After what has been (for me) a lackluster season of Justified, “Watching the Detective” came along, and it’s probably my favorite episode of this season. From the opening scene of Lynda Kay singing “Jack and Coke”, as a performer in the bar where Raylan currently resides (well, he lives in a room above the bar), the episode had a nice honky-tonk feel to it, with Raylan wronged in several ways and on several levels, and spending a bit too much of his time drinking (in contrast to the song, he seems to dispense with the Coke).
I was actually kind of pleased to see Winona’s ex-husband Gary show up at the end of last week’s episode. Like some of the series’ other minor criminals (Dewey Crow, Dickie Bennett), Gary has an appealing oiliness about him. Like Dewey, he’s a screw-up, and he’s not nearly as bad as he wants to appear, but somehow has enough charm along with the oiliness to make him the kind of comic character who is fun to watch when he’s on-screen, perhaps because he’s so hapless. Alas, Gary appeared only to be tossed into the back of Quarle’s car, transported to Kentucky, and unceremoniously killed on the lawn of his and Winona’s old house. Good-bye, Gary, who comes to the end of his days through no fault of his own–Quarles just needed his body to frame Raylan for murder.
That’s the first frame job. The second is when Quarles has his half-brother comment (while he’s being recorded by the Feds, supposedly without his knowledge) that Raylan is a dirty cop being paid off by Boyd Crowder. This brings the Feds down on Raylan. None of the frames hold up for long, although they do serve to try Raylan’s patience. And Winona seems like she may indeed be gone for good this time.
There’s also a third frame job in the episode. Boyd finds himself arrested for trying to kill Sheriff Napier with a car bomb. Napier has, of course, set it all up in order to frame Boyd (who is supporting his political rival). By the end of the episode, this particular frame up seems to be holding.
Favorite pop culture reference in the episode:
Raylan: Quarles is going down, and the whirlpool he creates is going to drag you down with him.
Wynn: That actually doesn’t happen. I saw it on Mythbusters.