After two weeks of spreading the screen time amongst the growing ensemble, Justified focuses much of ‘When the Guns Come Out’ on Raylan’s perpetually fractured home life and the results leave his relationship with Winona in an unfortunate, but all-too-familiar place.
At the end of last week’s episode, ‘Thick as Mud,’ Winona (Natalie Zea) had disappeared, leaving what was apparently a very terse letter for Raylan. Naturally, as she’s carrying his child, and he has a history of not immediately catching on to her signals of disapproval and disappointment, Raylan thought everything was pretty much okay. Now that she’s gone, however, Raylan ironically looks to take some time off work to try and reconcile once more.
Unfortunately, those plans are put on hold after Boyd’s Oxy business is hit, which leaves three people dead, including Doc Stearn (Randolph Adams), the doctor in Boyd’s pocket. Given the face-to-face Boyd recently had with Quarles (Neal McDonough), it would be safe to assume the killings are the first salvo against the understaffed Crowder criminal empire. Something doesn’t sit right with Boyd, however, and rather than strike back with insufficient manpower, he decides to look at the matter more closely.
With the help of Ava (Joelle Carter) the investigation eventually leads to a bar-owning pimp by the name of Delroy, played by William Mapother of Lost, who has been using two of his girls Trixie (Valerie Brandy) and Ellen May (Abby Miller) to procure Oxy from the various clinics that have sprouted around Harlan recently. Upon learning that Ellen May is the sole survivor of the hit on his Oxy business, Boyd basically just has to wait for Raylan to get up to speed on the situation.
Since the house Boyd was using belonged to Raylan’s late aunt Helen, the situation more or less catches up to Raylan, and soon the U.S. Marshal is knocking on Ellen May’s trailer door.
Delroy, interrupts the questioning of Ellen May by brandishing a rather large knife, to which Raylan expresses regret that he’s only brought his badge and handgun – which he later uses to pistol whip Delory.
Through it all, Quarles – who may be the most flat-out villainous person we’ve seen on Justified so far – has decided that Raylan’s interest in him cannot go unpunished – especially after he busts up the mobile Oxy clinic Tanner (Brendan McCarthy) was stationing.
Quarles’ apparent mania and need to hurt other people (especially that poor fellow locked away in the guest bedroom) distances him from other main villains (Boyd and Mags, particularly) in that they both operated with a strict code and sense of honor that Quarles evidently does not have. It will be interesting to watch where the writers take this potentially limitless villain.
‘When the Guns Come Out’ ends with Raylan and Winona coming to terms with the fact that she’s left him once more – seemingly for good – and, to add insult to a very serious injury, Art (Nick Searcy) confirms that she tried to bail on Raylan after he’d been shot at the end of season 2.
More importantly, however, it comes to light that an employee of Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) had orchestrated the hit on Boyd’s Oxy business – in an attempt to force Quarles and Boyd into wiping each other out. Limehouse reprimands the young man, suggesting the move will bring unwanted and disastrous attention to Nobel’s Holler, but vows to finish what has been started.
Justified features Quarles’ move against Raylan in ‘The Man Behind the Curtain,’ which airs next Tuesday @10pm on FX.