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We finally get to meet both Raylan's father and stepmother in the flesh this episode. Drama is sure bound to ensue in this family with its own special brand of dysfunctional...
Raylan's father, Arlo Givens, gets caught trying to push drug runner Stan Perkins into giving him money; Raylan must intervene so that he can also protect his stepmother/aunt, Helen Givens.
Art, Raylan, and Rachel have been staking out a fugitive's ex-wife's house for three days when Art tells them they have one more day to determine if the fugitive, Wilson Toomey, is indeed in that house. After Art leaves them to their work, Raylan goes to check it out under the guise of an out-of-work guy willing to do free yardwork for food. Sonya Toomey, the ex-wife, meets Raylan at the front door, and is hesitant to let him work on her lawn, but eventually agrees.
Later that night, overlooking the city on the hood of Raylan's car, he tells Ava of his day. Ava gives Raylan a shoulder massage as he feels it a little sore. Despite Raylan being serious in that his past meet with Ava would be a one-time thing, he doesn't look so sure. Meanwhile, Arlo breaks into the old Grant House on Indian Line and trashes the place with his bat. Harlan County Sheriff Hunter Mosley finds Arlo asleep on a couch in the house. It is discovered that Arlo has been renting that house to Stan Perkins and that he's there on the excuse that Perkins doesn't pay his rent.
Perkins arrives and Mosley makes Arlo strike up an agreement with Perkins that he will pay for the stuff he broke. When Perkins and Arlo go to shake, Arlo knees Perkins in the groin; as a result, Arlo is taken away by Mosley in his patrol car. Perkins goes back into his house and searches for what would soon be revealed as $75,000 worth of drugs that were stashed in a hidden compartment in his bedroom closet.
Ava and Raylan are in a motel having sex, when Ava gets a call on her cell from Helen who asks Raylan to bail Arlo out of jail. Raylan shares to Ava that the last time he saw his father was when Arlo was being carted off to jail. The next morning, Raylan drives up to Harlan and meets Helen in a diner. Helen knew to call Ava because she knew he had shot Boyd in Ava's dining room. Helen can't bail Arlo herself because she had made a scene when Mosley arrested him for the DUI in "Fixer". Since Helen and Arlo depend on the government checks and rent money they receive to sustain themselves, she insinuates to Raylan that he post the bail money for Arlo's release. Before leaving to go pick up Arlo's prescription, Helen orders Raylan to pick up his father and take him home himself.
Raylan goes to the Harlan County Sheriffs Department jail where he finds Arlo joking about Helen with some of his cell neighbors right before he compliments Raylan on the hat. Now back at her house, Helen is scratching off a lottery ticket when she gets a knock on the door from Perkins; he, along with his nephews, Ted Bentley and Mick Bentley, force their way into her house and search through their things, trying to find Perkins' missing drugs. Perkins is motivated to leave behind Kentucky, a place he hates. Perkins threatens Arlo in front of Helen, and further teases her about her subdued threat to him; as a result, Helen pulls a knife from her kitchen table and goes to slash Perkins but one of the Bentley brothers pushes her and knocks her to the ground.
While Raylan drives Arlo home, they talk about why he came back to Kentucky, and the fact that Raylan shooting Boyd in "Fire in the Hole" was in part due to the Crowders wanting Raylan more than they do the Givens family. Arlo makes sure to bother Raylan with the fact that in all the bad stuff he's been involved in, he's never had to shoot anyone, unlike Raylan. They both arrive at the Givens house and as Raylan is gazing at three gravestones on the side of the house, Arlo tells him that those were obtained by trading stolen cows.
Arlo goes inside the house and finds Helen cleaning up after Perkins and the Bentley brothers had left the place in shambles. Enraged they would go after his wife, Arlo goes to find Raylan's bat and go after Perkins. Helen orders Raylan to stop Arlo, but he refuses. Raylan exits the house and Helen catches up with him. Raylan tells her that he suspects Arlo is trying to scam rent from Perkins, even though Perkins paid his off already and Arlo simply forgot. Helen tells Raylan that Arlo had a heart attack two years ago and was diagnosed with PTSD as well as bipolar disorder, but that he's on medication which has improved those conditions, despite his latest exploits. On Helen thanking Raylan for coming down for Arlo, Raylan tells her that he didn't come down for him but for her, before leaving.
