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TV Diary | Justified – “Coalition”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.12 – “Coalition” – Original Airdate: 4/3/12

Episode Grade: B+

Tonight, people. One episode is all that’s left in Justified’s exemplary third season and based on how “Coalition” set that finale up [1] it most certainly looks like we’re in for a cuckoo-bananas finale which, really, is the only way that a story this sprawling, violent, and masterful could conceivably end. “Coalition” moved all of our principal characters into what feels like will be their final positions [2]. Raylan is still in pursuit of Quarles and, following the shooting of Trooper Tom, the war between the two men has been made all the more personal. Limehouse has revealed himself to be surprisingly decent and, frankly, true to what he says he is – someone who’s looking out for the well-being of Noble’s Holler, which is clear both from the way that he leads Raylan to Loretta’s house [3] and how he sets Quarles up to be squarely in Boyd’s crosshairs during the bank robbery that Boyd, Dickie, and Errol are attempting to pull off. Of course, this being Justified and with another episode to go, the robbery plot – originally brought to Boyd’s doorstep by Dickie and Errol – turns out to be a Limehouse plot to take Boyd out of the equation by getting him thrown into jail and in the ensuing chaos that sees a bomb detonated underneath Quarles’ car by Wynn Duffy and his henchman [4] eventually leads to Quarles gunning down Tom and escaping with Boyd in tow. It was a very exposition-heavy episode that’s definitely building to a grand-scale war in tonight’s finale. What we saw in “Coalition” – and likely what we’ll see in tonight’s finale – is all of the seeds that have been sown this season beginning to bear fruit. Now, that seems an obvious thing to say when talking about television shows because the majority [5] build towards their finales, but what Justified has done this year has been almost Wire-esque in its scope and we’re seeing what a smart, smart decision that was. Instead of one villain (Boyd transitioning to Bo in season one; Mags last year), this season has seen so many come through and be essential to the overall narrative – Limehouse (before the seeming reveal of his decency in “Coalition”), Quarles, Wynn, Dickie, Errol, Dodd, Ash – that the comparisons to the morally ambiguous characters that inhabited The Wire’s Baltimore are easy to make. That’s not to say that Justified is The Wire because The Wire occupies a level all its own in television history, but the storytelling and the ambition of the storytelling has had much in common for a lot of this season, and that’s made Justified an even better show than it’s been in the past. One episode left. I can’t wait.

[1] And that the episode is titled “Slaughterhouse.” I mean… Jesus.
[2] For clarity’s sake, I don’t mean “final” as in “dead,” although I still remain convinced that Quarles isn’t making it out alive.
[3] Also revealing that he didn’t steal Mags’ money from Dickie. He gave it to who Mags intended it to be given to – Loretta.
[4] Wynn has gone all in on the Theo Tonin plan of offing Quarles while also jumping into bed with Boyd. The alliances set up in this episode were dizzying to say the least.
[5] The serialized ones, anyway. And remember the rule of thumb, kids – if a show isn’t serialized, it probably sucks.

*Forgot to mention, even with all of the other variables leading into the finale, we can’t discount Arlo running around half-cocked and with a loaded gun. He clearly wasn’t thrilled with Boyd’s decision to put money above vengeance and align with Dickie to the point that he breaks free of Ava’s watch by tying her up and throwing her in a closet. Oh… and he’s also hallucinating and carrying on conversations with a dead Helen. If there’s one wild-card heading into the finale, Arlo’s the guy.
*Speaking of Arlo, it’s clear that he views Boyd (or perhaps previously viewed Boyd) as a surrogate son after he tells him that he’s proud of him when Boyd mention Wynn’s plan with regard to Quarles. Hard to imagine him saying the same thing to Raylan.
*The look on Boyd/Walton Goggins’ face when Dickie ambles into the bar to propose his deal is a goddamn marvel of acting.
*Just as I felt every other time that Dickie Bennett was placed into a potentially lethal situation, I’m glad that Justified hasn’t offed him yet. He’s much too valuable to not keep around.
*Napier has clearly resolved his feelings for Quarles: “And Deputy, if you get a chance to put some bullets in that tow-headed son of a bitch, sure be nice if he knew one came from me.”
*Quarles was at his hedonistic best in partying with the whores in the trailer at Ava’s brothel. Even in being shackled by the ankle, he’s up for getting high and having fun with them. Of course, it turns out to be a ruse as a means of securing his escape but still… Also, the REO Speedwagon was a nice touch.
*Funniest moment of the episode: The loser, middle-aged bank manager trying (and failing) to secure a lunch date with Ava.
*Loved Boyd’s response to Wynn informing him about Theo Tonin talking into the ear that he carries around in his pocket: “And what does he say?”
*Wynn Duffy FTW: “Does Theo Tonin sound like the kind of man to whom you’d like to say, ‘I’m sorry, but he escaped from a disease-ridden whore factory up in Inbred Holler?”
*”Oh, I’m sorry. I probably should have checked with the proprietress.”
*”Boyd, (if) you don’t finish this pile of donkey shit I’ll do it myself.”
*”You ever see Platoon?” “That movie with the old people where they go to outer space?” “That’s Cocoon.”
*”We got customers inside waiting on mouths to get in there and blow ’em.”
*”Any noise out of that filthy whore mouth of yours and I will rip her head off with this chain. Do you understand?”
*”Now, are you sure you’re OK with this?” “$3.2 million? I might find a way to get right.”
*”What if when that car blows up there’s a man inside and say that man inside had brilliant blue eyes?” “And a big stupid baby head?”
*”You gonna bench me while Dickie Bennett sits out there eating all our pretzels? Hell no!”
*”Escort’s a nice touch. It’s like visiting the Wizard of Oz.” “Yeah… I never seen it. All them flying monkeys? Uh-uh.” “Well, you should stick with it. At the end they pull the curtain back, turns out the guy’s kind of a pussy.”
*”You rest easy, Dickie Bennett. You ain’t gonna die this night.”
*”You’re just a stupid, craven, hillbilly piece of shit.”
*”Marshal, do I strike you in any way as a Van Halen fan?”
*”Are you smoking OxyContin in my motor coach?” “I most certainly am.”


