With tonight’s episode, it already feels like the second half of the season is upon us. And while a good deal of blood has been spilled so far, much of that is owed to the strength and renewed frequency of the show’s more episodic plots. On one hand, tonight was no different, featuring an oxy joint in Frankfurt that overstepped its boundaries and then some. But on the other hand, this time it will have serious repercussions. Limehouse made a pretty strong point of it. Now that the guns have come out, an air of unpredictability has washed dangerously over Raylan and the neighborhood gangs.
This episode seemed a lot less concerned than most of late have about bringing things to a big centerpiece finish — which is not to suggest it didn’t happen anyway. Raylan, distraught that Winona has left him, seeks time off. As it so happens every time he remotely considers doing so, there is work to be done that only he can attend to. This time, it’s because the action went down on his late Aunt Helen’s old property. He disposes of one oxy dealer in a brawl on a moving trailer, though a more important one scampers away.
With that spark — that Boyd was operating in some fashion on Helen’s property — Raylan seemed to be back to his old self for a moment, especially in light of Winona’s decision. For perhaps the first time all season, Raylan has a personal stake in the matter. To see him get fired up and angry at Boyd about it is hopefully a sign of things to come as well. That Raylan may have a reason to care, rather than begrudgingly step in to save the day as he has done so often lately, is refreshing and exciting. I can only imagine how the larger plot will tie him in similarly, but if I had to guess, I’d say there’s a reason old Arlo is still sticking his old neck around.
Elsewhere, Limehouse shows a trick up his sleeve we hadn’t seen before. He demonstrates to Boyd the extent of knowledge that he and his crew have, on the Crowders and everything else in town. This presents an interesting dynamic. Normally it’s Boyd who’s a step ahead of the word on the street. For now, it appears Limehouse will have the advantage over anyone (like Quarles) who tries to pull a fast one on him. What Quarles may lack in knowledge, however, he more than makes up for with the edge in resources (and psychopathy).
Said psychopathy was made clear once more, this time as Duffy gave him the news about the oxy hit. Quarles takes out his anger on the prisoner he’s kept chained to a bed for a long time now. I do feel like his character hasn’t been fleshed out as well as Limehouse’s at this point. Fun as it is to see Wynn Duffy react week in and week out, the only depth or variety in Quarles’ behavior so far came and went in the previous episode: his confrontation with Boyd. Surely the writers have plenty more in store for him, but for having such a wild card character on their hands, they haven’t managed to get him out of the house much.
Perhaps the biggest development of all, however, was Raylan and Winona’s tentative separation. I would imagine there are more than a few fans happy to see it taken care of. Cowboys don’t usually have time for husbandry, at least not until the movie is over. Now that Raylan is freed up (for a time — Winona is still late in her pregnancy, and the obligatory delivery room episode is looming, so be warned), he’ll have the chance to really sink his teeth into the case without compromise. It was well-timed too, given the misinformation, backstabbing and treasure trove of bad guys suddenly at each other’s throats. Anything can happen. As they say, when the cats are away, the mice will play. Raylan’s other woman just so happens to be his police work. And surely, he has plenty of things to play with.Tonight’s Raylan Givens’ Cowboy Hat Mentions: 0
Season Three’s So-Far-Extremely-Disappointing Total Tally: 5. It’s also worth noting that Raylan was hatless for this entire episode. It may be a first, but I can’t say for certain.
Raylan’s Zinger of the Night: “It’s the Jews. Or the blacks. Maybe it’s the Muslims.”