Justified Season 4 Review “Decoy”

It was a good day to be Raylan Givens! Having secured Drew Thompson, the only task left for the U.S. Marshals was to transfer the prisoner. This seemed like a difficult proposition considering Theo Tonin’s men were on the scene and Boyd was providing insight into Raylan’s likely strategies. Fortunately, this one went to the good guys and Raylan managed to do what appeared impossible – he got Thompson out of Harlan.

This was a particularly violent episode. We’ve seen shootings and a sawed off foot this season, but the beatings that Boyd and Constable Bob took were brutal to watch. We don’t often see Boyd in a position of vulnerability as he can usually talk his way out of anything. This didn’t work with Tonin’s man. While strapped to a chair, Boyd took a serious beating to his face, which lost him a tooth but surprisingly left no other marks. There was some great dialogue here, such as when Boyd is told he likes “using 40 words where 4 would do.” So true, but that’s why you gotta love Boyd.

Constable Bob was not as lucky. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time and made the acquaintance of one of Tonin’s men. The beating of Bob was also hard to watch. It wasn’t clear if this was going to be his stopping off point on the show. But, in an awesome surprise move, Bob stabbed his attacker and then shot him. Score one for the chubby, bumbling, kind-hearted underdog! This was a great scene for Patton Oswalt and demonstrated his talent as a dramatic actor.

We also had the big reveal to Ava that Johnny Crowder has been the one trying to undermine Boyd. We learned, though, that Johnny wasn’t just motivated by his hatred for Boyd, but also his love for Ava. This was weird. It had never seemed like Johnny was all that interested in Ava. I still have a feeling that something bad is going to happen to her. She’s done too much this season that she needs to atone for, starting with the hit she put out on Ellen May. It’s not possible that Ava will end up with her dream home in the suburbs.

There was another sweet matchup between Deputy Marshal Gutterson and cuckoo-nut Colt. The scene on the open road pitted one former soldier against another, and Gutterson came out on top. Gutterson demonstrated this season that he’s almost as bad ass as Raylan. The big difference is that he is more of a stealthy, silent bad ass. His conversation with Colt on the phone was fantastic. Colt is to Gutterson what Boyd is to Raylan. Both men have a similar background, having served in the military, and chose different paths. Unlike Raylan with Boyd, Gutterson won’t hesitate to put a bullet in Colt under the appropriate circumstances. That showdown has to be imminent, unless Colt has fled. Colt on the run would be ironic considering how he berated the Marshals for not having the guts to drive through the car strewn road.

The best part of the episode…Constable Bob saves the day! He comes up with the idea to smuggle Thompson out on a coal train. It was a fantastic shot of Thompson heading out with Rachel in a train full of coal. Guess Boyd isn’t as smart as he likes to think. Having worked in the coal mine with Raylan, he should’ve thought of that escape route.

We haven’t seen Winona recently. It’s been hard to see exactly how much time has passed since the beginning of the season until now, but it’s probably not enough time for her to have reached full term with the baby. Does that mean that we are going to have to wait until next year to see Raylan, Jr.? That would be a bummer, but could make sense with the story. There’s no room left this season for Raylan’s personal drama, especially with only two episodes left.

I think I saw a tent in the background of one of the shots for next week. It looks like they might be heading back to the preacher’s tent. The storyline of the preacher and his sister was never satisfactorily wrapped up. It would be good if they came back to it at the end. Maybe the sister takes a shot at Ava? That would be fair since Boyd was responsible for her brother’s death.

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