Tonight’s episode of Justified is titled ‘Get Drew,’ in an homage to one of Elmore Leonard’s more famous works, Get Shorty (directed for film by Barry Sonnenfeld in 1995, and one of the few adaptations the author admits to liking).
Last week’s episode revealed Drew Thompson’s identity, and ended with Raylan telling Deputy Tim, “let’s go find Drew Thompson,” as the two of them strode purposefully into the sunset.
Tonight’s episode re-convenes with Boyd in handcuffs (but not custody) while the marshals toss Shelby’s place looking for Drew’s Clues. While they search, Boyd keeps up a running commentary. “You shoulda been an outlaw. You shoulda been on the other side with me and your daddy. You’d still be able to shoot people, and be an asshole. Your two favorite activities….” Raylan says that’s how you end up dead or in jail. Boyd says he’s doing just fine. “How ’bout Arlo?” Raylan asks rhetorically, and Boyd says he’s been meaning to get down and see him. Raylan doesn’t take the opportunity to tell Boyd about Arlo’s death — it’s just a quiet moment of recognition, and he moves on.
Rachel arrives on the scene and discovers the marshals haven’t gotten far in the search for Drew: they’ve put up roadblocks and found a suspicious pair of women’s undies, or the undies of a suspicious woman at Shelby’s. Then Raylan is struck by an idea… the kind of guy who’d shoot Theo Tonin in the eye and throw Waldo Truth out of a plane… Hey….
But first, cut to Shelby packing up and leaving instructions for Ellen May. She wants to come along. But he hands her a wad of cash and tells her to keep running til she gets to a coast. Driving along the highway he sees an abandoned mutt, wandering, alone. Pianos and violins cue up. He goes back for her.”We’re never coming back,” he cautions her sternly. They should be in Mexico by morning. He’s planning to fly them.
And that was the cold open. Followed by a Maker’s Mark campaign.
Ellen May has never seen an airport, much less the coast. As they approach the mini-strip with Shelby lying in the back seat, he wisely tells her to pass it by. Inside, the marshals confer with local law enforcement and an airport employee tells them Shelby could be anywhere, adding a salient political point the producers likely picked up on one of their foraging trips to Harlan, “some of the mountains, they blew the tops off, they’re flat as a dime. You could land a plane on that.” Shelby/Drew saw the light on and gave up on his plane — the crew inside obviously warned him.
Next, Art arrives at the road block to tell Raylan and Rachel that the troopers let Boyd go. “If he calls Theo Tonin, we’ve got less time than we thought,” Raylan frets. Art says Shelby/Drew’s been in law enforcement, “he knows that when you run is when you get caught.” Maybe he’ll lie low.
From the possession of the “whore’s underwear,” Raylan deduces that Shelby has Ellen May. He starts to tell the troopers, but Art stops him to give him the “this guy is awesome,” speech. “He shoots Theo Tonin; fakes his own death in a spectacular fashion; pushes a guy out of an airplane while he’s flying it; parachutes into Harlan County with enough coke and cash to jump start the economy of a small country. And then he has the balls to get a job in law enforcement not once but two times. He spends a couple days riding around with you, while you’re looking for him, and now he’s run off with a hooker that’s half his age. That’s some badass shit.” Obviously they’re not going to turn this over to the state troopers. It’s the case of a lifetime!
“It’s pretty badass,” Raylan acknowledges.
(Fans loved this exchange, but really, it just felt expository: “for those of you tuning in late, here’s the Summary of Season 4.” It’s beneath them.)
Shelby/Drew tells Ellen May Plan A (airport) and Plan B (the road) are out. Plan C is to turn themselves in. Ellen May has an idea. Boyd and Ava confer on the phone. They agree Shelby/Drew still has Ellen May. In the car, Ellen May and Shelby/Drew fantasize about their Mexican destination. She is at peace to have someone finally looking after her. He knows they’ll never get there. He is Louise to her Thelma.
Cousin Johnny calls to wake up Wynn Duffy (who’s slumbering peacefully with a sleep-mask on) and share his information that Shelby is Drew. He’s just calling for reinforcements. Duffy explains that’s not how it works. It’s up to Cousin Johnny to find Drew, and provide hourly updates.
Ellen May’s idea resurrects a character from last season. Mykelti Williamson is back. She and Shelby show up in Limehouse’s hog-butchering holler for “pertection. I got people trying to kill me,” she tells Limehouse. (Sometimes this actress’s delivery suggests a sweet simple mindedness, and sometimes — like in this moment — she seems either mentally disabled, or like she is doing a poor job channeling one of Kenneth the Page’s over-the-top Georgia stories on 30 Rock: “We Parcells are neither proud, nor circumcised.”)
