Justified: Pimps, Hos, and Thar She Blows

Justified S03E09: "Loose Ends"

Justified has such a sense of voice and place that even when it's spinning its wheels in its master storylines, it's still mouth-watering television. In fact, spinning its wheels is the wrong choice of words. It's more like burning out a hot rod on a street corner for all the neighborhood to see. The car isn't going anywhere, but it's still showing off.

Looking back on tonight's episode, "Loose Ends," there wasn't a lot that happened in the way of settling any disputes between Limehouse, Quarles, Raylan, and Boyd. But because of its colorful characters and whip-crack dialogue provided by a stellar cast from top-billed cable giant to random goateed extra, we don't care that the pieces on the board have been moving as fast as molasses on a cold day. In fact, "Loose Ends" was more of an episode for Justified to clean up its own loose ends before the homestretch towards the finale.

One of those loose ends was Tanner Dodd, the henchman for hire that's been working for Quarles Limehouse Sheriff Napier Tanner Dodd by working with whoever pays him the most the right any money. As the man who helped Quarles set up his Oxy game, took down Boyd's Oxy clinic for Limehouse's henchman, and blew up Napier's car on his behest, Tanner's little paws are in a lot of cookie jars. That makes him instrumental to uncovering the complicated web that's been strung between all our major players. And that's why he blew up into smithereens after stepping on a Bouncing Betty in a bomb-maker's workshop just before Raylan was about to get all the info he needed to wrap this case up. Had Tanner handed over that information before he went in a thousand different directions at the same time, it would have been too easy for Raylan, and the only things that come easy to Raylan are one-liners and women.

A more minor loose end was Delroy, master pimp and former Other from Lost. This guy is no joke! Not only does he have his girls whoring themselves out for him for cash and pills (both legitimate forms of currency in Harlan), he has them robbing check-cashing places in oversized sunglasses, wigs, and powdered nostrils. That's more than deserving of a leopard-print hat with a giant feather sticking out of it. But as much love as they show for him, he didn't exactly return the favor when one of them got shot and killed during a robbery. After watching his two surviving girls roll the dead one's body in the slurry, he turned his gun on them, killing one while Ellen May got away. This hasn't been a good year for junkie prostitutes in the world of Justified. I'm still mourning poor Trixie.

But Delroy's inability to take out Ellen May freed her from his clutches, and she found sanctuary with Ava, who later gave Delroy a demonstration of what it feels like to be shot by a shotgun at close range. Ellen May might turn out to be an important game piece, because if Raylan can connect Tanner to Limehouse, Quarles, or Sheriff Napier, Ellen May can positively ID Tanner as the one who shot up Boyd's Oxy clinic and therefore tie together criminal activity. I think. But more importantly, it allowed Ava to become one of the hottest pimps in the South. That will be interesting.

Elsewhere, "Loose Ends" was filled with some great verbal showdowns. Raylan and Boyd meeting in jail was poetry. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins simply can do no wrong when they're sharing a scene. Boyd's crashing of the sheriff debates was reminiscent of Mags Bennett's talk during the town hall in Season 2's "The Spoil," But Mrs. Bennett never got in the kind of zingers about hair that Boyd got in at Napier. So good. Though Goggins shone in that scene, David Andrews as Sheriff Napier deserves a lot of credit, too. It ain't easy playing that kind of sleaze. And of course Quarles and Limehouse's chat about shoo-fly pie up in the Holler was fantastic. This show is just fat with great characters and talented actors.

"Loose Ends" didn't have any major revelations but it still managed to show off Justified's strengths. With four deaths adding to the season body count, it was violent. But the real bullets flew off the tongues of characters as tensions tightened and the world of Harlan County, once so open-ended and loosely intertwined, slowly gets pressed together.


Postcards from Harlan County
– Favorite new character? Tanner's mom. Any crazy lady who has the melons to call a marshal a "no-dick lawman" to his face is okay in my book.

– I know it didn't appear like much, but I really liked that opening with Raylan walking into his hotel room with the gun that killed Gary and just sort of sitting there, unsure what to do. Raylan's in a weird place right now. He's got no real home, no Winona, and no real handle on his situation. He's drinking and he's lost, a far cry from running off to start a family and find a happy life for himself outside the marshal service.

– Boyd on Devil: "He's calmed down a good bit since you last saw him."


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

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Best show on television right now, hands down.



