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The episode where we find out why Raylan AND that hat. I absolutely LOVE the answer he gave to Rachel...so you know what one of my favorite moments is going to be!
Raylan gets assigned to go after an escaped convict who robbed him, Douglas Cooper; while Cooper tries to recover money he stole and hid 15 years ago before going to prison.
Raylan goes to visit Boyd in Lexington's Federal Detention Center's (FDC) Hospital where he is laying on a bed after the gunshot wound suffered in "Fire in the Hole". Boyd confesses to Raylan that being shot by him was an Act of God which caused him to be reborn in the Lord's eyes. Raylan then goes to get Dewey from prison as part of his Task Force duties and transport him from the Detention Center to Kentucky State Prison (KSP).
Raylan places Dewey to drive his car and while doing so, Dewey tries to convince him to visit his dad to which Raylan answers that since his family is all criminals they will not. As a last-ditch effort, Dewey tries to hit Raylan but Raylan reacts quicker and punches Dewey in the face, making the car veer off the road and stop. Raylan makes Dewey handcuff himself to the steering wheel.
Later that night, prison music band The Big House Boys are transported by KSP bus to play at a birthday party. While at the party, convict Price distracts their captor Deputy Henry Sladinski with an excuse to use the portable bathroom, then knocks Henry out before making his escape with another convict, Douglas Cooper. Art sends Raylan back to Big Sandy, a.k.a. Kentucky State Prison, to find out more about the convicts who escaped.
Raylan stops at a gas station where he gets robbed by Cooper who takes his car, hat, ID, and two guns, before locking him up in the gas station's storage. The next day at Art's office, Raylan recovers his stolen items, minus the two guns, but not before Art teases him a bit about the experience. Art lets Raylan know that U.S. Attorney David Vasquez wants to interview both Raylan and Ava about Boyd getting shot.
Raylan, Tim, and Rachel go over Cooper's history in the Marshals office conference room before the trio split up; Raylan and Tim going to talk to Cooper's ex-wife Shirley Kelso and Rachel to other acquaintances of Cooper's. Winona comes to grill Raylan about Gary who has been severely spooked since Raylan broke into their home at the end of "Fire in the Hole", then ends the conversation with telling Raylan he will not be coming at all to their house again.
Raylan and Tim are out staking Shirley's trailer, when Tim tells him a little bit of how he kept his mind focused while staking out targets during his time as US Army Ranger Sniper. When Shirley and Dupree arrive, Raylan and Tim go to question them on why they think Cooper could have escaped and where he could be. Right after the two Marshals leave, Cooper surprises Shirley and Dupree; it is revealed that Cooper escaped because he got hold of the fact that Shirley and Dupree were already on the search for the money he'd stolen and hidden 15 years prior.
From Cooper's find of Shirley's sex toys in her bedroom, he figures out that she's sleeping with Dupree who's also her cousin. Shirley also reveals that she told Dupree about the money just recently because they had found out Cooper was getting out in a few months. Later that night, Raylan finds Ava in his motel room wanting to make out with him but Raylan refuses her and allows her to stay the night, her on the bed and him on the floor.
That same night, Cooper drives in a stolen car with Shirley and Dupree to one of the houses he believes the money is stashed in. After cutting up the floorboards and not finding it, Dupree finds that Cooper isn't sure where the money is and shoots him in the stomach before he and Shirley leave him in the house bleeding out. Unable to sleep, Raylan heads into the bathroom and reads his newspaper. He finds a tip in the paper about torn floorboards in a Riverbrook couple's house. Raylan leaves his motel room, calls Art as he believes he knows where the money is, and takes Rachel with him to investigate; while in the car, he almost runs a wounded Cooper over.
Dupree figures out where the money is, and along with Shirley, goes to Mr. and Mrs. Lawlor's house to get it. But while Dupree and Shirley hold the couple hostage they find the money is all completely gone, spent on various luxuries over time. As Dupree tries to figure out their next move, Raylan comes in the house and attempts to negotiate with Dupree to put his gun down and hands behind his head or former sniper Tim, across the street, is going to put him down.
Dupree orders Shirley to switch off the lights and as he is coming at Raylan with gun raised, Shirley flicks them back on immediately before Dupree catches a bullet through his back, killing him. One week later, Raylan processes Cooper to be taken from Lexington's FDC to KSP; and Cooper ends with reflecting about Shirley's fate.
Tim. Messing with people, but in a good way. First with Dupree when he takes his offer for a beer but then quickly declines it because they can't drink on the job, then with Raylan on seeing the ex-wife with another man. He continues to score points with me and I look forward to seeing what he's going to do or say next. I've said before that I enjoy learning more about the professional/career histories of characters, so it comes as no surprise that Tim's mind-focus stories during his time as a military sniper were interesting to hear.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawlor. Your typical couple who stumble upon money and just binge-spend it on a whim. Their bickering back-and-forth while tied to chairs when they talk about how they found the hidden money was funny to watch, mainly because they seemed to forget, for those few moments, that they were even in dire danger. And Mrs. Lawlor's comments about her breast implants then Shirley complimenting her, while tying her up with tape, before Mrs. Lawlor thanked her for the compliment...oh boy, haha.