Shelby offers $15,000 in exchange for keeping Ellen May safe for a couple weeks. She wants him to stay too. “$15’s all I got,” he tells Limehouse, who’s having none of that, “from what I hear, you worth plenty…..Drew.” And his henchmen lead them off to captivity.
Ava, who’s also staying in Limehouse’s magical protective holler, isn’t happy that he hasn’t told her about the new arrivals. “She means me harm,” she tells him. He brings in Ellen May, who promptly bowls Ava over with a big dumb puppy hug, all but licking her face, while Ava flinches sharply in initial fear. Ellen May reassures her, this whole time, she hasn’t said “nothing ’bout nothing.”
“How much for the both of them?” Ava asks Limehouse bluntly. $150,000 each. Boyd promptly marks up the price and asks Detroit for $500,000 and the Kentucky heroin trade. Boyd calls Johnny over at the best little whorehouse in Harlan with the news. No sooner has he hung up than Raylan and Rachel arrive to ask about Ellen May.
Cousin Johnny has a lot to get off his chest first. He is fed up with Boyd’s A.D.D. dilettante-in’ around — from half a tree house to go-carts to stealing candy to trade for cigarettes as kids, to war, to finding Jesus, then white supremacy, white flight, and now this prospective move to the suburbs. To punctuate his tirade, he shows Rachel his gut-shot scar.
Raylan isn’t interested in therapy. That’s just what Johnny gets for choosing to live his life “as a small-town asshole.” Most importantly, the marshals don’t care about Boyd, they just want Drew. If Johnny helps them, maybe they can do him a favor.
Boyd shows up in the holler with a briefcase full of cash, but Limehouse tells him a folksy flight metaphor fable designed to illustrate how much he suffers the pressures of taking care of everyone in the holler, which is why… he’s changing the deal. Boyd’s cash will only buy one prisoner. Boyd confers with Ava. They debate. But they take Shelby/Drew. He is their future. Ellen May is so riled, she spits dramatically in Ava’s face.
Out in the woods, Shelby/Drew has pulled up a stump to sit a spell and tell Ava and Boyd more backstory. “I jumped with too much cocaine. Came in hot. Broke my legs. Never woulda stayed in Harlan if I had landed right. Whole world woulda been mine to explore.” Boyd tells him he’s had a good run, considering. “Thanks to your Daddy and Arlo,” Shelby/Drew acknowledges, “may they rest in peace.” And this is how Boyd learns about the death of his real father figure. “Poetic, I suppose,” Boyd says. The three of them will soon be reunited in the afterlife, with much to catch up on.
Shelby/Drew explains that the cocaine commerce he brought to Harlan is what dragged Boyd’s people out of poverty, out of trailers and into houses. He seems to suggest that the drug trade was a resource (perhaps like tobacco and coal) — exploitative, sure — but a resource that nonetheless put presents under the Christmas trees of the poor. It’s why Boyd’s father protected him for all those years, and he doesn’t think the old man would approve of him being turned over for torture and murder.
Boyd turns him over to Colton for the delivery to Nick Augustine… while Rachel and Raylan stake out the surrounding area on Cousin Johnny’s say-so. Who’s triple-crossing who now?
Colt has Shelby/Drew handcuffed to a tractor, where the erstwhile Sheriff tries to goad him into killing him quickly. Colt bursts out laughing. “Nice try.” The sound of a helicopter advances. “I think your ride is here,” Colt tells him, as Nick Augustine prepares to land. “Happy trails,” he says. Just as it touches down, the black Marshal suburbans barrel into the frame. Tim and Rachel chase off after Boyd and Colt, leaving Art and Raylan to briefly savor the moment of apprehending Drew Thompson.
Boyd is unhappy to hear the news. Their options are dwindling. They can make a case to Theo Tonin, or they can run. Over in the Wynn-e-bago, Wynn Duffy knows time is running out for him too. He’s been summoned to Harlan. Maybe Canada is nice this time of year? He asks his right hand muscle if his passport is in order.
“You need a passport to get into Harlan?” his dimwitted thug answers. (Yes. Yes, you do.)
The savoring doesn’t last long for the marshals. “We’re standing in a field; we haven’t done shit,” Raylan tells Art. Rachel and Tim return without Boyd and Colt. Art states the obvious. Theo will know they have Drew and he won’t be happy.
Raylan sums it up, setting up next week’s episode, and possibly the rest of the season: “We just gotta figure out how to get out of Harlan alive.”
Season 4: Justified Episode Recaps
S4 Episode 9, The Hatchet Tour
S4 Episode 8, Outlaw
S4, episode 7
Justified Season 4, episode 6
Justified not quite ‘The Wire Comes to Appalachia’ for Harlan native and filmmaker. 2013
Justified. Kentucky, the Storyline, not the Stereotype. 2012