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FX (ended 2015)

Justified S05E07: "Raw Deal"

It had to happen sometime. Technology had to arrive in Harlan County and bring a new kind of crime to the area. "Raw Deal" followed what happened when cyber crime met an old Kentucky lawman, and because Justified is more concerned with cheese grits than it is with megabits, the man with the cool Stetson beat the geek with the glasses. And rather easily, when you think about it.

Justified's trek across unfamiliar cyber-turf was indicative of the way that "Raw Deal" felt slightly out of place in the show's universe. Not only did Raylan track down a hacker and his computerbox magic, but Boyd flew off to Mexico and Ava chewed up more screen time in jail, wherever that is, isolated from everyone else in Justified's rich tapestry of hillbillies and Marshals. Now, the series has built up some frequent flyer miles over the course of its run by jaunting off to Miami and Detroit, but "Raw Deal" felt further away from the Harlan epicenter than most other episodes. Personally, I like it when Justified sticks to the 40831 zip code and maintains its insulated feel. The show's small-town charm and crimes are some of its biggest strengths. And while I'm on board with Harlan being a black hole that sucks in criminal elements and lures strangers to town, I'm less a fan of the bad boys of Harlan supernova-ing, expanding outward, and being the strangers themselves. But, five seasons in, I understand the writers' urge to travel, especially if they're trying not to repeat themselves.


However, "Raw Deal" should probably be remembered more for its place in Season 5's overarching storylines than for its standalone yarn, and the episode contained a doozy of a development for Boyd. The eloquent Southern gentleman took his business down to Meh-hee-co to get that $25,000 worth of heroin he felt he was his, but ended up in a bidding war over the H with his cousin Johnny, who was bankrolled to the teeth after bleeding Hot Rod's bank account to zeroes. And since money talks and bullshit is bullshit, Mexican cartel reps Yoon and Ruiz went straight to the highest bidder and, while they were at it, sold the rights to Boyd's life to Johnny. But as is often the case on Justified, clandestine dealings were afoot, and out of the back of a moving truck sprung Boyd's cavalry, which included recently acquired foot soldiers Darryl and Danny Crowe. 

I got a little confused as to who was working for who, but Danny and Darryl gave each other a nod and started blasting dudes who I think were working with Johnny, much to Boyd's dismay. And with the heroin deal busted, Boyd put a long-overdue bullet in Johnny's body—so I assume Boyd will have to answer to the Mexican cartel with regard to why the high bidder is now dead. Or will the problem be that American men were killed in Mexico (were they in Mexico?), something the cartel explicitly said would hurt their feelings? Either way, Boyd had better learn some big, apologetic words in Spanish, because he's screwed. And knowing what we know from "Kill the Messenger" about how the cartel deals with people who wrong them, Boyd might want to take a dip in a cold pool.

Ava's storyline didn't get much better for me this week. Last week, I talked about how distant it felt relative to everything else that's going on, and how adding a whole new stock of characters to a setting (a maximum security woman's prison) that won't soon be visited by any Justified regulars is a bit risky at this juncture. As I see it, that's still the case. This week, Ava swapped protection for helping Penny's preacher friend smuggle in drugs. But I'm surprised that Ava made the decision she did—putting the drugs she was supposed to smuggle into the bag of the plumber who brought them in so he would get busted—so hastily, in order to avoid the in-cahoots prison guard's payment of shower sex. Yes, she was in a crummy situation, but maybe it would've been a better idea to leave with the drugs and then try to think of another plan? Instead, she blew up the master scheme, and now preacher lady has her by the lady balls. Ava said she could get more heroin, and Penny said she had a plan to smuggle it in. But what about the circle of guards and prison servicemen who aided the plot in the first place? They didn't rat anyone else out? They're not going to be looking for revenge? Maybe that happens next week, maybe it's ignored. But Ava's real problem is going to be getting heroin from Boyd, seeing as how he's stuck in Mexico with a handful of dead bodies.


And finally, back to Raylan's standalone story. There's nothing wrong with adding a little new-age crime for Raylan to handle, but the way things went down with so little effort from Raylan, even I could have handled this case—and I have four left feet, I'm all thumbs, and I couldn't hit the side of a barn if I drove through it. After cleaning out an online backgammon website, TC the 1337 hacker was on the lam and hiding behind seven proxies by rerouting phone calls. Tim's FBI computer guy Chris did most of the legwork to send Raylan from point to point, and when Raylan thought he was making a bust but ended up in the hotel room of TC's former partner Candace and the man who was holding her hostage, Candace gave up TC's whereabouts (not his Azeroth whereabouts, his real whereabouts) because TC had made fun of her n00b coding skillz. That put Raylan in TC's grandmother's basement, where TC was MMORPGing (kind of a too-easy gag for a show as smart as Justified). Honestly, Raylan did very little except flame TC on a blog post. Ha, Raylan writing blog posts. What has this world come to? 

