Justified "Decoy" Review: A Gentleman's Game of Hide and Seek

Justified S04E11: "Decoy"

There was a whole lot to like in tonight's episode of Justified, a chest-compressing hour that turned a manhunt into what would have been, had it been real, the country's biggest news story of the day. It's not often that little Harlan County finds itself on the national map, but the events in "Decoy" would have begged CNN to stop airing water-skiing squirrel videos and send down a fleet of news vans. Let's recap the madness that would leave Wolf Blitzer hyperventilating: Some heavily armed Detroit mobsters cruising around in helicopters pinned down federal marshals in order to exact revenge on a known felon at the heart of a 30-year-old cold case. And when you think about it, all "Decoy" did was get Drew out of town. Yet it was easily one of the most entertaining episodes of Justified this season, and in the running for one of the series' best.

But the best thing about "Decoy" was that, despite the extraordinary circumstances and helicopters and molotov cocktails and IEDs and giant friggin' guns, the episode was unequivocally an hour's worth of everything we love about Justified. The familiar, lighthearted lobs of eloquent spoken word and "gosh I wish I had thought of that" zingers didn't stop just because everyone was one trigger squeeze away from a massacre. Quite the opposite. "Decoy" was stuffed with the type of top-notch dialogue that we—greedy little mugs that we are–somehow expect the show to deliver each week, even as the writers are conjuring magic from their fingertips. Tim and Colt's phone-conversation-slash-writers'-workshop was worth the price of admission alone (Colt: "I would like a young Gerard Depardieu to play me in the movie. I'm honored." Are you f'ing kidding me? Outstanding!), and it earns a spot right up there with the best chats of the season. Up top, Graham Yost and Chris Provenzano, you guys wrote an amazing episode.

Yet the laughs only added to everything else that was being built up instead of detracting from it. Humor is often used to break tension, but the wit in "Decoy" was laser focused on never letting us relax. I can take just about any scene as an example of this, but the best would probably be Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) getting his face terraformed by psycho mob lackey and frat dirtbag Yolo in order to give up the whereabouts of Drew Thompson. The brutality of this scene left bruises on MY soul, mostly because seeing one of my favorite comedians get treated like a piece of angus in a Rocky movie in such devastating fashion was difficult to watch. 

But Bob wasn't going out like 80/20 ground beef, he was tougher than a two-buck steak. Between punches and wafts of Axe body spray, Yolo (still funny) would shout "Where's Drew?" To which Bob would reply something along the lines of, "You mean that doctor on TV?" Or "Like Nancy Drew?" But dammit if I didn't lose it when Bob said, "Drewbacca," not as a question or answer, but as a rebellious challenge to BRING IT ON, FRAT BOY. It's the kind of scene that's so hard to watch, yet screams to be watched over and over again. Your soul will bruise, but your sides will split also. Watching this scene back-to-back is like doing 30 minutes of core training. Also: Bob is so badass I can't stand it. And he did it without his Go Bag.

But "Decoy" was quintessential Justified, and it can't be a quintessential episode of Justified without it being really about Raylan and Boyd. The hunt for Drew between the marshal service and the mobsters was entirely orchestrated by Raylan and Boyd, and once again it was their deep roots in Harlan that trumped everything else. These two have been friends or something else ever since they were teens, and their mutual admiration and disdain for each other comes from some weird psychic connection between the two to the point that they can get into each others' heads as easy as they can get into trouble. "Decoy" was move-countermove between Boyd and Raylan while everyone else played their pawns, and the fact that the critical moment of their game came from their old high-school days only deepened their legend and history.

That's what Justified is doing, building legends. Raylan and Boyd will live long after Justified is off the air the way other classic television characters have found life off the screen. And the more episodes like "Decoy" there are, the further those legends will travel. An outstanding episode of Justified, but still probably a hair behind the emotional and violent "Outlaw" for the season's best.



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– I had one beef with the episode, which I also brought up last week. Would mobsters REALLY take on federal marshals for simple revenge? Is Theo Tonin THAT insane that he would put his whole operation at risk just to get back at Drew? Although I guess the man screams into a severed ear when he's upset, so I guess so. There's a reason wise guys kill cops as a last resort, and tonight's events came very close to ending with a whole pile of dead cops. And it wasn't like they were being sneaky about it, either. This distracted me at first, but once I got past it, "Decoy" took off like a rocket.

