Wow. This was another incredible episode tonight, as Justified is on a roll, maybe its best season since the second. We start off with the first of many Boyd triumphs, as Paxton is awoke in the middle of the night by a call from Mooney. He's pouring over several newly dead bodies in Paxton's funeral home and casually informing him that he'll be charged with conspiracy in a "using bodies for profit" scheme, as Paxton freaks and realizes Mooney betrayed him. When he hangs up he turns on the lights to see Boyd sitting by the bed in a chair, pointing his own pistol at him. In chilling, but quintessential Boyd Crowder fashion, he walks slowly over to him, forces him to point the gun at his own head, and tells him his reputation, his life and the lives and reputations of his children and grandchildren will be spoilt for generations to come, before pulling the trigger and blowing Paxton's brains out in a framed suicide. Damn.
Now, we're back in Canada, as the guy who squealed to the feds last week is cornered in an alley by some kind of hitman named Marcus for Theo Tonin, played with a cold steeliness by Alan Tudyk, who makes a much better bad guy than I ever would have imagined. Marcus threatens him and forces him to tell him what info he gave up, first shooting off his fingers, and then when the guy folds, blowing him away anyway. Well, that's a quick two bloody casualties to start the episode, and oh yes, there's more to come. Back in Kentucky, we're at Alison's office, where Darryl's sister Wendy is back (Alicia Witt), and has secured Kendall away from social services by promising Alison to take him home with her. Raylan strolls in to flirt with both women and try to muscle Wendy into getting all the Crowes out of the state, but Wendy won't have it, displaying a loyalty towards her family as she takes the bratty Kendall out of the office with her. Alison scolds Raylan for his policy of intimidation by harassment, as Raylan is once again foiled in his war against the Crowes.
Art is staking out a diner now, where Picker is seen having breakfast with Wynn Duffy, and notices Marcus staking out the same restaurant with plans to go inside. Art cuts him off on his way in, shaking him down with all he already knows about him and getting him to decide against going in, as he will prevent any violence from going off without a hitch. Marcus is not easily scared off, but he does decide to back away (or so it seems), while Art heads into the joint himself. He sits himself down at the table with Duffy and Picker, exchanging in his usual banter with the crooks (he's almost better at this than Raylan), telling Picker he wants a word with him in exchange for not getting into what he knows about Sammy Tonin's murder. Duffy tells him to go ahead, but as the two men get up, Marcus walks into the diner straight towards them. Art tries to calm the situation down, but Marcus refuses, saying he's willing to shoot right then and there unless Picker comes with him. Art doesn't back down, issuing his own best threat to shoot him at point blank range, and this finally makes Marcus back off. But Alan Tudyk is actually very scary in these moments, as his lack of emotion and cold expression leave things in a grave position, while Duffy lightens the mood with his wisecracks. With things defused though, Art hauls Picker off to the marshal's office.
Dewey is lying in bed with his two hookers, contemplating how he's changed in the wake of his first murder, but the girls just laugh and make fun of him for wanting to talk. He then gives them two mementos that supposedly have sentimental value on his way out, but one of them tosses it when he's gone. I wonder if Dewey's going to get a chance to redeem himself this season by getting rid of his obnoxious cousin, who's really starting to get on my nerves. Case in point, this next scene, where Boyd comes back to the bar to find Darryl and Batiste hanging out, waiting for the notorious Boyd Crowder, taking the time to insult the bar in front of him. Boyd casually sits down behind them and pretends he's somebody else (this is another awesome Boyd moment), taking the insults for a while, until he gets Darryl to turn and face him, at which point and Jimmy pull their guns simultaneously and order the douchebags out of the bar in 60 seconds or less. Darryl tries to act tough and demands a bigger share of the money Boyd screwed Dewey out of, but Boyd pretty adamantly refuses and sends them out in total badass style, I might add. I love Boyd (if it wasn't obvious). And yeah, Darryl's getting more and more irritating with every episode.
Raylan goes back to the marshal's office to find Art in the room with Picker, which understandably freaks him out, as he needs to protect himself from the revelation of the Nicky Augustine situation. Boyd is now meeting with Hot Rod Dunham, who mentions how he used to get stoned and listen to records with Boyd's dad, but Boyd is there to talk business. He wants Dunham to dismiss Johnny in exchange for going in with him on his new Mexican heroin smuggling operation. Dunham thinks this is unlikely to happen, but seems to accept Boyd's offer. Back at the office, Raylan is nervously watching Art and Picker talk, and gets in there to hear what he's saying. Picker looks at Raylan smugly, while Art tries to pin him for Sammy's murder, but he's not afraid. Raylan manages to get a minute alone with him. Meanwhile, Boyd is outside making some new deal that we're not privy to with a guy named Hays, who has black lung and is dying, but willing to do something for Boyd for all the money he promises him.
