Episode Title: "Measures"
Writer: Benjamin Cavell
Director: John Dahl
Previously on "Justified":
After a drunken showdown with U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) in the previous episode, Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) informs his increasingly wary associate, Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) that he'll be out of town for a few hours. Back at the bar, Raylan and the bartender Lindsey (Jenn Lyon) talk through the aftermath of their tryst; as Lindsey teasingly says that she'd do it again. Raylan is soon confronted by Sarno (Michael Ironside) and Partlow (Chris Tardio); two Detroit mobsters whom Raylan assumes are in league with Quarles.
Raylan gets the better of Partlow, but the two mobsters depart when they see Lindsey emerge form the back. At the U.S. Marshal's office, Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) coaches Raylan's report about his latest run-in with Quarles so that firing his gun through the roof of a crowded bar will appear to be justified. With Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) and Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) busy following Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies), Art insists upon accompanying Raylan while they search for Quarles. Outside of prison, Tim and Rachel observe as Dickie refuses Errol's (Demetrius Grosse) offer of the $46,000 that supposedly remains of the Bennett family fortune.
Meanwhile, Quarles pays a visit to the outgoing Sheriff of Harlan county, Tillman Napier (David Andrews) and gets him to give up a name of one of Boyd Crowder's (Walton Goggins) drug connections for an easy score. Back at the Crowder bar, Boyd, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) and Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) discuss their fatal plans for Dickie, but Boyd insists that Dickie will live long enough to lead them to Mags' money. At the same time, Dickie scores a meeting with Rodney Dunham (Mickey Jones), a major drug dealer from Memphis who expresses interest in helping Dickie reclaim the Bennett's lost fortune (supposedly $3 million)… provided that Dickie find it first.
Quarles soon puts his plan in action and kills two drug dealers, Longbaugh (Clay Wilcox) and Parker (Blake Heron) who were closely tied to Boyd. Quarles then steals their stash of drugs. While Dickie desperately searches for leads on the money, Rachel and Tim strong arm Rodney into helping them eavesdrop on their next meeting. Dickie eventually finds Ellen May (Abby Miller), who tells him that Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) keeps his money beneath the church at Nobles Holler. And all she wants in return for that info is Dickie's promise that if he ends up in charge, that he make her his queen.
From a distance, Raylan and Art observe Sarno and Partlow go into Duffy's trailer. What they don't see is that the mobsters coerce Duffy into giving up Quarles' location so that they can kill him on behalf of their boss, Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin). Elsewhere, Johnny informs Boyd that his dealers have been killed and he takes it upon himself to investigate. But Boyd's case is solved fairly quickly when a neighbor describes Quarles as the dealers' killer. Back at the Bennett store, Tim and Rachel listen through Rodney's phone as Dickie spills on the location of his family's money.
Much to Dickie's distress, Rodney turns down his proposal to rob Limehouse on his own territory and Dickie doesn't hear Rodney address Tim and Rachel one last time before hanging up on them. At the Sheriff's office, Boyd and his bodyguard, Jimmy (Jesse Luken) confront Napier over Quarles' murder of his dealers and they force him to give up Quarles' location. Back at the Bennett general store, Errol arrives to give Dickie his $46,000; but Tim and Rachel interrupt and confiscate the money before holding both men long enough for them to get a search warrant to enter Nobles Holler.
Duffy takes the two hitmen to Quarles' hotel room, but all they find is Donovan (Marshall Allman); a male hustler whom Quarles captured and abused last week. Sometime later, Raylan and Art catch Sarno off-guard outside the hotel and arrest him, as Quarles looks on and then drives off. Inside the hotel room, Partlow threatens Donovan, who desperately tries to escape. When Raylan and Art enter, a standoff briefly ensues until Art shoots Partlow in the leg. After Partlow angrily denies working with Quarles, Raylan and Art realize that the men intended to kill Quarles.
