‘Justified’ Season 3, Episode 12: ‘Coalition’

Published 3 years ago by

Timothy Olyphant and Mykelti Williamson Justified Coalition Justified Season 3, Episode 12: Coalition

Given the many devices that have been in play throughout this season of Justified, it’s easy to overlook the fact that, for all intents and purposes, the events are a direct continuation of season 2. So while the progression of the current narrative now hinges on the ever-worsening circumstances for Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough), there is still the matter of Mags Bennett’s missing millions and her son’s quest to obtain it. And a desperate Dickie (Jeremy Davies) is willing to walk right into the lion’s den to get a shot at his cash.

But before any of that can happen, Dickie and his newfound friend Errol (Demetrius Grosse) have to convince Boyd (Walton Goggins), cousin Johnny (David Meunier), Ava (Joelle Carter) and especially Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) not to murder Dickie where he stands. What plays out next is an agreement to steal the Bennett’s $3.2 million dollars from a safety deposit box that is so tenuous and slapdash, it is hardly befitting of such a master tactician as Boyd Crowder.

Of course, it could be the fact that even without the presence of Dickie, Boyd has the promise of a cool $200k in exchange for Robert Quarles to Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin) distracting him, so despite the rather amateurish prep-work being done to recover the funds, perhaps we can find room to forgive Boyd’s seemingly senseless ambition or his inability to look at the facts. Either that or Boyd is already on to the truth.

Speaking of Quarles, we have witnessed a rather peculiar arc to what was purported to be this season’s predominant villain. From the season premiere, it seemed as though Quarles was a dangerous and calculating foe; a tad boisterous, and with a flair for the dramatic, certainly, but given the efficiency with which he operated, one could hardly have expected him to be whittling away the season’s remaining episodes binging on Oxy and lashing out like a cornered animal.

And just like Dickie’s supposed millions, the bounty on Quarles’ head is enough to bring Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and Boyd together as well.

Given that so much of the intended payoff of ‘Coalition’ hinges on the expected behavior of a man who is likely incapable of internalizing his own next move, it’s plain to see that things are not going to go according to plan. But just whose plan is in effect anyway? Early on it was curious that Errol – competent guy that he is – would suggest that Dickie seek the help of Boyd Crowder, knowing full well, that once the money was recovered, Dickie would most certainly meet a gruesome death.

Thankfully, the Justified writers don’t try and keep up the ruse too long, and after Raylan exchanges words with Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), we come to find out that the whole thing was intended to have everyone eliminated – either by each other, or by the involvement of law enforcement (Trooper Tom Bergen (Peter Murnik) had to miss his son’s T-ball game for these shenanigans). Raylan reckons Limehouse is eliminating the competition, but the head of Noble’s Holler says he just wants everyone to leave him and his territory alone. After Limehouse’s next move, that may just be true.

Back at cousin Johnny’s bar, Boyd has in fact put together the Errol/Limehouse connection and is merely keeping him and Dickie alive because the law is aware they were last seen walking into Johnny’s fine establishment. While Boyd leaves to find out Quarles has gone missing, Dickie gets the upper hand and takes Errol at gunpoint to finally recover his money.

Walton Goggins Justified Coalition Justified Season 3, Episode 12: Coalition

It turns out the money was given to Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever) at the request of Mags, and Dickie walks right into Loretta’s foster home to find Raylan Givens waiting for him like an angry father whose child has broken curfew. Dickie just wasn’t meant for a life without bars obscuring the view, and even though he draws on Raylan, the marshal guns him down (not fatally) while Limehouse quietly looks on.

Though Raylan chastises her for lying to him about the money, Raylan’s softer side comes out and he lets the cash stay with the girl – as long as she keeps a low profile, and doesn’t invite Van Halen to any impromptu performances.

Meanwhile, even with the intervention of the U.S. Marshals, everything seems to be coming up Limehouse, as a very high Quarles attempts to settle his debt by killing Boyd Crowder. Naturally, in a face-off such as this, there is another party looking to capitalize from it, so Wynn Duffy explodes Quarles car just as he draws on Boyd. The ensuing chaos leaves Boyd injured and unconscious, Quarles set on fire and Trooper Tom Bergen shot, as Quarles makes his escape.

If only Trooper Tom hadn’t mentioned his son and the T-ball game, he might not have become such a likeable, and therefore, likely target to be gunned down by a slightly charred Robert Quarles.


This sets up the season finale of Justified with ‘Slaughterhouse’ next Tuesday @10pm on FX.

TAGS: Justified
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  1. R.I.P- Trooper Tom Bergen. I guess the other two characters that work with Raylan should be happy they don’t go on a lot of missions with him…..

    • very true. Its amazing how under used the rest of the cast is. I’m not complaining because Raylan is such a presence on screen but still the back and forth he has with the other marshalls is quite entertaining.

      • I think the limited use of the other Marshals does help solidify the fact they have actual jobs and cases of their own. Mostly everything Raylan does is so off the radar Art can barely keep him from getting fired and/or arrested, he doesn’t need his other active officers off playing Harlan County War with Givens.

