So, I guess Justified thought we were in need of some testosterone this week? Sure, why not. The title of this week’s installment is “This Bird is Flown,” and the meaning there is fairly obvious – in addition to the rooster component, Lindsey “flew” off with Raylan’s secret money that he procured from doing his off-the-books marshallin’. Though other than lamenting that he thought Lindsey “liked” him, Raylan takes the situation like the man that he is, procuring a new giant gun (ah, the phallic symbolism!) and brawling in the dirt with Randall, mano-a-mano.
Sure, this episode mainly existed to tie up the Raylan/Lindsey/Randall storyline and didn’t cover too much ground in terms of the season as a whole, but it was a helluva fun watch and gave us a much needed break from hearing the names “Waldo Truth” or “Drew Thompson.” Or the term “marshallin’ stiffy.” Though Art and Tim were again sorely missed… it looks like they can’t coexist in the same episode as Rachel? Nevertheless, we also were treated to an interesting thread with Boyd and Ava deciding to off Ellen May, which paid off nicely with ending in an unexpected way. So while somewhat unspectacular, this episode was well-paced and oozing with masculinity… and obviously, Raylan, no woman doesn’t like you best.
We pick right up from last week at the bar – Raylan and Rachel scope out his ramshackled room and set out to find Randall and Lindsay together. Rachel isn’t the most interesting Justified character to watch, sure, but she and Raylan don’t waste too much time locating the two grifters and their thread this episode moves at a swift and action-filled pace. They first pay a visit to Joey, who runs Randall’s backyard fights… in doing so, Raylan also interrupts Joey mid-foursome, but thankfully Joey calmed his hos down with a smooth “bitches, chill.” If only all women could be so docile, huh, Raylan?
Joey informs Raylan that not only is Lindsey involved, but Randall wanted to manage fighters… that are roosters. Of course. Between the backyard MMA and the cockfighting, Randall is really covering his redneck bases. This first stop on their quest offers a lot of needed exposition for the two Marshalls, and shoot, isn’t the foursome scene funny? Justified consistently provides a perfect balance between drama, action, and humor, and this sequence performs quite well at providing an example of that.
Veering away from Raylan, Boyd and Ava have to deal with the issue that is Ellen May. She and Ava were involved in killing Ellen May’s pimp, and they can’t be positive that Ellen May didn’t confess this sin to Billy and Cassie. To kill or not to kill? Well, they decide to kill her, and Colton is chosen to do the offing… though thankfully, when sober, Ellen May ain’t that dumb. When Colton is psyching himself up to kill her in the gas station bathroom via a snort of heroin, Ellen May escapes. This thread is successful for a number of reasons. For one, Ellen May is a sympathetic character – to see her be killed for wanting to improve her life? That would just be sad. Also, Abby Miller is really killing it as Ellen May this season, now that her formerly peripheral character has been majorly beefed up. This also gives yet another reason to pit Billy (RIP!) and Cassie’s church against Boyd and company. Ron Eldard also imbues Colton with some much needed character development in his brief scene in the bathroom – he is not all brawn, for he wordlessly conveys remorse for having to kill Ellen May, even resorting to drugs to get into hitman character.
Joelle Carter’s Ava is also having an upswing this season, after a while of being “that chick with the shotgun.” She is second in command in Boyd’s crime ring and has a great say in the criminal world of Harlan – it’s great that Justified reps strong female characters, even if they run whores and drugs. Also… Cassie is holding her own against Boyd’s strong arm (oh hey, Jim Beaver!), so obviously between Ava and Rachel, there’s always room for one more. To balance all that machismo, of course…
Back to the search for Randall and Lindsey… Lindsey proves that she does, in fact, like Raylan. She’s a red-blooded woman, after all. One that stole his money to buy roosters, but a red-blooded woman nonetheless. She calls Raylan from a payphone after she and Randall grift a sad and horny little convenience store cashier, so he quickly finds her approximate location. There is a valuable moment between the cashier and Raylan as they have a mutual understanding that they were both duped by Lindsey. Raylan is the picture of masculinity, especially with his giant new beanbag gun (thanks, Rachel!). But, no, he is not impervious to feminine wiles! And his feelings do get hurt! Sigh.
Well, speaking of which, this episode’s pièce de résistance is most certainly the Raylan/Randall fight. This one has been built up since last episode, and it is a doozy. Both men look like they are really having at each other and breaking a sweat (and possibly some of their bones), and this fight scene is quickly-paced, filled with brute force and visceral action. Robert Baker’s Randall is force to be reckoned with… and obviously, so is Raylan. Though Raylan is considerably more lanky than his bear of an opponent, so thankfully he has that beanbag gun to slow down him down.
While Lindsey shoots Raylan with his gun initially, she jumps to Raylan’s aid when Randall looks to be defeating him, clubbing him over the head and thus allowing Raylan to make his arrest. When he realizes Lindsey is fighting on his side, he looks up at her and says ”I knew you liked me.” Timothy Olyphant fills this single line with such nuance – he really should have won that Emmy by now.
Raylan is betrayed by Lindsay, yet filled with relief that his feelings for her weren’t in vain as he had feared. And the inner sweetness of Raylan is revealed here, especially since his ass has just been kicked and since he had just been grifted over the last few months. He lets Lindsey go free and leaves Randall handcuffed to his van… filled with all those Raylan Givens-financed fightin’ cocks.
The Upside: The masculine battle of Raylan vs. Randall, and great acting moments all around. Also, Ellen May ain’t as dumb as she looks – run, girl, run!
The Downside: No Art or Tim. Perhaps Art was preoccupied with taming that ever-persistant marshallin’ stiffy… or Tim might have been busy copying Raylan’s new longer hairstyle.
On the Side: Recognize Gina, that beaten up tough girl at the beginning of the episode? Yes, indeed – that’s Navi Rawat, aka Ryan Atwood’s paramour-from-Chino Theresa from The O.C.
Top Moments of Badassery: There were many… Raylan vows to do his “level best” with his new giant gun (duh), and Raylan and Randall’s very masculine fight, after which Raylan says this: ”Randall, I know you’re shackled, and I know that ain’t fair, but if you say one more word about chickens, I’m gonna shoot you again.” And so he does.