TV Diary | Justified – “Measures”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.11 – “Measures” – Original Airdate: 3/27/12

Episode Grade: B+

After last week’s blowout episode and with the season finale just a scant two episodes away, “Measures'” main aim was to reset the board in preparation for what I expect to be one helluva finish to Justified‘s third season. As Scott Tobias mentioned in his review over at The AV Club, it’s a credit to Justified’s storytelling ability – well-developed over three seasons – that its table-setting episodes can be as strong and entertaining as “Measures” was. We saw new alliances formed and betrayals set in motion, all of which are going to lead to one epic [1] finale in just a week [2]. Let’s assess where we currently stand: Quarles is a marked man, not only by Raylan, but by his boss Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin, Sons Of Anarchy) back in Detroit who’s sent a couple of goons to eliminate the host of problems that Quarles has created for his operation; Dickie Bennett has enlisted the help of Limehouse’s right hand, Errol, in sussing out the money he believes Limehouse has stolen from him; Wynn may be about to turn on Quarles after being offered a pretty sweet deal by Theo Tonin; and Boyd is, himself, in possession of Quarles after setting a trap to lure Quarles to him via Sheriff Napier. I think… that about does it. The storytelling this season has become so labyrinthine and intricate – in a good way – that it can be difficult to untangle. What’s starting to become clearer is that the mystery of this season isn’t going to be whether Quarles gets killed. Rather, it’s going to be WHO kills Quarles. We already know that Raylan has a hate hard-on for him. Tonin wants him dead, thinking that he’s become more trouble than he’s worth to his criminal enterprise. Wynn is only out for himself and when Tonin offers a bounty on Quarles [3], he contemplates making a play against Quarles himself. Napier was screwed over by Quarles, though he may be just looking for a way out. Limehouse is still owed money by Quarles and he’s proven to be ruthless when the situation dictates. And then there’s Boyd, whose blood feud with Quarles has become almost as strong as Raylan’s. In the end, it’s clear that Robert Quarles isn’t long for this world. It’s now just a matter of who it’s going to be that’s going to take him out of it.

[1] And I apologize for using that word. It’s become way too prevalent in today’s society to describe things as “epic” but in a story that’s being as grandly developed as this one, I feel it fits. Much as I hate having to use it. And I do hate it.
[2] I’m a little behind. Life happens.
[3] $100,000 to deliver Quarles dead; $200,000 to deliver him alive, although Tonin warns Wynn that the smarter play may be delivering him dead since Quarles has proven himself to be very resourceful.

*Quarles to Sheriff Napier: “I guess if I were to offer to back yet another one of your campaigns, I’d say that as long as I’m putting up the money I’d put you anywhere I Goddamned please.”
*Have I mentioned recently how much I love Robert Quarles?
*On the other hand, Theo Tonin seems like a pretty menacing badass, but Ironside’s mention that Tonin carries around a human ear in his pocket and speaks into it as a way of getting people’s attention seems more than a little cartoonish in its villainy.
*Perfect characterization of Wynn when he admits that he sent Tonin’s hitmen in to meet Raylan hoping that either they or Raylan would end up dead. Always the pragmatist, that Wynn Duffy.
*It must be said that Dickie Bennett’s hair is an amazing wonder of nature.
*Justified seems to have a hard time in figuring out why Tim and Rachel are even around so, hey… put ‘em together on a case. That works.
*It’s not considered heresy to say that this season is turning out to be very Wire-esque in the intricacy of the web it’s weaving, is it?
*”And what if Givens comes by wanting to finish the game?” “You may tell him he’s welcome to wait.”
*”You want a shot in that?” “I usually like to wait until the sun’s all the way up.”
*”This friend of ours… I’m betting you wouldn’t forget him. He looks like he even shits blonde.”
*”Oh, good… see. There’s gonna be another time.”
*”I thought it was a top priority that I go bring in Quarles for the capital offense of hurtin’ my feelings.”
*”I’m gonna kill Dickie Bennett, and when I do I’m gonna take my time.”
*”Art, I’ve already got a daddy.” “I’ve met your daddy.” “Fair enough. Continue.”
*”Whatever your failings are going to be as a father, I’m pretty sure your child is going to be better off if you manage to stay above ground long enough to make his acquaintance.”
*”Why didn’t you guys just walk away and let nature take its course?” “Why don’t you just shut the hell up?”
*”Pretty smart holding all of your meetings here. The smell of blood in the air… plus it gives you an excuse to hold a knife in your hand.”
*”Oh, he’s alive. Do you want him to stay that way?”
*”And I guarantee you’re not gonna like it. His initials are ‘Boyd Crowder.'”

TV Diary | Justified – “Guy Walks Into A Bar”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.10 – “Guy Walks Into A Bar” – Original Airdate: 3/20/12

