Justified: The Spark That Set Harlan Ablaze

Justified S03E06: "When the Guns Come Out"

Dang! Trixie done got done! As did dirty doctor drug dealer! And that was just in the first few minutes of last night's episode. Justified has definitely gone through a lot more gunpowder this season than it has in the past, as the bloodbaths in Harlan have escalated to violent video-game levels, but the real war hasn't even started. And that's all about to change, because "When the Guns Come Out" provided the spark that's going to set Harlan ablaze.

We're six episodes into Justified's third season, and it's only now that we're seeing this amorphous mass of gentlemanly trickery, backwoods greed, and book-quoting posturing being shaped into a giant ball of hate and gunfire. But that's how Justified does things, and thank the giant bearded man in the sky it does. Rather than taking shots at one another right off the bat, we've spent five-and-a-half episodes watching Raylan, Boyd, Quarles, and Limehouse build themselves up into potent participants in the inevitable carpet-bombing of Kentucky.

Up to now, we've seen fake cordial introductions between these four as everyone felt each other out. In "When the Guns Come Out," a single incident turned those handshakes into vice grips because Southern hospitality can only last so long before someone gets shot. We're in a situation now in which Quarles, Boyd, and Raylan all believe something that isn't entirely true—that Boyd started shooting on Quarles or vice versa.

In reality, it was Limehouse's second-in-command who was behind the assault on Boyd's Oxy game that was being run out of Helen's house. Turning double-murder into double-murder-ade, Limehouse has involuntarily been thrust into the ruckus and now sees an opportunity to cash in on this unfortunate turn of events by dipping his fingers into the drug trade.

Request for help: Maybe someone can explain to me how Limehouse's henchman made the raid on Boyd's "clinic" happen? Did he pay Tanner to go out on his own (away from Quarles)? Did he pick out Tanner on purpose to start a war between Quarles and Boyd in hopes he could pick up the scraps? I'm assuming he was just trying to start some chaos to "clear the playing field" as he suggested, but I have a hard time he would go over Limehouse's head. Never go out on your own without asking your boss first, especially when your boss wields a cleaver the size of a armadillo around.

Regardless of how they got there, war is coming and it's going to be messy. Quarles now thinks that Raylan is in Boyd's pocket and knows Arlo is in Boyd's gang. That's a perfect setup to take Raylan out of the picture through legal means by painting him as dirty. Boyd still thinks Quarles was responsible for the assault on his Oxy store, which could join Boyd and Raylan in a play against Quarles. And here's Limehouse coming 'round on the outside, still a wild card in this poker showdown. Limehouse has tasked his henchman with taking Tanner out; how will Boyd react to that? I'm not always a fan of the "dumb henchman sets things in motion with dumb decision" story device, but when you look at what's become of it, it's so worth it.

In the not nearly as interesting storyline, Winona left Raylan because she couldn't handle the danger of his job. It's been boiling under the surface for some time, but way to pick your timing, girl! Raylan is about to be up to his nose in bullet shell casings, and you decide to walk out shortly after putting on a convincing performance that everything was okay? She's very civil about it, though, and has made her decision. And it sure seems final, doesn't it? It's not the most unique plot (man-in-dangerous-job-fights-girl-who-wants-him-to-leave-dangerous-job) but Timothy Olyphant sold it well all throughout the episode as a major distraction from the case in front of him. And didn't it seem like Raylan's fuse was a few inches shorter with Winona in the back of his brain?

"When the Guns Come Out" was the transition from series of standalone episodes to nitty-gritty rest-of-season showdowns, and now all the players are in place and the guns are cocked. I'll be looking on with glee while taking cover behind an old barrel.

Postcards from Harlan County:

– Note to self: Keep a man tied up on my bed so I can vent my frustrations and exorcise any sense of loss of control with a little one-way beatdown, just like Quarles does. Every episode, Quarles gets more and more awesome. Wynn's reaction to Quarles' was priceless. Is Wynn getting freaked out enough by Quarles' ways that he might turn on him later?

– That was William Mapother (Lost's Ethan Rom/Other Man) as the dirty pimp. His attempt at convincing Ellen May to do what she had to do and make sacrifices was great, creepy television. It seemed a little too real.

– That final scene with the evidence guard running off to Mexico with the stolen cash that Raylan suspected Winona of taking seemed a bit out of left field. I don't think that kind of story belongs in the world of Justified, and coupled with the detour that Dewey took last week (which was very entertaining), I'm getting the feeling that Justified is undergoing a shift in tone toward being just a hair over-the-top.


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

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CurlyMC, yes you are correct! M.C. Gainey played Tom (who loved to wear fake beards) on Lost, and he also played Boyd's semi-loving father Bo Crowder in season 1 of Justified.