At Nobles Holler, Quarles tries to buy his way into Limehouse's protection by offering him the stolen drugs. But Limehouse tells him to turn the drugs into cash before he'll give Quarles sanctuary. Quarles then calls Tillman for suggestions on where to sell the drugs and Tillman tells him who to approach. But Quarles doesn't know that Boyd has just set him up for a trap. Later, Duffy fields a call from Theo Tonin himself and Duffy makes a pitch for himself to take over the Harlan Oxy trade once Quarles is out of the way.
However, Tonin insists that Duffy take care of Quarles as an audition; with a $100,000 bounty if Quarles is killed and $200,000 if Quarles is brought to him alive. But Tonin strongly suggests that Duffy take the $100,000 option. Quarles arrives at Ava's new brothel and he is briefly distracted by two of the working girls. Quarles calls Duffy, but he is quickly stun gunned by Boyd; who orders the girls to strip Quarles and tie him to the bed. Boyd picks up the phone and finishes the conversation with Duffy; who shares the truth about the price on Quarles' head. Duffy warns Boyd to take the cheaper option, but Boyd seems set on that $200,000.
At the Bennett store, Tim and Rachel finally leave with the warrant, as Dickie and Errol are freed from their custody. Dickie makes an impassioned plea to Errol to betray Limehouse in exchange for a cut of his family's fortune. This seems to win over Errol, who reveals that the real hiding place isn't under the church. And Errol adds that if they want to pull off this job, only one man can help them: Boyd Crowder.
"Measures" marked a rare occasion for "Justified": Rachel and Tim actually did something that mattered to the plot!
It seems like a strange thing to keep two of the main cast sidelined for most of the season, but that's always been the case with Tim and Rachel. Aside from some funny banter with Raylan in the office scenes throughout the season, Tim's only shining moment this year was when he intentionally let Raylan go to help clear himself of murder charges. Rachel hasn't had a similar moment of impact prior to this episode, but her takedown of Rodney's bodyguard was fun. If Tim and Rachel can't get screen time separately, why not team them up again in the future? It seemed to work well here.
But it was the team up of Raylan and Art that really made this episode sing. The writers on "Justified" tend to deliver strong dialog, but the banter between Raylan and Art really popped. Their scenes together here did more to flesh out their relationship than almost anything else this year. Art's script notes for Raylan's report were also very amusing. It's probably not the first time that Art's had to rewrite official reports just to keep Raylan out of trouble.
The Robert Quarles storyline remains compelling because this season's lead villain is actually in a far more desperate situation than Bo Crowder or Mags Bennett were in previous years. None of Quarles' plans seem to work out and he's alienated all of his allies… not to mention his surrogate dad, Theo Tonin, who also wants him dead. The end of the episode also leaves Quarles in pretty rough shape and at Boyd's mercy.
And yet, everyone… EVERYONE is saying that Boyd should kill Quarles while he has a chance. That speaks volumes about how dangerous Quarles can be and he will undoubtedly break free in the next episode. By luring Quarles to the brothel, I think that Boyd has just unintentionally pushed Ava to the top of Quarles' hit list. Ava may be the one person in the world whom both Boyd and Raylan care about. That alone makes the theory about Ava's possible demise all the more likely. Plus, can you imagine a way to twist the knife in Boyd more than the knowledge that he could have prevented Ava's death and didn't? Don't expect Boyd to go "Spider-Man" if that scenario plays out as described.
I actually hope that I'm wrong about Ava, but a major death seems inevitable now. Quarles' desperation seems to have lulled the characters and the audience into thinking that he'll go quietly. But this is "Justified," and there's no chance in hell that the season is ending without a major shootout.
The ending of the episode suggests an odd team of Boyd, Dickie, Errol and possibly even Duffy going after the Bennett fortune; which I can't wait to see play out on screen. The dual plotlines of Quarles and the missing Bennett fortune seem to be colliding at just the right time; which is another hallmark of good storytelling.
"Justified" is one of those rare TV shows that consistently puts out great episodes. I'm going to really miss it when the season ends in two weeks.