Previously on “Justified”: Raylan’s moonlighting as a bounty hunter who ran out of hair pomade, and somehow, because of either the extra secret job or the lack of pomade, forgot not to show mysterious wall-bag-findings to imprisoned baddies in full view of other imprisoned baddies who get shivved by Arlo for being curious; Jacob’s Ladder Extraordinaire is in Harlan to Oliver-Stone it up with Boyd; a new Jesus guy is in town and he’s got his sights on Ellen Mae, who thinks there is such a thing as a million dollar bill.
Chez Midlife Crisis, Raylan has just finished boning the hot bartender and for reasons that only make sense when he has an incidental run-in with a mean mystery guy downstairs, volunteers to take the beer delivery for the bar so that the hot bartender can continue resting her big ‘uns upstairs, because let’s face it, holding those up on a size-00 frame all day has got to be even harder work than owning a Kentucky bar. WHO IS THE MYSTERY GUY AND WHY IS HE SUCH A DICK? We will find out in about forty minutes, after being subjected to yet another subplot involving Hillbilly Fight Club. I want to tap out of this subplot trajectory, but you can’t tap out in the world of fighting the television. The hot bartender is also very wise, having just reminded us that when it comes to making love, “a woman needs a reason; all a man needs is a place.” Well, I need a place too, and it’s a place with Art and TIm, because I haven’t seen (oddly growing-out) hair or hide of them since Season Three, WHY GRAHAM YOST WHY? In the words of Raylan perhaps-accidentally insulting the hot bartender: “How hard can it be?”
Moving on to Audrey’s, where the show’s lighting has gotten progressively harsher on Ava as the seasons progress, to remind us that she has progressed from hardscrabble love interest to full-blown psychopath: Ava, now a psychopath, FULL ON REJECTIFIES Ellen Mae’s conversion to not-prostituting anymore and perhaps someday being allowed or able to buy another set of clothes, because if my memory serves me Ellen Mae has worn the exact same outfit in every scene of “Justified” on which she appears, which is both a wrenching commentary on rural poverty in America and an amazing nod to cartoon shows such as “Beverly Hills Teens” (and every other cartoon ever, but I wanted to impress people by remembering such an obscure one from the 80s), where every character has one outfit. “I SAVED YOUR SOUL,” menaces the now-menacing Ava. “ME AND MY SHOTGUN.” And Ava does not give a SHIT what Billy the mysterious new tent-revival preacher says, because Ava and Ellen Mae have killed the shit out of people. Oh look, it’s Johnny. Johnny Crowder is being picked on a lot in this season. But we don’t have time to mull that over, because:
ART! ART! ART! Finally, my eyes have seen the glory of Art’s sardonic, bald-ass head and despite Nick Searcy’s weird affinity for Herman Cain, I just want to give him a hug. Especially because some mustachioed guy from Bowling Green is trying to bribe his way into Art’s soon-to-be-vacant-because-of-retirement job with a bottle of an allegedly expensive spirit called Pappy Van Winkle. Pardon me while I refresh myself with some Slappy Van Decaf while I hope, perhaps vainly, that the reappearance of Art also means the reappearance of Tim. Oh also, Art doesn’t appreciate the bribe, and takes this opportunity to exposit hilariously about the iss-ssues plaguing Tim (PTSD), Rachel (being an EMOTIONAL lady-woman) and Raylan (doesn’t mention the pomade, sadly) for anyone joining Team Harlan for the first time here in Season 4. Man, I missed all these guys, and I can’t wait to spend more time with them this episode. But, as Art says, best not to get “too emotional and shit.”
CREDITS. Wait, the show hasn’t started yet? That’s like when people giving conference papers are like fifteen minutes into a twenty-minute paper and then say “In this paper I will…”
Aaaaaand Art exposits to Raylan about Arlo’s shivving (or rather, Arlo shivving a “Dixie mafia thug”), at which point Raylan realizes his lack of sleep/hair in face made him reveal shit out in the open at Tramble when he probably shouldn’t have. Art’s onto him, and demands to know: “On a scale from one to a shitload, how much do you need to tell me right now?” Ha. And why WOULD Arlo hide a “Panamanian diplomatic bag” in a wall? SO MANY QUESTIONS?
