This episode was all about the main characters dealing with problems and how to trust even those closest to them, including family.
Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was having a grand old time in the opulent home of Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley), a money launderer for the Detroit Mob. He had company: Alison (Amy Smart), who was Loretta McCready's (Kaitlyn Dever) case worker. They weren't discussing work. Givens got interrupted twice, once by his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who told him the case against Monroe was falling apart. The second interruption was a in the form of a rather large man named Henry Granger, outside with a baseball bat. Granger wasn't there to intimidate Givens: he may have been part of a plot to rob the Monroe house. It also turned out that Allison had planted evidence that wound up having Granger, who was a meth cook, lose custody of his child. Givens later visited Granger and set him straight and told him to never bother Alison again. Then, luck fell in their lap: Gloria, Monroe's 'maid'/girlfriend, came over and tried to open a hidden safe with bars of gold in it. It turned out the safe had been installed by Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). So they had Gloria plant the idea that Duffy was the one who stole the money from the safe. Monroe took the bait and tried to kill Duffy, but got shot by Duffy's goon with Givens and Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) present. That problem solved, Givens and Allison picked up where they left off, though the seed of doubt had been planted that she was another in a string of no-good women that Givens was turning a blind eye to.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) started off trying to figure out who had stolen his drug shipment in the last episode. Aft first he thought Duffy had double-crossed him. After the bushy-eyebrowed criminal disabused him of that notion, he had a drug dealer, Cyrus (Bill Tangradi) brought in. After Duffy terrorized him by shooting a BB gun at his face repeatedly. Cyrus blurted out that he had told a hooker who had a thing for ... ahem ... pleasuring men with candy like Pop Rocks. (These events with Duffy all took place before the shootout with Monroe at Duffy's bus.) Boyd visited his fiance, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), in jail to see if she knew who the hooker was, since she used to be a madam. Ava didn't seem too impressed by his efforts to spring her and they fought about why Ava was there, exactly. She did apparently did give him the name of the hooker, though. Of course, Boyd, being a career criminal, had multiple problems. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the man Boyd had beaten into a coma, was now awake and and wanted the sherriff, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Boyd, wanting to stay on this planet as long as he could, partnered with Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) and got her to get the jump on Mooney. Well, not exactly the jump ... she got a grip on him, if you know what I mean, while Boyd aimed a gun at his back. It looked like Mooney was Team Boyd again ... for now. They were going to have Mooney tell Lee that he had killed Boyd, and Mara was going to show him a picture of a dead man's hand with the same tattoo as Boyd's on it. That was an easy enough job, since Mara ran a funeral parlor and there would be no shortage of bodies. Boyd then brought had the hooker brought in a trunk. He took her cell phone and called a number and said, "Hello, cousin Johnny." It appeared that Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was the traitor.
Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) had problems of his own. His cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport) was still there, despite his obvious displeasure. Darryl told him that he was being ripped off, since he should have been making more money than he was. He pointed to a hotel that cost half of what Dewey had paid Boyd for this whorehouse. Dewey ran to Boyd to get a refund but the silver-tongued Crowder told him to stand up for himself, which he did. After he chewed out Darryl and told him to hit the road, Darryl, who admired him for his stance, took him to a back room and showed him why he was making less than he should. His employee, Wade Messer (James Le Gros), was skimming on behalf of Boyd. Darryl told Dewey that he needed to kill Messer, since he had stolen from him.
Nobody died in this episode, though it doesn't look good for Messer. Givens also gave Granger quite the bloody nose and Monroe apparently pulled through despite being shot by Duffy's bodyguard, Mikey.
"You wanna tell me why you had Captain Fauxhawk drag me over here?" -- Cyrus to Boyd.
"If you take those headphones off again, I'm going to staple them to your g-----n head!" --Boyd to Ava's lawyer, who wore them during their jailhouse chat so as to not hear their illicit discussions.
State of Boyd/Ava
There are already cracks in the relationship. Ava was very dismissive of Boyd during her jailhouse chat and Boyd and Mara seemed to be very sexually charged the scene when she looked over his chest and arms for a tattoo. It doesn't look like there will be wedding bells.
