As Raylan learns more about Lindsey and Drew Thompson, Boyd breaks some news to Billy

By Mandi Bierly
Updated January 23, 2013 at 07:19 AM EST
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You could tell from the slithering soundtrack that started this episode, when Boyd went to negotiate with Cassie at the Last Chance Holiness Church, that snakes would play a pivotal role this hour. Then again, the rattler that killed Billy wasn’t the only snake in this episode. Lindsey is just a lot prettier.

We opened with Boyd sitting in the church tent waiting to talk to Cassie and politely accuse her of sleeping with her brother (she merely sings him to sleep). She was open to a bribe, but only if Boyd built them a permanent home for Billy’s ministry. No deal. Cassie said she knew why Boyd keeps misjudging them — they’re not afraid of him. Boyd leaned in and whispered, “Well in that case, ma’am, I think we misjudged each other.” Game on.

We cut to Raylan, who was sleeping in his clothes because he had no place to holster his gun in his undershorts. Lindsey came clean about Randall: She used to get close to men and find out what they had worth stealing, and then Randall would take it. Only he got jealous and beat a guy half to death. Randall went to prison, and Lindsey divorced him. Perhaps people can change, but not in the world of Elmore Leonard. We knew Lindsey would end up stealing Raylan’s money with Randall. But Raylan has a weakness for pretty women, especially when they strip down to their bras and put their hands down his pants.

Back to Boyd: He gave Colton and Jimmy — I learned his name this week, since he lived — orders to beat on Billy. Only Cassie and Billy had expected someone to come, so the snakes were out and waiting for them, ready to bite. Jimmy shot the one that struck his cheek, but when Colton carried him into Boyd’s bar, its head was still attached to his face. Awesome. “What the hell happened?” Ava asked. “I think a snake bit him,” Colton quipped. Boyd had leapt over the bar to get to Jimmy. It’s how much he cares for his crew — when he knows they’re loyal — that allows us to like him, no matter how bad he gets. Colt had tried to reach Johnny, so he could call his doctor, but Johnny couldn’t be reached. (Does Wynn’s Winnebago not get good reception?)

Raylan went and found Randall at a gym and interrupted him using what showrunner Graham Yost referred to as “crotch spray” in our weekly postmortem. The boys had a civil enough conversation about Randall’s background; about Lindsey telling Raylan that Randall wanted to pull their old scam on Hoppus, the backyard fight promoter we met last week; and about Randall violating his parole by leaving the state of Florida. It was classic Raylan, giving Randall a deadline to head back to Florida — 6 p.m. that night — or he would send him back in cuffs or a box. But Randall said he wanted to do to Raylan what he’d done to the last guy who put his hands on Lindsey, and he threatened to put a limp in Raylan’s “Gary Cooper walk” and write his name all over his face. NOT THE FACE! It was a date.

Raylan went back to the office and interrupted Art reprimanding Rachel for not calling for backup when she apprehended a violent fugitive and getting herself trapped with said bad guy in a ladies room with one door and no windows. The idea that Rachel would let her divorce distract her or turn her into a Raylan-esque Wyatt Earp would be a copout — the lady Marshal is too emotional! — if Raylan’s stereotypical male weakness wasn’t so telegraphed. And also, Rachel looks badass and like she’s got her s— together in the promo for next week’s ep.

Art gave Raylan the Drew Thompson update: They’d located his “widow,” and Art wanted Raylan and Tim to pay her a visit and see how she reacted to the news that Drew was still alive. Art also found out that at the time of his death, Drew was wanted in a sealed federal witness warrant. Marshal stiffies all around! Art was hoping to get the warrant unsealed by the end of the day. “If my stiffy lasts much longer, I’m going to have to consult my physician,” he told Raylan. Oh, how I wish EW would print “Stiffy” on the Sound Bites page. But at least Justified made the mag’s Must List this week.

