As Raylan hunts Randall and Lindsey, Ava and Boyd make a decision about Ellen May
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Jenn Lyon
Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

“I’m thinkin’ you should have seen this coming.” Those are the first words spoken in this hour, by Rachel regarding Lindsey having run off with Raylan’s money. She’s right, of course, but what’s fun about this episode — besides Raylan’s ultimate showdown with Randall and Lindsey when he found them — is how it ended. We thought we knew exactly what was going to happen to Ellen May after Colton got the call from Ava to kill her instead of taking her to the bus station. Told that Ava had changed her mind and said she could come back to work, Ellen May was supposed to keep gazing out that truck window, with the wind blowing in her hair and that peaceful, relieved look on her face after she said “Feels good… goin’ home.” The screen was supposed to fade to black, and we were to assume that Colton had shot her and contemplate the beautiful double meaning of her last words. (The recently baptized Ellen May was going home to God.) In our weekly postmortem with showrunner Graham Yost, he says they thought about killing Ellen May and wanted us to think that’s where the story was headed. But surprise: Ellen May lived. And now we have a new mystery: Who took her and why?

My theories:

1. Johnny/Wynn’s men. Johnny could have overheard what was happening to Ava and decided to save her to use in his plan to take down Boyd. She could be good bait to get Boyd to a meet, where someone could plan on killing Boyd. This is what I’d bet on.

2. Cassie. If she’s smart, she would have realized that Shelby was questioning her to find out what Ellen May told Billy and/or her about Boyd’s business, which means Ellen May knows something about Boyd that could be damaging. Perhaps Cassie had a change of heart and doesn’t want to leave judgment to God.

3. Shelby’s officers. Shelby, who wants Boyd off his back, could have put a tail on Ellen May hoping she’ll spill to him what Boyd and Ava were afraid she said to Billy and Cassie and had deputies intercept her. It’s a reach, I know.

The only tease we could get out of Yost was that it’s not aliens.

Let’s go back to the start.

NEXT: Randall’s true calling is revealed

Raylan needed a moment to wallow over Lindsey’s betrayal. “I kinda thought she liked me is all,” he told Rachel. Ah. Lindsey likes herself, and right now, she thinks Randall is the better bet. We caught up with them at Hoppus’ house, and he’s quite the host. He took them to a private bar to chat and talked about how he’d had the place “Feng Shui’d” a few weeks prior by a hippie babe from over by Berea — “the type you just want to shave down and domesticate” — to keep all the undesirable energy outside with the (party) animals. Hoppus is a lot more enjoyable than I thought he would be. He’s a flirt, which we know Randall doesn’t take kindly to when it comes to Lindsey, so the boys almost came to blows. But Lindsey got the situation under control: Hoppus said he’d make a call to set up a meet in the morning with the guy who’d use the $20,000 Lindsey handed over to set Randall up as a fight manager. Obviously, Lindsey runs that show, but also from the look on her face when Randall hugged her and said together nothing could stop them, we know she doesn’t see “them” being together “forever.”

Over at Boyd’s bar, Johnny was drinking to being back in business now that Billy is gone when Ellen May arrived to see Ava. She had nowhere else to go. Boyd spoke to her first, but said the decision about whether she could return was up to the lady of the house. “I can work, Ava. I can start at the bottom and take the ones nobody else wants,” Ellen May said. I never thought about seniority at a brothel before. Ava asked how her God would feel about that. “I don’t know. I just want to come home… Can I, can I, can I come home, please?” Ellen May said, with a nervous smile. Boyd believed Ellen May was telling the truth — she simply had nowhere else to go. But Ava was still nervous that Ellen May unburdened her soul to Billy or could get the urge to come clean about Delroy now. Ava doesn’t want to live waiting for the other shoe to drop, but killing Ellen May is the only other alternative she saw, and she wasn’t ready for that. Boyd sent his men to find Cassie. If Ellen May told Billy about Delroy, she’d know it, too. They’d start testing Ellen May there.

Rachel and Raylan showed up Hoppus’ at daylight, after the party. Did you notice the little smile on Rachel after she woke a man who immediately vomited. It’s good to see her sense of humor. While Raylan floundered, Rachel made headway talking to a female fighter named Gina. When Raylan asked if he was interrupting something, Gina cracked, “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” Then she told Raylan they’d wrestle for it — if he won, she’d take them to Hoppus, and if he won, he could leave his hat on. She was joking, though I couldn’t tell if we were supposed to think she had real interest in one of them. The three of them then interrupted Hoppus’ three-way with a couple of ladies. “Bitches, chill,” Hoppus told them when Raylan said he needed a word. (So Hoppus is a RoboCop fan.) After Raylan ID’d himself as a Marshal, Hoppus guessed he was lookin’ for Randall, but wasn’t inclined to help. That’s when Raylan grabbed Hoppus’ junk, and judging from Gina’s reaction, I’m thinking she was warming to Raylan. Raylan still doesn’t want to report the stolen money that he’s not supposed to have but everyone in the Marshals office knows about, so he had to be patient. “I’ll tell you what, any fool that didn’t see that grifter Barbie comin’ a mile off deserves gettin’ his ass fleeced,” Hoppus said. Fine. But does he have a line on these fighters Randall wants to manage? Hoppus laughed — they’re chickens. Rachel had two hours before she had to be at work, so she agreed to go with Raylan to Versailles to try to stop his money from going to the birds.

