side. Boyd’s new buddy Colton helps him shake down a newly converted oxy-pusher, the job a trial run for the newly discharged Colton, though just what Boyd needs “outside help” on remains a mystery. In another great misdirection we get Colton seeming uneasy with Boyd having killing involved in the job description only for Colton to be over-willing to do the deed when the time comes in a hilariously dark scene. (“Guess I have to choose my words more carefully then!”)
After seeing signs of him all over the episode, we finally get a good look at the possible main bad guy of season four, the man supposedly responsible for Boyd’s oxy business going downhill, Pastor Billy St. Cyr of the Last Chance Holiness Church (Joe “the kid from Jurassic Park” Mazzello). Billy’s holding services in a tent outside of town, Ella Mae in attendance when we see him, handling snakes and holding major sway over his congregation. No idea what he’s up to yet but I’m guessing it’s of a nefarious stripe because, you know, what’s the point of the guy otherwise?
But as discussed up top, the identity of the big bad is not the only thing a mystery at this point. What’s the deal with Arlo’s super-secret bag and license, items that seem to have something to do with the failed parachutist with a whole lotta coke on him from the opening flashback to thirty years ago? What is so important about it that Arlo doesn’t think twice about cutting a dude’s throat over keeping it safe, not to mention hiring dumb kids to pick it up for him in the first place? What does Boyd have in mind with hiring of Colton Rose and why is he keeping his funds secret from Ava? Is Constable Bob, who seems to have some amount of real ambition, just going to be around for awesome comic relief or is his ambition gonna lead somewhere unsavory soon? How many gigs has Raylan been taking off the books since we last saw him? And then there’s the real question on all our minds: Will Rachel take Raylan’s advice and join the cool kids by netflixing The Big Lebowski?