Shirley Kelso. Wife of Cooper, and sleeping with Dupree while Cooper was in prison. In my eyes, she didn't prove herself at all until the time she expressed that Dupree shooting Cooper was unneccessary and the reason why she didn't carry out Dupree's orders to keep the lights off. But before then? Helping Dupree in trying to find Cooper's stashed money so they can set up sex shops, among other things; that would make her terrible in my eyes. Even still, I thought about classifying her as one of the 'good characters' in my review here because of her final redeeming action. However, since I don't know if Shirley will indeed testify to help Cooper out a bit, it's even harder to see what kind of character, good or bad, she will turn out to be. She seems to care for Cooper; the operative word there being 'seems'...and still has some proving to do on that part too.
Cooper. Escaped convict from KSP having done 15 years hard time. The moment he seemed to turn around was when he got shot in the stomach and then found/captured by Raylan. He expresses caring for Shirley. He thought that he wanted to get out only because of the money, but when he saw Shirley again had a change of heart. If this is indeed true and we ever see Cooper again, he'll have some proving to do. But for now, he still remains a villain in my eyes, though one that is probably starting to reform.
Dupree. Now this guy was the out-and-out villain of this episode. There was no gray with him like Shirley and Cooper. He was purely black in a black-and-white. When I originally watched the episode, I thought that he would remain an accomplice to Shirley and Cooper; I had not expected him to take the reins and shoot people for either no reason or very little reason at all. What would have happened with him if he hadn't been shot dead by DUSM Tim? I have a hunch he would have walked a very, very dark path.
Big, big, BIG shout-out from the television series' creative crew to The Literary Man, Elmore Leonard, and his novel Riding the Rap in which Raylan is featured. The mention in Justified takes place when Dewey asks Raylan if he will report him for trying to get one up on him. Raylan basically answers that he will not since he doesn't take it personally, but that Dewey will have to face other things like everyone else does:
Any moment where anyone tries on Raylan's hat is always going to be a favorite. So, yes, I am including Art in the scene where he returns Raylan's stolen items to him:
And hell, ANY moment where Raylan's hat is the focus, period! This is the moment I mentioned earlier in my pre-thoughts and it's the scene where Raylan and Rachel are on their way to Riverbrook on account of Raylan getting a feeling he knows where the hidden money is, but right before stumbling onto Cooper who is wounded by this point:
Remember that "very Elmore-Leonard-like-casual-Tim-wit" I mentioned in my "Fire in the Hole" review? Well, here's a more visual example. The Marshals are getting ready to enter the Lawlor home to get Dupree as Tim stays behind outside as their sniper. You're welcome...
We get our first proper opening credits run with song "Long Hard Times to Come" to accompany it; and what would turn out to be the series' iconic theme with a few of the billed names changing over the years.
So here is your typical "We're-veering-away-from-the-main-Boyd-Ava-Raylan-story" first episode of the series. Ava and Boyd are relegated to be minor background characters in this one.
I can't help but point out character foreshadowing for Raylan. It's in the scene where KSP Detention Deputy Knight and Raylan are talking about the fact that Raylan didn't have any deputies with him when transporting Dewey but now when going to transport Cooper, he has one. Knight asks Raylan if he learned his lesson from that experience. And here is what Raylan answers:
Until you forget...Raylan, really?! I know he's trying to justify himself in this case, but I hope he doesn't use this same answer to justify his love-life, as THAT, I don't think has any justification. And when I talk about Raylan's love-life...well...let's just say that you will see in future episodes. It's not going to be pretty and I dare say it's going to be a train wreck. Don't get me wrong: Raylan remains one of my favorite Leonard characters, aside from Karen and Rachel. But some of the things he does...boy, oh boy, oh boy...oy vey. It's only because we, as audience members, care about you, Raylan, and don't want you ending up getting hurt (more than you already have been), that these things are being said. More on this, and on the rate he is going (not only in his love-life but in his work-life too), in future rewatch reviews...
Ok. Just two episodes in and I've noticed a pattern already. The "bookend" parts of the episodes (start and finish) parallel each other. In "Fire in the Hole", we began with Raylan sitting down at a table and shooting Tommy; and ended that episode with Raylan sitting down at another table and shooting Boyd. In this episode, "Riverbrook", we begin with Raylan, his back to us and walking away from the camera just as a barred prison door is closing behind him; and end the episode with Raylan and Cooper side-by-side, also their backs to us and walking away from the camera, just as a barred prison door is closing behind them. I don't remember if all of the episodes, or most, in the series have these "parallel bookend" parts to them, but I'll make a note to look for them when I resume the rewatch next Saturday with "Fixer" and thereafter. Have a great week, everyone! And thank you for tuning in and following along...until the next adventure with Raylan and Company.