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BY SAL NINER

"Long in the Tooth" episode Rewatch

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Sunday May 18, 2014 All Day


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PRE-THOUGHTS:

Ah...the dentist.  I remember that extraction he performed in a parking lot and how painful it looked...crazy, crazy, crazy.  Let's see how much crazier it gets, shall we.

INTRODUCTION:

Raylan and Rachel are assigned to go after Roland Pike, a.k.a. Dentist Peter Oldham, in Los Angeles.  Oldham tries to evade both the law and the mob in making a run for the Mexican border.

PLOT:

In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Peter Oldham is taking care of various patients in his dentist office.  Mr. Ferguson comes in and complains to Mindy Springer, the receptionist, about the dental work he's received not being covered by his insurance company.  After launching several demeaning remarks at both Dr. Oldham and Mindy, Dr. Oldham catches Ferguson by his SUV in the parking lot and forces him into the car.  There, Dr. Oldham extracts both of Ferguson's back molars without anesthesia as a way of taking back the crowns he placed due to non-payment for his service.

At the Lexington, Kentucky Marshals office, Art brings Raylan up to speed on the incident, revealing that Dr. Oldham is really Roland "Rollie" Pike.  As the cartel is looking for Rollie, Art assigns Raylan to go with Rachel, who will take lead of the case, in order to get to Rollie before the cartel does.  Rachel and Raylan arrive on the scene in Los Angeles and meet up with fellow Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Ferzinsky, who tells Rachel the story of how Rollie got away from Raylan in Brownsville.

Mindy, under the cover that she is taking Mrs. Pena's tamales with her, smuggles out the gold from Oldham's office, then gets in the doctor's car where they are parked nearby.  Dr. Oldham and Mindy hatch a plan to trade in the gold for cash in order to get themselves a new car, IDs, go across the border and set up their dentistry in Belize where Dr. Oldham wont get extradited back to the U.S. and they can continue their practice.

Cut to Rachel and Raylan in their car.  As Rachel drives, Raylan tries to apologize for seeming like he might have wanted the case from her back in Lexington, but Rachel sees right through the bull and lets Raylan know straight out that he did try to muscle his way into the case on account of trying to take advantage of the fact he knows Art from before in Glynco.  When Rachel brings up that she wouldn't be able to get away with wearing a cowboy hat to work like Raylan does, Raylan offers her to try his hat on and Rachel doesn't accept.

At the store, Dr. Oldham reveals more of his plan to Mindy, but she knows that something is up with him because of the fact that federal agents don't come after him for just having a lot of parking tickets.  This is when Dr. Oldham reveals that he's really Rollie and recounts his involvement with the cartel when he used to work for them as their accountant/money launderer, then how he had to run after taking some of their money six years ago.

Rollie goes out to the parking lot to steal a car when Mr. Jones catches him in the act; and as a favor to him, Mr. Jones swaps his red Honda for Rollie's old Pontiac Le Mans.  At a hotel complex, Raylan and Rachel interview Shawni Burnett, Mindy's friend, about her seeing Rollie there all the time.  Cut to Mindy telling Rollie how much she got from trading the gold in for cash, when she's interrupted by a call from Shawni's cell.  On the other side of that call, Raylan asks to speak to Rollie who answers and immediately knows Raylan is putting a trace on it.  They exchange greetings, but not before Rollie abruptly ends the call and dumps the phone into a moving truck.

Joe and Frank from the mob are sitting in a car across from where Raylan and Rachel are working the investigation.  Joe calls Miami to announce Raylan's involvement and deduce the Marshal must be searching for Rollie like they are, agreeing Miami will call Joe back with a deal.  Later that morning, LAPD stops Mr. Jones as the officers got flagged that the Le Mans is registered in a federal investigation search, before apprehending both the car and driver.

Rollie and Mindy go up to Hector's street food truck to try and get documents forged for their trek across the border, but Hector tells them that he's no longer in that business as it's gotten harder to successfully forge documents since 9/11.  Hector suggests to Rollie and Mindy that they both find themselves a coyote to cross them over.  Rachel and Raylan interview Mr. Jones about his car swap earlier, but Mr. Jones doesn't give them any answers, forcing them to turn to the DMV and run Mr. Jones' information to try and locate his red Honda.