As for the ending with Charlie taking the money, it didn't really bother me that much. It was a nice way to prove that Winona didn't take it, and I agree with JT_Kirk, it reminded me of something from Get Shorty.

As for Limehouse's second in command making a stupid mistake, that reminded me of Tig from SOA this past season finale taking matters into his own hands after Clay's hospitalization, and driving a car onto a sidewalk killing a young girl. Really Tig? I guess some people don't think things through, and that is precisely why they aren't in charge. Just like how Johnny tried to make a deal with Quarles and go around Boyd. Silly Johnny.



Quarles is the best new character this season and I am loving every second he is on screen.
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How many more Lost cast members can we squeeze into this season. Had Dickie, the guard dude that Raylan ran over (twice), and then William this episode. Plus I believe that the big-bearded-dude-almost-leader of the "others" was in the first season of Justified? yes? no? I cant rightly remember but i think he was.
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i love the episode, definitely building up to the rest of the series, massive showdown coming soon



on the side note: i just love how many time COSTA RICA is mentioned, i love my country!!! Costa Rica rules!
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Sorry Tim, I cannot explain how Limehouse's henchman got Quarles' thugs to pull that job, it was not explained and not terribly logical, so good point, it made no sense.



I totally disagree with you about the guy who watches the evidence locker running off with the cash, that is a very Elmore Leonard thing to happen, a seemingly normal character making a left turn just at the time it hurts the hero most. He had taken the cash and was just waiting to see who would come looking for it, then took off when someone finally did, it was funny. Reminded me of something you'd see happen in Get Shorty.



Anyway, as for the episode itself, it was dutiful but it felt like a lazily-written episode. Characters weren't growing or motivated by either personal choice or outrageous circumstance, but instead by moving the plot forward, and they were just a mass of cliches rather than nuanced, clever individuals. Even Art was just putting Raylan on the case because the plot demanded it, last season he never would have intentionally involved someone in a case merely because it had a personal connection, in fact he'd often avoid them just for that reason.
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"just a hair over-the-top"



Come on, man. Raylan has killed more people than cancer, but now the show is getting too zany. Plus, these are the kind of stories Elmore Leonard writes; crazy ones, that is.



Not that I don't agree that scene was odd, and capped off an even odder storyline that had no place in the episode, let alone ever being dragged back up at all; as it was just about the worst part of season 2.
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Am I the only one who is wondering where the crap Raylan's hat went?!?! He just doesn't seem like himself without it!
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THE FEWER THE COMMENTS THE BETTER THE SHOW

See: OUAT , Dexter season6, TVD, TSC etc...
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I disagree about the last scene. I appreciated the writers wrapping up that stolen $$ storyline, once and for all, as well as some related ones. Winona and Raylan are in the clear; Art and Raylan are back on good terms. Winona is out of the day to day. And we learn that Tim and Rachel know all Raylan's dirty laundry.



Now, the final 6 eps can move forward with Raylan and the Marshalls dealing with the Quarles/Limehouse/Boyd bad a.ssery at hand. Can't wait!!
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The story was already wrapped up. There was no point in bringing it back up, as Winona said herself, they went through hell to get it back in there, and it was. Storyline done. Until this episode.
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Except that Art came down to the basement when they were finishing up putting the money back in a different locker and still suspected that Raylan and Winona took it. So, storyline not done.
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Raylan's come-to-Jesus with Boyd was AWESOME! The patronizing look on Boyd's face as Raylan is winding himself up and airing his grievances is fantastic. For a moment Boyd is sorely tempted to rise to the bait and go a round with Raylan, but he already knows he has Raylan right where he wants him, and Raylan, know it as well, calls him on it, "You love it, don't you? Getting the law to do your dirty work." Boyd doesn't even have the decency to pretend to prevaricate for the Marshal. Raylan is in a mood now. Little wonder he put the beatdown on DelRay.



Initially as I was reading the predictions about Quarles trying to neutralize Raylan by making him out to be dirty it seemed implausible given how many times Raylan has arrested Arlo - it is not as if the Marshal's aren't aware of the dearth in degrees of separation between Raylan and pretty much every crime syndicate in southeastern KY. But he does seem to be digging grave for himself, jumping in with both feet and reaching up to pull the dirt over his own head. He confronts a suspected drug dealer (Boyd) without reporting it, then goes to meet the suspect's girlfriend (who he used to date) to question another witness, where he beats up her pimp, and as she's leaving Ava says, "Thanks for coming by Raylan," as if it was a favor. Then he goes lone eagle to confront the competing drug operation, without reporting in or requesting backup, where one of the suspects is shot and killed. Ok, it is beginning to seem more probable with every move Raylan makes.