Episode Grade: A

Wow. HOLYSHITWOW. It’s pretty clear by now that I’m completely in the tank for Neal McDonough. As I’ve mentioned before, I was thrilled when he was cast as season three’s main antagonist but even in my fandom I wondered if he’d be up to the task of following Mags Bennett, a character who had become instantly iconic. “Guy Walks Into A Bar” not only completely allayed those fears but it went a step further – Robert Quarles is now a better character than Mags Bennett. And I don’t say that lightly. As I posted on my Facebook after watching the episode, if McDonough doesn’t win an Emmy for his performance this season then they should just dissolve that awards show altogether because they will have failed miserably. He’s that mind-blowingly good this season. After scaling back on Quarles in its last installment, “Loose Ends,” Justified went all in on him in “Guy Walks Into A Bar” and, as The AV Club’s Scott Tobias pointed out, this episode both humanized Quarles more while simultaneously making him even more of a monster than we’d previously seen. There were three dynamite scenes – all involving Quarles – in “Guy Walks Into A Bar” that really (finally?) gave the audience a sense of who this Detroit carpetbagger [1] really is. Indulge me by allowing me to discuss them one-by-one. The first occurs post-election after Sheriff Napier has emerged victorious and Quarles attempts to foist himself into the Harlan sheriff’s office [2] only to have the county clerk that he’d bought and paid for via Limehouse inform he and Napier that, due to the fact that Napier’s sister was on his payroll [3] and Kentucky’s stringent anti-nepotism laws, Napier has been disqualified from the election and Shelby (as the runner-up) is to be installed as sheriff in his place thus rendering all of Quarles’ plans to control Harlan’s drug trade through its law enforcement office worthless. As he exits the building, defeated [4], Boyd and Johnny are waiting outside to turn the knife even further. Quarles’ response is to silently give Boyd a sinister smile and leave. To see this is to witness a man about to crack completely before our eyes. After being pulled even tighter thanks to the failure of his election plans, Quarles retreats to the, as Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall has dubbed it, “The Wynn-ebago” to chomp down on even more oxy and lick his wounds. While doing so and listening to Duffy advise him that perhaps it’s time for him to pull up stakes and exit Kentucky, Quarles receives a visit from Donovan (a friend of the hustler that Quarles allegedly killed back in Detroit) who’s seeking revenge for his murdered friend. In an absolutely killer monologue, Quarles reveals that his heroin-addict father pimped him out at the age of fifteen to score more drugs/money for drugs and it was only when Theo Tonin (head of the Detroit mob and Sammy’s father) took him in and eventually gave him the opportunity to KILL HIS OWN FATHER that he found purpose. Of course, there’s still that nasty habit of working out his own baggage through torturing and killing other young male hustlers to deal with, something that Donovan experiences first-hand in the episode’s chilling conclusion. As many have said this past week, if FX can get McDonough an Emmy nomination, without question this is his submission episode and this particular scene is what they should place the focus upon. Again, Quarles is at a breaking point – that much is crystal clear. Last but not least… the scene that gives this episode its title. I repeat – HOLYSHITWOW. Quarles and Duffy find their way into Raylan’s bar [5] where Quarles begins by chiding Raylan about his side job – “Oh, that’s right. He’s the bouncer now.” – and ends by balls out, 100% threatening Raylan’s life in full view of both Duffy and the bartender [6]. Raylan’s response? To clear the bar via gunshot into the air and challenge Quarles right then and there, since it’s already well established that Raylan wants Quarles just as dead as Quarles wants him in the ground. However, we still have three episodes to go so Quarles and Duffy eventually retreat but both men’s cards are on the table now and it’s not gonna end until one of them is dead or wishing they were [7]. The tension was so damn thick and to say that this may have been one of my favorite scenes in Justified’s three seasons thus far is no overstatement. It’s a damned shame that the season’s certainly going to end with Quarles departing [8], but in the meantime, Neal McDonough is making the most of his opportunity to establish himself as one of television’s best actors. And goddamn if it isn’t a blast to watch.

[1] Or, as Tobias pointed out in his review, “conquistador.” Boyd calls Quarles this at one point (following one of the scenes I’m about to discuss) and Tobias notes that the use of “conquistador” shows that Boyd no longer thinks that Quarles is merely in Kentucky to profit off of the locals – he’s now willfully destroying everything in his path as well. And something tells me he isn’t quite done yet.
[2] “Tillman, it’s going to start to get a little… crowded in here. For the both of us, I mean. And I’ve noticed that you have an empty office down the hall that you’re using for storage? You think you could have your shit moved into there by the end of the week?”
[3] In an incredibly deft play by Boyd earlier in the episode, he visits Napier’s sister under seemingly sinister means only to ultimately offer her a job with the clerk for this express purpose. Boyd = smart criminal.
[4] And after calmly and frighteningly folding up information and documents from Napier’s desk and excusing himself from the office. This man’s gonna snap something huge. And right quick.
[5] First time we’ve mentioned the good Marshal this week. That tells you something.
[6] Who herself is loaded for bear with a shotgun. Apparently almost getting killed/almost killing someone is an aphrodisiac because she and Raylan jump into bed immediately after Quarles and Duffy make their exit.
[7] Need I remind you of my Winona theory again? No? Good.
[8] Not only has Justified already established that its big bads (Bo Crowder, Mags Bennett) only last until the season finale, but this news (as pumped as I am about it in general) does not bode well for Mr. Quarles being the first villain to break this pattern.

*Some really quick bullet points to get to because, without question, the main thrust of the episode was on Robert Quarles but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything else to talk about.
*But one last Quarles note first: The moment where he gestures by making a mouth with his thumb and clenched fist as he’s exiting the bar and says, “Night, night,” to Raylan and the bartender is the exact moment when he passed Mags. And it may be my single favorite moment of the series so far. For reals. I have non-sexual love for this man and I’m not afraid to admit it.
*As a huge fan of Jim Beaver’s work (the guy’s been on Deadwood, Breaking Bad, and had a pivotal role on genre favorite Supernatural), I like seeing how strongly Justified is weaving him into this year’s tapestry. After Napier’s goons try (and fail) to set Shelby up as an oxy dealer by planting the illicit drug in his truck, Shelby shows up on his front lawn shotgun in tow and spins a lie about having nothing to lose thanks to a cancer diagnosis. The crooked deputies flee and Shelby later reveals to Boy that he was full of shit the entire time. Keep this man around, please.
*Any time Stephen Root is on my TV as Judge Reardon, it’s a good episode. Here he presides over Dickie Bennett’s parole hearing where Raylan is able to convince Reardon and DA Vasquez to let him testify as a means of keeping Dickie incarcerated but, in the end, Raylan merely gets up and tells the court that Dickie’s gonna screw up sooner or later on the outside so they might as well just release him and let him get to it. Not really the strongest of storylines but the Quarles stuff was just so incredible that I don’t care.
*It’s worth noting that Raylan increasingly looks like shit. Between Winona leaving, his living above a college bar, and his obsession with getting Quarles, Marshal Givens is looking a little worse for wear.
*Ava’s contribution to Shelby’s campaign is to have her girls doling out handjobs in exchange for votes for Shelby. As Boyd notes, “Yes we can.”
*So… Dickie Bennett’s buddy/fall guy Jed’s grandmother’s totally Tio Salamanca, right? Right.
*If McDonough wins the regular Emmy, Jere Burns wins the Emmy for Best Reactions. My God… the man’s a walking clinic this season.
*”It wasn’t two months ago my doctor told me I got cancer in my liver. Two years to live IF I’m lucky. So, if this the way the good Lord wants it to end, I consider myself prepared. How about you?”
*”Naw… I believe I’m gonna take care of this one myself.”
*”I admit my deposits have been lower than I expected.” “That’s one way to put it. Another way is you ain’t gave me shit.”
*”Sometimes you can flush all you want but it’s that one floater that just won’t go down.”
*”Maybe we could ask the crooked guards and nurses. No, wait… we can’t. You killed them.”
*”Hello, Hannah. Well, I’ve just been sittin’ here admiring your tablescapes.”
*”No, he’s not Derek Jeter-black. He’s Wesley Snipes-black. He’s a black man.”
*”What exactly is the origin of that word? ‘Hollers?’”
*”You’re a lucky man, Mr. Quarles. You come all the way down here… a place you got no right being. You get to eat our food. You get to drink our whiskey. You get to look at our women as you try to take it all for yourself. But do you know what you are? You are a conquistador. Only we are not your savages. And now you get to leave with your life. Well, I’m hard-pressed to remember the last outsider in your line of work that could say that. Now, I hope that you’ve enjoyed your stay and you never forget who packed your bags.”
*”The one looks like an albino deer.”
*”I’m just gonna file that under ‘Who gives a shit?'”
*”I’m gonna kill you, Raylan. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but someday you’ll be walking down the street and I’m gonna put a bullet right in the back of your skull and you’re gonna drop.”
*”Why wait?”
*”She just sassed you, son.”
*”Night, night.”

