‘Justified’ Season 4, Episode 11 Review – Circle The Wagons

Published 1 year ago by

Timothy Olyphant Jim Beaver and Erica Tazel in Justified Decoy Justified Season 4, Episode 11 Review – Circle The Wagons

If there was still a question as to how well Justified was served by not having Raylan and his fellow marshals do battle with a big bad, then the tense, interconnected elements of ‘Decoy’ should provide ample proof that the series is capable of more than constantly trying to outdo the memorable villains of seasons past.

Though free from having to surpass the likes of Mags Bennett – and, to a lesser degree, Robert Quarles – the plot of the season has felt at times slightly more drawn out or divergent than it needed to be, with the various Drew Thompson bits intersecting with the likes of Billy St. Cyr and the adults-only parties of Clover Hill.

Within those elements, however, the storytelling has proven to be a boon for the characters of the series, leading to such fantastic moments as Raylan’s visit to his dying father and Boyd’s attempt to transcend his humble beginnings and notorious surname through the acquisition of a Dairy Queen franchise.

Besides, with a character like Theo Tonin in the back of everyone’s mind, forever distant and invisible – and likened by some to the big guy from the Old Testament – Justified doesn’t need another big bad chewing up screen time.

To that end, ‘Decoy’ provides another great example of just how threatening and seemingly all-pervading Theo Tonin is. Having assembled a small army in Harlan through the presence of his mouthpiece, Nicky Augustine, it appears Theo’s henchmen will stop at nothing to hunt down and kill Drew Thompson, even if that means helping Colt set up IEDs along a stretch of road or sending a fresh-faced psychopath (who likes to go by the name YOLO, by the way) to Arlo’s old house, just in case Raylan is still holding Drew in his childhood home.

Timothy Olyphant in Justified Decoy Justified Season 4, Episode 11 Review – Circle The Wagons

Theo Tonin, like the characters’ loftier goals, has been a strong part of the season, and here, ambition takes a backseat to mere survival, as the commotion surrounding Drew calls up nearly every player in the Justified roster. Sure, Wynn Duffy is nowhere to be seen, but as Augustine mentions to Boyd – in between complimenting him on his loquaciousness and those pearly whites paid for by his tour of duty – Duffy had the good sense to make a run for it rather than try to talk his way into a life-extending bargain with the unseen Tonin.

While Tim and Art’s decoy is trapped between Colt’s roadside IEDs, Raylan and Rachel are stuck listening to Shelby/Drew describe the first time he met Raylan’s father. There’s a nice back-and-forth between the two men, where Raylan essentially calls out Drew for being an actual criminal posing as a lawman and Drew telling Raylan, “You don’t even want a quiet moment where you might even think about your daddy.”

The episode manages to escalate things, as those typically in the margins are swept up in the frantic rush to kill or save Drew, but ‘Decoy’ does so in a way that gives them some real quality moments. Constable Bob winds up being a punching bag for Yolo, but, as Raylan says later, “People underestimate Bob at their peril.”

Meanwhile, Ava’s forced to put up with Augustine’s lurid advances and accusations, telling her, “You attach yourself to whatever guy gets you what you want,” before falling prey to the old flammable-beverage-in-the-face trick. Whatever insult Ava was forced to endure, none was as cutting as finding out Johnny betrayed her and his cousin for a shot at Boyd’s position.

David Meunier in Justified Decoy Justified Season 4, Episode 11 Review – Circle The Wagons

‘Decoy’ is an episode with an abundance of white-knuckle moments, but it also finds the time to illustrate the common themes of history and legacy that have been circling Raylan and Boyd all season long. Boyd’s able to track Raylan to the abandoned high school they once attended together, telling Augustine he knows his adversary’s next move because “We dug coal together.” Which is Harlan shorthand for saying their lives are inexorably linked and until one or the other bites the dust, there’ll be no extricating them from each other’s path – just as there’s no chance either will ever fully disentangle themselves from the Harlan County they both so desperately wish to leave behind.