– However: This sets up a perfect situation that could be lifted out of Elmore Leonard's novels. Both sides were willing to go as far as they had to in order to get what they wanted, and both sides wanted to avoid the bloodbath and the inevitable repercussions. The resulting display of strength was actually very cordial; as soon as the mob knew they'd lost, they took off.

– YOLO. Oh my. This guy... so great. One of my favorite single-episode baddies Justified has ever produced. He's so unlikable, yet so real. And it was so perfect that Raylan could never get his name right. Raylan probably doesn't even know what LOL means.

– Art: "Nobody smokes? This is Kentucky, not Sausalito, what's wrong with you people?" And then the, "I thought you were gonna throw it" miscommunication with Tim. Too funny. Tim + Art is just slightly behind Tim + Raylan.

– Mike O'Malley plays a great Nick Augustine, but sheesh that guy's an asshole. And a stupid one, too. From a business perspective, I'm not sure the way he was talking to Ava was very smart. If it gets back to Theo that he almost blew a deal by talking about how Ava blew, it could mean curtains for him. And exposing Johnny's plan to take over Boyd's turf doesn't help the immediate goal of getting Drew, either.

– Johnny's in love with Ava? Is crushing on her in the Crowder blood?

– HOUSEKEEPING: After about 12 years of sitting at my desk, I'm actually going on vacation and won't be around to cover next week's episode. However, I should be back in time for the finale... though I might be so jet-lagged that it will feel like the day after the finale so maybe I will write a review of it FROM THE FUTURE.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

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This episode was AMAZING.

The writers for this show are the best on tv, and make even the simplest of lines utterly enjoyable.
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Holy. Fucking. Batshit.
I wanna quote the whole episode, yet this was a fairly action-heavy one! This is what makes Justified stand out.
- Tim and Colton. Badass mofos.
- Boyd and Theo. Badass mofos.
- Ava and Theo. Badass mofos.
- Bob and Raylan. Badass mofos.
Can't tell when I last saw a TV episode this intense. Awesome.
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Uh, Mr. Augustine, not Theo obviously.
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Great episode. I am not sure where they are going to go with this for the finale. But the build up is fantastic.
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This show is like TV porn. Outstanding, just, everything, all of it. I have no words!
I really hope Colt makes it out alive here, cos him and Tim together, wow. If we had that in every episode, I'd never need to watch another drama again!
Poor little Constable Bob, i was sure he would squeal! But when I saw he was trying to kill YOLO (hahahhahahha), I was thinking, "where's his go bag?!"
Yolo was a bit of a hottie, pity he died so soon.
Johnny fancies Ava? What?? Did I miss something? Was that always there and building up? Is that the real reason Johnny wanted to oust Boyd? And does Ava have pheromones that only Crowder men can smell? And Raylans?
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Wow. Just... wow. I want to force everyone I know to sit down and watch this episode. I want to marinate my brain in that silver-tongued dialogue and sweet, heavy tension. I wanna re-watch it right now, brb guys.

God, what else is there even to say? I loved every f*cking moment of this episode. I loved every damn character (except you, Nick. Ef you.) and every line of dialogue. This episode is my new happy place.
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At this point I kinda expect Bob to become the Harlan's next Sheriff ...
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Wait, Gerard Depardieu isn't Colt? Lol. Outstanding.
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This episode had everything about this how I love:
- Plenty of Tim time. Including Tim interacting with all of the other great characters, and Tim just being badass. Also more backstory about him (PTSD reference, however sarcastic). Just excellent.
- Yolo: I knew he had to die, but I didn't want him to. Somehow, in 5 minutes of screen time I already liked/disliked him so much.
- Rachel: Being bauwse. That is all.
- Ava kicking ass
- Cool maneuvers, explosives.