NEXT: Ava gives Ellen May her freedom

Lindsey and Randall had already had their meeting and were celebrating by having her distract a poor convenience store clerk/amateur photographer named Alvin while Randall stole some champagne. They went parking, and Lindsey got turned on hearing Randall talk about the “Bruce Lee of chickens” and they started to get it on. Only Randall couldn’t erase the thought of her having enjoyed talking about “tasteful boudoir shots” with Alvin, so he turned the car around. We didn’t have to watch him pound on the guy later, we just heard it as we watched Lindsey use a payphone to call someone. She told paranoid Randall that it was 911, so Alvin wouldn’t die, but she’d pressed a lot more numbers. We knew it was Raylan.

Meanwhile, Shelby was in his office, waiting for Cassie to be brought in when a note about Drew Thompson not being dead after all came on his computer screen. Let’s file that away for later. For now, Shelby’s purpose was to pretend he wanted to know if Cassie knew anything actionable about Boyd — since his part in her brother’s death isn’t. He told her if Boyd felt threatened by what she knows, he’d have no problem killing her. She said Boyd was right to be scared. She does know things, only it’s what Shelby already knows and chooses to ignore — the whores, the drugs, the threats, and bribes. So she’ll have to wait for Boyd to get his judgment day with the lord. Cassie left, and we saw that Shelby had Boyd and Ava on speakerphone — very clever. Boyd tried to comment on the way that Shelby had run down his character to Cassie, and Shelby just hung up on him. Ha! Ava was satisfied, but she still thinks Ellen May’s too unpredictable — firing guns at clients, doing Oxy. Boyd had another idea: They could send her to his cousin Lonny in Alabama who owns a no-tell motel and has a ministry outback. Lonny had found god after he lost his leg in a drunk-driving accident, so he’d see Ellen May’s “crazy bullshit” as a challenge. And if she didn’t like the job or what he was preaching, there are other churches and whorehouses there.

When we next saw Raylan, he and Rachel were visiting the guy who sells gamecocks. He liked seeing if he could get Rachel to blink by waving one of the sharp metal talons the chickens wear near her face, and she eventually took out her baton and whacked him. He’s lucky Raylan got a call tracing the number Lindsey had called him from. They went to see Alvin, and again, Raylan commiserated with the man Lindsey had duped. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that blond girl set me up to take a beatin’,” Alvin said. “I know what you mean,” Raylan concurred. Alvin said he probably should have known it was too good to be true. He doesn’t meet to many people with a common interest. “I just thought… I don’t know,” he said, his voice gently trailing off. You gotta love that: Here’s a man with a bandage on his bloody head and one stuffed up his bloody nose, and it’s the fact that the woman he thought might like him didn’t that hurts that most. This is the closest we’ll get toa Bachelor reject limo sobfest on Justified. Alvin told them Lindsey had said she was looking at film so she could take some photos at a horse farm.

Back to Ellen May, she was not as receptive to the idea of leaving Harlan as I thought she’d be, considering all she’s seen. But Harlan is her home. She always thought she’d meet a boy and buy a little house. Ava tried to tell her she’s been looking for a way out, and this is it. It’s a chance to start over. She gave Ellen May $1,000 in cash and told her to make something out of herself that she could be proud of: “Tell it all to Whoopi Goldberg one day on The View. Your rise from humble beginnings.” This is incredibly decent of Ava and Boyd — better job placement than most colleges probably have these days. Ellen May said she feels like she’s being sent away, and she’s not sure why. Ava just told her to look at it as freedom. “The next time you give a blow job, it’s because you want to. If you even want to. No more being afraid, or getting kicked around. It ain’t never gonna be that way around here for you,” Ava said. I could’ve watched them talk for another five moments. Partly because I love Ava’s accent and her hair (such volume), but mostly because it’s disarming when she speaks the truth. Joelle Carter and Walton Goggins both have a way of slowly luring you in — it feels like you’re being lulled, and yet, there’s an energy to the moment, a fullness. Ava told Ellen May that Colt would take her to the bus station when she’s ready.

