Justified "The Bird Has Flown" Review: Hard Goodbyes

By Tim Surette

Jan 30, 2013

Justified S04E04: "The Bird Has Flown"

I spent most of my first three reviews of this season of Justified rambling on about the virtues of structure and pacing and the combination of standalone stories and season-long stories, and then Justified had to go and throw an episode like "This Bird Has Flown" at us. Barely touching on what we thought were the centerpieces of Season 4 (Billy the snake handler vs. Boyd; Raylan vs. the Cold Case), "This Bird Has Flown" chose to tell unrelated tales about two supporting characters close to our hero's and anti-hero's hearts—or in Raylan's case, another throbbing part of his body.

But before we get to that, BILLY THE PREACHER IS DEAD?!?! What!? Last week, the true believer got snake-bit on the arm after Boyd brought in a real juiced-up snake instead of one of the drained ones Cassie had been using, and Billy's test of resolve was a failure, proving only that rattlesnakes are God-hating atheists. But all I expected to happen to Billy was a short stay in the hospital and maybe some snake-handling rehab with a rubber hose or something. Instead, the man we thought was going to be around all season long to serve as the fangs in Boyd's side is a goner. Of course, until I see a body, I'm holding out hope that Billy will slither out from under a rock somewhere. But in the meantime, maybe R.I.P. Billy (Joe Manzello). You had no problem escaping velociraptors, a T-Rex, and the Japanese WWII forces, but one toothy kiss from a rattler and you're a goner.

As for what DID happen in this episode, I think it's about time we really devoted more than one or two sentences to Lindsey. As the saying goes, I don't trust her as far as I can throw her, and because I have never thrown anyone before I really have no point of reference but throwing people sounds fun, especially when it comes to those I trust least like Lindsey. Last week Raylan came home to his room above the bar and found it turned upside down, his 10 large missing from his underpants drawer. At the time, we knew Lindsey's ex-husband Randall was involved, but we didn't know whether Lindsey was privy to the situation. Ummm, yes she was. When you're blonde and skinny and pretty and you squeak in that "Who, me?" voice, you not only can get away with that kind of stuff, you rely on it.

And that's what we learned from her story this week, confirming what we suspected the minute she wrapped her leggy legs around Raylan last season. Lindsey is a compulsive con artist who doesn't know when and where the grift ends, and we got to see her true colors when she left both Raylan and Randall (and Randall's dream of being Kentucky's finest cockfighting chicken manager) behind to punch each other in the face in the shadow of a van full of caged pugilistic poultry. It wasn't so much a case for Raylan as it was a search for answers that benefited the both of us, and despite being stuffed with double crosses and Raylan's achy-breaky heart, this story was darkly comic and entertaining all the way through.

But now that my concerns have been confirmed, I actually like Lindsey a lot more than I did before. Yes she had to be scrubbed clean instead of doing it herself, but now that we've seen the real her we can either be angry or we can be impressed with the way she pulled everything off. I almost shared Randall's sentiment when he said, "End of the day when it's all done, she's still kind of worth it isn't she?" She done hookwinked the both of them, and did it without breaking a sweat or an ounce of regret. Deep down I'm sure she did have some feelings for both men, but Lindsey's daddy probably didn't give her enough attention (or he gave her way too much icky attention), so this is how she rolls. If you're going to get left in a ditch without a wallet, it might as well be at the hand of someone like her.

However, I'm uneasy over Lindsey's effect on Raylan. Have we ever seen Raylan act like such a whimpering pussy the way he did tonight? Begging for confirmation that she actually liked him after she blasted him with a non-lethal beanbag shotgun? That wasn't the nonplussed Raylan we're used to, it was a guy whose ego jumped in front of his heart to take the beanbag bullet. I don't know if we'll ever see Lindsey again; it seems as though women who get out of Raylan's life have to run for the hills and never look back. But if this WAS the last time we see her, it closes a chapter of Justified that didn't really work until it was time to say goodbye. Better late than never, I guess. And at least Raylan can stop living like a raccoon in the attic of a bar and move back into a shifty motel like a wino whose life is in ruins.

Proving that blondes have more fun, brunette Ellen May got a raw deal thanks to her previous knowledge of Ava's past as a pimp murderer. With her stairway to heaven blocked off after Billy's passing, Ellen May came back to Ava looking for work on her back. However, Ava didn't know whether Ellen May was a loose end with the secrets to put her away, so she had two options: Ship Ellen May off to another state to rot away in silence, or take the sure thing and have her killed. She flip-flopped for awhile, but unfortunately for Ellen May, the final call was to have Colton put her down near a remote gas station. That drive with Colton and Ellen May reminded me a bit of the uncomfortable car ride between Michael and Snoop in The Wire, and I half expected Ellen May to wise up to the situation and ask Colton if her hair looked alright (caution: link has spoilers for The Wire).

But no whores were killed after all, because when Colton got back from a drug snort and some heavy contemplation in the gas station bathroom, Ellen May was gone (at least she put gas in the car before flying the coop). PHEW. If this season isn't going to have Dickey, it better at least have plenty of Ellen May. Did she somehow get tipped off (possibly by a remorseful Ava?), or is that dumb whore actually a smarter whore than we thought?

It was telling to see Colton not actually want to off Ellen May, as it turns him from a trigger-happy war vet to as close to a human being as one of Boyd's henchmen can be, but it also means he's in bad shape with current employer Boyd. And Ava has no idea where the one person who can put her away is. Run for the hills, Ellen May!

"The Bird Has Flown" got us no closer to solving the case of the mystery bag and only gently caressed the cheek of the Last Chance Salvation church, but Justified is so good at telling other stories, I didn't mind a bit.