State of Raylan Givens
Well, there wasn't mention of Mullen looking more into the Nicky Augustine murders, but there was the sense that his boss was going to keep treating him like a child. First, there were the phone calls while Givens was at Monroe's place and then he had Brooks babysit him after the first run-in with Granger. On top of that, nobody seems to believe that Givens has good taste in women and that Allison is not going to be another woman who steals a piece of him, either physically, spiritually or materially (Yes, a woman once absconded with his money).
State of Boyd Crowder
Boyd's in a bad place now, but that's usually the spot where the head of a criminal empire is. Everybody's gunning for him and he's dealing with them as quickly as his facile mind can. It's going to be interesting to see how he takes on Johnny. He seemed to take a step back from that edge of insanity that he had teetered on in the season premiere, but it's a short stumble away.
There were two storylines going on in this episode: one was with Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) trying to get Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever - returning to the show that gave her a big break) and the other was Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) scraping money together so that he could get his fiancee, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), out of jail. Things seemed to play out with more urgency in this episode, given the news that there would only be one more season after this.
The episode opened in Tennessee with a pot dealer being beaten by two of his cohorts (played by Steve Harris and his brother Wood) due to his being shorted on a pickup of dope from two kids in Lexington, Kentucky. "Hot Rod" Dunham (played by Mickey Jones in a very different role than in his Home Improvement days) came and told the two thugs to take care of the situation. After Dunham left, the thugs filled the third with enough lead for a pencil factory.
Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson) was in a coma after being brutally beaten by Boyd. Mooney (William Gregory Lee), a cop who had it out for Boyd, got Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) to say that it was him, but she recanted when she went to Boyd's bar for a visual confirmation ... which alerted the slender criminal that he hadn't finished the job earlier.
Givens, after confiscating items - including a really nice Mercedes - from someone who laundered money for the Detroit mob, went to see McCready in jail after she had been caught selling marijuana to a cop's kid. He left her in the cell to stay overnight and then brushed off her boyfriend, Derrick. As he was leaving the courthoue, he ran into Alison (Amy Smart), McCready's social worker. She flirted heavily with him and then reamed him out for making McCready stay in the cell. Givens, who viewed himself as a big brother figure to McCready, decided he was going to go talk to Derrick and convince him to break up with McCready. Boyd went and talked to Mara and tried to suss out why she hadn't given him up. She said she wanted the money that Boyd had mentioned before so that she could go home. When he said he couldn't get it quickly, she basically insinuated she was blackmailing them.
Givens saw a truck with Tennessee plates outside Derrick's house and found the guys from Dunham's crew beating him up (Gee ... so THEY were the kids who had shorted Dunham's people). Givens intimidated them out of the place and then told him break up with McCready. Outside, he arranged a date with Alison. Slick, playa.
Boyd and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) were trying to deal with a possible insurrection among his dealers. Duffy had to field the questions first and one of the dealers was mouthing off at Duffy, which is never a wise thing. Boyd, who showed up late due to his meeting with Mara, assured them that they would get a shipment in a day and a half.
At the Marshals office, Givens talked about Sammy Tonin with Art Mullen (Nick Searcy, who got a lot more screen time this episode than the premiere), He also arranged to be able to stay at the home of the money launderer, given that it was now federal property. Once the meeting was over, Givens found McCready waiting and she told him that her boyfriend had disappeared. Turned out the Tennessee Duo had got their hands on him and were having him dig up the money that he and McCready embezzled. They decided it was going to be his grave. Givens showed up at the nick of time with a shovel to whack Steve Harris' character in the head. Once the situation was in hand, he found out that Derrick was tangled up with Hot Rod.
Mara got pulled over and intimidated at gunpoint by Mooney who said that he was going to arrest her for trying to kill her husband unless she brought Crowder in.
Givens met with Dunham, who had done business with Arlo, Givens' late father. Givens laid it out: the Tennessee people were to not come into Harlan again and they were to leave McCready alone. Dunham tried to put fear in the marshal, but he was having none of it. Givens then drove McCready and Waters to a corner, kicked Waters out and McCready decided to stay with Givens. Givens drove all night and dropped her off at her home but not before finding out she had actually moved the money and played him so that he would investigate everything.
