justified truth and consequences

There is A LOT happening on Justified these days. So much so that you should probably forgive yourself if you failed to pick up on a plot point or let the relevance of some deceptively minor detail float over your head. Heck, I’m half-expecting to write something stupid in one of these reviews because I misunderstood a line of dialogue. So let’s attempt to break down the many balls this show has in the air right now, shall we?

Raylan and Boyd are still running down parallel, non-intersecting tracks, each carrying two separate storylines. Raylan is both digging deeper into the Drew Thompson/Waldo Truth mystery and dealing with Randall, the ex-husband of Lindsey, his bartender squeeze. Meanwhile, Boyd is moving toward a showdown with Billy and Cassie over their church while at the same time playing a dangerous game with Wynn Duffy and the Dixie Mafia. And within these plots are subplots, such as Johnny stabbing Boyd in the back by going to Wynn and offering to take Boyd out.

Like I said, it’s a lot to manage, for both the show and the viewer, and as expected, some storylines are faring better than others in these early goings. The flashiest bits of “Truth and Consequences” belong to the Boyd/church storyline, as Boyd sends Colton and Jimmy to the Last Chance Holiness Church to rough up Billy and Cassie. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and the pair are attacked by Billy’s sermon-supporting snakes in a slightly cheesy sequence complete with slow-motion snake lunging. (Also, were the snakes meant to be used as home protection? Or do they escape from their cages and slither around the church tents at night just for fun?)

When we return from commercial break, the pair have hauled ass back to Boyd, but a snake head — decapitated by gun blast — is still attached to Jimmy’s face! Yeah, it was as gnarly as it sounds … but, hey, it even served a story purpose. When Jimmy doesn’t die, Boyd deduces that Cassie must have been draining the venom from Billy’s snakes. He returns to the church holding a toolbox filled with one that suffers no such shortcomings. Cassie begs Billy not to lift the venom-filled snake, but the congregation is watching and Billy is a true believer. It doesn’t go well for him, and his fate remains unknown as the episode ends.

No doubt there’s a certain visceral thrill in seeing two guys fight a dark tent full of snakes and then watching as one of them rushed away with a snake head embedded in his cheek, but the church storyline as a whole doesn’t yet seem like it’s going anywhere interesting, largely because I’m not buying Billy and Cassie as real threats to Boyd. Now, a Boyd vs. Wynn showdown seems much more intriguing, although that’s touched on just a little this week, with as single scene revealing Johnny’s treachery. (But it’s a good one, ’cause Wynn Duffy. Duh.)

On Raylan’s side of the equation, there’s a humungous info dump concerning the dead-parachutist mystery. Okay, deep breath … The body of Waldo Truth was originally ID’d as drug-dealer Drew Thompson, who used Waldo to fake his own death. Raylan and Tim track down Eve Munro, Drew’s ex-wife and a working psychic, who says she assumed like everyone else that the guy died 30 years ago. Except she’s lying and sneaks out of her house while the Marshals are distracted by the arrival of an FBI agent. Eve is then almost immediately captured by some tattooed, pony-tailed fellow, who it turns out works for Theo Tonin. (You’ll remember Theo from last year. He’s the Detroit mobster played by the great Adam Arkin. We don’t see Arkin this week, but I assume we soon will, which makes me giddy.) Not only that, but Theo’s goon is being helped out by the FBI agent, who’s obviously under Theo’s thumb somehow. Thanks to some possibly supernaturally-aided assistance by Eve, the FBI agent bumps into Raylan and spills his guts before shooting himself in the head. Which the show treats as if it’s really dramatic, but, honestly, it’s just weird since we met the guy only 15 minutes prior. Raylan and company rescue Eve. Drew, it seems, saw Theo murder a government informant and was named in a sealed federal witness warrant before his so-called death.

That’s a lot to learn in a single episode, but this is Justified, so the show gets the info across in as entertaining a manner as possible. One bit of lingering weirdness is Eve’s psychic ability. Early in the episode, she predicts that Raylan is set to square-off that day with some kind of bodybuilder or boxer, which is right on the money, as Raylan has an evening appointment with Randall. Then later she correctly guesses which gym said showdown is set to occur and arranges for the FBI agent to show up there. Now, I’m doubting showrunner Graham Yost is actually going to introduce a character who is “touched” on the show, so the question is how was Eve able to suss all this out? Could be she’s just ridiculously observant, but I kept expecting some reveal that would collide the two Raylan storylines and show that Randall is involved with the Drew Thompson mystery and has had contact with Eve. It never happened, but I’m still wondering if it might in the next week or two.

Otherwise, Eve is either a genius or an honest-to-god psychic, and the show is spending a lot of time on Randall for what’s been a fairly limp story so far. This week we learn he and Lindsey used to pull cons together. Lindsey would flirt a guy up while Randall would rob ‘em blind. Although at least one of the marks got a little too handsy with Lindsey, and Randall ended up doing time for assault. Lindsey tells Raylan their whole sordid history, which Raylan seems to accept, but at the end of the episode, he discovers the both of them missing and his apartment ransacked. Did Lindsey and Randall team back up to rip off Raylan? And, if so, was it just a simple theft — which seems kind of silly, as Lindsey always appeared perfectly settled and happy with her job and Raylan doesn’t seem to have much worth stealing — or were they looking for something more? Something Drew Thompson-related, maybe? That’s my theory, anyway. If I’m wrong, who knows what the heck is really going on? Or maybe I just missed something crucial. With an episode that has as much going on as this one did, it’s been known to happen.

(EDIT: And sure enough, stew74 points out in the comments that Lindsey and Randall made off with Raylan’s sock-drawer money he had been stashing for the baby. Would that have been enough to make this caper worthwhile? Hmm, maybe. Depends on how many side jobs Raylan’s been taking on lately.)

A few more thoughts on “Truth and Consequences” …

— My four favorite words in the English language: “Guest starring Jere Burns.”

— Nobody can make the word “serpents” sound cooler than Walton Goggins does.

— Line of the week goes to Tim, after Eve suggests Raylan is going to do something he knows he shouldn’t: “He does something stupid every day. Can you be a little more specific?”

— I’d guess it’s been on camera before, but this is the first week I noticed Raylan has a Tombstone poster in his apartment. He also references Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone this episode, which follows him quoting The Big Lebowski in the season premiere. I’m starting to suspect Raylan is a serious movie buff.

Follow Bob on Twitter: @robertbtaylor