This post contains spoilers through the February 14 episode of Justified.
Despite the fact that Dewey spent much of this episode running around convinced that he’d lost his kidneys and Raylan shot a woman — “I can’t believe you shot me,” she protested before dying. “I can’t believe so either,” a drug-befuddled Raylan told her — it struck me as a warm and loving episode of the show, as close as Justified will ever get to doing a Valentine’s Day-themed episode.
First, let’s take Raylan and Winona. He’s coming home late to her, but he’s developed, if not a feminist consciousness about how little work he’s doing to get ready for their new life, a conscience about it. “Seriously. You’re seven weeks pregnant. Ready to move. I haven’t done anything to line up a place for us. I’m just out there running and gunning,” he castigates himself. I’m almost sorry Winona lets him off the hook, telling him, “Alright, you’ve convinced me. I’m angry, but I’m still not going to fight with you. I’m done thinking that I could change you. And I’m done trying to convince myself that I could ever feel about anyone the way I feel about you.” But it’s interesting to see Raylan seriously consider changing his life on his own, and not because, as Art suggested, his woman is just telling him that he should. Fatherhood is a serious thing, and I’m glad the show respects Raylan, and us, enough to show him doing some independent thinking on the subject.
Then, there’s Raylan relationship with Dewey, which ends up being critical to finding the man who cut him up. Dewey’s misadventure is as tragicomic an exploration of the changing mechanisms of American commerce as anything I’ve ever seen on television. Who knew the rise of credit cards could put such a hit on small-timers? “I don’t have time for that! I need cash! Where do people use cash?” he wails to the appliance store salesman, before complaining to a stripper that “Don’t tell me guys pay you by credit card? I saw some girl on television who said she could make $3,000 a night on the pole. Given she’s a nine and you’re a six if I’m feeling generous, but I figured you’d be good for a grand or so!” “It’s 10 o’clock in the morning,” one of the girls points out. Dewey reminds me of the characters on Raising Hope, to a certain extent: he’s not very smart, and he does some bad things, but he’s not unworthy of our affection, or Raylan’s. I thought the single line by the cop that “He’s your fugitive. Knock yourself out,” was a lovely summation of the reasons Raylan is both successful and entangled here in Harlan.
And speaking of entanglements, gosh do we have a lot of them coming at us. First, it’s clear that Limehouse kept Mags’ money — and it’s less clear that he can keep his people on lockdown. “The only way I can see him finding out from this end is if someone were to tell him,” he declares of Dickie Bennett. “I’ll stop him. Besides, I heard they fixing to send him back to Trambell.” Then, Quarles first attempt at forging an alliance with Boyd gets him a lecture about Carpetbaggers’ history in Harlan, which is not uniformly positive. But it’s hard to imagine he’ll leave satisfied with a bourbon.