There's a bit of fluff going on in this middle section of Season 5. Boyd's in Mexico, Ava's in jail, Raylan and Darryl are barely enemies. And for all the traveling north and south of the border that Justified has done, we haven't really gone that far yet. The acting, dialogue, and short stories are all still great, but there's not much of a nucleus, there's not much of a sense of what the season is really about. After a strong start to the season, Justified seems a little distracted now.



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– Is online backgammon gambling a real thing?

– Who is this Uncle Jack fella that Kendal called? All I can think of is Uncle Jack from Breaking Bad, who could EASILY be related to the Crowes and would make for an amazing crossover.

Justified is really into the surprising, close-range head shots these days, isn't it? Poor Larry just wanted his backgammon money.

– One bit of news that will affect the Crowes: Raylan telling Wendy that Darryl killed Dilly. That's going to raise some shiz.

– For a second there, I thought Justified actually misspelled "Marshal" on the website.



HEARD 'ROUND HARLAN

Larry Salmaron: "Ever heard of Falafel?"

Raylan: "Never cared much for it. Always found it like a cut-rate hush puppy."

Raylan: "Pretty sure if we took the site we'd spell our name right."

Tim: "TJ. TC. ACDC. Whatever."

Boyd: "Ah look at you. Even vultures can fly south for the winter."

Boyd: "I understand your Mexican cartel have a reputation, but let me tell you something, so do the rednecks in Kentucky."

Raylan: "Guy threw his leg out the window, jumped out and then slid down a flag pole, and then gave me the bird.  Cmon, I love this guy, let me catch him."

Raylan: "I don't know what that is, but I'm guessing it means you weren't getting laid much."


What'd you think of "Raw Deal"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/14/2015

Season 6 : Episode 13

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TC had potential for much more than jsut case-of-the-week stuff. I was really disappointed when he was turned into a ridiculous stereotype and then caught so easily.
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Couldn't stop laughing when TC slid down the pole, fixed his leg, and gave Raylan the middle finger. How many times has Raylan gotten the middle finger so far haha
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I actually really liked this episode. The dialogue was great, I had several laugh out loud moments. Chris is my new favourite character, he was hilarious.
The only part I didn't like was Ava's storyline. I don't care about her struggles in prison, I really don't.
Poor Boyd. The shit just keeps on coming.
Raylan is turning into an asshole. You can't be bitching at Art for being annoyed at you when you caused the situation to begin with!!! Also a little heartbreaking to see him look at little terrified at being transferred back to Miami. Go see your damn kid, Raylan!!!
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I'm a little sad they gave TC basically every hacker stereotype there is - from MMORPGing over green text in a black console to hiding out in his grandma's basement everything was covered. I would've expected a little more class, Justified. This hurt the episode especially because Linnard (TC) and Olyphant had great chemistry. How great was their scene in the car?
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Was the house in Mexico the same house Turtle went to in Entourage about the Avion tequila?
Anyway, this episode was really flat to me. I don't know what it needed 60 minutes as nothing much happened except for Johnny getting shot, and I guess the last five minutes between Art and Raylan are pretty important. I have very rarely if ever criticised Justified, but something needs to happen in this season soon. The constant double crossing with Boyd is getting tiresome too. Also Amy Smart's character didn't seem too put out that the sister is trying to sabotage her career, which I found odd.
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"..reply to a blog? That technology is years away" - I really thought this would have been in your "Heard around Harlan" section :)
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Was that FBI tech-guy, Chris, the same actor who played Todd on Breaking Bad? If so, I don't think you're going to get your amazing Breaking Bad/Justified crossover. Haha.
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Nope - Chris was played by Kinsey McLean and Todd was played by Jesse Plemons
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Unlike many here, I enjoyed this episode pretty much. I was never a Boyd fan but I am enjoying his stories this season. It finally feels like he is stepping up like a real crime boss and as with any crime boss, there are much shit to deal with. It is fun to watch him overcome them one by one.

Again it looks like Tim is not paying enough attention. Yoon was in it with Boyd. I guess he trusted Boyd more yet he wanted Johnny's money.

The Crowe brothers killed the men so they could take their job and remain under Boyd employment. In the end they will probably find a way to double cross Boyd as well.