TV Diary | Justified – “Loose Ends”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.09 – “Loose Ends” – Original Airdate: 3/13/12

Episode Grade: B

It was kind of inevitable that after the kinetic rush of “The Man Behind The Curtain” and “Watching The Detectives” that Justified would need to take a step back to reset itself before ramping up for the finale (just four episodes away). In that respect, “Loose Ends” definitely served as a palate cleanser and moved some pieces around the chess board in preparation of the season’s final showdown. Quarles is suddenly down one henchman after Dodd went boom courtesy of a landmine. Ava has made a play to become a more active member in Boyd’s criminal enterprise, a decision with which Boyd doesn’t seem to be completely on board. And Limehouse has definitively thrown his lot in with Quarles, and thus finds himself squarely in Raylan’s crosshairs. “Loose Ends” really was true to its name in clearing up some loose ends and moving out some dead weight. Justified has shown in the past that it likes to utilize a large roster of criminal henchmen and, if you register an impression the show is more than willing to keep you around for future use in the right situation. Just think how characters like Wyn Duffy, Dickie Bennett, Emmitt Arnett, Wade Messer, and the criminal lowlife MVP, Dewey Crowe, have been used throughout the series’ run. Hell… if you want to extrapolate it out a step further, Boyd Crowder is the ultimate example. Walton Goggins was supposed to simply be making a one-off appearance in Justified’s pilot but his performance was so strong that Graham Yost and his writing staff kept Goggins on and I think most would agree that Justified wouldn’t be Justified without Boyd Crowder in the mix. However, the other side of that coin is that if you DON’T really register much of an impression you’re as good as gone. And, more than anything else, that’s why Dodd and Delroy are no longer drawing breath in the Justified universe. Dodd never really rose above the level of generic henchman so his death didn’t really resonate above, “Oh, yeah… goodbye, indistinguishable grimy lackey.” While he’d been used as Quarles’ in into Boyd’s operation and was also tangentially associated with Limehouse, Dodd was never really anything more than a simple plot device and now he’s gone. Whatever. Delroy, on the other hand, perhaps doesn’t deserve to be lumped into the same category with Dodd because – all due respect to Brendan McCarthy, who played Dodd – William Mapother’s quite a bit better actor than McCarthy is, but again Delroy never felt like an essential (or potentially essential) part of the show running his little harem, but at least his death had a purpose and that was to nudge Ava even deeper into Harlan’s criminal underbelly. After Ellen May [1] ends up involved in a fatal robbery-gone-bad at Delroy’s behest, she seeks refuge at Boyd’s bar where a sympathetic Ava takes her in as a means of keeping her safe from Delroy. But after Johnny informs her that Delroy pays Boyd protection money, thus necessitating Ellen May’s return to him Ava draws Delroy to the bar under the pretense of delivering Ellen May back only to gut him with a shotgun blast and then pitch to Boyd her idea to take over Delroy’s prostitution ring herself. Boyd seems uneasy with Ava essentially going into business for herself, but ultimately does grant his approval. While we already knew from season one’s “Fire In The Hole” that Ava’s well-capable of wielding a shotgun, her play against Delroy shows that she’s learning from Boyd’s influence and opens up a whole host of options with the character going forward. And the last (but certainly not least) of “Loose Ends’” chess moves was Raylan taking the temperature of Limehouse to see exactly where he stood in the heightening conflict between Raylan and Quarles. In a dynamite final scene, Raylan shows up at Limehouse’s barbeque joint to cast a line to see how strong Limehouse’s ties to Quarles actually are [2] and whether it’s just that Limehouse is naturally distrustful of lawmen, that he’s actually placed his faith in Quarles as the ultimate winner of the Raylan/Quarles cage match, or that he legitimately believes he’s doing what’s best for Noble’s Holler. Whatever the reason, he gives nothing away and instead takes little digs at Raylan by admitting that he does remember him from the Arlo incident back in the day before chillingly adding, “If you like, I can tell you what I remember about your momma.” Damn. That line clearly hits Raylan hard and he eventually leaves empty-handed while Limehouse has positioned himself as yet another Raylan adversary. The war is coming… and it’s coming soon.

[1] The meth tweaker/hooker seen earlier this season in “When The Guns Come Out.”
[2] In perhaps his most declarative statement about Quarles yet, Raylan tells Limehouse, “I’m either gonna put him in prison or in the ground.”