I mean...it just had it all. Everything.
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I didn't like Bob's character to much at the start, but the beating he took off Yolo (lol) and the whole Drew thing had me loving him. And then he's just sat in the corner holding guns looking majorly pissed off. Bob has gone badass!
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Tim was the man the man of the hour no questions asked....I to didnt get the point Augustine was trying to make with his conversation with Ava....
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This episode was Justified at it's best and watching Raylan and Boyd scenes is pure joy.
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Please read, also great review as always Tim. I don't really post but this has been gnawing at me for some time because I think you missed it and I thought the show would re-iterate it sooner but everything in Harlan County works on it's on time. Sorry for the length.

Theo Tonin wants Drew dead because Drew/ Shelby turned federal witness for the FBI way back in the day (I assume he did drug runs for Theo - back when even Theo was cutting his teeth).

The story's like this: so Drew is in South America with Theo and his startup crew making a deal with Columbians for shit loads of coke, Drew already had it in mind to fuck them all over and dissapear and he steals the money (kept it, gambled it away) and coke (shit loads, enough for a County for a long while). Anyway a major part of the reason he decides to screw everyone over and get the fuck out of there is because he wanted out and needed to bail - remember Theo Tonin was just making his name for himself - Drew Thompson witnessed Theo UNCOVER and then MURDER an Confidential Informant who the FBI were using to build a case against him. Drew was a loose end, it was only matter of time before Theo would have killed him. It was a kill or be killed equation. Drew got smart.

Drew decides to fuck him over first and try to kill him, and run at the same time cause he knows that's what had to happen. He does it this way: Drew was already running drugs for Theo AND he was married to Eve. Drew made Eve destroy every picture they had of him - he had no other family, point being he told her the truth. He then reached out to the FBI to turn federal witness against Theo Tonin, the FBI already had a case against Theo and Drew was the nail in the coffin. Drew was hedging his bets, by telling them about the Theo's murder of their CI his plan was to cement the FBI's case/ fury but he was playing them for time for his actual plan to disappear and to do that FBI or no FBI Theo had to die. He almost pulled it off - he shot Theo in the eye in the process. Theo survived, got smart and presumably started killing judges' cats.

Drew landed on the fringes of Harlan County - he had done his homework, he had already selected/scouted his degenerate patsy: enter Waldo Truth. He also already knew the terrain. He had Arlo Givens (Vietnam) and by proxy Bo Crowder. So he made the deal with Waldo's wife and then took off again with Waldo in tow, thereafter Waldo came down as Drew, along with a fraction of the stolen coke, all to lend legitimacy. He kept the money, gave the rest of the coke to the Crowder/ Givens fund and went to ground straight away and soon enough got took in by the Hill people. The FBI had nothing substantial against Theo especially with Drew splattered on the pavement and their case against him went away. Theo was never that convinced about Drew's demise, and 30 years on here we are.
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DREWBACCA should have been this episode's title. Decoy fits but gave away too much.
Const. Bob should get his own spinoff. Come to think of it, any character on Justified could easily have a show on his/her own - and it would be great.
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An all around great episode, with ALL the scenes. Yeah, it was hard to watch the scene with Constable Bob -- I thought he was a dead duck for sure, and glad he pulled through. Bad ass indeed.

Also loved the phone calls between Cole and the sniper, and the intensity of the scene, as well as of course the pithy dialogue between Rayland, Boyd, and the other dude ('Ticker'?) in the stairwell as well as in the Principal's office. I was so sure a gun fight would break out somewhere, and in that respect you are absolutely right about the strength involved in avoiding a bloodbath.
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I could be misremembering this but I am pretty sure that beyond the ear issue, Theo Tonin wants Drew dead because Drew is the only living witness to an execution style murder Theo himself committed way back in the day. Because there is no statute of limitations on murder Drew's testimony would effectively put Tonin away for the remainder of his life. This, from a mobster's perspective, is a more reasonable explanation for taking on the US Marshals Service, I guess. My only question here is, how come Los Angeles SWAT has a helo with missiles and the US Marshals don't? Someone should have shot that stupid privately chartered mobster's helo out of the sky. This is hill country for Pete's sake, I know there is a high powered potato gun out back of every other house. Load up a jar of 'shine and take that sucker out already.

YOLO: scary and creepy but not the skin-crawling big bad that Quarles was. Detroit sends out some freaky scary guys in this universe. What happens to poor white dudes up in Detroit?

