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i just love Rachel in this scene because one second she’s just chill, coloring with this cute little girl, being totally sweet
but then when she realizes shits about to hit the fan
her badass marshal switch flips and she is ready to kick some ass in a second
i just love Rachel so much
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3x02 - Cut Ties
"All right. We’ll stick to the Old Testament then."
In Elmore Leonard’s cross-pollenating, wonderfully incestuous world, where everybody shows up in everybody else’s books and Crowes populate like rabbits and even Robert Taylor of Tishomingo Blues has caught word of Boyd Crowder, our “little Nazi shitkicker” who blew up Fandi’s dope-church with a rocket gun, there have been two things so obvious I’ve just taken for granted they’re true. One: that Carl Webster, Elmore’s other other trigger-happy US Marshal of the days of Prohibition and Bonnie and Clyde (always none-too-impressed with Bonnie and Clyde), is the legend from which Raylan adopts his own. Sure, Webster was written after his Raylan Givens, but: the hat, the cool, the ‘you make me pull, I shoot to kill,’ all beg for the idea that Raylan would hear these tales passed down through the marshals and try them on for size, just as if Carl Webster belonged to the real-life pantheon of Bat Masterson and Bass Reeves. And two: that Karen Sisco, the charming, no-nonsense, baton-wielding third of Elmore’s US Marshal trinity, is the missing piece of Raylan’s past, five-foot-five in heels with a badge and a gun.
And what do you know. Karen
Sisco! Goodall. Goodall? Sisco! Justified says: Raylan’s Miami backstory. And I’m ready to claim the law of transitive properties for all Carl Webster, for good measure, might as well be among them. Art and Nichols, the soon-to-be-doomed WITSEC marshal, sit around reminiscing, tintype star-gazing: Wyatt Earp, Masterson, Reeves. Pondering how much of the mythos they’ve inherited. “Hear my spurs scrape on that wood floor,” says Nichols. Art: “Piano player stops playing. Everybody’s head turns, looks at you.” “Who is that tall stranger with the badge?” Who wouldn’t want to try on those shoes? Who wouldn’t want to inherit that star? It’s the same as Raylan, born of the Gunsmokes and the Have Gun, Will Travels. Raylan, back when Maximum Bob GibbsJudge Hammerpants Reardon tells him the origin story of the Speedos and the Brownie: “Tried it on and it fit. Sure, I get that.” The origin story of Raylan’s man in the hat, simple as that.
And simple as that: Art in his khakis gets framed like Eastwood, his showdown with the scumbag doofus
Terry PoweWalter Vandos staged like some funny, chair-bound High Noon. “The people don’t even have phonebooks anymore,” rues Art, casually knotting his hand in the dishtowel to administer the Old Testament wrath. “We still used to tell people, you have the right to remain silent. As long as you can stand the pain.” If you ever doubted Art was Raylan twenty years ago. (You didn’t.) If you ever doubted Art is Raylan now. But the great thing is, it’s Art who’s gone the way of the Earp, Masterson, Reeves. Wyatt Earp outlived the blaze of glory at the OK Corral: his tombstone, age eighty. Bat Masterson, 67. Bass Reeves, 72. Once a badass, always a badass— Art personified— but you get older, you get wiser, you raise a whole lot of hell but a lot more selectively. Brains first, then the guns and the fists.
Raylan: Be nice not to have to kick the door down blind.
Karen: I could just knock and whoever answers, I pull him out by the hair.
Raylan: If Little Joe answers you could. He’s pretty little.
Karen: No, little guys are always the worst. They’re more physical.
Raylan: How about you knock, no matter who answers you say, “Oh jeez, I’m sorry. I have the wrong room.”
Karen: “Oh jeez, I’m sorry?”
Raylan: “I have the wrong room.”
Karen: You’re different than I remember.
Raylan: Yeah, well. I’m older.
Karen: Mmm no. It’s something else.
Meanwhile, Boyd. While Karen Sisco’s popping in— and happily that, popping in, just like she belongs, not A Very Special Karen Sisco Episode— while Detroit lays low, while we first hear tell of Noble’s Holler, Raylan’s doing the very Elmore move of dropping out of his own story for a while, letting Art and Boyd run ahead with the lead. Kind enough, of course, to kickstart Boyd’s anti-jailbreak before kicking down doors with Karen Sisco. “A person spends enough time lying for a living,” says Winona in the beginning, her new no-realtor policy, “gets to the point where you realize the only thing he doesn’t mean is what he’s actually saying.” Meaning Gary, of course, but of course Raylan hears “Boyd.” The jig is up as fast as it started, but Boyd, not about to be sprung so easily. If he can’t win the game, he’s going to change the game, and before you know it Dickie Bennett is yelping and hollering the way Dickie Bennett was seemingly born to yelp and holler. “Truth, truth. Okay! What kind of truth you want?” Squeaking and squirming with Boyd— this time last year, defeated, reformed, and underground, now new, wild, and born-again— polishing a shiv on his neck under the watch of the helpful guard.