        And let’s face it the less they are actually around Raylan or involved in his lunacy, the less likely they are to become collateral like the poor, dearly departed Trooper Bergen.

  2. I have to admit that this was the 1st time all season that I found myself rolling my eyes at a couple of scenarios that played out during a episode
    1. Boyd leaving Quarels with 2 Prostitutes a incompetent guard, a shot gun and enough Oxy to kill a small horse. And oh yeah enough slack in the chains to move around freely.
    2. Boyd leaving Johnny to watch over Errol and Dickie.
    I just felt lazy and wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from this show. But……
    I’m still as excited as possible for the finale. Quarels is still free and Limehouse still hasn’t used that big ole cleaver of his.
    And where has Arlo run off to? I doubt he’s at the VFW having a drink.

    • Leaving Quarles alive was one of those moves you knew was going to go bad, and it just shows despite how clever Boyd is that he still a criminal and doesn’t use his head at all times. It also shows that the reality in that town is that the level of henchmen you can get is not very good. I would guess Quarles got the Oxy and the shotgun from the two aforementioned prostitutes, who besides making bad career choices are junkies themselves. Limehouse is the only one who seems to have his guys in check at this point.

    • I was a bit put off by the fact taht Boyd left Quarles with a buffoon and 2 hookers, but I thought about what he said, “You make sure you make the chain nice and tight so he doesnt see his way out of there”; they didnt do that.

      Leaving Johnny in a bar with two men was what I found hard to believe. Leaving a fully capeable guy guarding two people would be unwise. But leaving the wheelchair bound johnny was just wrong; although Boyd seemed more concerned with Ava (that could explain this act of stupidity).

      I have the strangest feeling that Arlo is going to one of two places; to Limehouse (just because hes loosing the plot and holds a grudge) or to the bank for the safety deposit box (he wandered off before Boyd told him it was a set up)which doesnt really exist. This will elad to Raylan and Arlo showdown.

      I get the feeling Slaughterhouse will have alot of showdowns lol

  3. Two things bothered me about this episode. The first was that Boyd seemed dumbed down in this episode. I cant imagine he’d leave a couple of drug addicted hookers to watch over Quarles. The second thing that bugged me way that Raylan didn’t kill Dicky. Raylan is known to always shoot to kill. The only people I can think of that he didn’t kill when he shot them is his father and Boyd. I can understand him not killing either of them but Dicky? Why did he goat him into drawing on him if he wasn’t going to kill him? I feel like they missed a great moment by doing that. The Raylan I know would have shot to kill.

    • Raylan kind of made the statement that killing Dicky would be a mercy killing, letting him go back to prison where he would get exposed for the punk that he is was punishment enough for him I guess. Besides with the amount of people Dicky has crossed Raylan would have been wasting ammo, since Dicky is liable to get stabbed to death inside at some point.

      Boyd is slipping up in the same fashion that all of these guys eventually seem to do on the show for one main reason, overextending themselves and starting too many fires. Fighting with Quarles, Dickey and trying to take over the Sheriffs office is too much even for Boyd. And like Mags found out when she tried to go beyond her little empire, sometimes it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond.

    • Dickey is such a strange little character that they don’t want to get rid of him for good yet. Besides…It’s another arch for him to come back and try to get the money next season. Somehow you just know there’s going to be some technicality that will shorten his sentence again.

      Question: How many times do you think a real law enforcement person would be allowed to run around on his own when he’s shot and killed so many bad guys? I would think he’d have to have someone with at all time just to be a witness for all the law suites. Actually I wonder how many bodies any one law person can have before they are forced out of the field? I’m guesing Raylon has far exceeded his quota….

      • Remember that was the whole premise of the first season. Him killing people, and being scrutinized for it. That made it more realistic. I love the show and it is one of my favorites but the moved more towards the fictional “Lethal Weapon cops” who kill everybody and never even get put on administrative leave.

      • Raylan has been portrayed as a gunslinger type, and has managed to shoot only armed individuals and not all of them die. Not to get into current events too much, just look at the amount of law enforcement officers that empty their gun into ONE person and it takes years for anything to happen to them.

        The sad fact is one of the more unrealistic things about Raylan’s shootings on this show is that he hits his target, and doesn’t usually engage in overkill shooting by emptying his gun or triple-tapping people. That makes sense since he is a target instructor, but the way the series is going it will probably end with him losing his job due to a bad shooting. Then he will become the Sheriff of Harland County….

  4. I can’t believe they killed Tom. They had so many to choose from. The only good man on the show. I am so disappointed. As much as I love the show, this really was just wrong! He could have continued to contribute so much to the program.

    • I don’t know that he’s actually dead. Last I saw he was wounded pretty bad, but it looked like they were working on him still….

  5. Killing Tom…was to set off Raylan. Be it to make him see what Winona has been saying is true about his work and pending fatherhood or as a driving force to get Quarles…it works. Except I have serious doubts that Quarles did the actual killing. Think accident by Boyd, insanity by Arlo, sneaky double dealing by Duffy and Mike. This show knows how to mislead making the finale MUST SEE.

  6. I love this show. one of the best on cable tv.