I am not really into Ava story but I thought her insistence she will NOT be rape no matter what is very commendable. She rather risk it all than to provide sexual service. Good girl !

It is also quite fun seeing Raylan being sideline by ART.
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Yeah, Tim was really on point with this one. I found myself bored for a good portion of the episode, and that NEVER happens with Justified. I hope they get Boyd back in Kentucky, and turn the heat on this Crowe story soon, because while I understand the need to push Raylan and Boyd apart, we all know that we come back every week to watch those two together.
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I hope we don't see Winona next week! It's like watching an entirely different show when she is on, completely disconnected. Can Raylan just go on vacation and return and we go from there?

Actually, I like Ava having her own story, it shows how much she's learned about crime and quick thinking (perfect pairing with Boyd) but I do agree she should be left in Harlan, the prison feels out of place.

Also, I really hated the way Raylan demanded respect from Art. He had his reasons for stepping outside the law, but I think Art is justified in keeping him on shit duty till the next decade. He did a terrible thing and he expects a slap-on-the-wrist-and-all-forgotten? Justified doesn't have that weak a memory!...

P.S. I loved Boyd's line about keeping it in the family, that guy is always honest with himself, at least.
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I guess being put on "walk-ins" is as bad as it gets for a deputy Marshall, the public do test your tolerance as opposed to those you can just arrest or shoot.
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Sure, but someone has to do "walk-ins" and if Raylan wanted to avoid them he shouldn't have fallen from grace...

What if the sixth and final season is Raylan saying enough is enough, resigns and the story comes full circle while they prosecute him?
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This really is the weakest season of them all. I can kind of see where they are going to go with Raylan and Art. And that makes me wonder if this is going to be the last episode we see Raylan as a Marshal. But the stuff with Boyd and the Crowes was way too predictable. And the ending was unrealistic, if Boyd is smart enough to kill Johnny, because the other deaths are enough and why not one more. Then why not three more because Daryl and Danny already proved that they are hot heads and are not going to be trusted enough to get across the border. Boyd would have killed them. It is the smarter play and Boyd is smart. He would have shot them and then figured it out. Keeping them alive is just going to muddle their plan to get across the border.

Raylan's case was pretty basic.

Ava's prison time just seems like a giant waste of time.

The reveal to Wendy that Daryl killed Dilly is fun, but that is just to likely bring Daryl back into the sights of Raylan so that Raylan can kill him and Danny finally. The thing that should have happened in the first episode, because both of them are crappy characters that don't deserve to be on this show.
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Still Feels Like S5 Of Justified Is A Caricature Of Itself

I get that the Justified characters have to unravel in the final 13 plus next six episodes; but S5 of Justified is suffering from a few critical things -
  • The biggest caricature is TO playing Raylan. It's as if he is self-mocking his character like a television version of William Shatner or Alec Baldwin getting the joke and going with it on commercials.
  • All the great shows - like Justified - need a main character that doesn't hog the show - but is still present enough to how other characters relate to him (her). Call it the Seinfeld/Mary Tyler Moore factor. There is a hub and spokes. There are too many spokes without a hub this season.
  • Finally, what is the overarching theme of this season. What's at stake? S1 was Boyd and Raylan figuring out if they could live in Harlem together. S2 was the big bad of the Bennetts. S3 was the big bad of Detroit. S4 was a risk - that paid off - "Where's Waldo". We have six episodes left and I don't know what the show's theme is. What's at stake?
Other notes - 1. How much more screen time is going to be spent on Ava? I am assuming there must be a payoff (perhaps showing the pain that Boyd has caused) or else it has wasted valuable real estate in a 44 minute show. 2. I think the show started off with an idea that Raylan and Art would be the main characters. Boyd usurped that to an extent. But while I got my Raylan/Art fix before; their lack of screen time together seems empty. 3. Try as I might - and am not of the camp that believes it's the actors - Raylan's love interest and the Crowes just don't do anything for me.

Having said all that, I am praying for the last 6 episodes to be great, and my comments to be dead wrong.
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You'd think from the way Eva's storyline is progressing that this show should be called "Boring is the New Black."
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You mean cliche is the new black. I mean predictable is the new black. Maybe theyre doing this to show an independent woman and her problem solving skills and cunning. You know, they try to stray away from the 'white male hero archetype' at times. Still, somebody doesnt know what the hell he's doing because Ava's storyline is a snoozeville sleepover.
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I really love this show BUT is it just me or am I the only woman in the universe who saw Ava hack off her hair with a shiv last week and this week look like she just left the beauty shop?!!?!?!?!?! Do they have hair stylists and manicurists (no ragged nails and cuticles for Ava...at least no polish) in prison and Ava is the only one there who takes advantage of that bit of luxury???!!! Not even sure the Ava storyline is really necessary but it's there so I guess I'll just have to deal and wait to see what the rest of the crazies do back in Harlan County.
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Ava was a hairdresser before she decided to go outlaw.
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I'm pretty sure that prison lady Ava was talking with about the drugs (her name is escaping me) was the junkie who killed her husband with the ATM in Breaking Bad season 2.

