While the water cooler scenes from tonight's Justified are A, the suicide of the FBI agent, and B, the brutal nightmare-inducing snakebite incident, there's a lot more trouble brewing for both Raylan and Boyd in Harlan County. Both men are embroiled in professional dramas that threaten their well-being (and livelihood, in Boyd's case), but neither has any clue that their biggest problems may stem from their closest allies — Rachel is beginning to seriously resent Raylan for getting away with anything and everything, and Johnny Crowder will possibly align with proven jackrabbit Wynn Duffy to take out Boyd. That's the thing with snakes — the most poisonous ones are always the least expected. Though, in Rachel's case, the venom is pretty understandable.
Raylan is working on a case that could be a career-maker for Rachel, but — as I noted last week, she was the only one left out of the boys' club expedition to investigate. This week, yet again, Raylan and Tim were the ones sent to have a little heart-to-heart with Drew Thompson's widow, Eve. Raylan probably needed the distraction, as his never-ending female troubles — his sleepover buddy is actually an ex-thief with a Hulk-like ex-con ex-husband — continued this week, when Hulk challenged him to a high noon showdown (after some serious prodding). Hulk had fled Florida (and parole) to pick up his wifey, so Raylan did what he always does: gave him a few hours to pack up and leave town, or stay and fight. (Aside: This is why I completely understand why any marshal working with Raylan would hate him. He's like a drunk, cowboy Carrie Matheson who always gets the job done on luck/instinct, but abides by no rules but his own. When you get written up for chewing gum on the job while a Raylan shows up at 11 and leaves at 3, well, that'd be enough to make anyone consider a call to HR.)
What's even worse on the Rachel end is that Raylan pays her no mind: She was disciplined by Art for not calling for backup when reprimanding a fugitive, and all Raylan did was shrug and try to steer the conversation back to his Drew Thompson case. "How many times has Wyatt Earp put himself in positions like that and worse, and how many reprimands have you written him?" Rachel asked Art, who fired back with a 'Raylan's a lost cause' argument, and put his attention back on Raylan.
But, anywho, that was not the main action of the episode (though I think it will be a major factor moving forward). Raylan learned that Drew Thompson was a witness in a sealed federal witness warrant. What did he witness? Why, the murder of a government informant, of course! The visit with Eve — a "certified spiritualist" who is actually quite skilled at her job— quickly went awry. An FBI agent showed up and Eve (clearly not innocent) sneaked out of the bathroom window, only to be kidnapped by a mysterious thug. So, someone really, really doesn't want anyone to know about Drew Thompson. The FBI agent ended up being embroiled in the same scandal as Drew and Eve, so he, you know, shot himself after telling Raylan where Eve was being held. Which might actually be a good thing, because if he knew more than Eve — who got the living daylights beaten out of her — his death would most likely have been slow and painful.
Here's what Eve knew: Way back when, Drew told her that she'd soon hear that he was dead — and for all intents and purposes, he would be. The investigators knew that part. What they didn't know was what she had purposefully hidden: Drew saw Theo Tonin (Quarles' vicious adoptive father) murder a government informant. And since the FBI agent likely told Theo everything he knew, Drew Thompson was likely royally f***ed.
On Boyd's end, we learned that Cassie (True Blood's Lindsay Pulsipher, who is much, much better in this role) is the one running the freakshow Church, to the point where she had been lying to her brother about the snakes they were using being poisonous — she'd been milking them the whole time to keep him safe. Cassie herself is a snake-like little creature: She slithers in and out of the scene as needed, always disguising her true colors until she really needs to pounce. Unfortunately for Boyd (or, most accurately, Boyd's henchman Jimmy) she didn't "bite" when Boyd offered her a bundle of cash to leave town. As a strike back, Boyd sent Jimmy and his war buddy Colt to poke around in the dead of night, leading to the aforementioned horrific snakebite scene where Jimmy ended up worse than those doomed passengers on the plane.
However, Jimmy's bad luck ended up being Boyd's good fortune: If all of those biblical snakes had been poisonous, he would have died by the time their shady redneck mob doctor arrived. He was alive (just horribly disfigured) at the end of the show, meaning the snakes Billy held up at mass to prove the power of God was in him were not, in fact, poisonous.
The thing is, Billy himself didn't know this, and he felt horribly betrayed when he learned of his sister's deception — the poor kid actually thought he was a prophet of the good Lord. Just like with Raylan and Boyd and their trusted colleagues, there is major trouble brewing in the Billy/Cassie relationship. Her intentions may have been pure — she didn't want her brother to die — but their arc ended with Billy being bit by a poisonous snake whilst trying to prove that the power of God was still in him (in front of his congregation, natch). Billy isn't a greedy, false prophet — he actually thought he was some sort of redneck messiah. The question is: where does he go from here? If he lives (and I'm assuming he will), he'll have some major life changes to make, and something tells me he won't be leaving Harlan County anytime soon.
But that's not even the biggest snake in the grass: It's not exactly news that Johnny Crowder wants Boyd dead, but teaming up with Wynn Duffy to do it will definitely have disastrous consequences in one way or another. Johnny's feelings toward Boyd are sort of like Rachel's toward Raylan, but on crack (or, on this show, Oxy). Yes, he's resentful because of his injury (that was caused by Bo), but it's more about the fact that Boyd took over his father's criminal empire while Johnny — who stood by Bo while Boyd blew things up — was overlooked. Just like Rachel, who is the more skilled (technically speaking) marshal, is always passed over by Art in favor of Raylan.
Oh, and as for Hulk and his bride — they disappeared. Was it willingly, on her end? We don't know, but from the looks of her ruined bedroom, my money is on no.
Which character will feel the disastrous consequences of a jealous coworker first — Raylan, or Boyd? Will Raylan get his girlfriend back? Do we care?
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Prashant Gupta/FX]
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