While Raylan has Picker alone, he gets him to tell him where to find Marcus and basically threatens his life, telling him him he's in trouble for the things he's seen him do. Now we get Boyd, Mooney and Mara at a restaurant, where Mooney is preparing to accept the money Boyd promised him for setting up Paxton. But when Boyd gets up from the table Hays storms in and shoots him, yelling loudly that this is "for his family," and then Mooney is dead on the ground while there's a panic from the customers. Boyd calmly sits back down at the table with a stunned and angry Mara, who realizes he's played her too, and she's not getting any of that money, all of it having gone to Hays. Boyd tells her he's giving her the chance to get out of Kentucky alive and leaves her alone to stew in her frustration.
At the prison with Ava, the lawyer tells her she's free now that Paxton and Mooney are "removed" from the situation, and she'll be getting out at 9am the next morning. Then he covers his ears again while Ava and Boyd embrace and she lovingly tells him she can't wait to fall asleep in his arms again, thanking him for everything he did. Their goodbye is a little too drawn out for my liking though, and this scene is coming early enough for me to suspect things are not going to go off without a hitch. Unfortunately I'm right, as we'll soon see. Back at Audrey's, Wendy comes in to deliver Kendall back to Darryl and Danny, the latter of whom immediately starts picking on Kendall, as Darryl expresses his own frustration at the rambunctious nature of his brothers. Wendy realizes Darryl wants her to move up there too and help them set up roots, while also keeping the feds off his back. Though she claims to not want to do it, she doesn't like leaving Kendall there to be put back behind the bar again. So, yeah it looks like Wendy's sticking around.
Art and Raylan are now poking around an abandoned factory where Picker told them to find Marcus, and after a few seconds he comes storming out with a massive automatic shotgun, shooting at them from all corners. Raylan and Art dodge the gunfire and Raylan gets behind him in the nick of time to take him out in the back. They then find Theo Tonin of all people, tied up and bleeding in one of the factory boxes. And now the other shoe falls for poor Ava, as she sits with her cellmate doing her hair before bedcheck, talking about getting out the next day. But of course, nastly little prison guard Danny Strong comes in and picks out a weapon from under Ava's mattress. Turns out it was planted there by the treacherous cellmate, who calls for help while Strong turns the knife on himself and stabs his own gut and arm to frame Ava for assault. Ava is in shock as the guards come in to take her down.
Danny and Kendall are hanging out back at Audrey's, and Danny continues to pick on Kendall, blaming him for not killing Raylan when he had the chance. He challenges him for a little practice, pulling a knife on him while Kendall bats it away, but then Batiste comes in and notices the tension. He tells Danny to go out and get the groceries, but Danny isn't into it, and the two of them get in their own little scuffle. Batiste challenges him to a fight and Danny seemingly backs down, but as he pretends he's on his way out to get the groceries he suddenly grabs a gun off the bar and blows Batiste away in another shocking moment. Kendall is upset, but Danny tells him to keep his mouth shut and help him get rid of the body. Man, so many deaths this episode.
Dunham is now back with his crew, which includes Johnny, who's playing cards with the other guys. Dunham spills the beans about Boyd's Mexico plans and says he got the word from Boyd himself, as his guys turn their guns on Johnny. Dunham starts to apologize for this, but Johnny isn't all that fazed, because as it turns out, he spent the money off their first hit by splitting it among Dunham's guys, who now work for him. On target, the guys now turn their guns on Dunham, who's unpleasantly surprised by this turn of events. So it looks like Boyd and Johnny's war continues. Back at the bar, Ava's lawyer turns up with some bad news for Boyd, who storms off to the prison, demanding to see Ava. The guards tell him that she's been transferred to the state penitentiary as Boyd freaks out and must be held back. Whoa- Danny Strong is SO dead.
Now, we get Art, Raylan and the DA celebrating in the office, as Art gets to end his career with the biggest arrest of his life, having put away crime boss Theo Tonin. Before the DA takes off though, he tells them that Picker did give them the name of the fed who was at the scene of Nicky Augustine's death, and it was special agent Barkley of the FBI. When he takes off, Raylan almost makes it out of the office before the guilt (and Art's knowing look) overcomes him, and he turns around and tells Art that it wasn't Barkley, and he happens to know it for a fact. Yikes. And that's it, everybody. I can't wait for next week to see where this is all headed. Until then.