*Not a ton of Boyd in this episode as early on he’s still dealing with the frame job re: Sheriff Napier’s patrol car blowing up, but towards the end there’s one helluva scene where Boyd walks into a town hall meeting – run by a moderator bought and paid for by Quarles to favor Napier – between Napier and Shelby and takes over the entire proceeding like some Southern preacher, completely swaying the collected Harlan citizens towards his… er, Shelby’s side. I especially appreciated the callback to season two by mentioning Black Pike, which is still apparently a sore subject among Harlan-ites. This was Walton Goggins at his best.
*Raylan… why the hell are you keeping Quarles’ gun that was used to kill Gary in your apartment? Nothing good can come of this.
*Art does his best to try to shut Raylan’s vendetta against Quarles down after seeing the turn (and attention it brought to the Marshals’ Office) it took in “Watching The Detectives.” He tries to get more information on the hustler-beating angle while asking what concrete evidence Raylan has against Quarles at that moment, before letting Raylan know that nothing else is to be done until there’s Marshal business to be had. Anyone think that’s actually gonna stick? No? Good.
*Drunk Raylan still has a thing for Ava, it would appear. He also tries to warn her of the dangers of her association with Boyd – “You do know what Boyd is, right?” – making me wonder if, with Winona seemingly out of the picture, season four could see a bit of a tussle between Raylan and Boyd over Ava’s affections.
*Not a whole lot of Quarles this time around (Booooo!) but Neal McDonough predictably killed in his scenes, especially after being summoned to Noble’s by Limehouse to discuss election strategy. Condescending Quarles = Awesome Quarles.
*That Raylan Givens… he even sets up TVs for old ladies.
*”You been checking up on me?” “Yes. Duh.”
*”I hope you had a pleasant time. But not too pleasant.”
*”How is Devil? I haven’t seen him.” “Well… he’s calmed down a good bit since last you saw him.”
*”You ever had shoofly pie?” “No. But judging by the name I’m sure it’s delicious.”
*”Mr. Limehouse, I’m sure you didn’t invite me up here to discuss the sociology of baked goods.”
*”I don’t know. That’s an acceptable answer if I ask you why the sun come up each day. Or why God chose to give man dominion over the animals. But if I ask you if your friend Tanner left any loose ends that can point probing fingers back at this holler, you should know. You understand me?”
*”Social awkwardness is often the curse of genius.”
*”Believe me now?”
*”And — although I haven’t done forensics yet — I’m pretty sure that’s a dead body at your feet there.”
*”Mr. Napier, I’d like to think that if I was behind an attempt on your life that at the very least I would have messed up your hair.”
*”No, he’s right Cousin Johnny. Harlan County elections ain’t over until the dead have voted.”
*”Well, Ava… I appreciate your thoroughness.”
*”I see to it myself that my kitchen’s so clean, the Virgin Mother herself would eat off of it.”

TV Diary | Justified – “Watching The Detectives”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.08 – “Watching The Detectives” – Original Airdate: 3/6/12

Episode Grade: A-

We’re in the homestretch now, people. When I saw in the credits that series creator Graham Yost had written this week’s episode, “Watching The Detectives,” I knew that we were in for a good hour of television and Yost did not disappoint in crafting one of the best episodes of Justified’s third season. “Watching The Detectives” escalated the Raylan/Quarles war to new heights via Quarles’ message to Raylan – a dead Gary laying on his doorstep. Poor, dumb, misguided Gary. Can’t really say the guy will be missed but this is what I expect to be merely the first salvo in Quarles’ willingness to strike at Raylan via personal means [1] but Quarles wasn’t content to just kill Gary. Nope… he’s a better villain than that. In some incredible attention to detail, Quarles set Raylan up to take the fall for the murder by using the bullet that Raylan chucked at Wyn Duffy back in “Harlan Roulette” [2] in the murder as a way to implicate Raylan. Concurrent to Quarles’ frame job, Sammy Tonin – knowingly under FBI surveillance – conveniently made mention (during a telephone conversation with an associate) of his belief that Raylan is on Boyd’s payroll, sending FBI goon Barkley into action to try to nail Raylan [3] on corruption charges. Most of the hour was spent watching the various strings that Quarles was pulling while simultaneously wondering how Raylan was going to squirm his way out of two separate yet equally difficult situations [4]. There was so much goodness in “Watching The Detectives” that I hardly know where to begin. It was another Quarles-heavy episode, which is a great thing in my book. You can tell by now that I’m in the tank for Neal McDonough and seeing him get as much screen time as he has these past two episodes is to see a guy who is so incredibly in tune with his character that it’s a thrill to watch. I mentioned back in my review of “The Man Behind The Curtain” that Quarles’ desperation was increasingly coming to the surface and that continued full throttle here. By “Watching The Detectives’” end, Quarles was a man without a country after being informed by Sammy that the heat he’s bringing to the Detroit organization has become untenable after the failure of his play against Raylan proved indicative of a growing obsession with the Marshal. After being exiled by Detroit for essentially a second time, Quarles response is to join forces with Limehouse [5], who had approached him earlier with information on Boyd’s plan to install his own puppet sheriff in telling him, “I likes to back the winnin’ side.” Limehouse trying to play all sides against the other so that he can ultimately come out on top seems to ring true to the pragmatist that Mykelti Williamson has played him as and seeing Williamson join forces with his former Boomtown castmate is a partnership that I’m looking forward to watching. Any reservations I had about how this third season was playing out during its first half have long since vanished as it’s becoming the sprawling crime epic that it seemed to promise that it would. Just five episodes left, people. Time to buckle in.

[1] Watch your back, Winona. I still think this is happening.
[2] Surely you haven’t forgotten the incredible, “The next one’s coming faster,” scene?
[3] And the Marshals’ office at large.
[4] There was no doubt that he was going to exonerate himself, either. He is Raylan Givens after all. With Winona’s help, he clears himself from suspicion in Gary’s murder while Barkley’s reluctance to give up the fact that they have eyes on Sammy scotches the FBI’s investigation into Raylan.
[5] Though I’ll admit that the scene with Quarles driving out to nowhere while popping the top of a bottle of prescription meds had me worried that we were going to lose him there for a second. I have no illusions that he’s a goner by the end of the season (especially in light of this news) but I’m not ready for the show to be done with him quite yet. Not that that surprises you.

