‘Justified’ Season 3, Episode 3: ‘Harlan Roulette’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by

Pruitt Taylor Vince Timothy Olyphant Justified Harlan Roulette Justified Season 3, Episode 3: Harlan Roulette Recap

Now that the getting-to-know-you portion of Justified has introduced the new players in the season 3 premiere and last week’s episode ‘Cut Ties,’ season 3 is free go about its business of preparing Raylan Givens for the new power struggle in his particular neck of the woods.

‘Harlan Roulette’ is a speedy episode that excels in detailing the respective plans Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) have for Harlan Co., and exactly what roles Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) and an imprisoned Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) have to play in those plans. However, with Dickie getting the shakedown treatment from a prison guard, it stands to reason he’ll be out of prison sooner, rather than later.

While Quarles has the backing of organized crime in Detroit, Boyd, once more is forced to start from scratch – which he does by reclaiming cousin Jimmy’s old bar through a brief, but tense standoff with the new owner and a few undesirable patrons. Though he’s been unable to recover the money Dickie informed him of last week, Boyd does manage a meeting with Limehouse that gets the ball rolling on the issue of where Mags Bennett’s loot will end up, now that she’s gone. Just like in season 2, Boyd is seeking out opportunity wherever it may be, and now he believes it lies in improving on the criminal endeavors of his late father – with the unlikely circle that includes Ava (Joelle Carter), Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) and Devil (Kevin Rankin).

Meanwhile, Quarles’ undertaking in bringing Oxy to addicts in Harlan and shipping a percentage of the pills to Detroit finally crosses paths with Raylan by way of Wade Messer (James Le Gros), who, after stringing the Marshal up for Dickie to kill last season, has become addicted to the very drug Quarles is looking to peddle.

Messer gets his drug of choice from Glen Fogle (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a pawnbroker in league with Wynn Duffy (the excellent Jere Burns). Fogle likes to force those in his employ that have disappointed him to play ‘Harlan Roulette’ – a version of the classic Russian Roulette that adds an extra bit of suspense by requiring the player to pull the trigger twice.

Jeremy Davies Justified Harlan Roulette FX Justified Season 3, Episode 3: Harlan Roulette Recap

"Sweet 'stache, man."

Fogle enjoys a rapid rise and fall in the Justified world, as he goes from two-bit crook and drug pusher, to enlisting Messer’s aid in murdering Raylan, and then a final transformation into a would-be snitch –- turned upon by his Salacious Crumb-like associate Wally (Eric Ladin, The Killing).

After dealing with the whole Fogle/Messer situation, Raylan comes face-to-face with Quarles while paying a long overdue visit to Wynn Duffy. The encounter leaves Raylan with a picture of a smiling Quarles and proud ownership of the badass moment of the episode when Raylan tosses a bullet onto a battered Duffy’s chest and says, “The next one will come faster.”

Given some of the things we’ve seen regarding Quarles to this point (like torture victims in the spare bedroom and a predilection for handgun delivery systems inspired by Taxi Driver), he’s shaping up to be a quality adversary for Raylan that’s just begging for a showdown.


Justified returns next Tuesday @9pm on FX with the episode ‘The Devil You Know.’

TAGS: Justified
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  1. I was annoyed because I couldn’t figure out what show I knew Wally from. Thanks for pointing out it was The Killing.
    So far Justified is 3 for 3 this season. As much as I love shows that take their time setting up the seasons storylines I appreciate a show that just gets to it and does it well. How many shows can have a episode with the main character in the background for a good portion of it and still be great? Not many. As great as Raylan was in this episode, especially the moment when he drops the bullet on Duffy and says “the next one will come faster” he wasn’t really around to much of the 1st 45 minutes. Credit to the writers for making it work.

  2. This episode had so many tense scenes, I wanted to look away but was compelled to keep watching. The “Harlan roulette” scene was truly agonizing to watch–before watching the episode I thought the promo gave it all away, was I wrong!–and the ending scene with Quarles lying about being unarmed and responding to Raylan’s bullet talk was really ominous. I truly wonder if Quarles’s talk about his retractable gun needing to be calibrated or set up precisely would come back to haunt him by the end of this season, just like Mags’s “weapon” of choice was what brought her to the “other side” last season. Great television in this humble viewer’s opinion.

  3. I love the show, buy I hope the writers will back off the stereotypes a little. In particular the local bad guys. Other than Boyd they’re generally dumb as stumps. Like you’d expect a bunch of back woods hillbillies to be. Even this old Yankee knows that’s not exactly right

  4. The best line in this weeks episode was clearly when Raylon dropped a shell on the guy’s chest and said, “Look here, the next one will be coming a lot faster.” Thought I would fall out! Great writing!

  5. I love the show but I agree with thunderbeast my being from the south I can assure you that most everyone from here doesn’t walk around in overalls smoking corncob pipes

  6. I thought this was one of the best episodes I’ve seen, lot’s of tense moments and then the “bullet” scene with Raylan just put it over the top…great!

  7. I have yet to watch any of the 3rd season. However have we ever had an episode where we see the effects of ‘all these drugs’ in Harlan?

    The write up above mentions ‘bringing Oxy to addicts in Harlan’ have we ever seen them?

    I mean we see the threat in all the bad guys but we dont see the product of the bad guys. I mean is the devil bad if we dont ever really see him doing anything bad?

    I guess some ‘street level’ crimes is what im looking for tying this back to Harlan….

      • Good to know. Wife and I will probably catch up this weekend.