In Justified, it's rare that Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is ever taken by surprise, as evidenced by his instant reading of and cool demeanor in regards to the two Detroit gun-thugs that come to pay the marshal a visit – though given their dress and swagger, it would be questionable if Raylan didn't pinpoint them the second they passed through the door. But as 'Measures' goes on, it is clear the increasingly bizarre customer that is Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) is not exactly an easy read.
Which is why it's odd to see Raylan momentarily taken aback after learning those thugs he assumed were there for a bounty on his head, were actually sent by Detroit boss Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin), to do away with Quarles once and for all. And although Art (Nick Searcy) is there to lend a hand, by shooting one of the thugs in the leg before he can slice poor Donovan (Marshall Allen) up, he too notices that Raylan has slipped and missed a golden opportunity by casually mentioning: "We just shot the guy that's looking to kill the guy you're dying to see dead."
After pulling the kind of stunts that Quarles has pulled all season long, its not hard to understand that everyone is more than a little motivated to make sure the blonde psychopath takes a dirt nap. Conversely, while everyone is conspiring to see Quarles dead, it seems Boyd Crowder is once again the most popular criminal in Harlan Co. Sensing his moment to not only be free of Quarles, but also to take a step up the ladder in the Tonin crime family, Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) strikes a deal with Tonin – and later Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) – to see Quarles to his end. This is not the only deal Crowder finds floating his way, however.
While Quarles is out killing some of Boyd's men and stealing their drug stash, it seems another series of events is conspiring to bring Boyd, Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and Limehouse's right-hand man, Errol (Demetrius Grosse), together to finally put to rest the mystery of the Bennett millions. Since Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) has felt obliged to continue holding on to the Bennett cash, despite Mag's wishes, and Dickie's attempts at getting it back, Errol, like Wynn Duffy, sees this as his moment to strike out on his own – and a tenuous partnership is forged. Unfortunately for Dickie, the only way Errol can see them walking away with $3 million is by bringing in the man who, this very episode, reminded everyone of his vow to treat he last of the Bennett clan to a particularly unpleasant death.
Since we are entering into the last bit of season 3, 'Measures' really serves as a way for Justified to line up all its horses at the starting gate before they take off and head for the final stretch. It seems ominous that Art would show concern about Raylan's wellbeing – especially since he's about to become a father for the first time. And although Art says fatherhood has a tendency to make a man feel "unmoored," he has to have noticed that – with the exception of the bar's ceiling – Raylan hasn't shot anyone in a while. In fact, earlier in the episode Wynn Duffy expresses concern that the marshal may be on his way over to Duffy's motorhome to put a bunch of bullets in things.
Given the body count Raylan racked up to start off the season, his trigger finger must be getting awfully itchy by now.
On a final note, it's nice to see that Justified's gravitational pull has grown sufficient enough to not only bring in actors like Margo Martindale, Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson, but also attract some great character actors like the aforementioned Arkin, Carla Gugino and Michael Ironside. Hopefully, these are not one-off appearances and Graham Yost will be able to build them into larger characters like Jere Burns' Wynn Duffy has become.
Justified continues next Tuesday with 'Coalition' @10pm on FX.