This episode seemed funnier to me than the other ones. There were a lot of great lines and the cyber criminal was hilarious. I'm not really sure where all of it is headed, but I'm enjoying the ride.
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Pretty sure you're right about her. I always remember her best as Patty the prostitute on My Name Is Earl. I actually like that such a hard looking woman can still find work in the beauty-obsessed land of Hollywood.
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I'm enjoying this season quite a lot, unlike some people over here. Ava's arc does feel disjointed, but Joelle Carter is giving it and I don't mind too much. Boyd's storyline is all over the place and I'm finding it delightful. I have to admit though, I was shocked and rather surprisingly upset at Boyd shooting Johnny like that.
By the way, can someone explain the title to me? It relates to the credit card stuff Raylan was going through, right? I'm a Nigerian! This offends me!
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BTW, is Timothy getting crazy skinny? I feel like he's lost a LOT of weight since season 1 -- and he was never chunky to begin with. He's almost looking FRAIL, nowadays.

Or, is it just me?

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Exactly. He needs to put on weight.
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I very much enjoyed this episode. I liken it to the pool sharp scattering the balls all over the table, making it look like he's totally lost it, but he's only setting up an amazing trick shot that knocks 'em all in!

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I am NOT liking this rift between Raylan and Art. I GET it. But, I don't like it. I'm expecting (hoping) Art will come around when Raylan gets back from his vacation.

Hmmm, are we going to have an episode focusing on Raylan's vacation in Florida? Are we going to see mother and child? (The actress has her own show, now.)

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&& "After a strong start to the season, Justifiedseems a little distracted now."

Again, I think that was the point. Everything is unraveling. For everyone. And, it's going to be fun to see how it all gets put back together.

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I hope you are right--that it can be put back together, cuz I am not seeing it at this point.
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&& "Raylan and Darryl are barely enemies"

It's actually looking like the sister is Raylan's biggest challenge, right now. But, Raylan seems to have successfully driven a wedge between her and Daryl by mentioning the murder of Dilly.

Daryl will have big trouble once sis turns on him -- or at least stops coming by to help him out of his jams.

No idea, however, how Raylan figured out Daryl killed his brother, though.

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As to your comment about the crime being too easy for Raylan, that was the point. Raylan wasn't worried at all. The writers wanted to show a cocky hacker get taken down by Raylan without even trying.

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As for Eva's plan, it looked to me that everyone assumed the plumber got careless -- other than the brief statement of suspicion by preacher-lady. No reason for anyone to get ratted out -- unless the plumber does so. But, none of that should fall on Eva.

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Actually, Tim, Yoon was in on it w/ Boyd:

Johnny: Dang, Yoon was in on it the whole time.

Boyd: It turns out some people still care about what kind of person they do business with.

Also, I got the impression they were NOT in Mexico, anymore, since it looked like Boyd was about to get shot. He was on his knees, right? That's what they do when they're about to shoot, you, right?
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They're still in Mexico.. They were just about to pick up the truck full of dope when Daryl and Danny jumped out.. They needed hot rods men to smuggle the dope across the border into the US.. And you can tell from the teaser to next weeks episode.. They're in a showdown with what looks to be Mexican Police.
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Good catch.
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Seriously Tim, I understand that you write TV reviews, but have you ever watched the real world? Or are you writing from the safe gated confines of white suburban Westchester, NY? This was a good episode because:

1 -- The Mexican Cartels DO care about who they work with (have you never seen "Drugs, Inc."?)! That's why Boyd won. They helped set up Johnny, and kept the money. Would they rather work with an intelligent drug dealer who offers years of business, or a crazy redneck with the most money who may get busted in two weeks because of being stupid and give them up? That's why Boyd called the cartel leader at the end.

2 -- Darryl and Danny Crowe don't work for anyone except themselves. They are mercenaries. They killed Johnny's men because they were potential competition. They want Boyd's position, not have them work for Boyd again. It's the game of drug dealing from the time of the the beginning. And they lied to Boyd to keep him on their side, for now.