In Frank's car scoping out the Marshals, Joe gets the call from Miami to wait Raylan out until he locates Rollie before going after the both of them.  Mindy and Rollie go to Mrs. Pena's home to try and get help to cross the border, but she refuses to help them; instead, her father, Don Jaime, agrees to.  While Mindy goes and uses the bathroom, Mrs. Pena calls 911 to tip them off to Rollie.  Rollie and Mindy drive away when Mindy gets the urge to go to the bathroom for the fourth time due to indigestion from the ceviche she had earlier off of Hector's truck.

After the police leave the Pena's home on a false tip that Rollie was sent off to the Home Depot to meet with a coyote, Raylan appeals to Don Jaime who gives him the real location, while Raylan reassures Don Jaime that he will protect Rollie from those trying to get him and Mindy.  Afterwards, as Joe and Frank are discussing movies, they are suprised by Raylan getting into the backseat of their car.  Raylan gives them the option to either:  (1) go back to Miami and Gio, (2) next time Raylan sees Joe and Frank, he will kill them, or (3) they all engage right then and there in the car.  Since Joe and Frank didn't elect the last option, Raylan leaves them there in the car.

Rollie and Mindy arrive to meet the coyote.  Pursuing a few minutes behind Rollie and Mindy, Raylan tells Rachel to get a chopper to the location of where they dumped the red Honda, when he sees Joe and Frank drive up.  After a stand-off, Raylan shoots them both, but Joe takes a little more time to pass away.  As the coyote leads Rollie and Mindy through the desert, he changes the terms of their deal to either receive $2500 for each of them or he rapes Mindy.  Rollie refuses and stops the coyote from getting to Mindy, but the coyote stabs Rollie in the stomach and he goes down.  Just as the coyote is going after Mindy, Rollie comes up behind him and knocks him over with a rock to the head, striking him several times until the coyote dies.  Rollie then tries to get Mindy away from him, but Mindy insists she knows Rollie enough to want a new life with him.

Raylan comes across the coyote's body, as Rollie and Mindy come upon an old bus to have a breather.  Rollie goes up over the next bend to check on his wound before Raylan comes upon Mindy; they all exchange words before they start getting shot at from a Mexican sniper, forcing them to duck and cover.  Rollie asks about WitSec and the offer to go into protection from Raylan still stands.

Rollie tells Raylan why he wanted to be a dentist and recounts that when he escaped Raylan in Brownsville and went into a bar he saw that a Rudolph character had inspired and rekindled his love of dentistry from when he was a kid.  Rollie, then seeing the sniper wont rest until he gets them all, sacrifices himself by compromising his cover, allowing the sniper to shoot him dead.  Later that night, Rachel is driving with a sleeping Raylan in the passenger's seat, when she takes the hat from his head to try it on.  Rachel doesn't think the hat fits her, answering Raylan's inquiry.

(for a more detailed outline, visit: http://justified.wikia.com/wiki/Long_in_the_Tooth)

CHARACTERS:

Mindy Springer.  Dr. Peter Oldham's assistant.  Rollie's girlfriend.  In her want to start a new life, she goes on the run with Rollie, not seeming to look back.  Though she questions Rollie for the truth at first, she is still willing to stay with him.  It seems so easy for her to make that decision when she believes that she's known who Peter/Rollie really has been during the five years she's associated with him.  Is this genuine love or something else?  I suppose we will never really know because of Rollie's passing.

Dr. Peter Oldham, D.D.S./Roland "Rollie" Pike.  A man with a past life and a present life.  Then, money launderer/accountant for a drug cartel/mob.  Now, a seemingly humble dentist keeping himself on the lowest of fringes to avoid detection by both the mob and law enforcement.  This is the same man that Raylan mentioned in his talk with Winona at the end of "Fire in the Hole" as the one wanted by Tommy Bucks when they were in Nicaragua.  Rollie had been the cause as to why Bucks killed a man with dynamite and how that prompted Raylan to make the decision that if Bucks and himself ever saw each other again, Raylan would kill him...which Raylan did, as we saw.  But now, Rollie was on the run from the mob, only to end up shot dead by a sniper; a surprising twist as I had thought, on an original watch, that he would have lived.  It makes me wonder if this was always Rollie's fate, if he wasn't cursed somehow because another man had ended up dead due to him...

Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Ferzinsky.  Of the Los Angeles office, I presume.  The seemingly 'typical' law enforcement co-worker type who jokes about a fellow officer's slip-up.  I wouldn't call this insensitive exactly, as I think that officers can get this cynical with each other and it's still allowed...it being part of the law enforcement culture, and fairly accurate.  I wouldn't mind seeing him again in the series, and I'm not just saying that because of the jest, but rather because I'd like to see more portrayal of characters within the U.S. Marshals Service.  As we will meet at least one other USMS character later in the series, I'll be sure to get into the USMS topic more deeply at that time...

