Justified Season 4 Review “Outlaw”

Justified pulled off one of the most jaw dropping moments of the entire series last night. If you haven’t watched the episode, stop reading. We’re heading deep into spoiler territory.

Let’s just dive right in. Arlo is dead. It was unexpected, fast, and definitive. In an effort to sabotage Arlo’s deal with the government, Raylan visits Mosley in prison to offer him the same deal in exchange for the true identity of Drew Thompson. Mosley doesn’t agree, but instead decides to take out Arlo. Under the ruse of a haircut, a sedated Arlo is brought to the barber where Mosley is waiting. Unsurprising, Arlo leaps out of his chair in a completely unsedated state. Arlo was many things, but a fool wasn’t one of them. Arlo puts a mega beat-down on the prison guard and Mosley. It looks like Arlo will add a couple more murders to his rap sheet. But, Mosley isn’t dead and stabs Arlo in the chest with a pair of scissors – there is no doubt this is a fatal wound.

I somehow expected that Arlo would play a bigger role in the Drew Thompson mystery. Though it was shocking, it made sense to kill him at this point. He would never get out of jail and there’s only so many times Raylan can visit him and be told, “Kiss my ass.” Nevertheless, Arlo has been the cantankerous, sneaky, monkey on Raylan’s back for four seasons. It’s hard to see him go.

As for Raylan, the loss of his father affects him more than he wants to admit. When he tells Art that Arlo died a couple hours earlier, Raylan wants to continue on with work as usual. Art doesn’t let that happen and sends Raylan home. As Raylan stands at the elevator, you see the various emotions pass over his face. This was the best performance Timothy Olyphant has ever given on the show. You could see his pain at losing his father, but his acceptance that Arlo was a cold, unloving, son of a bitch who never would have been the kind of father Raylan needed or deserved. Tears would have been too much and pure stoicism would have been too harsh. It was a perfectly poignant moment.

Aside from the murder of Arlo, there was plenty of other action going on in Harlan County. Boyd is playing a dangerous game with a variety of thugs and gangsters that is unlikely to end well for him. You expect Boyd to be cocky and not kowtow to the upper class men who are trying to manipulate him. But, Boyd is going too far and is too confident. This is a big red flag that Boyd is going to get his comeuppance. Boyd is particularly fixated on having progeny who can eventually bring respectability to the name Crowder. Because he is so enamored with this vision, it is inevitable that it will be crushed. Perhaps the plan is to kill Ava. Her death would cement Boyd as the perennial bad guy with no hope for redemption. Ava’s storylines have been pretty superfluous, so her death wouldn’t be a great loss.

Colt continues to spiral downward, and his problems will only get worse now that he has killed Deputy Marshal Gutterson’s friend. Sheriff Shelby still shelters Ellen May, who dreams of respectability while wearing Shelby’s ex-wife’s clothes. Let’s take a minute to look at Sheriff Shelby. He seems awfully interested in Raylan’s work on the Drew Thompson case. He has been assisting the investigation at every opportunity and pressing Raylan for more information. Shelby seems very interested when Raylan tells him that Drew Thompson’s ex-wife has been identifying potential individuals who may be Thompson. Is it possible that Shelby is Drew Thompson?

Right now it feels like all of the stories are up in the air and we’re waiting for them to start to fall. Who is Drew Thompson? When will Ellen May be discovered? Will Ellen May tell Shelby about Ava? Will Boyd be taught a lesson by the gangsters? When is Colt going to get a bullet between the eyes? And, most importantly, when is Raylan’s baby coming? It’s becoming harder and harder to wait for the next week’s episode.

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