My forecast for S04 DOAs: Nick Augustine and Cousin Johnny do not survive to see S05. Augustine b/c he's proven himself TSL and Cousin Johnny, well it isn't like Boyd to allow a fox to sleep in his hen house.
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Quote:"Load up a jar of 'shine and take that sucker out already."
This should be tattooed on my back in huge letters.
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Yost is just, excellent. This, and The Americans... Time to give the man some recognition. Both shows way, way above the standard TV. Also, it may be time to get a kickstart fund going to get more episodes a season?
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This is now in my top 5 best episodes of Justified - I look forward to see how the angle with Johnny goes and why Colton killed Tonins guy
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I dont know why it took me so long long to get into Justified but god am i glad i finally came to my senses!! Ican't recall a series with great acting from every level : the regular cast, the villains ( I really hope Duffy is not on the run for long, he's the absolute best) but even the lesser roles are on on point.
- Nick Augustine kinda encapsulated the whole series when he said to Boyd '' i love the way talk, using 40 wordswhen 4 would do''
- also of course Raylan doesnt know Yolo
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I did wonder about Theo Tonin and the revenge angle and crossing not just the State police BUT Feds. I mean how hard it must be to hold a grudge that size for 15years!!!
Other than that another scintillating day in Harlan county.
And what the hell is Boyd planning to have his man kill one of the Mob enforcers. The plot is never what it looks like with Boyd and the rest of the Harlan folks.
Beware folks that use 40 words when 4 will do!
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Me and my mom were saying the same thing. In real life, Theo doesnt even think of killing fed marshals and risk the full wait of the federal govt and all the abc agencies to get to Drew..., but it makes for good tv to have him willing to risk it for revenge for being shot in the eye and left for dead. I think Boyd told his people (Ava, Johnny, Colt) while they were waiting for Nicky Augustine to do whatever they could to survive if it looked like they were going to get killed. They all got away except Johnny, so I expect they will regroup and try to figure out a way to make it right with Theo. I hope Wynn comes back from Canada.
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Tim you are spot on when you say that we have just come to expect great dialogue on the show. That's what separates shows like Justified and Breaking Bad from the pack. You just expect greatness and it delivers. Awesome episode.
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Tim, will someone cover next weeks episode? Please say yes;-)
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Another thing, Boyd is just the perfect foil for Raylan. I liked Walton in the Shield but he just outdoes himself with this role.
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wihed I could have given 2...or 3 thumbs up for that
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This show is simply fanatastic and what a great episode. You're expecting a firefight and instead you get all the moves and countermoves withou one. Great story with Constable Bob as well, I hope he's in future episodes!
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AWESOME episode ! If Graham Yost and Chris Provenzano were the duo responsible for this week's writing, I am going to watch whatever show they put up in the future!

Its not just about Raylan and Boyd. Tonight we had a sort of chess match between Colton and Tim. It was a great scene. We are really seeing Tim at his best! Colton too. It makes me think if Colton were not so high on drugs, he could prove to be very useful to Boyd. I guess in the end perhaps he guess that they were not successful in getting Drew so he had to killed off the sniper. It would be great if he prove his loyalty in running back to get Boyd instead of just running for his life.

Which writers will give such a fantastic name to a henchman that appears for such a short time in any series. You Only Live Once - YOLO. Seriously, simply great! He would probably be remember now my most people even after the series end.

The ending, it was wonderful too. It was such a simple answer and we had a simple man suggesting it.
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So did Rayland give up the collar of Drew/Shelby to Rachel? Since she was the one to ride away on the train with him, does she get the credit for the US Marshall's biggest catch of the century?
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I wondered the same thing...I think he just did the right thing to get the job done
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Think I held my breath for the whole battering Constable Bob scene, while my brain was screaming "DON'T YOU DARE KILL CONSTABLE BOB!". So so very good. This episode was amazing but felt like a misfiring season finale. Can't imagine what treats they have for us in two episodes time :)
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Oh, so this is where they've been hiding the real "Justified"!