Too bad we’re cutting directly back to the Crowder/Crowder Den of Various and Sundry Sins. The villains rack their villain-brains to figure out why the fuck their business is dropping off, and nobody can, so Boyd is mean to Johnny for no apparent reason. Also, despite and because of his incredible turn as a preacher in Season 1, Boyd doesn’t like churches, OKAY AVA? WHAT, DID YOU NOT WATCH SEASON ONE, AVA? Remember when he tried to kill you a bunch of times and you were lit in a softer, glowing light? They all grow up so fast. But there’s no time to wonder about this, because…
TIM! TIM! FINALLY there is TIM! What the fuck are you doing with your hair this season, Jacob? You look like Raylan Junior, is this on purpose? What is happening? Oh, yes, Tim is listing off an impressive litany of crimes and making a DMZ joke (we’re all old!), crimes perpetrated by one Panamanian-diplomatic-bag-having Waldo Truth, for whom Art now has a “Marshall’s stiffie” (Tim is GROSSED OUT…so, intrigued and titillated). So now the gang has to go to Versailles (pronounced Ver-sails), where guns will be pulled, hilarity will ensue, hillbillies will be sweaty, Art will not be driving, and they will stop for lunch first, in case Raylan “shoots one of them; then we won’t get to go after.” Ha. Art.
Cut to the Mysterious Jesus Tent, where Ellen Mae has to go tell Billy/Bobby/whatever his fake-southern-accent name is that she can’t be Jesused because if she doesn’t go back and snort heroin and have sex with plushies and accidentally shoot them, then Ava, lit even more harshly, will menace the everloving shit out of her and throw her lifeless one-outfit-clad body down a mine shaft. Sad, stereotypical, abused Ellen Mae spills to Billy about who’s menacing her, and he decides to “shame those who attempt to poison your mind with guilt and sadness.” And drugs.
Now it’s time for the aforementioned Hillbilly Fight Club, which I don’t care about because I don’t know who in the tap-dancing fuck any of these people are. Oh, the mean guy from the bar is there, but who cares? NOT ME. WHERE ARE TIM AND ART?
Unfortunately, I’m treated instead to Boyd’s Jacob’s Ladder ‘Nam (I Mean, Afghanistan) friend kicking some heroin dealer’s ass. ZOMG someone’s selling heroin in Boyd’s territorah! That’s not respecting Boyd’s authoritah, and being a crime kingpin down in the anarchic Kentucky hollers that are definitely not Southern California is HARD. And just when it couldn’t get harder, here is a room full of adorable urchins throwing money at Ava and buying Ellen Mae back from her, because that’s weird. But there’s NO TIME, because…
Shelby is doing Boyd’s legwork, because they are NOT square, they are “a circle.” But even though Shelby doesn’t want anymore “nefarious interactions” with Boyd, he’s still for some reason done a full research workup of the Mysterious Jesus Tent. Exposition: Billy and his sister move around to “desperate and beaten-down” locales in the South, and then move on for no discernible reason. Boyd chooses to believe that the Mystery Jesus Tent INTENTIONALLY cuts into criminal enterprises wherever it goes, and then gets bought off by said enterprises to leave. Boyd has read all of the books, see, and despite his being the most terrifying person in Harlan now that Robert Quarles is dead, I want him to be my best friend. But I have no time to long for Boyd’s tiny, muscular friendship embrace, because…
