I'm not sure there's a lot to discuss about "Get Drew," tonight's entertaining episode of Justified; it simply felt like we got into a roller-coaster car, let the lap bar come down to secure us in, and hurtled across every corner of Harlan County as the search for Drew Thompson (né Shelby) intensified. The closer we get to the ending of Season 3, the more closely knit Harlan feels, as all the pieces that've been flapping around become so interwoven that the actions of one person can affect the entire ecosystem of marshals, local thugs, wanted fugitives, Detroit mobsters, and BBQ slingers.
Throughout "Get Drew," upper hands never lasted long as Drew was passed around like a Hot Potato between those looking to cash in on him. Over the course of the hour, Drew was a free man, then he stumbled into the clutches of Limehouse (welcome back, old scary friend), then he was sold to Boyd, and finally he was stolen by Raylan and thrown into the backseat of a government-issue Suburban. It was a busy day for Kentucky's most-wanted man, and in the end he wound up in the best-case scenario, given how screwed he was: Now he'll just be in the custody of law enforcement getting tried for murder while he constantly looks over his shoulder for Theo Tonin's network of contract killers aiming to shiv him. Yes, that's his BEST-case scenario.
Of course, he still has to get to that scenario. Just because the lawmen have him it doesn't mean they've got him, if you get my drift. Raylan seemed to imply at the end of the episode that Tonin was about to unleash hellfire on whoever has Drew ("We just have to figure out how to get out of Harlan alive"), even if those people are federal marshals. It's either an ominous sign of violent things to come next week (I don't have the benefit of having previewed scenes from the next episode), or a tacked-on half-promise just to keep things exciting for us. Personally, I have a hard time believing Theo Tonin is stupid enough to take the fight to the marshals. But that doesn't mean I don't want to see him try.
"Get Drew" also saw the return of Limehouse, who showed up at just the right time to take advantage of a situation and make some money off of it. He was a perfect wild card to throw into the deck because he's such a stubborn, powerful old dog who likes to make up the rules as he goes along—so long as those rules are all in his favor. He cleared a path for the episode's most tantalizing scene when he restructured his business with Boyd mid-deal and jacked up the cost of turning over Ellen May and Drew; since they only had enough cash for one or the other, Ava and Boyd had to confab about who to take—the whore who could potentially have Ava jailed or the blank check that was Drew. Boyd romantically fought to protect his woman by saying they should buy Ellen May, but Ava gambled with Ellen May's loyalty and said grabbing Drew was good for future generations of Crowders because he'll pay even more than that Dairy Queen franchise they set up. Boyd bent to Ava's will, and they went for the cash, but that may backfire for Ava, as sending Drew to his death didn't sit well with Ellen May, who dug deep into her saliva glands to let Ava knew what she thought of the decision.
If there was one problem with "Get Drew," it had to do with the way things were set up to make events unfold the way they did. Raylan had to stake out the airport to keep Drew from flying away, Boyd had to get out of detainment quickly, Limehouse had to get wind of Drew, former pimp Nicky had to give up Ellen May's habit of going to see Limehouse a long time after he had anything to do with her, Limehouse had to increase the asking price for Ellen May and Drew, Raylan had to connect Drew to Ellen May with just a pair of "whore's underwear" which put Raylan on Johnny's tail, Johnny had to give up Boyd to Raylan and tell him where the drop was going to happen, and Colton had to be instructed to leave Drew alone to hand off to Tonin's man Augustine instead of doing a personal exchange. These are all things that could've plausibly happened, of course, but they all had to tick the right way in order to give us the specific outcome of "Get Drew." It all felt like it was written to be like this (which it was) rather than unfolding naturally, an unfortunate byproduct of crafting an episode that moves forward so fast. But I won't complain about the results.
The unmasking of Drew Thompson last week turned this six-lane highway search into a bottleneck, and by the end of "Get Drew," things were narrowed all the way down to a bike lane. The walls of Harlan are closing in on everyone, and when jumpy cops and robbers get together in confined spaces, exciting things happen. The pacing of Season 4 has been excellent, and we're on the precipice of this roller coaster's final, thrilling descent. Theo Tonin might be coming to town, and he's going to leave a crater.
POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY
– I loved Art's rant about Drew/Shelby being such a badass. It's true, the man pulled off an impressive run.
– Rachel had the line of the episode, after Raylan said something about Ellen May's "whore's underwear." "By the way, I have that same pair of panties."
– Sounds like Limehouse has been watching Flight before he goes to sleep every night, if his dreams are any indication.