3 -- Ava in prison is what it is like IN PRISON (I don't agree that she would actually be there -- thus the weakest storyline -- but another post). And she has to play the game, set the guy up to gain enough power to stay alive. The risk is that she doesn't know if Boyd is still alive, but she has other contacts, remember? Who cares where the guards and prison people get it from. They don't, as long as they get it. That's prison, bitch!

True, it was a little hard to believe that U.S. Marshals had little knowledge of hacking in this day and age. But Raylan got a free airline ticket out of it. You are looking for some "story arc" like this is Downton Abbey. But instead, Justified is just keeping it really real!




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Great post.. I don't understand how the writer or this review was confused about the goings on with Boyd and Johnny.. Daryl and Danny are obviously trying to slot themselves in to be Boyd's main help in smuggling the drugs.. probably trying to make moves to get into Boyd's position eventually.. Justified is great.. I just watched seasons 1, 2, 3 for the second time.. one of the best shows out there.. This season has been a little slow to develop.. but like always with Justified.. you know it'll all be tied together when it's all said and done.. that's the best part of this show.. their ability to tie 1,000 story lines together with explosive episodes during the back half of the season
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For me, the highlight of the episode was Boyd's quote about death, which was taken from the penultimate chapter of one of my very most favorite books, The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran's masterpiece. Here's the chapter in its entirety, faithfully transcribed, for any who may care:

--------------------------------

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

--------------------------------

Sorry, I can rarely resist the urge to chime in when this work is quoted. It's an amazing book, short yet full of profound wisdom. It's still in print and still sells reasonably well despite being published over 90 years ago. It's also classically Justified-ian that Boyd would be the one to quote it.

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I love not knowing where this season is going. It reminds me of the first season. In season one I couldn't believe they would pull the plug on some many storyline possibilities and characters by shooting every other week. this season feels the same. I don't know who to invest my emotions in because they're dying left and right. And now Raylan may be leaving Harlan County! As long as Rachel and Tim go with him I will be fine. But the uncertainty is a nice change from the last couple seasons of knowing who the big bad was going to be and then watching Raylan take them out. They were great seasons, but it is nice to see the writers doing something different.
And I liked seeing Rachel taking over as Art's go-to assistant. Even Tim followed her orders like she was in charge.
Also nice to see Raylan find a way to resist a hot woman with issues for once.
I was trying not to remind myself how few episodes were left, but Tweedledee's comments were a sad reminder.
And Avon Barksdale and brother Steve are still a complete unkown! how can that be??!! Cousin Johnny is gone, so who do they work for/with/against???????
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There are 6 episodes left and I still really don't know what this season is supposed to be about.


And Raylan is just getting more and more unlikeable. That "I'm too good to be doing this." bs with Art. Him using visiting his kid to take vacation days so he can really spend them with Alison. I love asshole Raylan, but I prefer it when it's reserved for criminals.


Don't care about Ava's crap. And less and less about Boyd's.
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This has nothing to do with the episode, but I think it's kind of funny. Ron Eldard, who played Colton Rhodes last season, said this quite a while ago:

"I feel blessed that I am able to play really dark guys in a business where they usually want you to play the same character over and over. Poor Michael Rapaport will being playing white homeboys till the day he dies. That's not the kind of career I want."

Michael Rapaport's trying to play something else for once, and not succeeding. I miss Ron Eldard, I thought he brought a lot to the character of Colton. This season hasn't had very good supporting characters, though I'm still interested in the Harris brothers. Given how the show has gone in recent weeks, they probably won't last long. They are probably going to have some stupid bullshit death by stupid annoying Danny Crowe. I thought it was a very predictable episode. So far this season can be summed as a bunch of headshots and double crosses, as well as Ava having a LONG sentence. Seriously, who didn't see the double cross come at the end? I'm not sad about Johnny but he has been around for a long time on this show, so there's that.
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Spot on.
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May have seen the beginning of the end of Raylan's stay in Kentucky. None of the regular's are listed in the cast for next week and since it is apparent that the Raylan/Art relationship is severed, it might be a way to shake up the series.

Also read an interview with Nick Searcy (Art) that indicated a new and permanent direction for them. He could not go any further so it may be that his time on the show is up.
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Did you get the casting info from IMDB? Because I wouldn't take that as gospel.
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My actual, real life sister Selina Kaye was the waitress who denied his Raylans card! (Fun Fact: we're from Buffalo) I almost peepeed in my pants when I saw her! I was so jel jel when she got this part, but I'm happy for her!
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Well, your sister was kind of a jerk about the whole credit card thing!

:) jk. I know it was the CHARACTER and not your sister doing that.
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Very exciting!
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