TV RECAP: ‘Justified: The Lord of War and Thunder’

Warning: this recap contains spoilers. This episode begins with Raylan and Rachel staked out in front of a small house, waiting for any sign that the residence might be harboring the husband (and father) who just happens to be a fugitive on the run for killing a cop.  It’s day three of being crowded into an incognito van, and the only indication that there may be a man in the house is the copious amount of beer being brought in by the wife. Art tells them to hang it up, they have nothing to go on.

Raylan keeps pleading for one more day, and takes matters into his own hands.  He approaches the house, and  sweet talks the wife into letting him do some yard work in exchange for food.  She reluctantly agrees. What woman could actually turn Timothy Olyphant away?  She’s powerless, really.

That night, Raylan and Ava sip on some beers and talk before retiring to a motel room.  I certainly hope that they start fleshing out Ava’s character if she is going to be sticking around, because she is starting to come off as boring and vapid.  She giggles and builds up Raylan’s ego, completely in awe of his under-cover escapades, but it seems like he is not the type of man who needs that type of reassurance.  I have yet to see her contribute anything intelligent to any conversation thus far.

Anyway, those two finally get to engage in some proper boot knockin’, and while they are basking in the afterglow, Ava’s cell phone rings with a local phone number Ava doesn’t recognize.  She calls the number back and it is for Raylan.  Turns out it was his stepmother (who he calls Aunt Helen), and she needs help bailing Raylan’s estranged father (Arlo) out of jail.

Dear old dad took a baseball bat to a tenant’s property after he didn’t pay the rent, and then physically assaulted the chap in front of a deputy.  He’s a complete badass for his age, and appears to have some anger management issues.

Raylan meets with his step-mom.  It is clear he feels much more loyalty to her than his own father.  He agrees to help.  Helen tells him that his father suffered a heart attack, and has been diagnosed as bi-polar complicated with post-traumatic stress disorder from Vietnam.

There are not many pleasantries exchanged between father and son, and Arlo tries to morally differentiate the two of them by pointing out that he has done some bad things, but he never shot anyone.  Typical passive-aggressive parent stuff.

Meanwhile, the tenant (Perkins) visits Aunt Helen and has two men shake her up a bit.  When Raylan and Arlo return to the home, the door is askew, and they find Helen picking up some broken glass.  An unhinged and enraged Arlo heads to a local diner where he runs into the men who confronted Helen.  He whips out a baseball bat and proceeds to beat the crap out of them.  He most certainly would have killed them. had he not been struck by a second heart attack.  Lucky break for those thugs.

Raylan eventually discovers why Perkins was so angry, he had some money hidden in the house from a “hillbilly heroin” (Oxycontin) ring he is part of , and after Arlo was there, the money was gone.

Raylan has to come to grips with an elaborate ruse his own dad perpetrated,with Raylan playing the role of unwilling schmuck trying to help his family.  His biggest disappointment is from the realization that Aunt Helen might have participated as well.   Raylan is disgusted, and vows to get his father locked up once again.

A few observations:

  • Anyone catch that kitschy painting on the wall in the motel?  It had a black bear, fending off some hunting dogs and a hunter with a shotgun. I’d hardly call that relaxing artwork.  Also, Arlo was telling a joke about a bear to the nurse in the hospital.  What’s with the bears?
  • How about those creepy tombstones already engraved with all the Givens family names?  They seem to be taunting everyone, just begging for a “year of death.”
  • Once again we got to see Raylan’s superb negotiating skills, when he got that wife to drop the gun for the sake of the children. He is really good at his job.

So, what did you think of this episode?  Will Arlo be causing trouble in the near future?

  • Elaine
    April 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I loved this episode, as I have loved the whole series thus far. I agree, Timothy Olyphant is such a smart actor, he can say so much in one facial expression and I have never seen him put in a bad performance in anything he has done.

    I also agree strongly that Raylan being attracted to Ava, for anything other than sex, doesn’t make sense. Ava just isn’t smart enough. There’s not enough substance or wit to her character to believe Raylan would get smitten. His ex-wife seems way more suited to the type of woman he would risk his job for.

    • Shannon Hood
      April 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Elaine. Yes, I certainly hope they bring the ex-wife into the mix. I love the actress who plays her (Natalie Zea) and I was a big fan of hers when she was on DIrty, Sexy Money. I can’t help but think that they wouldn’t have signed her on if they weren’t going to expand her role. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  • Shannon Hood
    April 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    @Linda I thought that there was some good banter between Arlo and Helen, and Arlo and Raylan. The show definitely has a sense of humor. Timothy Olyphant is great.

    I do hope they do something with Ava’s character, though.

  • Linda
    April 15, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I loved this one the most. Timothy Olyphant is just such a great actor, that he has so many layers of Raylan…the line I loved was when he figured out the whole scam and confronted Arlo and Arlo said “so what are you going to do….whine.” The look on Raylan’s face…classic Timothy Olyphant’s gifts as an actor. Next week Boyd is back and we know the Crowder clan is bent on revenge and they have Ava and Raylan in their sights…….time for that old gun Marshall Givens….

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