‘Justified’ Recap: Cut Ties

JustifiedS3E2: For an inherently self-contained episode of television, there is something that feels a lot larger about this week’s Justified than it aught to. Maybe because, although a great deal of the action and plotline surrounds three characters we’ve never seen before and will never see again, it’s really about the people we already knew—Raylan (of course), and, more interestingly, Rachel and Art.

When U.S. Marshal Nicholas, the officer responsible for overseeing civilians in the Witness Protection Program, is killed, the immediate hypothesis is that someone is after one of the protectees. As such, the marshals are distributed at the homes of the Nichols’ three protectees. An unseen Tim is sent off to the unseen home of an unseen protectee—so we can assume that part of the story isn’t too integral. But Rachel and Art each take up with one of the other two protectees. Rachel’s is Mary Archer, a mother of two, an innocent woman, and a steadfast subscriber to the WPP rules. Art’s is…not as much a prize: Terry Poe, also known as Walt—the man who killed Marshal Nichols.

“I need someone tall and strapping, like…like a fireman…” – Winona

“Like a lion tamer.” – Raylan

While Rachel and Art are holed up with Mary and Terry respectively, Raylan is on foot, playing detective with U.S. Marshal Goodall (Carla Gugino), an old associate of his from his early Florida days. Now, it does seem that we’ll be seeing more of Ms. Goodall—the closing frame, after an episode wherein she reconnects on a personal level with her old friend, shows a bit of grief on her face when she realizes Raylan is involved romantically with Winona—so I will resign my disappointment with the use of the “old friend in town” theme this week. In fact, considering that the theme of the entire series is the “old friend in town” trope, I’ll have to give Justified the benefit of the doubt that they’re building to something good with the introduction of Goodall. It just so happens that this week, she didn’t seem to contribute much to teaching us anything about the Raylan of past or present.

Raylan’s side story this week involves his eternal devotion to Winona. Now that the two are having a baby together, Raylan is ready and willing to step up his commitment to her, and wants to buy a house together. Winona, as always, wavers in her stance on the idea—although she doesn’t come out and say it, we can tell that she’s still not totally comfortable with the idea of reinvesting herself in Raylan. Especially since, despite their conversation at the end of Season 2, he is still very much an active member of the U.S. Marshal Service.


“We still used to tell people, ‘You have the right to remain silent…as long as you can stand the pain.’” – Art

More interestingly than anything going on with Raylan this week is the fresh perspective we get of Art. Up until now, Art has been largely a figure who just exists as a reacting party to Raylan and his penchant for “flying off the handle.” The one exception I can think of prior to this week was the Season 2 episode “Blaze of Glory,” in which Art had his own “showdown” with an elderly fugitive attempting to fly off to freedom (mostly from his wife). To date, that was my favorite scene in the entire series, so it’s no surprise that Art’s fleshing out in this week’s episode is another one to which I’m quite partial.

With a little help from Raylan, Art manages to figure out that Terry is the one who killed Nichols—and he surmises the reason, too: Terry, a former criminal, wanted back in the game, and was advised by his connection—a connection that Raylan and Goodall manage to get a hold of—to turn over information about Marshall Nichols’ other witnesses to their respective pursuers for the monetary reward necessary to get himself back in the game. This is where Rachel’s protectee, Mary Archer, comes in: she is the victim of Terry’s boredom. After Art loses it on Terry in a scene that gives us a glimpse of the kind of cop he was before administering to desk duty, and, more importantly, the kind of heated, angry man he is on the inside, Art phones Rachel to warn her of the impending threat of the hit men Terry called.

A scene to follow has us waiting with Rachel, Mary and her kids, all panicked and silent in the attic, before Raylan and Goodall bust in in the nick of time, taking out one of the thugs as Rachel disposes of the other.


“You weren’t assaulting a federal officer. You were just having a dustup with an old buddy.” – Raylan

Last week, we left Boyd Crowder in prison, on hot pursuit of Dickie Bennett. But as we find out this week, he’s not just after plain, carnal revenge. He wants Dickie’s finances—finances that happen to be controlled, as we learn, by an associate of Dickie’s late mother: a foreboding figure named Limehouse. Dickie is thrown into solitary confinement after contraband is discovered on his person, so Boyd gets himself put into solitary (and “makes a friend” out of one of the more morally grey guards) in order to have a private word with Dickie. Dickie informs Boyd that all of the collateral from his mother’s old marijuana business rest in the hands of Limehouse, who would absolutely refuse to bestow them unto anyone but Dickie. But Boyd is a crafty one, and he’s going to see what he can do about this. Boyd is released the next morning thanks to Raylan’s adjustment of his testimony—not out of his forgiving nature. Raylan just figured out what Boyd was really up to (fighting with Raylan to get himself thrown in jail so that he might be able to take revenge on Dickie), so he cuts his pal’s plan short.

“Can I assume from your face that you’re choosing Door Number Two?” – Limehouse

So who is this Limehouse? Well, he’s about as dark and morose as Desmond Harrington’s character from last week, but instead of handling a switchblade, his weapon of choice is lye, which he apparently uses to burn off the flesh of his victims—and his insubordinate or otherwise inadequate associates.

A quick word from Art at the end of the episode lays the foundation for next week’s plot: the marshals will investigate the goings on at Mr. Arnett’s office last week—which included, but were not limited to, a few unsightly murders.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Could Limehouse be as intriguing a villain as Mags Bennett? Do you think we’ll be seeing Marshall Goodall again? And what does this episode tell us about Art, and where his character will go in the future? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter (@MichaelArbeiter).