However, that may be changing starting Sunday April 1st!!
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This was a great episode. It's episodes like these that remind me of older Justified, and not like the first handful of episodes this season. When you think about it, there were quite a lot of deaths for one episode... but it didn't feel like it, which I think is good. The pacing was great, the acting as good as always, slight progress in the main plot(s), and some nice character development.
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One of the scenes I found intriguing was Boyds reaction to Ava ending Delroy. Genuinely didn't know if he'd stay calm or lose it. I wonder if that will lead to further conflict towards the end of the season.
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His little smirk was great; it was as if he was surprised, amused, confused, and disbelieving all at the same time.
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Excellent "bit part" episode. I don't care much for the main storyline: I find both Quarrels and Limehouse quite boring and unconvincing, but the details were fantastic this time. Tanner's mom was incredibly convincing and in her character - that's a true keeper. I also never bought Boyd's "softly speaking" character - give him some room and watch him explode - as he did in the town hall meeting! The "He's calmed down a good bit since you last saw him." was one of the best this year in any show, period. Ava as a pimpette is a good call :-) Keep these little nuggets coming!
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I loved this episode with the exception of the "bouncing Betty" (which THAT was not!!). If that WAS a BB, there would have been only a 4 second delay after tripping, toothpicks left of the shack, 360 steel balls would have been propelled 360 degrees at a height between 2 1/2' to 4' high, shrapnel in everyone within 200 yds and a hole big enough to bury everyone there to see it happen!
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Don't know a lot about bombs and can't comment on the delay to explosion, but the bomb maker fella did say that he modified it so it wouldn't completely destroy his workshop (even though it kinda did).

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Justified this season has gotten so ugly, I almost didn't want to watch this episode. Raylan is no longer slick, he's just down n dirty now. And everybody in this season is stupid -- hopped-up, drug-addicted hookers robbing a check cashing joint, that's a plan? I dunno, I didn't dislike the episode, it was fine moving the pieces around the chessboard again, but this show barely resembles the first season now. People are just indescriminately shooting each other left and right, taking over jobs simply to serve the story rather than come from a natural place -- Ava a pimp? The head sherrif not noticing a big black Lincoln town car following him? And how many threats does Limehouse need to make before someone realizes he's only got a limited resource backing him up, and it's one that is only loyal because of the fear he wields? Finally, Raylan and the gun, that was just grade-A stupid right there, the least secure place possible for something so important, I'm going to hate this show if that comes back and bites him in the ass for a season finale cliffhanger.
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What first season were you watching? This season has been the best yet so far, it is clear the writers have had a plan all along, unlike in season one which was only sporadically entertaining.
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if i didnt know any bettter id say you didnt even like watching the show lol. this show is just as awesome as when it first came out, if not even MORE awesome.
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That gun will save Raylan's life. People change and the characters here have evolved naturally. You sound like a wittle baby...
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Great episode again. How can the writers in this show make you care and love a character in just 2 (small) scenes as they did with Tanner's mom. While in other shows after ten episodes you still don't care about it's main cast like Alcatraz.

What is it about Ava, that the minute Boyd is in jail. The whole of Harlan county is hitting on her. No wonder she needs to shoot somebody.
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Episode was sweet as Shoofly pie.
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Walton Goggins knocked it out of the park. You are correct, this show is just deep in talent. My favorite was Limehouse talking with Raylan was great. I am glad that Raylan is starting to get the idea of who the man he needs to be concerned with is.



And Ava as the new Madame of Harlan is going to be all kinds of fun.
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Raylan going head to head with Limehouse was my favorite too!
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Walton Goggins put on another acting clinic. Incredible show.
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just another in a long line of justified episodes that makes me dread the distance between tuesdays.
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I'm guaranteed to enjoy any episode where Boyd makes a speech in front of an American flag.
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Boyd has always been my favorite character on Justified, and tonight's episode signified that even more. Boyd is simply smarter than Raylan when it comes to criminals. It makes complete sense that he would understand them more than Raylan, since he is one. Raylan is Boyd's pawn just as much, if not more often, than Boyd is Raylan's. Raylan's legal power plays an important role on Justified, but Boyd's the one who can deliver the true justice in the end, using Raylan as his protector.



Also, Ava was terrific in this episode. She did exactly what Boyd would have done and that was a beautiful thing to see. Bonny makes Clyde doubly dangerous, and Ava seems to be a shoe-in for that role. Once again, Boyd holds all of the cards and outs this season. I believe Boyd will save Raylan in the grand scheme of things, with Raylan simply playing the role of legal protector and almost victim. Raylan is weak right now, Boyd is as strong as ever.



Season 3 will come down to 3 bad guys vying for power and Raylan being stuck in the middle and in grave danger. Boyd will bring justice in the end, and although it may be in an illegal form, it will be the right decision in the end.



Great review, Tim. And as always, the dialogue in Justified is simply beautiful.
More+
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It was 5 deaths Tim. The 2 girls, the bomb maker, Tanner and Delroy. The dialogue in this show is just so awesome.



Raylan: Sheriff, pretty certain he ain't coming.

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