But Raylan has the devil's own luck, even when it doesn't seem that way to him. With Winona taking off she and the baby will at least not be top of Quarles leverage hit list. And Charlie running off with that money was a blessing from heaven for Raylan: when Quarles begins to fabricate his case against Raylan the strength of Art's guilt for suspecting Raylan for taking the money Charlie ran off with will limit how far Quarles will get with his ploy.



I'm surprised no one mentioned Arlo talking to Helen when Raylan walked in. He appeared to be having time slips - he was aware of the mess a Helen's house but seemed to speak as if Raylan was still a youngster and Helen was still alive. The look on Raylan's face after Arlo told him he was "just helping the boy" and IDs Boyd, it seemed as if Raylan wasn't certain is Arlo was just being his ornery self or if something is really going wrong in his head.



Quarles, creepy dude. Not only is he keeping some man tied up as his own personal punching bag, Wynn and I are both pretty sure he used that cigar cutter he had in his hand on the poor guy.
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This was my favorite episode of the season, mostly due to all the different ingredients now being stirred together. Also, Raylan wasn't so laid back in this episode -- another thing I appreciated. He's a little bit more awesome when he's more badass and less laid-back.



I remember when Wynn was the violent creep... now he's a little afraid of Quarles, ha.



I didn't have a problem with the Charlie end. They needed a guy to blame for taking the money because the writers brought it up in regards to Winona, and he's just as suitable a thief as any other. I don't think his storyline is going to matter. They may have an episode a lot later on when they address it again, but for the most part, I think it's essentially over.
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Good review. Spot on with the plot device. It's been drilled in several times starting with the beginning of the first episode this season that Limehouse runs a tight ship and doesn't tolerate people going outside his purview as there are severe, injurious consequences to those actions. Given that, I just can't believe someone would be stupid enough, especially his # 2, to go out on their own and make things happen. But, as you said, the end results are so rewarding, it's an easy (and rare) transgression to forgive.



When Quarles had the awkward exchange with Wynn about calling him boss and had that long dramatic pause (GREAT television moment, btw), I said to myself that's one crazy MF! THEN he went to the back bedroom to beat on the guy who was still tied up. I mean, holy cow! I thought that guy was dead already! Wow... just wow.



I understood Winona leaving and think it will serve to focus him now that he has a resolution to the situation, knows she is safe and is resigned to, even accepting of, the outcome.



As for the scenario with Charlie taking off with the missing money, that seems to be one of the final points of reparation in Raylan's relationship with Art. Art came to his rescue at the Bennett place, he's on his side in the recent shooting of the woman, he trusts only Raylan to go and clean up the mess in Harlan Co., he's consoling him over Winona leaving and now he "knows" that he was wrong and Raylan had nothing to do with the missing money. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic will come into play when Quarles tries to paint Raylan as a dirty lawman on the take with Boyd.
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I thought last night's episode was the best of the season thus far. And it went fast, I looked at the clock when it started and then when it ended and didn't think 45+/_ just had passed. It was great. Limehouse is getting better every episode as well as Quarles, it will be interesting to see what happens when Boyd, Raylan, and Quarles figure out that Limehouse has been playing them all. Not just with what his underling did. But what he did with Mags' money. That was a quick bit of info dropped in last weeks episode and I can't help but think that is going to come out at some point in the future.



Quarles is just awesome, But I think he has it wrong and that is going to cost him. All of Law Enforcement around harlan know who Raylan's father is and what side of the law he is on. I think he is going to try to play that card and find out that it isn't going to work. He is caught up in his Detroit mentality where he just assumes naturally that all cops at some level are corrupt. Especially one with a criminal father. But in that plot point I think there was a mistake. Because if he is connected enough to be able to find out when someone is checking his background then he is connected enough to find out who Raylan really is. But either way boy is he going to find out.



Boyd though not as prominent in this episode was fantastic in what he had. The quip about saving gas he said to Raylan was genius and calculated and said to a point. I think the relationship between Boyd and Raylan is fascinating and just one of the best and well written plot points in any show I have seen.



Now Raylan, Woo. The thing with Winona had to happen. In the end of last season and the beginning of this season (minus the awesome shooting in the hotel) Raylan has kind of been soft, agreeable and to a point a little off his game from season 1. And if we recall back to the very first episode that Winona told him that he was the most angry person that she had ever known. That was who he was under the facade of cool. He was angry and unlike most people who falter and screw up the angrier they get, Raylan is the opposite, the angrier he gets the more focused he gets, the sharper he gets and he becomes more of a badass (yes I finally said it to those that take notice of such things). Anger fuels him and he becomes better at what he does or more what he has to do. That is why he drove up to the clinic, that is why he pistol whipped the pimp. Someone could have jumped out with an AK and Raylan would have put him down. He needs that anger this season in dealing with what he is going to have to deal with as his adversaries and he come to a violent climax. Winona simply makes him weaker and I think he knows that, I think he found that out when she stole the money and it pissed him off when he thought she did it again. Long live the angry Raylan.