It’s back to Hillbilly Fight Club, the mean bar guy is a straight-up psychopath, and I don’t care. And there’s a bad guy in a vest and a fedora, because what? Also, the mean bar guy wants “that other thing,” because that is how people in Kentucky/Santa Clarita refer to things they don’t want the television audience to know about (see the episode in Season 3 when Juliet from “Psych” and her psychopath male-nurse friend harvest organs, aka “the other thing”–a subplot infinitely more interesting than mean bar guy beating the living shit out of two dudes I don’t care about. One of them has been “raccooned,” which reminds me that the other day I was so frazzled that I forgot the English word for “Opossum,” like I completely forgot what one was–I saw this poor flattened dead animal in my parking lot and thought to myself, “Oh, it’s one of those wild animals that kind of looks like a rat with a round face big scary teeth and a stripe down its back, and it’s ugly…what are they called?” because I’m going through some shit right now and I’ve apparently got aphasia. This is indeed quite sad, but I feel better immediately because…)
Tim, Art and Raylan in the best stakeout ever! Raylan’s snoring! Raylan’s being busted for moonlighting (i.e. “keeping addict hours”), but nobody knows what as–Jacob, I mean Tim, says the office pool has him as an exotic dancer, and everyone’s bantering so hilariously they almost miss a Hillbillylet coming to pick up Waldo Truth’s disability check. Jacob, why are you growing out your hair? Raylan jokes about doing Pilates, which is funny because I bet you any amount of money Tim Olyphant does Pilates to keep that physique.
Speaking of physiques, the Bloodhound Gang follows the miniature hillbilly to Waldo Truth’s house and encounters an entire family of sweaty, angry drug addicts with a mom who tells a romantic story about a goldfish and a “snatch that’s off-limits.” The important thing here is that Waldo Truth is an IMPOSTOR WALDO TRUTH, we’ll call him WALDO FALSEHOOD, and the real Waldo Truth disappeared yonks ago with some dude who offered him a “job,” and whose very name being mentioned re-stiffens Art’s “Marshall stiffie.” Also, the hillbilly pipsqueak has a gun, because of course. Raylan smashes him with one thumb. The sweaty family is left in sweaty peace, sans guns, but with weed pipes, and fraudulent disability check.
Uh oh, Ellen Mae’s baptized now, so that means that IT IS OFFICIALLY ON between Mysterious Jesus Tent and Crowder & Crowder, Anarchic General Crime Inc. The good news: Ellen Mae has changed clothes and appears to be reasonably clean. The bad news (for Billy): Boyd out-intellectuals Billy about being a false prophet, because Boyd has read all of the books, especially Saul Bellow, because I love him. The bad news (for Boyd): Billy calls Boyd’s bluff and stops extorting money, I mean taking Christian donations, from the good sinners of Harlan. And this pisses the sister off something fierce, which was Boyd’s complex intellectual plan all along. There is a reason Boyd’s head is so big for its body–it holds all of Harlan’s brains in one place, just like Inspector Gadget put his brain in the dog.
Back at Bloodhound Gang HQ, Art, Tim and Raylan drink the expensive alcohol and exposit about how Waldo Truth is dead but WHERE IS THE OTHER GUY?
Back at Crowder & Crowder, Sin Purveyors LLC, it seems like just another villain meeting until WIN DUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY! It’s WIN DUFFY, back on my television! Win and Boyd have a contest to see who has watched the most episodes of “Law & Order” (Boyd wins), and then another contest to see who is the baddest-ass psychopath who can call bluffs via murdering wayward heroin dealers (Win wins), nobody trusts anyone and there is a very weird truce reached? Or not? I don’t know. Boyd learns about Arlo’s newest murder and now everyone wants a piece of the Panamanian Diplomatic Bag and the cocaine that was probably once in it.
And, finally, back Chez Midlife Crisis Pomade Dearth Central, Raylan is just getting ready to pleasure the hot bartender on her work surface when the mean bar guy returns, asking for…DRUMROLL…a WORD WITH HIS WIFE. What has two thumbs, speaks limited Harlanese, and does not give a shit? THIS PAPPY VAN WINKLE, that’s who. Also, is anyone else starting to get suspicious about how interested the hot bartender is in Raylan’s workday?
Thump, thump, thump, thump, credits.