Mr. Jones and Don Jaime.  Now here are two very different elderly characters (aside from the fact that the former is African-American and the latter is Mexican) who assist Rollie in his getaway.  Mr. Jones swaps cars with Rollie so that he's not traced, while Don Jaime lies to law enforcement so they don't follow Rollie any further than they have.

Mrs. Pena, daughter to Don Jaime and mother to the little girl we see Oldham/Pike treating in his dentist office at the beginning of the episode.  We see how quickly her trust in Oldham diminishes the moment she learns he has a hidden name, and with good reason:  she has a daughter to care for, plus she thought she was providing a reputable dentist for her family; so her behavior is understandable.

VILLAINS:

The Coyote.  Here's an example of how someone can quickly turn against that which he's meant to help.  And it's all because of money...or as it's usually termed 'good business'.  In the end, money talks, money seems to be the universal language, money's the drive...especially for those that don't have it.  But, in the end, the coyote met his end as a result of that betrayal.  Though, it makes me think, if he hadn't turned against Rollie and Mindy, then somebody else meant to help them once they were across the border would have.

Joe and Frank.  The former works for the Miami mob and the latter is a local assistant for Joe.  Both bent on getting Rollie and killing him, not minding Raylan meeting that same fate.  In a sense, they were both an extension of Tommy Bucks, also failing where Bucks had.

The Mexican sniper.  The only one who managed to actually fulfill the objective to kill Rollie.  Did they ever catch this guy?  Who would?  Could he even be extradited to the U.S. for Rollie's murder?  Seems like the story here isn't finished until we find out what happened to this sniper...

FAVORITE MOMENT(S):

It seems we can't go very long without someone giving Raylan a hard time about something.  Hence, Marshal Jim driving it home, after they recount how Raylan lost Rollie the last time he had him:




On trading in gold for cash and getting short-changed... Mindy, the criminal life definitely does not suit you, as well it shouldn't:


Raylan has mentioned before (in the episode "Fixer" right before he's given CI Pinter to deal with) that he's had 17 years experience in the United States Marshals Service, so he's gotten pretty good at the whole negotiating part of his job.  The scene he has with Don Jaime in the Pena's house is the latest example of that skill.  It's also a scene where I see that Rachel's opinion of Raylan as being self-serving/arrogant starts to change.  I believe she starts to see him in a different light here:







The above is also a scene that firmly reminds us of the fact that Raylan is in this job to protect people, among other reasons; it's easy to forget that when he seems to be so trigger-happy, so a firm reminder otherwise is always welcome.

A final note about the above scene.  Notice how it's a parallel to when Rachel tried to negotiate with Mr. Jones into helping them track down Rollie and how that didn't work; while Raylan's negotiating here did work.

Finally, and you KNOW this was coming, I include the "infamous hat scene" as I've heard actress Erica Tazel (who plays Rachel) call it several times.  So without further ado, here's Rachel trying on Raylan's hat:



I don't agree with her assessment, as I think it fits her pretty nicely.  Don't you?

Also, I see the above scene as an extension of when Raylan offered Rachel to take the hat at the beginning of the episode, and she refused.  While here in this moment, after a change of heart, she takes the hat when Raylan hadn't been outwardly offering it to her; though I think Raylan's offer for her to try the hat on continued to stand here too.

GENERAL REFLECTIONS:

I really liked this episode, and on a second watch it was even more enjoyable because it was nice to go back and see the beginning of Rachel's and Raylan's working relationship and how that begins to change and evolve into what we have now at the end of the fifth season.

Okay, that ice cream question I had in the last episode "Fixer"?  Well, I might be one step closer to answering it for myself if not for y'all too... DUSM Jim tells the story of how Raylan lost Rollie in Brownsville.  Raylan shared that he had gone to 31 Flavors to get an ice cream before Rollie fled, but not before Rollie finished watching that Christmas special airing in the bar.  31 Flavors, which is next door to that bar, is also known as Baskin-Robbins...so, yeah, that might be Raylan's favorite ice cream brand.

And with that, we come to the end of another review and the conclusion of our second weekend in the Justified rewatch.  Thank you for your attention and see you back here next weekend.