Poor Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), he got interrupted again in his possible fun times with his hookers. This time it was his cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport), who had come to town, and Dewey was none too happy to see him as evidenced by his pained expression when Darryl hugged him.
Alison and Givens were having wine and she told the lawman she wasn't going to jump in bed with him. Givens asked her to go bowling with him.
Paxton woke up with a grunt ... though it wasn't certain if he was cognizant.
Boyd found his shipment had been hit and all the people involved laying around dead on the road. He was impassive and told his men to clean it up. He seemed calm, but he could be very close to unraveling.
"You mean to say you're not crooked? Just incompetent?" -- Dunham to his soon-to-be-doomed drug dealer
"Are you being funny? Because I can't tell anymore." -- Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) to Givens
"My general rule is, you keep talking, I put you in the trunk." -- Givens to the Harris brothers
"In other words ... I'll kill four of you before you clear your weapons and I'll take my chances with the other two. And you see this star? That's going to make it legal." -- Givens to Dunham and his crew
The story of the most dominant racehorse of all time does not easily fit into the standard inspirational sports flick mold. Such films typically require its protagonists to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles be they competitive (Hoosiers) personal (The Natural) societal (Ali) or some combination of all three (Remember the Titans). But by all accounts the greatest challenges to Secretariat capturing of the 1973 Triple Crown were not rival horses — indeed Secretariat had no true rival — but a pair of slow starts and an abscess. And abscesses — apologies to dermatologists — simply aren’t all that effective as dramatic devices.
Lacking most of the vital ingredients of the traditional underdog movie formula Disney’s Secretariat is forced to synthesize them. Its screenplay written by Mike Rich and based rather loosely on the book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack adopts a conventional save-the-farm framework: When her parents pass away within months of each other Denver housewife Penny Tweedy (Diane Lane) is advised to sell off her family’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables a beautiful but unprofitable horse-breeding enterprise in order to pay the onerous inheritance taxes levied by the state. But Penny her deceased father’s hackneyed horse-inspired counsel fresh in her mind (“You’ve got to run your own race ” etc. etc.) is loath to depart with such a cherished heirloom. So she concocts a scheme just idiotic enough to work betting the farm — literally — that her new horse Big Red in whom she has an almost Messianic faith will win the Kentucky Derby Preakness and Belmont races in succession.
Of course Big Red under the stage name Secretariat goes on to do just that but only after the film subjects us to nearly two hours of manufactured melodrama. Lane grasping all-too conspicuously for awards consideration treats every line as if it were the St. Crispin’s Day speech. Her character Penny exhibits a hair-trigger sensitivity to the sounds of skeptics and naysayers bursting forth with a polite rebuke and a stern sermon for anyone who dares doubt her crusade from the trash-talking owner of a rival horse to her annoyingly pragmatic husband (Dylan Walsh).
Lane isn’t alone in her grandiosity. The entire production reeks of it as director Randall Wallace lines the story with fetid chunks of overwrought Oscar bait like so many droppings in an untended stable even using Old Testament quotations and gospel music to endow Penny’s quest with biblical significance. John Malkovich is kind enough to inject some mirth into the heavy-handed proceedings hamming it up as Secretariat’s trainer Lucien Laurin a French-Canadian curmudgeon with an odd sartorial palette. It’s not enough however to alleviate the discomfort of witnessing the film's quasi-Sambo depiction of Secretariat’s famed groom Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis) which reaches its cringeworthy zenith when Sweat runs out to the track on the eve of the Belmont Stakes and exclaims to no one in particular that “Big Red done eat his breakfast this mornin’!!!” Bagger Vance would be proud. Whether or not Ellis’ portrayal of Sweat’s cadence and mannerisms is accurate (and for all I know it may well be) the character is too thinly drawn to register as anything more than an amiable simple-minded servant.
Animal lovers will be happy to know that the horses in Secretariat come off looking far better than their human counterparts and not just because they’re alloted the best dialogue. In the training and racing sequences Wallace effectively conveys the strength and majesty of the fearsome animals drawing us into the action and creating a strong element of suspense even though the final result is a fait accompli. It's too bad the rest of the film never makes it out of the gate.