I think what makes this episode's dialogue work so well is that it's either authentic to the character or it creates a character out of someone we barely knew. It was enough to get us past CPDs (contrived plot devices) such as Boyd knowing where to go because he dug coal alongside Raylan, and it really worked marvelously. It got us through horrible violence that was Constable Bob's beatdown. It got us through heavily armed confrontations. It got us through Ava taking heavy abuse from Nick Augustine after she prodded him into conversation. It got us through the silliness that was the Marshals circling the wagons instead of driving off into the barren field around them in any other direction. It even got us through, as you so deftly pointed out, the ridiculousness of mobsters bringing a chopper and car bombs and armed groups to bear against a federal police force over a single guy.

I was expecting Yolo to die by bleeding out rather than a gunshot, he was gushing blood from that femoral artery stab that Bob gave him, 2 minutes of rolling around on the floor should have drained him completely.

My favorite moments included Boyd and Raylan reminiscing over the astronaut who came to their school, and arguing about which one it was.

But the biggest success this episode had was in the resolution on getting Drew out of the county. This show has a friggin' train in the opening titles, it's mentioned as a part of daily life in Harlan, and yet it's almost like they've been setting up the audience and Boyd and everybody else for the switch because they've downplayed those coal trains in the show for 4 years now and then to use it as the escape seemed like such an "oh, of course!" moment. Even Drew/Shelby didn't think of escaping like a hobo, and yet it felt entirely authentic due to a single line earlier in the episode about setting your watch by these trains in the town. That moment was the perfect punctuation to a wild episode - they could have hidden Drew in another room and that'd have worked too, but it wouldn't have felt clever and different.

Aside from the "why didn't they just drive off to the right or left" thing, which admittedly Tim could have assumed they had a trained sniper hunting for that but they didn't say, and the "Boyd knows Raylan's strategy perfectly" thing, the only real thing that felt off to me was when the cavalry finally arrives, there's a lot of Marshals guys, where the hell were all these guys throughout the rest of this saga?

By the way, I think this show deserves credit for having Boyd own a little moment where he says he doesn't believes in God, what a shift for Boyd to just own that after all we've seen of him in relation to Harlan and to its churches, that was some ballsy writing.
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Boyd said he didn't believe in God because that was a tactical advantage for him. Augustine's story of Abraham and Isaac was being used as a not so subtle way of telling Boyd that whenever Theo Tonin tells you to do something, you do it, regardless of what happens to you or yours. But the twist came because he's talking to a former Evangelical preacher, and we all know Boyd can talk circles around anyone Biblically speaking, even if he might have a few twisted beliefs about what it all means. It switches the power from Augustine to Boyd. Augustine is knocking Boyd's teeth out, but it shows that he doesn't really know who it is that he's messing with. And of course, the whole theme of this season has been who knows what, and when. Boyd was really in control there, and that scene was our first glimpse.
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That's an interesting take on it, definitely not how I read the scene, but I'm curious to hear more on the thought. I'm not sure I understand how it shifts power since Augustine's story is a parable either way in the situation and Boyd is there, hat in hand knowing he's up against it, no matter what.
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I mean power in the sense that Augustine felt he was in control of Boyd, because he was in a chair getting beaten. But in asking if Boyd believes in God, he is showing that he doesn't know who Boyd really is. This gives Boyd the upper hand. From this point on you can see the wheels turning, allowing Boyd to one-up Augustine. He has Colt set up the trap, I'm sure knowing that Colt would eliminate Augustine's assassin. He goes with Augustine's other guy to the high school to find Raylan and Shelby without Augustine. This seems to me to be the point Boyd realized he is smarter than Augustine and he can get out of the jam they were all in at that point. I'm fairly confidant that along the rest of the season we will see Boyd get out of the danger Augustine and Tonin represent, and I think it comes from this moment.