NEXT: Raylan uses non-lethal force; so does Lindsey

Rachel, who had to go to work now, gave Raylan a present to even the odds with Randall — what turned out to be a beanbag-round shotgun. That was pretty brilliant: Raylan could knock Randall down without killing him. He didn’t fire at first. He did his patented stand-by-the-car-and-talk-until-it’s-time move. When the subject turned to Alvin, Raylan said Randall couldn’t stand the idea that Lindsey actually enjoyed spinnin’ those boys up, and Randall asked if it ever occurred to Raylan that Lindsey gets off on him coming in to “bat clean up.” That’s when Raylan shot. He needed Randall down so he could talk to Lindsey and find out why she called him. Was it just because she wanted to watch the boys go at it? Usually when a woman leaves him, he can at least expect a letter (hi, Winona!). He didn’t actually want her to answer now and say she never meant to hurt him. He just wanted to know where his money is.

Truthfully, I kept thinking Raylan should not have his back turned to Randall. I mean, that seems like Marshal 101. But two things: 1.) We know Raylan doesn’t see what’s coming when what he’s looking at is a beautiful woman. And 2.) As Yost told us when we asked him about it, “There are times when you’re doing a TV show and you need the guy to get up and beat on him again, you know.” Randall tackled Raylan and started punching him. He took Raylan’s handgun, because he wanted to do this with his hands not by beanbag or bullet. Raylan managed to get up. “You always talk this much when you fight?” he said. “Ah honey, this ain’t a fight. It’s an execution,” Randall said. He really went at Raylan, and Lindsey yelled, “Hey!” She had the beanbag shotgun pointed at them. Raylan used the distraction to take a couple swings at Randall and then Lindsey fired at Raylan’s back. Randall thought that meant she was still on his team, but then she fired two shots into his gut. When she ran out of rounds, she clocked him on the head with the shotgun. She went to Raylan, who was still lying on the ground and couldn’t move. She told him his money was all in the van. “I knew you liked me,” Raylan said. That’s what this was all about.

Next we saw them, Lindsey was gone, and Raylan wasn’t going to chase her. He handcuffed Randall to the van and said he was going to call the state police so they could come escort him back to Florida to face his warrant for violating his parole. Raylan opened the van door and saw his money — the chickens. Randall was so close to his dream, he wanted to keep talking about it. “Randall, I know you’re shackled and it ain’t half fair, but you say one more word about chickens, I’m gonna shoot you again,” Raylan warned him. “At the end of the day when it’s all done, she’s still kinda worth it though, isn’t she?” Randall said. So that’s the third guy Raylan has bonded with over the loss of Lindsey. I want to learn whatever moves she knows, please. That was a beautiful sunset shot of Raylan walking away from the van moping. Until Randall spoke again: “There’s money in fighting chickens, Raylan. You think about it.” And boom. Raylan shot him with the beanbag gun without even looking at him. Perfect ending to that chapter. Raylan will be fine.

From one stupid move by Randall to one STUPID move by Ellen May. She was packed and ready to go, but she wanted to tell Ava she’d been thinking about it, and if she’s sending her away because thinks she’ll tell someone about Ava killing Delroy, she won’t. They said goodbye, and Ava looked to Boyd, both their faces now serious. Ellen May wouldn’t intentionally out Ava, but she might let it slip, LIKE IN A CROWDED BAR AS SHE JUST DID. We cut to Raylan driving home, on the phone updating Rachel on how he wasn’t meant to have the money, or Lindsey, or the chickens. He got home and collapsed on his bed for some much-needed rest — he was able to put the gun on his nightstand for a change. Then, we were back on the highway and in Colt’s truck with Ellen May. He got a call and asked if the person on the other end was sure of what they were asking. He lied and told Ellen May it was Ava, who’d decided she could come home after all if she was ready to really work. “I can work! I can work! I will. You’ll see!” she said excitedly. Oh, sweet, innocent whore Ellen May. “I bet it’s ’cause of what I told her,” she said, proud of herself. “Probably,” Colt answered. And that’s when Ellen May had her hand out in the wind, for a moment content, and said, “Feels good… goin’ home.”

After a quick scene of Ava and Boyd sitting in the dark, him promising her Ellen May will not be afraid because it will be so quick she’ll never know it’s happening, we cut back to a gas station. Colt pulled in and told Ellen May to pump $10 and he’d go in and pay. We saw him in the bathroom, getting his gun out — and snorting drugs. It’s nice to know this isn’t easy for him — he seems to have a soft spot for Ellen May, like everyone — but clearly, he has a pre-existing drug problem that’s gonna be an issue. He went back to the truck, and Ellen May was gone.

I’ve shared my theories. Your turn.

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