NEXT: Johnny be bad

Johnny, meanwhile, was off meeting with Wynn. Wynn was naturally skeptical of Johnny’s offer to become partners, seeing as how last season Devil had assured him that Johnny would back him in his move against Boyd and Wynn has never heard from Devil (because Boyd killed him). But when Johnny expressed his anger that Boyd, who’d gone against his father, had inherited his kingdom, Wynn wanted to believe him. Last we saw of them, Johnny offered to serve Boyd up and help Wynn kill him. Who do you think Wynn will side with? I mean, the show can survive without Johnny, so is there any question? Maybe Wynn will pull a Limehouse and turn them on each other so he can sell whatever he wants in Harlan, but still, Boyd lives in the end.

After we watched a doctor yank the snake out of Jimmy’s face (Boyd was right there with him, god bless him), we caught up to Tim and Raylan approaching the home of Eve Munro, Thompson’s “widow.” Another Raylan character trait: Never reading the file. He had no idea she was a psychic. In our postmortem, Yost said Timothy Olyphant had become a fan of a psychic show (America’s Psychic Challenge, he thought), and pushed for a psychic to make it into the show this season. Tim told Raylan she’s been arrested for fraud 17 times and local police are investigating recent robberies at several of her clients’ homes.

While Raylan tried to find out if she’d heard from Drew in the last 30 years, Eve used her gift of extrasensory perception through physical contact to read Raylan: “I see so much death around you, both of you,” she told the guys. She knew Raylan was doing something later that day that he knew he shouldn’t. “He does something stupid every day, can you be a little more specific?” Tim deadpanned. She knew he was meeting a fighter later, and Raylan said it was at a boxing gym on the east side at 6 p.m. Remember that, folks.

That conversation was interrupted when a man came to the door. Drop Dead Diva fans know him as Parker (and not all that scary), but this time, Josh Stamberg was playing an FBI agent named Alex Barnes. “Badges, if I’ve seen one badge, I’ve seen a thousand,” Raylan said. Shoutout to the Truth family! Eve had supposedly locked herself in a half bath without a window, but she’d lied. She bolted through the window and got snapped up by a mystery thug outside. It didn’t even occur to me that this guy, Mason Goines, was with Barnes, who said he was there to interview her, too.

“Way to go, assholes,” Art told Tim and Raylan when they were back in the office empty-handed. Art was convinced with three Marshals there, they could have kept eyes on Eve while handling the armed man in the yard. He’s probably right. I don’t know, maybe send Rachel out with them sometime? Or would having the whole team on one case feel too much like a straight procedural? Do we need to save that full-team press for extra-special, big-bad occasions only?

Barnes arrived to throw his weight around. He said the FBI will be handling the Drew Thompson case now. Raylan wasn’t convinced Eve ran since she left her car and phone. But Drew said the FBI wasn’t interested in her, if she’d told them she knew nothing. Raylan was right to think something was up: Eve absolutely knew something about Drew, otherwise she wouldn’t have left, and oh yeah, Drew called Mason — who threatened to kill him and his family if they didn’t find Drew.

NEXT: Apparently you never want to end up in a motel room in Kentucky

Mason had Eve in a motel room, questioning her about Drew’s whereabouts. Pause as we think about Raylan versus “The Ice Pick” in a motel room in the season 3 premiere, and about that time Raylan and Arlo drew on each other in a motel. Good times. Mason tortured Eve Justified style — he’s a cool, creative minimalist. “You don’t worry about how long you’re gonna live, you worry about how slow you’re gonna die,” he told her.

Speaking of death, Johnny walked into the bar and was prickly when Boyd asked where he’d been. Lucky for Johnny, Boyd got distracted when the doctor said Jimmy should have been dead hours ago. THE SNAKES WERE MILKED! Also not as deadly as expected: Randall didn’t show for his 6 p.m. showdown with Raylan. Raylan was told Randall packed his locker and left right after Raylan had spoken to him earlier. “Was he scared when he was leaving?” Raylan asked. Ha.

