Justified Season 5 Episode 4 recap.

Four episodes in and a theme is emerging for Justified season five: Consequences. It started at the end of season four when Ava was arrested for Delroy’s murder and Raylan sanctioned Nicky Augustine’s murder, and now the consequences are just piling up for everyone.

Ava’s are the most obvious and immediately dire, as she’s in jail. We haven’t seen much from her thus far, but in this episode, we learn one important fact: Ava has a friend somewhere. Some little prick guard is hassling her, exercising his Napoleon complex as he sexually harasses her, only for a female guard to step in and put a stop to it before things go too far. And later, that same female guard beats the snot out of the little prick guard, stating that Ava is “protected”. Oh? By whom? Boyd is the obvious answer but he’s so cash-strapped I can’t see him footing the bill for those kinds of bribes. So has Ava made a friend on the inside? Or is she capable of arranging protection for herself, by herself? I have a theory that by the end of Justified Ava will be running Harlan County Mags Bennett styles, and I wonder if this isn’t us getting a taste of independent, shot-caller Ava.

The Crowes are racking up consequences of their own all over the county. First it’s Dewey, ordered to kill Wade Messer for skimming from the till at Audrey’s, and just general betrayal, I guess. It’s not that Dewey isn’t capable of doing some dark sh*t—he was a white supremacist follower of Boyd’s, remember—but he’s always been more dumb than evil. He clearly doesn’t want to kill Messer, but does, though it’s exposure that does Wade in more than the bullet wounds. Dewey could have saved Messer and chose not to, and that choice is already not sitting well with Dewey. One wonders how long he’ll hold up under Darryl’s tyrannical thumb.

Speaking of holding up, Boyd is starting to get his sh*t together. He now knows Johnny is in league with Hot Rod Dunham, and he’s got Lee Paxton convinced he’s dead (I really want to know where Sheriff Mooney got that severed hand to show Paxton and claim as Boyd’s). He’s lining up his ducks and you can practically see him thinking up the grand plan to take down all of his enemies. I do question the thing with Paxton simply because while the backwoods of Kentucky are remote and vast, Harlan is still a small town. How long will Paxton believe Boyd is dead? That doesn’t seem like a workable long-term plan.

And then there’s Raylan, who spends the episode looking for Wade Messer and then rattling the Crowes’ cages—he knows one of them killed Messer. I’m mildly amazed every time Raylan gives someone an ultimatum and they don’t immediately give in and do whatever he wants. At this point, surely his reputation precedes him. If he says, “You should leave town,” you should probably leave town. But the Crowes are staying. The situation brewing with the Crowes aside, Raylan’s biggest problem is that Art is still pursuing what happened the night Nicky Augustine died. He’s gone to Detroit to talk to one of the Canadian drug dealers Boyd and Wynn Duffy met with, and finds out that Sammy Tonin bragged he had a “Kentucky lawman” in his pocket before he was murdered. Art is not stupid—he’s going to put that together, and quick.

This was a particularly stylish episode, and when I looked up the director, yep, it’s Gwyneth Horder-Payton. She did the best episodes of The Bridge, and has also done solid work on Justified, The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy. She always lands on indelible moments, and this episode’s stand-out was Boyd and Gutterson playing Scrabble. I was looking forward to the first confrontation between Boyd and Gutterson, but it was pretty mellow. Gutterson was inscrutable and while I’m sure Boyd isn’t fond of him, neither was antagonistic. As for Gutterson, he seems to be back to his usual, punk bitch self. If there’s any long-term fallout from shooting Colton Rhodes—I figure we’re about six months on from that—it’s not apparent.

We’re a third of the way through the season (already?!) and things are getting serious in Harlan County. How is Boyd going to take care of Lee Paxton and Johnny Crowder? Is Ava going to get out of jail? What are the Crowes’ long-term plans? What is Art going to do when he can’t ignore Raylan’s culpability in Nicky Augustine’s death? I am getting really curious to find out how Raylan gets out of that particular jam, or if he does at all.

Raylan’s body count so far: 1/18