*Uh… that final scene between Raylan and Duffy. HOLY. SHIT. I have crazy love for Mags Bennett and Robert Quarles, but Wyn Duffy may just be the best foil as a villain – Boyd doesn’t count – that Raylan has come up against during Justified’s run. A commenter over on The AV Club speculated that Duffy should take Quarles out himself and then take over as season four’s main villain. I’ll co-sign that.
*Beyond his attempted frame-up of Raylan, Quarles did manage to put together another one that did actually stick: Setting Boyd up to take the fall for the attempted car-bombing of Sheriff Napier. It certainly looks like we’re going to have a WWE-style dream tag team of Raylan and Boyd taking on Quarles and Limehouse by or during episode thirteen, doesn’t it?
*What exactly is Quarles setting up by bringing Dodd back into the fold and giving him one last chance by asking him to walk into a crowded place and shoot someone in the face? Color me intrigued.
*Though Natalie Zea hasn’t been given a ton to do this season (or ever, for that matter) she played the hell out of the scene where Raylan informs her of Gary’s death. She did an exceptional job of conveying the conflicting emotions that Winona was feeling in that moment. Not to mention that her assistance in clearing Raylan by finding the murder weapon lead to the following classic exchange:
Raylan: “Did you touch it?”
Winona: “What am I? An asshole?”
*On the subject of neglected characters: MORETIMPLEASETHANKYOU. It’s clear that Yost himself enjoys writing for Jacob Pitts’ character because Tim was in full snarky display in “Watching The Detectives” and the attention given to him was one of the highlights of a strong episode. In many ways, Tim seems positioned as a younger version of Art and it’s a fascinating contrast to see young and old versions of the same character have almost no use for Raylan. Tim is a weapon in your arsenal, Justified. Use him. Please.
*Nice observation by The AV Club’s Scott Tobias – this may be almost apropos of nothing, but Barkley is almost like a casual viewer who drops in on Justified to make wrong-headed pronouncements. It could almost be Yost’s meta way at looking at criticism of the show. Maybe that wasn’t the intent, but it’s interesting to look at the character through that prism.
*More strong attention to detail: Quarles immediately freaking out upon receiving word that a detective was sniffing around his old headquarters because Duffy hadn’t yet repainted that back bedroom. Also, Barkley throwing Art’s threatening manner towards the WITSEC mobster from “Cut Ties” back at him during Barkley’s investigation of Raylan. This is where all of the track that the earlier part of the season laid down is beginning to pay off.
*So… the two brief little appearances by Stephen Root this season as Judge Reardon that seem designed to remind us that he’s still around have to be leading to something bigger with him down the road, no?
*Full confession: I couldn’t remember the name of Rick Gomez’s ADA character who we last saw in season one so I referred to him in my notes as ADA Morgan’s Brother due to his familial relation with Chuck’s Josh Gomez.
*Who in the actual fuck was the musical act that Raylan was watching at the bar? It’s was almost Lynchian in its Blue Velvet-y weirdness.
*”Actually, I already knew you didn’t kill Gary… that night. He’s been livin’ in Tulsa for months under an assumed name.” “How did you know that?” “I’m good at my job.”
*”If you already knew that, why have you been messing with me?” “‘Cause it was fun.”
*”No, shitstain, it’s not good because he saw you which is why you chose this public place to meet so I don’t chop your balls off right now.”
*”Wait… why did you throw a bullet at him?” “I was trying to make a point.” “Which was?” “Get the hell out of Kentucky and don’t come back.”
*”Deputy, that might be the coolest thing I’ve ever laid ears on.”
*”I looked at him straight in the eye that day and he knew I was gonna be dead later. And I had no idea. What’s that say about me?”
*”Raylan may be a lot of things, but I’ve never gotten a whiff of dirty.” “Well… maybe that says something about you, Chief.” “Did you honestly just say that?”
*”Is that a real question?” “It had a question mark.”
*”I mean… she’s older for a Victoria’s Secret girl but that’s how you know she knows what she’s doing.”
*”Don’t play dumb with me, Deputy.” “I’m not playing. I’m an idiot. You can ask anybody.”
*”This time, seriously, don’t come find me.”
*”Hey, Raylan… remember that time I told you I didn’t think you were gonna make it to retirement? I think it’s gonna be me. For God’s sakes… having you in this office is gonna give me a stroke.”
*”Deputy, didn’t your mother teach you to knock?” “Oh, yeah, she did. She also taught me to shoot. Then my Uncle Sam, he gave me this <flashes badge> and THIS is my knock.”
*”He’s got the ice cold, remorseless, bottle blonde, shitbag killer doing scutwork.” “Deputy, are you accusing me of being a fake blonde? Because if you need me to prove it to you, I might be inclined to break you over that stepladder, ride you down like a teaser pony, and paint this room an entirely different color.” “Now *that* is the Wyn Duffy I remember.”

TV Diary | Justified – “The Man Behind The Curtain”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.07 – “The Man Behind The Curtain” – Original Airdate: 2/28/12

Episode Grade: A

To my eyes, “The Man Behind The Curtain” was Justified’s best episode of this third season by a wide margin. That it was the first to feature Neal McDonough’s Robert Quarles in extensive fashion is no coincidence. If you’ve been reading my entries on Justified this season, you know by know that I was on board with the casting of McDonough from the jump. I’ve long been a fan of his and if anyone was up to the unenviable task of following Margo Martindale’s legendary performance as Mags Bennett in season two, McDonough was that man. However, whether it was due to the fact that Justified has taken on a sprawling tone this year that necessitated the service of multiple characters simultaneously or just that perhaps McDonough had availability issues with another job he’d booked [1], it seemed that Quarles was only around for a scene or two per episode so while McDonough took the material he was given and knocked it out of the park when he had the opportunity, we never really got to see a deep look into what makes Robert Quarles tick until “The Man Behind The Curtain.” And, while Quarles had been a terrifying dude before this episode, he’s even more scary now that we know his backstory. We now know – not that it’s terribly surprising – that his move to Kentucky wasn’t by choice as he’d hinted in his first appearance in the season opening “The Gunfighter.” We now know that he was being groomed to take over the Detroit operation before his fondness for torturing male hustlers [2] was exposed, leading to his boss passing Quarles over in favor of his own dim-witted son (played here by Homicide: Life On The Street’s Max Perlich), Sammy Tonin. And, more than anything else, we now know that Quarles is an increasingly desperate man whose war with Raylan is escalating at a rapid pace. After first striking out while trying to prove true his theory about Raylan being dirty [3], Quarles moves on to buying off the Harlan sheriff and the first edict of his newly-struck deal with the crooked lawman is for the sheriff to target and take out Boyd’s operation and, thus, eliminate Quarles’ main competition in Harlan. Meanwhile, Sammy Tonin turns up in Kentucky to check in on Quarles and it’s clear that the two men really have no use for each other [4] yet they maintain a business relationship until Raylan intercedes. Once Sammy and Raylan realize that they share a contempt for Quarles, Sammy cancels a wire transfer that Quarles was counting on as an influx of needed cash while Raylan seizes Quarles’ headquarters by stretching the bounds of the law [5]. The tightly wound Quarles gets the last shot, however, as he and Duffy track down the previously forgotten Gary – who’s now running real estate scam symposiums – in Tulsa. Ultimately, this development does nothing to change my thinking that the Quarles/Raylan battle is going to end with Winona serving as collateral damage but after weeks of Justified not necessarily spinning its wheels but not necessarily moving forward either, ”The Man Behind The Curtain” pushed the gas pedal to the floor in grand fashion. And, frankly? It’s about time.