Various Items:

  • There are pop culture references abound in ‘Decoy,’ as Raylan feeds Art the image of reenacting the Battle of Bloody Porch, while Colt makes the somewhat self-deprecating call to have a young Gérard Depardieu play him in the movie version of Tim’s hypothetical book.
  • “Drewbacca.”
  • Tim to Art after being asked whether he gets PTSD episodes a lot: “Only when I’m handling firearms in public.”
  • YOLO is referred to as “Yoda” and “Yoo-Hoo.” Justified has turned an annoying aphorism into the Yayo of the 21st century.

Justified continues next Tuesday with ‘Peace of Mind’ @10pm on FX. Check out a preview of the episode below:

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: justified

14 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Amazing episode. Where this show has stepped up its writing and acting for the big showdown, the Walking Dead has become weak. Hope someday this show (especially Goggins work) gets the recognition it deserves. Go Boyd!

  2. great episode as always. poor Patton Oswalt he always gets his ass kick although he certainly got his revenge on Mr YOLO. damn if my carotid artery was slashed like that I’m pretty sure i wouldn’t be able to reach for any gun. it looks like Raylan and Boyd are forever fated to do battle with each other its a shame cuz they’ve got such good banter. I don’t know about anyone else but i think time might be running out for Ava, it seems like its headed in that direction, cuz no way Boyd is going that would be devastating to the show, but it’s definitely not going to be a happy ending for those two

    • Yolo was stabbed in the leg, the carotid is in the neck…Femoral maybe but we’d have to assume Patton actually knew where that was anatomically let alone strike it correctly

      • thank you i realized that last night that i mixed the arteries. woopsy :) i don’t know weather he meant to do it or not but he cut pretty deep right where the femoral is and his by the looks of it that’s what the writers meant to happen. either way it was pretty sick moment for Constable Bob.

  3. Am I the only one who kind of wants Patton Oswalt added to the main cast next season?

    • Yeah, he seemed kind of a pushover at the first appearences but now he’s more the “my fuse is long but it’s attached to dynamite” type of fellow and it’s awesome.
      He should stick around for Season 5. For a moment I thought Decoy was his swan song after seeing how he got beaten up. Glad he lived through that.

  4. My only question is…..couldn’t Constable Bob buy a used police cruiser at an auction rather than drive a Gremlin with lights on top?

  5. Great episode. As always.

    Was waiting for Bob to get the upper hand in that scene and just beat the sh*t out of Yoda (sorry… Yolo). Just grab the gun, don’t shoot him, but beat him to death.

    Hell, maybe even in a coma :)

    The Justified seasons just keep getting better and better.

  6. Good episode, but this whole ordeal is just silly in the long run. Ok! So the mob guy wants Drew Thompson dead. Someone who did something 30 years ago so even if he might say something about some murder he saw way back then he wouldn’t have much weight in court. If this mob guy is so big and powerful then it would seem to be much easier to get him killed once he’s in jail than to send a small army of guys to do it. Especially since fighting the law could really blow up in his face. This whole ordeal just defies logic….Or did I miss something along the way?

    • I don’t think it is really the murder that Drew saw than it is more of a personal vendetta. Remember, Drew shot Theo in the eye and left him for dead.

  7. Hopefully Constable Bob makes it out of this season so we can see more of him next year.
    He doesn’t have to be a full time cast member, he can just show up every so often and it will be great.

  8. Constable Bob earned the respect of Raylan Givens (and the fans). Interesting episode but more of one that made things simmer a while before the last two episodes roll out. I’m looking forward to seeing how all the arcs wrap up and who lives/dies–especially between Tim, Colt & Cousin Johnny.

    Art had the best line of the ep with that comment about the Molotov cocktail and the Guns N’ Roses concert.

  9. Tundrabeast. Could be because if the law has Shelby he wouldn’t go to jail but would be a key witness against Tonin and the Detroit mafia. No jail for him, just witness protection. This is also why this case is also important to Raylan. The act of simply capturing Drew wouldn’t get him made… it’s the ability to bring down Theo Tonin himself

  10. Drew Mama!

    When Colt’s not high, he’s pretty smart, taking out Tonin’s sniper like that.

Be Social, Follow Us!!