"But you did get to him,” beams Ava, ever more the mistress of crime, picking up Boyd and his busted face out of jail. He did. And, of all the lies and misplaced truths around, Boyd’s having no trouble at all in keeping his word from “Full Commitment”: Ava is full partner. His real mission wasn’t shivving Dickie Bennett, wasn’t making Dickie Bennett pay up eye for an eye for Ava… yet. There’ll be plenty of time for that. For now, fast and true to Mags’s word— “Crowders, always looking for an angle.”— they’re on the treasure-hunt of the leftover Bennett fortune. Ava’s the one who senses the “but” coming: “But,” says Boyd. There’s just one wrinkle to that. As ever. By the name of Ellstin Limehouse. Ava’s face says it all: uh-huh. Oh shit. Here we go.
- Tap-dancing around some rights issues or no (Sony has the rights to the Givens books but none of Elmore’s other properties), Carla Gugino reprising Karen Sisco couldn’t be more thinly veiled if it tried. Even the explanation for the name change is 100-proof Karen Sisco: “When’d you get married?” asks Raylan, and: “Two months before I got divorced.”
- Everything from the bluesy, bass-y prison score to Karen’s telescoping baton is a nod in one way or another. Even Raylan’s tale of Uncle Everett, dissuaded from his prizefighting career by Tommy Hearns’s detached retinas, is a wink and a grin to that similar line in Out of Sight.
- Forward movement on all fronts when Art gets word of Arnett and Yvette’s bleached floors. Raylan: “That’s never good.”
- Who gets the best threat of the night? Art: “I’m gonna take your gun, I’m gonna fire a couple bullets into that wall over there. And then I’m gonna take my gun, I’m gonna fire a couple bullets into your face.”
- Karen Sisco: “And I’m gonna do that over and over again until you tell me which one of your guys murdered a deputy marshal. And if you still don’t? Then I’m gonna get mean.”
- Boyd to Dickie: “If I even think for one second you’re gonna scream, trust me. You’re gonna scream.”
- Who are we kidding? Art wins. But the Noble’s Holler slaughterhouse with Limehouse’s cleaver and lye introduces a whole new contender. “Now can I assume from your face, you choosing door number two?”
- "Art seems good," says Karen. Says Raylan, "Art saved my life."
- How Far We’ve Come: The Twos. First there was “Riverbrook,” Justified's first Kentucky fugitive for the relocated Raylan to chase down. Then baby made two: “The Life Inside,” the rescue of the pregnant fugitive and Raylan and Winona considering the what-if of a baby Givens.
Trooper Tom goes, “Aw shit, the Bennetts.” Rachel is the first and last to ask it, “Who are the Bennetts?” Raylan goes, “Mrs. Bennett,” and Mrs. Bennett goes, “You forgot to call me Mags.”
"I remember your grandaddy," grins Mags. "I shot rats as a kid," grins Raylan. "Raylan Givens,” grins Doyle, grins Mags, grins Dickie. (Says Coover, “So?”)
Raylan: So you want me to help you with my people. You know, throw ‘em a pork rind or uh, some ding dongs?
Rachel: If you wouldn’t mind.
Raylan: No ma’am.
Dan grins and offers him Miami but Raylan, like it’s not even a question, only goes, “Right now? I just want to go home.”
I forget that Deputy Marshal Nelson Dunlop, the unsung hero of season four— well, the unsung scapegoat of season four— was the unsung hero long before now. Before Tim was forgetting his birthday, before Raylan was remembering his birthday, before Raylan was getting him shitcanned, before Raylan was passing him the decoy white hat.
Here he was in season one, guarding Judge Reardon by day before Raylan guarded Judge Reardon by night. Handing the judge off to Raylan in the Deputy Marshal Nelson Dunlop way: with a handshake and a smile.
It’s pretty fitting, the way season two starts with a mirror image of the pilot, Raylan squared off with Gio. Raylan shoots Tommy Bucks; Raylan’s exiled to Kentucky. Raylan makes peace with Gio; Raylan’s ready to go home.
And it’s pretty great, the way Gio’s phone rings, and Raylan’s eyes roll, and Raylan tells Gio let it ring, and Dan Grant says, Raylan, I’m walking in. Whatever you’re thinking about doing, don’t.
Because, well. It’s thanks to Dan that Raylan makes peace with Gio. Prior to Dan, Raylan’s ready to repeat a little history: “All right, look. I tried to be reasonable. You give me your word in ten seconds or I shoot you in the head.”
The way Raylan says, “I thought that went well,” and Dan chuckles, I would watch a whole lot more of Dan on the show. I mean, no flashbacks. None of Raylan’s Miami life pre-Kentucky. (Hey, that’s why we have Pronto.) But I would happily watch Raylan and Dan teamed up on a case.
He’s at least half as awesome as Art, and that’s pretty awesome.
Personally, I’d love the flashbacks…and seeing more of them in this upcoming season six, including the one about Raylan and Art teaching firearms at Glynco. As for Raylan’s Miami life pre-Kentucky…it’s precisely why we have Pronto that I’d like to see that on-screen. Can you imagine another great Elmore-Leonard-novel-to-film adaptation like Out of Sight? If Steven Soderbergh could also direct a film adaptation of Pronto, just look at those possibilities…heaven, right there.
And I would definitely want to see Dan Grant back, period.