Raylan left the gym and ran into Barnes in the alley. He’d been on the phone saying “it looks like bulls—” to someone (Goines). He accused Raylan of lying when he said he didn’t get anything from the widow and asked if Drew was in there. Nice try, Barnes, but Raylan’s there for personal business. The only people who knew he’d be there were Tim and Eve, so Raylan figured Barnes was working with whoever kidnapped her. Barnes tried to pretend he’d just followed Raylan, thinking Raylan had been holding out on him, but Raylan asked if that would hold up once they pulled his phone records. Raylan wanted to cut a deal with Barnes, but Barnes knew his options were going to prison (not fun for a lawman) or entering witness protection. After finding out who he was scared of, Theo Tonin, and considering the threat that had been made on his family, you understand why he shot himself in the head — after telling Raylan where to find Eve.

Tim and Raylan led the charge into the motel room right as Mason was about to rape Eve at knifepoint and kill her. Art arrived to tell Eve (and us) that Mason had worked for Theo Tonin. Art played hardball and told Eve if she cooperates, they’ll give her protection. If she doesn’t, they’ll leave her on her own. She said one night 30 years ago, she found Drew burning all their photos. He told her a day or two later, someone would come by and tell her that he was dead — and as far as she was concerned, he would be. Why would he fake his own death? She finally said it: Drew saw Theo Tonin murder a government informant. Now Theo will send an army after Drew, Tim said. Marshal stiffies again! Eve was rewarded with six men to protect her. Before she left, Raylan asked how she knew where to send Barnes and Goines so he would piece it together — there were three boxing gyms on the east side. “I told you, I have a gift,” she said. (For scoop on when we’ll meet a new proxy for Tonin, read our postmortem.)

NEXT: Billy meets his maker

And from one questionable gift that brings people solace to another, we cut to Billy preaching to a packed tent (including Ellen May). He said the reason they handle serpents is because it’s by protecting them from the venom that god shows his glory. He said god had sheltered him from a devil the previous night by using the serpents to cast that devil out. In walked another devil, Boyd, carrying a toolbox containing a snake that he told the congregation Cassie hadn’t had time to milk.

Cassie tried to say Billy only handles snakes when the lord moves him to, but Boyd, preaching as only Walton Goggins can do, insisted that wasn’t good enough for the flock. If you’re in the light, you should be transparent. Billy rolled up his sleeves to do it, the true believer that he is. Boyd told Cassie she’d have to tell him the truth, and she did. He really had no idea. She said she did it because she’d been there and saw their father die that horrible death. Boyd picked up the toolbox and started to leave, satisfied. But Billy was gonna finish this game. Boyd tried to stop him. As Yost put it in our postmortem: “We wanted as a subtext for Boyd throughout this thing that he had a sympathy for Billy, and an understanding of Billy, and almost a wish that he still had the faith that Billy has. So it kinda hurts him to bring down a man of faith. And yet, it then confirms again his dark nihilistic view of the world. So it was just the idea that he offers up the challenge, it’s a test of Billy’s faith, and he’s hoping that Cassie will stop him and that that will be that. The church will then have to pack up and move on. That’s all he wanted. He didn’t want Billy to die….”

Cassie tried to stop Billy, too, to no avail. Someone should have tackled him. Instead, the congregation prayed. He got bit, of course, and had just enough time to put the snake back in the box before he collapsed. Maybe have anti-venom on hand, just in case? No way an ambulance gets there in time. As Boyd walked out of the tent, Raylan was walking into the bar.

He looked surprised to find Rachel on a stool. She told him she’d left her husband, Joe, and Raylan asked if he was supposed to ask if she wanted to talk about it. He was very relieved when she said he wasn’t. Rachel asked about his meeting with Randall — Tim had told her — and Raylan said Randall never showed. He would have bet money he’d be there. (Ha.) He asked the bartender if Lindsey was in, and he said last he saw her was a couple of hours ago when she headed upstairs to wait for Raylan. Raylan must have been suspicious if he brought Rachel along for backup. They found that his place had been tossed and the money in his underwear drawer was gone. Judging from the promo for next week, the fun of that story line will really begin — and come to some kind of end with gunplay.

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Who’s worried for Ellen May now? You’d think with the church presumably gone without Billy, she might be safe — but that promo doesn’t make it look that way.

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