Episode 312: “Coalition”
He scraped, he scrapped and he limped on for nearly two full seasons but Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) finally reached the end of his run caught red handed while trying to steal the money left behind by his mother, Mags Bennett. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) finally put a bullet into him, though it’s not clear if it was enough to kill him.
Raylan: You keep thinking you’re tough and you keep going to jail to remind you your not.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) will not be satisfied knowing that Dickie is back in jail or is dead at Raylan’s gun instead of his hands; he wants to finish what he started at Johnny’s bar. As Dickie laid on the ground shot, the camera panned upward to Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), proudly sitting before him, giving Raylan the tip he needed to save Loretta (Kaitlyn Devers) and put some closure on Mags’ fortune. It was another slick move by the premeditated Limehouse who earlier tried to set Boyd and Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) up for their fates. One would think it would be to clear out the competition and make for some elbowroom at the dinner table, but Limehouse said he just wanted one thing,
Limehouse: I’m just trying to do, what I’ve always tried to do … Get people to leave us the hell alone.
Raylan: It’s good to have goals but until I deliver that money into Marshal service there ain’t no way you’re EVER going to be left alone.
Limehouse: You just wait and let them hit that bank.
Raylan: No. I know it ain’t there. Don’t try to tell me it is. It may once have been, but not now. No. No way you’d risk it. Now, you tell me you got Boyd and Quarles all wrapped up in a pretty little bow? Fan-tastic. I’m going to make a call to everyone who gives a shit. In the meantime, I’m telling you, not a day passes that federal boots aren’t on the ground in Noble’s Holler churning up every acre and then going over it again, world without end until I get what I want. Is that clear?
This is an important scene, one that establishes the understanding between two men. Limehouse just may be good on his word. It’s hard to tell otherwise because he made good on Mags’ request. There was nothing stopping him from spending the money or keeping it for himself outside of Raylan snooping around for it. He warned Errol (Demetrius Grosse) early in the season not to test him, dishing his own justice on Noble’s Holler and he was willing to sacrifice Errol to accomplish his goal. While his hands aren’t clean, Limehouse puts Noble’s Holler above everything else, and giving up $3.2 million wasn’t hard considering all the fuss it attracted. Limehouse wants Quarles out of the picture as much as anyone else does and if Boyd is out of the picture too, well that was fine by him.
A key fact: he never wanted Boyd dead; he wanted him arrested. The diplomat in Limehouse allowed this all to happen without ever being connected to anything and nothing but pigs blood on his hands. That makes Limehouse one of the smarter adversaries and maybe the most unpredictable.
But Quarles proved to be still resourceful and resilient, even while high on oxy. Wynn Duffy’s (Jere Burns) greed to get the monkey off his back and Boyd Crowder led to Quarles’ survival and also Trooper Tom Bergen’s (Peter Murnick) life. I must admit, it’s best not to get attached to characters on Justified, but Trooper Tom was as good a guy as they come. It wasn’t that long ago he was feeding his kids fried chicken for breakfast and because of all the action that was supposed to go down at that bank that instead happened at the back of Johnny’s bar…
Tom Bergen: If I miss my boy’s tee ball game, I’ll be pissed.
We’re all a little pissed for you, Tom, and worse for everyone involved, Raylan is extremely pissed. Up until now he’s been off his game this season. Going back to the start of the season when he was still recovering from his gun wound, only to be dumped by Winona who’s carrying his unborn child. He turned to the bottle, so much that he became the bouncer of a Lexington bar just so he could live in the apartment upstairs. He killed a woman on the job, and though she deserved it, he is reminded of it much more than any other recent shooting on the job. He fails to follow standard procedures and it’s bitten him a few times this season. But he’ll need to be on top of it heading into the finale. Now he has motivation to clear out anyone who is responsible for Tom’s death. Once again the odds are not in his favor and he is drastically outnumbered and as viewers that’s when Raylan is at his best.
Setting Up the Finale
In the wake of Mags, the entire third season has been a challenge for each man who believes he could step up and take her place. Whoever would establish themselves would not only walk the walk, but in this setting talk the talk too. It’s been full of deception and side talking and back room dealing.
Boyd seemed like the most established one to take over the territory based on his knowledge of the landscape and local players. He generated minimal progress with limited resources. It wasn’t long before he discovered he had surrounded himself with rotten apples including a disloyal commando, a toothless lion, and a crippled right hand man. If it wasn’t for Ava, Boyd would have been in a worse position however lately Boyd’s been listening to his heart instead of his head.
