This episode of Justified has been hyped by critics as one of the best in show history. What happened in the episode “Shot All to Hell”? Let’s review.
LOSER: Lee Paxton’s recovery efforts
After finally getting out of the hospital following his near-death experience, Lee Paxton is safely back home. Unfortunately or him, that lasted all of a day as Boyd gets the bodies Mara requested, has them placed in one of Paxton’s funeral homes for the sheriffs to find, then mocks up a Paxton suicide. It’s so nice when a plan comes together up until you’re cleaning brain matter off an old man’s wall.
To celebrate, Boyd gets himself a drink at his bar and winds up meeting Daryl Crowe. Daryl talks shit about the bar and Boyd Crowder, unaware that Boyd is Boyd. Boyd and the bartender pull a gun on Daryl and his Haitian friend. Daryl presents his argument that about Boyd screwing over Dewey on the purchase of Audrey. Boyd doesn’t acquiesce to Daryl’s demands for a refund so it seems like we’ve got war comin’. Yeeehaw.
LOSER: The Canadian shipping folks
Will Sasso’s character met an untimely demise at the hands of Alan Tudyk after stooling to the feds. These Canadians got a raw deal.
Art comes after scouting a diner where Wynn Duffy, Picker and company are holed up, stopping Alan Tudyk from entering the diner to do who-knows-what. Art uses his knowledge that Picker had something to do with Sammy Tonin’s death to get Picker to talk with him off the books. And just as Art’s about to get some info, Tudyk comes back in and makes some threats to Picker and their shared past. Tudyk ends up leaving without it coming to gunfire — probably aided by Wynn Duffy’s hilarious warning that the Marshals tend to be quick and accurate with their guns — and this is going to be a real problem.
WINNER: The custody of Kendall Crowe
Wendy Crowe shows up to free Kendall Crowe from his new life as a ward of the state. She claims that she’s bringing Kendall back to Miami in her custody.
Meanwhile, Alison is not so happy with Raylan for using Kendall as a pawn in his game against the Crowes. I really respect her misguided sense of morality given that we know she planted meth on a dude just a couple episodes back. At least she’s got her looks.
Wendy ends up bringing Kendall right back to the whorehouse but tells Daryl he has to find a place for Kendall to live. They’ve got an idea.
Meanwhile, Danny calls the Haitian dude a bitch and acts like an asshole for no particular reason, then shoots him with the shotgun in front of Kendall. Danny Crowe is a fucking problem.
WINNER: Dewey Crowe’s whore therapy
Dewey lies down with a couple of the local prostitutes — who, by the way, are WAYYYY too attractive for Harlan County — and talks in all of these vagaries that kind of creeped them out. One of the girls thinks it’s because she put her finger in Dewey’s butt last time, a valid concern. But Dewey’s more concerned about his life and it leads to such poetic conversations as this:
WINNER: Boyd Crowder’s negotiations with Hot Rod
Hot Rod meets with Boyd about the missing shipment and his cousin Johnny’s part in it. Hot Rod offers Boyd 50 cents on the dollar for the shipment but Boyd counteroffers: He’ll take no money for the shipment but wants his cousin Johnny and Hot Rod’s help smuggling heroin in from Mexico.
Meanwhile, Boyd uses a hitman to off Sheriff Mooney and tells Mara that the money that was going to her is going to the hitman instead. He tells Mara to leave Harlan and never come back. She probably should have put out that night at the bar.
With Mooney and Paxton dead, the prosecutors’ case against Ava has fallen apart and she’s going to be set free. Big episode for Boyd, here. Next level scheming going on.
WINNER: Picker’s walk into the Marshals’ office
Picker makes his way into an offer from the Marshals. Turns out that Alan Tudyk’s character is named Elias Marcos and he’s basically Theo Tonin’s personal guard. Tonin is on the run so they want help to use Marcos to track him down.
Picker gives up the location of where he presumes Marcos would be, resulting in Art and Raylan getting in a gunfight with him. Art and Raylan outflank Marcos and put him down.
They then find The Tonin, all weak and near death, in another shipping hold. And this is a big get for he Marshals.
It also turns out that Picker, spurred on by Raylan earlier in the episode, volunteered information to pin the Nicky Augustine murder on someone else, the FBI agent from last season. Raylan’s in the clear until he admits to Art that he can say without certainty it wasn’t Agent Barkley. Dun dun dunnn.
WINNER: Cousin Johnny’s traitordom
The Harris Boys were playing poker with Johnny when Hot Rod informs him of the news: He’s been bartered over to his cousin Boyd. But Johnny’s got his own plan in mind, telling Hot Rod that he used his cut from the shipment to buy the Harrises onto his side. Maybe Johnny’s more of a Crowder than we realized.
LOSER: Ava’s release from prison
Ava is bonding with her cell mate with Officer Ficus comes in for an impromptu bed check, only to find a planted shiv underneath Ava’s bed. Ficus then stabs and slices himself and it turns out this was a plot with Ava’s cell mate to keep her locked up. Womp womp.
Boyd finds out the bad news from his lawyer and then goes to the jail to find out that Ava was transferred to the state penitentiary. Not so good an episode for Boyd, apparently.
In my opinion, the episode definitely lived up to the hype. It seems like a bit of a rush job to off Alan Tudyk immediately after introducing him in such compelling fashion — the Theo Tonin plotline went on for seasons and they blow it off this hastily? — but wow did the machine stay in motion this episode. For every slow episode like the one Justified had a couple weeks back, they’ll have one of these in which they throw everything at the wall and it all works perfectly.
Just as everything seems like it’s clearing up, it’s all a mess again by episode’s end for Boyd, Raylan, and the family Crowe. With the season not even at the halfway point, there’s still a lot of time for things to get worse for the characters before it gets better.
The episode gets five out of five poorly aimed AK-47s from me. Just an expertly paced episode with a ton of plot movement and great character moments. Justified is one of the best shows on TV doing it.