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TV Diary | Justified – “The Devil You Know”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.04 – “The Devil You Know” – Original Airdate: 2/7/12

Episode Grade: B+

So long, Devil. We hardly knew ye. With so many characters to serve in its third season, it was inevitable that the body count would begin to pick up on Justified and, indeed, “The Devil You Know” claimed Devil as a consequence of his attempted betrayal of Boyd. After being seduced by the money and power that Detroit offered – and after no small amount of frustration with his current boss, frustration which had been building with each episode this season – Devil tried to entice Johnny into pulling a palace coup on Boyd, trying to impart to Boyd’s own kin [1] the merits of throwing their lots in with Detroit because their pooled connections should get them much farther than the pittances they’re receiving from Boyd for their recent work [2]. Clearly, Detroit and Boyd are where they are for a reason – they’re smarter than guys like Devil and Devil’s hubris in the end is what got him killed. From Detroit’s standpoint, he wins either way. If Devil joins him, he has a new lackey who can give him insight into a rival’s thinking while weakening said rival’s operation. If Devil doesn’t, he likely dies at Boyd’s hand for his lack of loyalty and his rival’s operation is weakened anyway. For Boyd, who placed so much importance on loyalty and the avoidance of working with outsiders in “Cut Ties,” he cleanses his crew of anyone who isn’t behind him 100%. Either way, Devil is the first semi-important character to go this season and the way things are shaping up he’ll be far from the last. “The Devil You Know” also took the interesting step of intermingling the central conflicts of this season much earlier than I’d expected. I’ve been saying all along that while the brewing clashes between Raylan and Detroit and Boyd and Limehouse would likely become intertwined sooner or later, I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. Given that Boyd indirectly competed with Detroit and Raylan exclusively dealt with Limehouse [3] and not with anyone connected with Detroit this time around was an interesting choice that made this more of a tease of things to come. Justified is also learning to keep its storyline-of-the-week – here Todd Stashwick’s prison guard Ash Murphy breaking Dickie Bennett out of prison with the help of a prison medic co-conspirator (Clayne Crawford) in order to get his hands on the fortune that Limehouse is believed to be holding for Dickie – at the very least tangentially related to the season’s overriding arc, thus keeping the audience’s interest much more than a completely unrelated story [4] might. That the story involves Raylan having to save Dickie [5] yet again – “Well Goddamnit if I don’t have to save Dickie Bennett.” – is just the icing on the cake. The reveal via Limehouse that the Bennett fortune is much, much less than the $3MM that Dickie was expecting – only $46,000, give or take, remains – was a nice twist as well that leads to Dickie surrendering to Raylan and taking credit for killing Murphy’s muscle (when in reality Limehouse and his second-in-command were responsible) so as to go back into the joint with some tough-guy cred. This not only stays true to the weasely character that Jeremy Davies has created with Dickie, but even better it keeps Dickie alive for future use. It’s clear that Justified is setting up one helluva storm with Detroit and Limehouse beginning to ingratiate themselves into Raylan and Boyd’s orbits and “The Devil You Know” was the first sign that consequences will be coming.

[1] And that should have been a red flag right there. I realize that the Crowder family isn’t exactly the Waltons but one of the things that Justified has shown us in its run is that its characters – whether they like it or not – are tied to family. Devil couldn’t have actually expected that Johnny would be on board with killing Boyd and taking over his operation. Johnny’s present condition aside, there’s no way that was going to happen. Devil’s fate was sealed the moment he opened his mouth to Johnny or, more accurately, the minute he took the meeting with Detroit.
[2] Not to mention that taking a frying pan in the face from Ava in “The Gunfighter” couldn’t have sat too well with Devil, either.
[3] It was also interesting to learn that Raylan and Limehouse share a past, albeit one that Limehouse may or may not recollect. A ten-year-old Raylan once saw Limehouse give a brutal beating to Arlo after Arlo chased after his fleeing wife into Limehouse’s territory of Noble’s Holler back in the day.
[4] See: Most of season one’s standalone stories.
[5] Our one-off criminals on Justified are never really that smart so of course Murphy and the medic’s plan goes sideways and takes a nice turn as the muscle they’ve hired are from Harlan and have an ax to grind with Dickie over Mags’ involvement in season two’s Black Pike deal. As in, they wouldn’t mind putting a bullet in Dickie.

Miscellany:
*Unsurprisingly, the Raylan/Boyd relationship continues to be electric and any scenes between Tim Olyphant and Walton Goggins are the standout of any episode. While Raylan would be loathe to refer to Boyd as a friend, he clearly uses him as a resource not only for info – Boyd’s the one who steers Raylan towards Murphy as the likely means of getting Dickie out of jail – but uses him as a sounding board on frequent occasions, here telling him about Arlo’s (and his own) past with Limehouse. There’s no doubt that these two will be on opposing sides of one another again before too long but the almost-friendship between the two is one of the great colors that Justified has on its palate.
*Raylan running Murphy over TWICE with his car? Bad. Ass.
*When the Harlan muscle takes Dickie back to Mags’ store in order to procure the supposed $3MM, I thought the “Benedict” spray-painted over the “Bennett” on the Bennett Family Store sign was a nice touch. As you know by now, I’m a sucker for attention to detail so I appreciated that little one a great deal.
*Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall interestingly points out in his review of “The Devil You Know” that Limehouse’s interest in Rachel – accurately pinpointing her origin and accent while seemingly taking a shine to her – is more interest than Raylan (or by extension, the show) has displayed in her in two-plus seasons.
*Neal McDonough was only in one scene this week but he made it count. Pushing Devil’s buttons – “From what I hear you’ve been pushed to a second-tier position at an enterprise that’s going nowhere. Am I right?” – while once again displaying the menace behind his Detroit gangster and affecting a Southern preacher’s delivery of his lines proved once again what a great addition to the cast he’s been.
*Sepinwall also pointed out that Kevin Rankin (Devil) has a regular gig on CBS’s Unforgettable, so it was likely only a matter of time before Devil met an untimely end. Still, he got a great exit with Boyd putting a bullet in his chest and then “showing mercy” on him by putting a final one in his head.
*Speaking of former cast members with network gigs, it was great to see Kaitlyn Dever (now of ABC’s Last Man Standing) back – if only briefly – as Loretta. She looked very world-wearied (and understandably so) in her lone scene and the great repartee between Olyphant and Dever is still there.
*So… Dewey’s totally losing a kidney at the hands of the prison medic based on the last time we see the both of them, right?
*Jeremy Davies Incredible Line Reading Of The Week: “One of us is gonna need to open the cooler if we’re gonna see what’s inside!”
*”Would you like to do it my way or would you like Option B?”
*”I pay attention during Black History Month.”
*”Who in the hell is Dewey Crowe?” “Wears gator teeth, joined the Heil Hitler club. Wants you to know he’s bad but doesn’t have it down yet.”
*”Oh, yeah… I tipped off Raylan Givens about my little scam. It really felt right at the time.”
*”Where’s Arlo?” “You sayin’ I know the whereabouts of your daddy better than you do?” “I’m saying I can’t see him passing up the chance to drink off a weekday afternoon.”
*”You know what they say… gettin’ old ain’t for pussies.”
*”GIVE ME A GODDAMN AMEN!”

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