Also, there was a slight pause in between Augustine asking and Boyd answering "no". To me that's obvious that that means he said it deliberately, not necessarily because he meant it. But as you said, we could just have read the scene differently.
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That's quite a different interpretation than I took away from the scene, but like I said before, very interesting, thanks for explaining. I also didn't see Colt's turnabout on the sniper as Boyd's call or that Boyd was trying to outplay Augustine at all, I think that's a lot of reading into the scene, so hopefully we'll get clarity on in the next episode one way or the other as both takes have a lot of promise.
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Not to get too critical of the episode, as I try not to get too pretentious as far as digging into the philosophical aspects of TV, but the best part of that episode, and I read this in another review but it was something I was considering myself watching the episode. That being that the "two ways to get out of Harlan" could be seen as a metaphor for Raylan and Boyd. Boyd has always been depicted as Raylan's dark reflection; holding a mirror up to what Raylan could have been, especially with Arlo as his father. This season they've also introduced Colt to be that same dark reflection of Tim. Boyd made the easy choice and became a criminal while Raylan chose the law. Colt came home from the war broken, and turned to drugs and crime, while Tim found a new calling in life as a marshall, and while both are haunted by their time in combat, Tim has found his vehicle for his demons. Both cases illuminate the point of having two ways out. It seems that if you grew up in Harlan County you're either working for the law or against it, but in Shelby's case, both figuratively and literally, there was a 3rd way out. That's fantastic writing.
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I'm on record as saying that was the best episode of Justified ever. And when I said that, I hadn't even seen the scene with Boyd and Raylan in the school yet. Tim and Colt stole that episode, I sincerely hope Colt is alive for Season 5 now just so we can get more scenes of the two of them together. They are the two sides of the same coin in relation to Raylan and Boyd being the same.

How good is Patton Oswald as Constable Bob? "Drewbacca" did make me laugh pretty hard, but I also loved how Raylan told the trigger happy-on-his-best-day Bob to "stay frosty".

Nick Augustine is an absolute asshole, and it's fantastic. I thought he bagged on Ava for a BIT too long, but this scene was his best of the season, just barely edging out his first scene with Wynn.

I need to mention Tim and Colt again, because that was fantastic.

Boyd and Raylan. Honestly, I want an episode of just the two of them talking for an hour. Graham Yost, please go watch Homeland's "Q and A" episode, and then do that with Raylan and Boyd.

My one gripe about this show usually, is that while Tim is awesome, and Rachel is usually awesome, they both aren't usually factors in the same episode. Either Tim is featured or Rachel is, and the other is barely in the episode if at all. This episode changed that, and did a fantastic job of it. Rachel had some great stuff, and as I've mentioned twice now, Tim was great.
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As for Augustine acting like a dick to Ava and Johnny, I think it has to do with the fact that it's not a business deal between Boyd's little gang and Tonin's mafia anymore, but rather a "we either run, die, or try and help" situation. They're just as willing to kill Boyd/Ava/and probably Johnny as they are to let Boyd help get Drew. Tonin wants Drew, sure, but I don't he cares at all whether Boyd is helping or dead.
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"How many dicks you gotta suck to get to the top of the food chain around here? It's gotta be a ton of dicks. It's gotta be like morning, noon, and night. Like, ever since you were fourteen. It's gotta be like the alarm goes off, I'm sucking dick. Where's another dick I can suck? Dick, dick, dick. Go to bed, suck a dick. Dicks, dicks, dicks. It's gotta be a ton. I mean, a small-time blonde girl like you? Looking for a better life? Plenty of girls like you, but what sets you apart? Extraordinary vacuuming skills. It's gotta be. Right? Is that why they let you run the whorehouse? Because you train the girls in your off-hours. Okaygirlsyougottagarrrg."

I know FX is on cable, but jeez, that's A LOT of dicks in less than a minutes worth of dialogue. For a show known for awesome dialogue, O'Malley must have had a ton of fun with that one.
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This episode was brilliant. I never knew if Constable Bob was gonna talk and die after or stand his ground. That was some great writing.
My favorite scenes were the ones with Tim, Art and Colt, though. But I also happen to have a huge crush on Tim, so.. Any scene with him is awesome!
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I only caught onto Ava's intent just before she threatened it, so I enjoyed the heck out of that scene. Constable Bob was awesome! Colt is soo creepy!
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I figured she'd do something like that once she asked for brandy instead of beer (while playing with her lighter), but I thought it'd be to Augustine's groin area rather than the face.
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Sure the bad guys would take on US Marshals like they did here. They've done so in half the other Westerns out there since they became a staple on the silver screen. John Wayne built a late career upon that scenario!

