“Sometimes you rise above it
Sometimes you sneak below
Somewhere in between believing in Heaven
And facing the devil you know”
I was a little too excited when I saw the title of tonight’s episode matched that of this Todd Snider song, a favorite of mine. I held out hope for an appearance on the soundtrack that didn’t come. It wasn’t too far of a stretch; Todd Snider’s smartass lyrics and southern folk-hippie aesthetic would fit nicely into this universe. But of course, it was only a coincidence of sorts. Justified is referencing the idiom “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
The episode opens with a proposition from Quarles and his sidekick to Boyd’s very own sidekick, Devil. I wasn’t willing to believe at first that Quarles, so dissimilar to the Crowders and Bennetts, would be able to convince him of anything. But money talks, and the groundwork for Devil’s impatience was laid out in greater detail just last week. Apparently, the offer was too much to pass up.
First of all, it’s really fortunate that Dickie has grown more important this season. If this episode doesn’t convince you of Jeremy Davies’ acting abilities, nothing will. In prison, Dickie starts a fight as part of a plan to bust him out. He didn’t count on Dewey jumping in however, and the crew makes a quick change of plans to accommodate him on their way out. It’s a good thing, too; Dewey provides a different kind of comic relief than anyone else on the show, and he does it really well.
The plan only gets more difficult outside of prison. It’s no surprise that Dickie can’t just grab the Bennett cash on a whim even once he does get in touch with Limehouse. Either way, it seems the gang holding him hostage over it was simply content to have an excuse to kill him if the plan fell through. They didn’t count on Limehouse himself though, who saves the day for Dickie, but still won’t deliver on Mag’s staggering $3 million stockpile. Dickie isn’t happy. He yells after Limehouse as he leaves, “We’ll come for it! You hear me?” I have to wonder who exactly he means by “we.”
Soon enough, Raylan shows up. He made quick work of this case in large part thanks to Loretta’s help, who points him in Limehouse’s direction to begin with. The real showcase of the episode for Raylan was the scene at the Crowder bar. He tells Boyd a story from a long time ago, when Limehouse beat the hell out of his daddy Arlo on the bridge. Raylan was unsettled that Limehouse didn’t make mention of it or seem to remember him from it. Raylan’s ability to tell a story remains exceptional. However, we the viewers already know from the previous episode that Limehouse does indeed remember the occasion. This is a golden example of how exposition, a strong suit of Justified, ties everything together so well on a weekly basis. It’s always sure to leave a few knots to be dealt with later.
What Raylan didn’t count on was Dickie and Dewey’s separation. Dewey, tied up and sedated by the strange doctor at the motel, is in a lot of trouble. Now that the criminals’ breakout plan has blown up, and apparently only the doctor is left alive, the logistics of how Dewey might come back into the picture are sticky. But foreshadowing tells us the doctor has moneymaking plans of his own, and I would almost guarantee that punches a one-way ticket in Raylan’s direction next week.
However, I get the feeling that most everything in this episode that isn’t about Devil will get lost in the shuffle. Devil tries to recruit Johnny against Boyd as well, but he’s no Robert Quarles. And Johnny was probably too loyal to begin with. He double-crosses Devil at the last second, and there we have it. Boyd shoots him in the bar. With Devil’s back to the floor, Boyd tells him he can’t let him live. Painfully, regretfully, he puts him out of his misery.
In the end, Devil would have been better off had he paid any mind to the idiom that bears his name. Boyd, the devil he knew, would never have killed him if it weren’t for the deal he struck with Quarles, the devil he didn’t. But I’ll circle back to Todd Snider, who asks, “How you gonna blame a man for helping himself?”
Tonight’s Raylan Givens’ Cowboy Hat Mentions: 0
Season Three Total Tally: 5
Raylan’s Zinger of the Night: “You know what they say — gettin’ old ain’t for pussies.”