[1] Just speculating here.
[2] Meaning that we also have a better idea of what he is/was doing with the homeowner he kept bound in that back bedroom of the house he was using as his Harlan headquarters. What’s still unclear is whether Quarles just gets off on beating these guys or if he’s maybe a self-loathing closeted man who works through his psychological issues through extremely violent ways.
[3] Which, frankly, lead to one helluva great scene between McDonough and Tim Olyphant.
[4] Sammy lords his authority over Quarles while Quarles derides Sammy to Wyn Duffy as “a waste of sperm.”
[5] The fact that Quarles was running a prescription drug ring out of a residential home that was close to a neighbor who held piano lessons in his own home allows Raylan to classify Quarles’ headquarters as a drug operation located too close to a school. Obviously, this development doesn’t thrill Quarles. That Raylan also has knowledge of the hustler fetish gives him the (temporary) upper hand in the war.

*”The Man Behind The Curtain” also gave us an opportunity to see how Raylan is faring post-Winona and it’s not pretty. He’s now living in an apartment above a bar and is serving as a bouncer in his free time in exchange for reduced rent. He’s willfully and blatantly abusing Tim with little regard to how the favors he asks of Tim affect him or, in this case, Tim’s friend at the FBI. As a result, both Tim and Art look like they’re barely tolerating him at this point. He shows up at Boyd’s bar, punches Boyd in the gut, cracks Johnny with a baseball bat before dumping him out of his wheelchair into a hallway, and has little regard for Arlo’s rapidly deteriorating condition when pressed by Boyd. He also brazenly locks horns with Quarles in such a way that the blowback on him is going to be harsh. We’re watching Raylan slowly come unwound and it should prove interesting to see just how much further he spirals before the season is out.
*This episode also went a long way towards soothing any concerns I’d had about how this third season is playing out. This really is starting to coalesce into an epic crime story quite nicely.
*It was a little move but Quarles working hard to keep the details of his past in the past with regard to Duffy was a nice touch.
*Justified has always cast its supporting and guest roles wisely and that continues here as Stephen Tobolowsky shows up as an FBI muckety-muck who threatens suspension for Tim’s friend after finding out that Raylan has been messing with Sammy Tonin, who’s under FBI surveillance. A return appearance by Tobolowsky would be very welcome.
*Yes! Go Blue! Quarles is a Michigan Man. Wait…
*Speaking of Arlo, his health continues to head down the drain, here showing up in Noble’s Holler and demanding to see Limehouse because he’s disoriented and thinks that his late wife/Raylan’s mother is hiding via the story that Raylan laid out back in “The Devil You Know.” He ends up with a crack upside the head from one of Limehouse’s men and it’s becoming ever clearer that this is a situation that Raylan’s going to have to deal with before too long, whether he likes it or not.
*Beyond dealing with Arlo’s delusional rantings, Limehouse begins the process of ingratiating himself into Quarles’ business by enlisting Dodd – the thug who tried to bring Devil into Quarles’ camp and who Raylan dealt with in severe fashion in “When The Guns Come Out” – as a spy while serving as a patsy for Limehouse’s own man’s involvement in the clinic hit in the same episode. He’s also officially hired by Boyd who tells him in no uncertain terms that he expects to know everything that Limehouse knows about Quarles as soon as Limehouse does. Ellstin Limehouse is a man who has his fingers in a lot of pies and I’d be very surprised at this point if he’s not a character who isn’t utilized in future seasons of Justified. He seems to be much more of a wild card than straight villain, like Quarles.
*I mentioned in a previous bullet point about smart casting and that’s also evident via the re-appearance of Deadwood/Supernatural vet Jim Beaver as Shelby, last seen at the coal mine that Boyd blew up in season two. After Quarles buys off the current sheriff as a means of hitting Boyd, Boyd tries to enlist Shelby to run against the sheriff in the next election so that he has his own puppet lawman, proving once again that Boyd Crowder is one of television’s most intelligent criminals.
*The scenes with Raylan approaching Sammy Tonin covertly at a race track made me wonder if Justified had become Luck all of a sudden.
*”Love your new digs.” “Thanks. Tried a few nights at the Hilton but it didn’t work out with my per diem.”
*”You could have gone to Wall Street and done some real damage.” “I prefer working with reputable folk.”
*”I’m sure we’ll be running into each other again real soon. I know where you live now.”
*”I live and breathe to do your bidding.”
*”No, I don’t want to go after him. I want to bury the big-toothed albino son of a bitch.”
*”I think he hoped I’d be a brother to that little waste of sperm but it didn’t turn out.”
*”I’m just going to put a smile on my face and eat a nice plate of steaming shit. Unsalted.”
*”Last I checked, you were a marshal too. I gotta do everything?”
*”If you find him and go all Raylan on him…” “I don’t even know what that means.”
*”I got mad ninja skills, buddy.”
*”You know karate?” “And two other Japanese words.”
*”There must be some sort of dick test that all these FBI guys have to pass.”
*”So from now on when you know something, I know something or else I’m gonna close my account and you gonna have to deal with a very, very disgruntled customer.”
*”Sammy… it’s dress the part, be the part. It isn’t dress the part, hide behind your daddy.”
*”Wouldn’t a banjo teacher be a little more appropriate?”
*”Can’t paint over blood stains.”