As for you notes. I think Wynn is freaked out by Quarles, but he truly fears Raylan. I think at some point that is going to come into play and Raylan will come out ahead on that one.



As for the evidence guard. I thought it was funny. I agree it was a little out there for the show. However, what I would like to see from it is after the cordite is settled in Harlan from whatever ends up transpiring between the players this season. To solidify that Raylan is back to being at his pinnacle and being supreme at what he does. I would like the end scene for the season to be the evidence guard coming in to a opulent hotel room from the beach, a little leaner a little tanner all to see Raylan sitting on a chair pointing a gun at him to bring him back.
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Altho I know it more than likely won't happen, I think it would be pretty cool if that scene in Mexico was the last we ever saw of Charlie. Harlan's a dirty, corrupt little county - as this season is proving in spades - and it would definitely be realistic if Charlie was just kinda forgotten about for a while to allow time for Raylan to wrap his head around all the 3-card-monte-esque power plays between Limehouse, Quarles and Boyd. Speaking of that terrible trio - am I the only one that sees something incredibly bad coming on the horizon? Let's see: We've got Quarles coming in and trying to take over Harlan's drug trade. Boyd is trying to do the same thing, but with the ultimate goal of streamlining Harlan's underworld into the good ol' days when gangsters showed respect to their fellow man - thus making him a kind of "Robin Hood" for Harlan. We got Limehouse working in the background for years all this time with knowledge of every single player on the board who has suddenly found himself drawn into this war. And I guarantee you he's already positioning himself to be 3 moves ahead of everyone else with the plan to never get his own hands dirty, but make sure everyone knows HE is sitting in the throne when the dust clears. To a lesser - but equally dangerous - extent, there's still Dickie Bennet out there somewhere hellbent on reclaiming his family's legacy. Raylan has already been uncharacteristically sloppy this season and pretty much saving his and Winona's bacon thru sheer dumb luck. Now that Winona's gone, he'll be even more distracted and unfocused while the big sharks around him are circling with a cunning only the best predators have. Raylan really has no clue how big things are getting in Harlan's underworld right now and the way that this season has built up with the way he's been played like a pawn by every single mover and shaker, I think the rug's gonna get pulled out from under him before he even realizes there's a rug there. And, not IF, but WhEN he falls, something (or someone) is gonna get broken beyond repair.



See most people are probably chalking raylan's lack of focus this season to bad writing. Quite the opposite: It's BRILLIANT writing. What with his decision to move to Glencoe last season and discovering he's a daddy and putting a bloody end to an old family feud, Raylan's got a lot on his plate and his heart just hasn't been in it 100%. Plus from the outside lookig in perspective that Raylan has, Harlan actually seems kinda quiet - because so far it's mainly been chess moves in the background. But we, the audience have the pleasure of being inside looking out. We can see the storm coming and Raylan has no clue that he's standing in the eye.

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funny thing is on a professional level non of this has anything to do with him. He's a Marshall and what's going on falls outside his jurisdiction. It's his family name that gets him in trouble.
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I know what you mean with Justified taking a detour with the Dewey-storyline and the guard running off with the money (I think his name is Charlie..). But I like a few steps away from Raylan every now and then because it makes the Justified universe more realistic. It's not just Raylan and Boyd and those other 'main characters' in Harlan County and this is the way to show the audience there is a whole community out there.

I admire the way the showrunners do that, I think it's very tricky to stay focused on a main storyline without shutting it off from a world you want to place it in.
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I agree that the evidence guard in Mexico was a bit out there, but it was really fun to see Raylan accuse Winona and be wrong for once.



That said, if they never mention the prison guard again I'll be upset. Surely the guard that everyone knows can't disappear from his job one day and not cause all sorts of drama. Maybe they'll even send Raylan after him? He has crossed the border before right? In the Alan Ruck episode.
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It really is saying something when Wynn Duffy is the sane guy (or good guy) in the room.



And as you said, Limehouse doesn't seem to be the kind of boss that encourages employee "creativeness." But they also showed the henchman (I think I read somewhere his name was Errol) trying to buck the system a little in the last couple of episodes. As far as his enlisting Tanner, maybe just a comment or phone call to the friend of a friend about Boyd's business location was enough to get the ball rolling. Tanner was already nursing a mad against Boyd for the whorehouse bar beat down and it probably wouldn't take much for him to try to get his revenge in anyway possible.
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You're right on point with Raylan's fuse. He was a bit too careless driving up to that clinic all alone, even by Raylan Standards.
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