Quarles roared into the season, twisting and turning uncontrollably like a tornado sucking up whatever was in his way and throwing it, scattering it but never once cleaned up after himself. He even took Wynn Duffy for a ride (one of many) but is now scuttling like a lamb; his survival shows that he’s sober enough to be dangerous. He built himself up to be the perfect carpetbagger, a well-manicured man with an elaborate scheme but it was hiding all of his fragility, mistakes, and imperfections behind a tailored suit. Quarles is just a desperate man with nowhere else to go.
And then there’s Wynn, who suddenly established himself after being railroaded by twister-Quarles. He’s gone behind Robert’s back to make deals with Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin) and Boyd himself. A cockroach and opportunist to the end, it’s everything or nothing for Wynn.
“Coalition” showed each man in all of their calculations, made mistakes to be swept up in Limehouse’s bank heist square dance with partners all hiding knives behind their backs.
Once Quarles was legally shown the door by Raylan, he began making several miscues. He tried getting more money from Tonin, he backed a horse that couldn’t finish a race in Sheriff Napier, but most of all when things weren’t going his way, he took the very drugs he was trying to push onto Harlan county. He began popping them like tic-tacs a little past the midpoint of the season and in last night’s episode he was smoking it like a pro, using an unloaded shotgun as a bong. He is on a one-way trip to the grave but his erratic behavior makes him an absolute wild card. If he goes out, it will be in dramatic style.
Boyd’s trust in his rotten bunch and Ava allowed pinned him in a corner. His election campaign for Shelby (Jim Beaver), reclaiming Johnny’s (David Meunier) old bar, Ava’s murder of Delroy (William Mapother) and inheriting Audrey’s is all he has to show for his hard work. The only way Boyd gets a leg up on his competition is get rid of the outsiders with resources. Even then, he has to re-evaluate the men who surround him.
Wynn should have killed Quarles when he had a chance. In trying to get Boyd and Quarles, he failed at getting either man and that should enrage Theo if it’s not resolved. Theo is Wynn’s last chance to get support so if he can’t get at least Quarles’ head on a platter, expect him to die trying.
I haven’t forgotten about Limehouse, I just don’t think he’s out put Noble’s Holler in danger by becoming a martyr.
On thing is clear, everyone’s done aligning themselves with others. That we’ve come this far and have no idea what will happen is just one example of why this season has been superb. Raylan has kept his gun holstered for most of the season but I imagine it will be used often in the finale. Everyone beside Quarles has something to lose and everything to gain. All the chips are in and Justified seems to always let a storyline or two, and a villain crawl over into the next season, so I don’t expect the mother of all Mexican standoffs to eliminate everyone, but Harlan will be bloody once again.
A Few Scant Blades of Bluegrass
• We got a glimpse into what Arlo sees when he’s not taking his medication and it’s hallucinations of Helen (It was so great to see Linda Gehringer again). He also called Boyd, “Raylan,” when he was being dragged home by Ava–another obvious another hallucination that spooks Boyd out for a minute. Subconsciously though, is it because Boyd treats him with the respect as one who respects their elders? Or is Boyd what Arlo would have envisioned as a son he’d be proud of?
• I have joined the Emmy campaign for Neal McDonough, but if there’s another deserved nomination, it’s Jeremy Davies’ hair. That’s right, Dickie Bennett’s Hair needs an Emmy.
• Quarles using a shotgun as a bong at Audrey’s was visually one of the coolest and most cringe-worthy moments of Season 3.
• Another treat of the episode was the scene between Raylan and Loretta as they danced around what should be done with Mags’ money and we get another generation gap scene where Raylan tells her what he do to her if he drives by and sees a new Lexus or Van Halen playing at her birthday to which she replied, “Marshal do I strike you in anyway a Van Halen fan?” Don’t we love how old we can feel around kids?
• And the funniest line of the entire season:
Raylan: The escort’s a nice touch. It’s like visiting The Wizard of Oz.
Benard: Never seen it. All them flying monkeys? Nnnah-uhh.
Raylan: You should stick with it. At the end they pull the curtain back and it turns out the guy’s kind of a pussy.
A hilarious one-line movie review by Raylan Givens but also another reference to Episode 307 “Man Behind the Curtain” and a crack at his albino looking friend, Robert Quarles.
Catch Justified’s Season 3 Finale Tuesday on FX at 10pm ET/PT.