TV Diary | Justified – “When The Guns Come Out”

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TV Diary | Justified – Episode 3.06 – “When The Guns Come Out” – Original Airdate: 2/21/12

Episode Grade: B+

“When The Guns Come Out” was a continuation of a season of Justified that, on a technical level, has been a rousing success yet is one that I’ve had trouble fully connecting with on an emotional level. “When The Guns Come Out” moved the season’s storylines forward in fine fashion, introduced some more conflict into the Raylan/Winona relationship, and delivered a fairly satisfying self-contained storyline. So why is it that I’m having trouble embracing this third season? I completely expect the show to right itself by the time we get to episode thirteen but for now there’s something – that I’m not entirely able to put my finger on – that’s keeping it from taking the final step towards greatness like season two did. Perhaps I’m impatient or maybe I’m expecting too much because season three has its fingers in a lot of pies, something that was evident from the way that “When The Guns Come Out” played things out. It continued to comingle the various principals of this third season as Limehouse’s number two went into business for himself by ordering the ransacking of Boyd’s oxy clinic, an act that Boyd ultimately attributed to Quarles. That the clinic was being run out of Helen’s house [1] eventually brought Raylan into the mix and ended up allowing the story to coalesce quite nicely. The episode gave us a further look into Limehouse, particularly the scene where he’s paid a visit by Boyd and displays his thorough knowledge of the white community of Harlan whereas Boyd has little to no insight into Noble’s Holler. He later brings up a fascinating – yet completely logical – fear after his second-in-command confesses to being behind the raid on Boyd’s oxy clinic, pointing to the fact that race relations between their community and Harlan at large are tenuous at best and that striking at Boyd in such a selfish way could end in deadly repercussions for Limehouse and the African-American community in Noble’s Holler. Limehouse deals with the situation very pragmatically [2] and introducing the powder keg that is racial politics in a place like Kentucky is, outside of some passing instances with a minor character like Rachel, a subject that Justified has shied away from in the past but a show as intelligent as this can do a whole lot with it and it’s a topic that I’d be anxious to see more of. Limehouse also seems like the type of character who could easily become a part of the world of this show in future seasons [3] as a wild-card for Justified‘s writers to use for either side of a conflict when necessary. As for Mykelti Williamson’s former Boomtown castmate, Neal McDonough continues to turn in a terrifyingly great performance as the sadistic Quarles. While some have criticized McDonough for portraying Quarles as a modern-day moustache-twirling villain, I see him as someone who’s so casual and nonchalant in his menace that he makes a sociopath like Wyn Duffy not only look tame in comparison but makes Duffy himself tremble in fear as he does in “When The Guns Come Out” after Duffy walks back into Quarles’ headquarters to hear him torturing the homeowner that he’s keeping tied to a bed in the home’s back bedroom. Later, his request to Duffy for more information on Raylan included the ominous line, “If the marshal keeps coming back and it becomes necessary to apply pressure, I want to know exactly where to squeeze.” And I have the sinking feeling that spot to squeeze? Winona. Can’t be a coincidence that in the same episode where Quarles issued this threat, Raylan was preoccupied with Winona’s exit and the seeming end to their relationship. “When The Guns Come Out” established that she’s his blind spot and I fully expect Quarles to exploit that blind spot by season’s end. If Raylan and Winona are no longer a couple, you have to wonder where, exactly, she fits in the universe of the show if not as the means for Quarles to strike at Raylan. I mentioned last week that my heart was pounding at the end of “Thick As Mud” thinking that Raylan was going to come home to find that Quarles had struck at him through Winona. I’m starting to realize that perhaps Justified was merely testing the waters for that move to be made later in the year. I’m still not sure if Justified is capable of making such a move but one thing is certain – if Justified goes down this road, it’ll damn sure evoke that emotional response that’s been lacking for much of this season thus far.

[1] That Arlo really is a special kind of asshole, though there could be another explanation for his involvement. More on that later.
[2] And this is another thread from the previous episode that’s expanded upon here.
[3] Assuming he survives this one, of course.

*We learned that this isn’t the first time that Winona has run out on Raylan after Art confirms to Raylan that he put out a BOLO alert on Winona at the end of season two after Raylan’s shooting in the Bennett showdown. Much as I love Natalie Zea, it’s apparent that the show’s use for the Winona character has waned considerably. I do like how this action showed, regardless of how frustrated Art can get with Raylan, that he still continues to have his back.
*It also looks like Justified is setting up Arlo to be going through some sort of Alzheimer’s/dementia-like condition after he allows Boyd to use Helen’s house as an oxy clinic and then later has a very disoriented conversation with Raylan where he speaks like Helen is still alive and Boyd is just “a boy.” As Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall notes, Raylan being stuck with taking care of the senile father that he’s always despised could be a fruitful road for the show to explore in the future.
*Even as I like how “When The Guns Come Out” continued this season’s theme of introducing a thread in one episode and then expanding on it greatly as the next episode’s standalone story, revisiting the stolen evidence money (that Raylan initially pins on Winona) via Charlie the evidence clerk’s theft isn’t one that I’m particularly looking forward to in the next episode, assuming that’s where things are headed.
*That Quarles initially thinks that Raylan’s dirty and is working with Boyd is a nice illustration of the fact that he immediately looks for the worst in people. Pure villainy right there.
*Lost’s William Mapother, perhaps best known as Tom Cruise’s cousin, shows up for the first time as Delroy, a pimp/oxy freak who mentions to one of his… um… charges that he was raised in a commune of sorts. Dharma Initiative, anyone?
*Liked seeing Ava continue to take on an active role in Boyd’s criminal enterprise while simultaneously playing off of her season one past with Raylan when it became convenient for she and Boyd to use Raylan for their own purposes. Unlike Winona, Justified has found a clear and successful use for the Ava character.
*Anytime Stephen Root decides that he wants to return as Judge Mike Reardon – even if it’s only for a quick scene like in “When The Guns Come Out,” I’m all for it.
*Raylan popping Delroy twice in the face was a pure Dewey punishment.
*”I don’t mind asking the FBI for favors on your behalf but I’m not gonna read the thing for you, too.” Tim after getting Raylan a file and reminding us that he does, in fact, still exist. And that he still has no use for Raylan.
*This might be my favorite quote of the season thus far: “The next time you set up any operation in this county or anywhere else it better not have my goddamn family name on the deed or so help me God I’ll lose this star and the dance we do subsequent to that will not end will not end with you finding Jesus in a hospital bed.”
*”Oh, shit… did she at least leave you a note?”
*”But why you don’t know us is a question you are welcome to ponder.”
*”The people who bank with me are the ones who have access to the things I know.”
*”Sneak up on a man like that it’s a good way to get yourself shot.” “By you in your boxer shorts there? I think I got the drop on you this time, Arlo.”
*”You know the position you’re putting me in here?” “Missionary.”
*”Please tell me you’re here for a job because I forgot to play the lottery this week and you, right here, are the winning ticket.”
*”Everybody, the next round is on me.” “You gonna pay for that with the money you made selling oxy at my aunt’s house?”
*”Taliban got you down?”
*”Shit. I didn’t bring a knife.”
*”Hold up… are you a bearded lady?”
*”I saw that Kenny Chesney on your computer, I thought you were capable of anything.”