Justified may be set in something vaguely reminding us of the present day USA but it is an old-fashioned Western like Elmore Leonard has been writing since the 1950s. The heart - the uneasy friendship between Raylan and Boyd - is lifted from Budd-Boetticher-Randolph-Scott films [look it up and you find Mr Leonard again] and Andrew McLaglen's Chisum [Billy the Kidd and Pat Garret]. The rest is whatever is needed, like last night's Rio Bravo.
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So many great monologues and conversations last night. Nicky's "suck" monologue. Colton's "story" about the soldiers dying because they were ****ies. Tim's conversation. Rayland and Boyd. Just so many great bits of verbal flavor jam packed in 42 minutes of awesome.

Heck, even the one-liners were great: Art's little "I thought YOU were throwing it" but had me cracking up, as was Tim's bit about how this all could just be a PTSD flashback and his "joke" that it only flares up when he has his gun in public.

Awesome-Sauce all the way through.
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The reason that Nick would be so rude to Ava and Johnny is that he did not expect them to be living for very long.
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I loved Tim having such a big part of the episode. From the humor to the threat he posed to Colt as an experienced sniper. And the banter with Art was top notch.

Raylan and Bob need more time next season. I had already seen Patton Oswalt in The FAN, so I knew he could carry a beating scene like that without making it a pure comic moment. But I was also not sure if the writers woere going to make his character one of the season's casualties, so I was tensing up, waiting to see if he would make it or not.

The scene at the beginning between Boyd and NickY Augustine was snappy too. Boyd sitting there knowing he had to take the insults about his teeth, clothes and conversational skills because he was a hair's breath away from being shot was great. And being Boyd, he couldn't help mouthing off a bit too.

But my favorite part was Raylan nd Shelby/Drew. Raylan isn't just a seasoned law man, he is a man who grew up with Arlo Givens as his father. And all of Arlo's friends and collegues around the house. A lifetime of living with a consummate conman would absolutely make him deadset against trusting Drew. Let alone with Drew with a gun, in a gunfight. And I appreciated the fact that the writers didn't have him waffling over the issue. He has his imaginary line drawn between the good guys and the bad guys, and when you're on the bad guy side, you don't get to fool him into thinking you're a good guy. Boyd and the occasional hot blonde being an exception.

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I hadn't seen much of Patton Oswald except the occasional pop up on a tv show always in a comedic role. Most recently he was on a few episodes of Burn Notice with a character that mixed some drama but mostly comedy. Than when he came on Justified this season, actually was he on before this season? I can't remember. Anyway when he first came on his role seemed like his Burn Notice role, funny but more dramatic and serious. I didn't think he would be a reccuring character let alone end up being part of the main arc in some way.I really thought Bob was done for there, I knew he wouldn't say anything, he would die first and I thought that was coming. But than I remembered him a few episodes ago assembling whatever kind of rifle that was and that right there was an example of underestimating Bob. Still having only seen him in a comedic role mostly watching him get beaten like that was like the reviewer said pretty hard to watch, but still oh so satisfying in the end with his different versions of Drew and his revenge. It really made me think back to the beginning of the season when he told Raylan that people think he is a joke, he even thought Raylan thought so. So it makes sense to have that scene because all season long he has been trying to prove himself to Raylan and everyone around him that he is as Raylan put it a tough son of a bitch, and not only that he out of the Marshalls, Raylan, Boyd, and Tonin's crew figured out how to get Drew out of Harlan unnoticed.
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God, I loved this episode. I could have watched an entire episode take place in any of three settings - the standoff on the highway, the Constable Bob hostage scene or the standoff at the school. All three were so well written - at once the most dramatic and funniest moments of the season.

Awesome review Tim. Enjoy the hard earned vacation!
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So, you're saying I should check out Justified?
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Yes and don't read anymore reviews or comments they are filled with spoilers, well to you anyway not to those who watch the show but you get what I mean.
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Yes. And this was the best episode of the show (so far).
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Well, at least the most satisfying.
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From the beginning. You absolutely must start with the first episode.
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Absolutely.
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I totally agree with your point about being able to watch a whole episode at any one of the three settings. As much as I enjoy Raylan and ConstaBob, if I had to choose one, I'd probably have gone with the highway, but all three were great.
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The highway was definitely number 1. So tense.
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LOVED LOVED LOVED this episode but on the real, I'm just here for Constable Bob...that is all LOL.

