If you’ve been watching FX’s Justified, chances are you share my opinion that tonight’s episode (10 p.m. ET, with repeats at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.) looks like the Timothy Olyphant series’ finest hour to date. If you haven’t tuned in, but suddenly find an opening in your TV schedule, here’s some basic info. so you can start to enjoy it like the rest of us:
• Olyphant is Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, a Stetson-wearing gunslinger recently reassigned back to his native Kentucky.
• He’s got an ex-wife, Winona (Natalie Zea), who left him for a realtor, Gary, she then married. Raylan has admitted to Winona that a man doesn’t get over a woman like her, but he helped Gary out of a life-threatening financial jam because she asked him to. Winona started off the season trading barbs with Raylan — which made their chemistry a fan favorite — but she hinted last episode that she didn’t want him to be happy that everything worked out for Gary and her. In the preview below, it looks like she’s about to make that crystal clear when she shows up at Raylan’s motel room.
• Raylan had been sleeping with Ava (Joelle Carter), a woman who shot and killed her abusive husband, Bowman, at the start of the series. Raylan shot and injured Bowman’s brother, Boyd (Walton Goggins), a former coal-mining buddy who grew up to be a bank-robbing white supremacist who likes to blow stuff up. Because of Raylan’s affair with Ava, Boyd got out of jail. Boyd claims to have had a religious conversion in prison and is currently preaching in the woods to a gang of loyal misfits. One of them just confessed to blowing up a meth lab, an explosion that killed a man, for him. Raylan thinks Boyd’s full of s—, but doesn’t have the evidence to tie him to the meth lab or his earlier sins. (For those who watched last week’s episode, Raylan relaxing on the ground beside a handcuffed Boyd while the camp was being searched was a nice touch, right?)
• Boyd’s father, Bo (M.C. Gainey), also just got out of prison. He wants Ava dead, but she won’t leave Kentucky — which infuriates Raylan because he knows he can’t always be there to protect her. Bo has resumed his protection and collection business, and thinks Boyd is doing him a favor by scaring the local meth cookers back into their previous arrangement. He gave Boyd some “thank you” cash, which Boyd reluctantly accepted and promptly used to buy a new badass toy. In the promo, Boyd seems pretty serious when he tells his dad he’ll destroy him if he brings meth into their homes, but the genius of the show’s writing and Walton Goggins’ acting is that we’re still not sure what he’s actually planning.
• When Bo was in prison, he handed his protection and collection business over to Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry), Raylan’s father, who couldn’t get people to pay up. Bo is pissed, and wants his money. Raylan hates Arlo, but knows that Bo will kill his father and his stepmother, Helen (Linda Gehringer), if they don’t find some cash quick. Helen has told Arlo they have two options: either he kills Bo or they skip town. Raylan and the Marshals’ office are about to give him another — wear a wire and help them get evidence to put Bo back in a cell. From the promo, you can tell Arlo isn’t keen on being a snitch.
How do you think this is gonna go down?