JUSTIFIED 3.04 ‘The Devil You Know’

Raylan finds himself reluctantly trying to save Dickie Bennett's life while Devil plots an insurrection against Boyd.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "The Devil You Know"

Writer: Taylor Elmore
 
Director: Dean Parisot

Previously on "Justified":

Episode 3.03: "Harlan Roulette"

Story:
 
Devil (Kevin Rankin) — the right hand man and long time friend of  Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) — finds himself in the rented home of Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough), the Detroit mobster who offers him a substantial opportunity if Devil will throw his allegiance to Quarles over Boyd. Meanwhile, Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) get the crap beaten out of them in the prison courtyard. But when the two inmates are wheeled into the infirmary, it becomes clear that is part of a plan by the corrupt guard, Ash Murphy (Todd Stashwick) to break Dickie out of prison and force him to deliver the money squirreled away by his late mother, Mags Bennett.

However, Dewey didn't factor into the plan and he clearly knows too much to be released back to his cell, so Ash and his accomplice, the prison doctor, Lance (Clayne Crawford) drug Dewey and smuggle him out with Dickie. A few hours later, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his colleague, Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) arrive to investigate the apparent escape of Dickie and Dewey, with Lance pretending to have been overpowered by the two inmates before they snuck out on a cadaver truck.

In reality, the cadaver truck pulls up to a secluded area, where Ash murders the driver just as he's about to ask for more money. Lance arrives shortly thereafter and he takes Dewey to a hotel as a hostage while Ash prepares to bring Dickie to Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), the man who is holding his mother's hidden fortune. Hoping for a lead on Mags' money, Raylan looks in on Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever), who eventually tells him about Limehouse as well. Somehow, Raylan and Rachel get to Limehouse's enclave before Dickie and Ash, but Limehouse doesn't give them any info between flirting with Rebecca.

Undeterred, Raylan sets up a roadblock to and out of Limehouse's enclave, forcing Dickie and Ash to find another way to the money. Ash then escorts Dickie to the hotel room hideout, where Dewey is guarded by Lance as well as Combs (Ed Corbin) and his son, Junior (Adam Bartley); both of whom hold a sizable grudge against the Bennett family. Under duress, Dickie contacts Limehouse and asks him to bring the money to his family's now closed store. At the recently reclaimed bar, Devil shows up after being noticeably absent before Boyd hands over his cut of their latest score. But Devil is clearly frustrated by the small amount and he wants to know when Boyd will provide the big scores that he's always promised.

Raylan then enters the bar and shares a story with Boyd about how Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) beat his wife so badly that she fled to Limehouse's territory for sanctuary. And when Arlo tried to force her to come back home, a young Limehouse kicked the s*** out of Arlo so badly that an even younger Raylan had to drive his father home. Dismissing his boys for a private talk with Raylan, Boyd learns that Dickie and Dewey have escaped prison. Although Boyd would clearly love to track down Dickie himself, he does tell Raylan to look at Ash as an accomplice.

Shortly thereafter, Dickie approaches Boyd's cousin, Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) and he tries to convince him to turn on Boyd as well. Because Boyd's father shot and crippled Johnny, he seems receptive to Devil's offer. Following up on the lead from Boyd, Raylan spots Ash delivering some fried chicken to his accomplices at the hotel. When Ash sees Raylan and tries to draw a gun on him, Raylan runs him down with his car. And when Ash tries again, Raylan backs up his car and hits him one more time. In the meantime, Ash's collaborators escape with Dickie and Dewey still trapped as their prisoners.

Using Ash's injuries as leverage against him, Raylan learns that the plan was to meet Limehouse at the Bennett family store. But with the blockade in place, Raylan angrily realizes that it will be up to him to save Dickie's life. Elsewhere, Dewey makes a half-assed attempt to escape before getting dragged off by Lance. At the same time, Combs and Junior make it clear that they'd like nothing more than to shoot Dickie. Amazingly, Dickie manages to outwit the father and son duo by shooting one of them with a hidden gun while Limehouse's man takes the other one out. 

However, Dickie is incensed to learn that Mags' hidden funds are far less than the $3 million he expected and he practically accuses Limehouse of robbing him. Limehouse points out that Mags used the money to buy up the surrounding properties before making her deal with the coal company. Almost desperate, Dickie insists that Limehouse take the money back and make it grow before leaving him alone with a shotgun. Shortly thereafter, Raylan arrives and takes Dickie into custody. Unfortunately, Dewey isn't so lucky as Lance prepares to steal his organs when the original plan goes south.

And finally, Devil and Johnny confront Boyd as Devil prepares to kill him on behalf of Quarles and because he believed that Boyd had let him down. But Johnny reveals that he was loyal to his cousin and Boyd shoots Devil in the chest. As Devil gasps for air, Boyd asks if he wants anything for the pain. And when Devil nods, Boyd shoots him in the head.

Breakdown:

Thanks to his fantastic turns as Shane Vendrell on "The Shield" and as Boyd Crowder here on on "Justified," the audience has been largely preconditioned to like Walton Goggins in each of his roles on FX. And because we like the performer, we tend to overlook the crimes of his characters and rationalize them so that we can still root for Shane and Boyd.

But the ending of "The Devil You Know" served as a stark reminder that Boyd Crowder is not a good man. And he's definitely not a hero, or even an antihero.

Boyd tends to defy traditional labels. Neither villain nor evil seem to accurately describe his character. Boyd is just a man trying to get through his life with the only tools that he knows how to use. It just so happens that Boyd is very good at being a criminal, even if he's not the greatest mastermind. Boyd may be amoral at best, but he seems to have his own moral code that he adheres to. Boyd is capable of love and friendship, but he dealt with Devil's betrayal in the most extreme way possible. That was his friend that he put down. That was his right hand man before his brains decorated the floor.

No one should admire Boyd or hold out any hope for his redemption. But that doesn't mean that Boyd isn't one of the most compelling characters on the show. He's still fascinating to watch and this episode set up an unexpected conflict between Boyd and Quarles. "Justified" does tend to find excuses to team up Raylan and Boyd, and their new common enemy may be this year's excuse for them to fight back-to-back.

The lone scene between Boyd and Raylan in this episode was a great example of the way that the writers can deliver backstory and exposition through some terrific dialog. In most shows, a flashback to Raylan's first meeting with Limehouse would probably have conveyed the story better than a vocal retelling of it. But through Timothy Olyphant's performance and the scripted words, it had some surprising resonance and it was a great scene.

Raylan also got another great sequence in the episode when he ran down Ash… twice. There was just something incredibly funny about Raylan using his car as a weapon instead of his gun that didn't kill the undercurrent of menace from Ash and his collaborators. "Justified" can do humor really well without descending into farce and it pulled off the balance again in this episode.

Another impressive aspect is that "The Devil You Know" pulled together two low rumbling subplots from the previous three episodes and delivered on those promised resolutions in this episode. Devil's growing rebellion towards Boyd started in the first episode of this season and even Dickie and Dewey's storyline had been set up by their appearances since the season premiere. Aside from Dewey's fate, the only lingering narrative threads are about Quarles' expansion plans and whatever Limehouse wants to do now that Mags and the Bennetts aren't around to get in his way.

It also seems inevitable that Quarles and Lighthouse will either team up with each other to control Harlan or go to war against each other. Either way, there are still plenty of fireworks ahead on this season.

Crave Online Rating: 8.8 out of 10.