Nah, this season has been amazing AND it's not done yet. I can't even imagine what the finale will be like.
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AWESOME
AWESOME
AWESOME
So far the best episode of the season and one of the best of the series.
Almost every line was funny yet like Tim said " the laughs only added to everything else that was being built up instead of detracting from it. Humor is often used to break tension, but the wit in "Decoy" was laser focused on never letting us relax. "
Love Raylan
Love Tim
Love Art
Love Constable Bob (lol, what is a constable--lol)
Love Tim & Art, Tim & Colton, Raylan & Boyd, Raylan & Drew conversations--LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS EPISODE (sorry for shouting but I'm still all worked up from watching it).
Drewbacca;-)
betting on what the astronaut did...lol
way to many funny conversations
Rachel being incredulous that Raylan has read books:-)
love the PTSD comment and basically loved everything about this episode.
I'm so giddy with happiness I can't even formulate a proper comment.

Have fun on your trip!! Can someone else cover next week---we need somewhere to post comments and to talk about how badass everyone on the show is (loved Colton tricking the guy to get the gun and shoot him)...just wait until Boyd hears from Ava about what went down at the bar...hopefullly Raylan and Boyd team up briefly (while Tim is taking care of Colton).
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Did anyone else catch that "YOLO" was the same actor who plays the funeral director "Max" on Being Human. What a difference in characters, I almost missed it. On one show he is a sweet bumbling guy with limited social skills and on Justified he's a psychopath with... limited social skills. Okay, maybe not THAT different.
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Oh shit I knew he looked familiar but I couldn't place him, his hair was dark on BH and kind of blondish on Justified but still that features wise isn't a big change. What it was speaks to the actor's skills cuz his mannerisms and character were completely different than BH, plus with all the shit he did to Bob I was to busy hating the son of a bitch., so glad Bob got him back.
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It's him AFTER Sally left him!
Thanks for the tip, it grilled my brain that I couldn't place the guy... Sally's virgin boyfriend, of course!
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That was my first thought, "Isn't that Sally's guy on Being Human?" :)
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This episode was fantastic. This season is shaping up to be one of my favorites in all of television. I mean Constable Bob stabbed YOLO in the leg. Like I never that a sentence with those names in it could exist. (Whoever came up with YOLO needs a promotion, pure genius)
Every story in this episode was great. Sometimes ones are weaker than the other, but I looked forward to each one.
Art and Tim with that cocktail nearly had me on the floor laughing, and I loved Tim and Colt's phone conversation. Especially when he made the character Lt. Dan.
I also liked that this episode displayed good use of Art, Tim, and Rachel. Usually one or two get left out, but this show is great when all are involved and being sassy.
I can't wait till next week and I can't believe the season is almost over. This show is just so much fun to watch.
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For my money this was the best episode of the season. It started at a breakneck speed and kept that pace for the whole hour, but it never felt rushed or busy despite the dozen little confrontations taking place. And damn near everyone got a great moment or two. Loved it.

My highlights:

1) Seeing just how god damn awesome Constable Bob is. "People underestimate Bob at their peril."
2) Ava coming within a hairs breadth of lighting Agustine up and then taunting Johnny as she made her escape. Loved that.
3) Raylan and Boyd half reminiscing, half arguing about the astronaut. The more screen time these two share the happier I am.
4) Tim and Colt on the phone. It's a shame Colt is more then likely going to die soon, as he and Tim are fast approaching Boyd and Raylan levels of awesome.
5) More Art then usual this week and that's always a good thing.
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I agree with the whole "Are you serious" bit about mobsters taking on a squad of feds...

But recall, this wasn't JUST about revenge. Drew/Shelby also witnessed Theo kill someone... I forget if it was a federal agent or federal witness. He might be a little untouchable now, but that's the kind of thing that would have the feds descend upon him.

Sure, losing his eye and everything is probably driving Theo... but there is a logic to his madness. Sure now he's on the hook for sending his crew, but its hard to pin it on HIM. The orders themselves probably came down the ladder so whatever schmucks were there can't legally say Theo told them directly. Only a minor difference but a legal one.

As opposed to Drew no saw Theo himself pull a trigger
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