NOTES

– I don't know who the heck this dude with the beer who was walking around the party house was, but I want to see him more of him, Justified!

– Randall: "There's money in fightin' chickens, Raylan. You think about it..." Raylan's beanbag shotgun: "BLAM!" Haha, Raylan. Their fight was great, too.

– Favorite line of the night, from Raylan: "Maybe my participation earns me a simple 'They went thataway.'"



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • KayWatkins Feb 03, 2013

    Haven't read the comments yet but does anyone else think Billy's sister swiped Ellen May? I mean, she was actually supposed to be the "bad guy" behind Billy anyway. Plus that whole song and dance she did at the police station about God. We know she's not really religious. I think she's smart enough to know Ellen May obviously knows something so to help exact revenge for her brother I thought it was obvious she was behind Ellie's disappearance. I figured Ellie wouldn't die anyway since they were taking too long, just wasn't sure if Colt was going to let her escape ala Snow White or something else.

  • KayWatkins Feb 03, 2013

    My bad, I see someone did have the same theory:-)

  • Kam456 Feb 01, 2013

    4 episodes in and STILL we haven't had Raylan and Boyd in the same room together. The anticipation is killin' me!

  • DavidJackson8 Jan 31, 2013

    Finally got around to watching this episode. I liked it. Nothing great, but as I said before, any episode with more Tim and/or Rachel is always good.

    I'm surprised at the Randall story probably being done with. With Preacher Billy also at an end, it appears Justified kind of went out of their way to write this season differently than last season, which had multiple different bad guys around for almost the whole season. Then again, they also killed off a bunch as well, so maybe it's not as different as I'd just thought.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jan 31, 2013

    I honestly thought Ellen May was going to die and we have seen the last of her. As irritating as she is, I was kind of going to miss her. This show just keep surprising you !

  • StanleyStutters Jan 31, 2013

    The scenes with Colton and Ellen May in the car and at the gas station were terrific, as was the whole episode. I don't think Ellen May figured out what was going on, I think someone helped her out (maybe Cassie?). I'm also not convinced that Billy is dead yet, it looked like he was going to play a big role this year and I can't see them killing him off without showing us.

    And lastly what do you mean no Dickie Bennett this season? Has this been confirmed and will we at least get some Dewey Crowe to help fill the void?

  • klotensen Jan 31, 2013

    The car scene reminded me of Silvio and Adriana's final drive in The Sopranos.

  • damasta414 Jan 31, 2013

    Yea I was thinking the same thing.

  • 2muchbadTV Jan 30, 2013

    (1) Rattlesnakes: Not god-hating atheists, they just don't like being sexually assaulted by rednecks. (2) I kinda thought Billy might have died with the way the scene went last week and the tone of it all. I was kinda hoping he wasn't dead, both because I thought he would've made a good foil for Boyd and because people rarely die from rattlesnake bites, especially people who've been bitten twice before like Billy had been and have a tiny bit of immunity. (3) I thought for sure Ellen May was toast and watching her be so happy about going home when Colton was lying to her was heartbreaking. I thought the show was gonna take Billy and Ellen May from us in the same episode. I'm glad she either wised up or got tipped off. (4) Ava is one of the more interesting long-term characters, I think, that we don't talk enough about. She started out as a sympathetic character who was so abused by her husband that she eventually thought it was necessary to kill him. Then she fell in love with Raylan and wanted to be a decent person. Then she decided to give life with another Crowder a try. Then she went all in with Boyd and his dirty business. Then she became a monster herself who pimps out girls, beats them, shoots people routinely and has no problem murdering somebody she halfway cares about. I rooted for Ava early on in the show, now I think she deserves anything that comes at her as much as any other baddie on the show.

    This season is great so far, I just wish there were some connectedness between Raylan and Boyd, and their stories. At the moment, it feels like we're watching two different TV shows, just set in the same place.

  • Vicky8675309 Jan 31, 2013

    I also want Rylan and Boyd on screen together--great chemistry. I think Boyd will see Arlo in prison since Duffy asked about it. Once Rylan hears about it he will talk with Boyd to try to figure out what is up.

  • edge1710 Jan 30, 2013

    quick question. When was the last time Raylan won a fist fight?
    He so eager to fight,even if he knows he's going to lose.

  • 2muchbadTV Jan 30, 2013

    He did better than I thought he would against Randall, considering Randall is a trained badass. The writers seem to have gone out of their way over the years to make Raylan a character who is invincible with a gun, but near-worthless in a fist-fight.

  • edge1710 Jan 30, 2013

    Yes I think he has a fear problem in that he hasn't got much of it. This makes him great with a gun as he don't flinch, lousy with his fists as he doesn't fear someone bigger them him

  • edge1710 Jan 30, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • Mate Jan 30, 2013

    I am not sure I am happy with that ending of Randall's story. I thought he was a great character and I thought that he and Raylan worked well off of each other. But it was hilarious with the bean bag rounds. However, having been hit by one, let me tell you, it freaking hurts and your aren't getting up that fast anytime soon.

    Ellen May's story is looking up. I am not sure what she is going to do. But I think it is going to be fun.

    Hopefully Raylan will be sans women for a while. Not anything against him getting some. But he tends to get his arse kicked a lot due to women. I want him to be a badass for a few episodes. No distractions, just badass gun toting Raylan for a bit. No drama.

    Overall it was a great episode.

  • whatchamini Jan 30, 2013

    I hated Lindsey and I hope she is gone for good...
    Ellen May is annoying as well, but entertaining in a weird hillbilly way.
    Raylan being Raylan... is there anything better on television right now?
    I would love for Dicky to come back!

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