A few moments later, as Raylan is driving, he turns back around towards Harlan County and goes to Perkins' house to get Perkins' story. Perkins tells Raylan that he's trying to get compensation for the damage Arlo did to his house (an obvious lie since he told Helen something different). Perkins shares that he has a bathroom-kitchen furnishing business and his nephews do the shipping. Because Arlo had kneed him in the groin, Perkins felt he needed to take his nephews when paying Helen a visit. Raylan instructs Perkins to give him a call in case Arlo comes by again, so that Raylan can straighten out with Arlo that he simply forgot Perkins already paid his rent.
Later at Toomey's house, Raylan is cleaning their yard when Sonya comes out to give him a glass of water, having noticed that he wasn't there in the morning to which Raylan responds he had work at 'another house'. When Sonya goes back inside the house, Raylan tries to get a look inside but doesn't succeed as the door is closed on him.
Elsewhere in an office, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vasquez introduces himself to Ava and her lawyer Mr. Vincent. David brings in Winona Hawkins to take notes for his interview with Ava about the night Raylan shot Boyd in her dining room. Ava seems to recognize Winona. When Winona hears that Raylan is involved, she pulls David out to the stairs to reveal she's Raylan's ex-wife. David excuses Winona from the interview because of the conflict of interest. Winona tells David not to reveal the reason for her being excused, but to say instead that she had some courtwork she remembered had to be done.
Arlo finds Perkins' nephews in a diner and takes Raylan's bat to them both, knocking them to the ground. While he's continuing the assault, Arlo suffers a heart attack. At the Toomey's Raylan continues his yardwork when he sees who he thinks is Wilson through a window. Raylan enters the house with the excuse that he needs to use the bathroom from so much water he's been drinking off the yard's hose. Wilson jokes with Raylan that he has this angle to get people hooked on his gardening work, before Raylan brings him aside to tell him who he really is and that Wilson's under arrest on an outstanding federal warrant.
After trading blows, Raylan quickly brings Wilson the ground and cuffs him. Sonya then pulls a shotgun on Raylan to get him to let Wilson go. Raylan negotiates the situation with Sonya: with the fact that he has other Marshals on-site that will eventually get her if she tries anything, he convinces her that if she surrenders her firearm, he will make sure she has no charges filed and her children can grow up with their mother. Sonya relaxes her stance and Raylan snatches the shotgun off her.
Exiting the Toomey's house, Raylan hands Wilson over to the other Marshals, when he receives a call from Helen about Arlo. Raylan goes to see Mosley first. Mosley tells Raylan that Perkins just got released after trafficking stolen drugs for six years. That night, Raylan meets Helen out in front of the Harlan Community Hospital to ask about Arlo. Helen feels the need to protect her husband in case Perkins comes by to try and finish him off. Raylan enters the hospital to find Arlo telling a grizzly bear joke to a young nurse. The doctor meets with them and after Arlo introduces Raylan to him, the doctor orders Arlo to get back into bed.
Raylan tucks Arlo in and Arlo jokes about Raylan not yanking out his IV because he knows it wont solve all his problems. Arlo brings up a point that what Raylan has seen during his law enforcement career would dwarf his personal life, to which Raylan agrees. Arlo shares about his own father, an old-time religion man preacher, whose God he referred to as the Lord of War and Thunder who instilled fear in their home. Because of that, Arlo rebelled against his father as a young man, choosing a path he knew his father would disapprove of and further distancing him from the family and from Raylan.
Helen comes in to meet both Arlo and Raylan in the hospital room. Raylan warns Arlo about Perkins not being a pushover and tells him not to pull any rent scams on him as Arlo wouldn't be able to handle the consequences if he did otherwise. Raylan tells Arlo to call Mosley if Perkins comes by, but Arlo doesn't agree with anything Raylan says. Later, Raylan goes to a bar to ask Johnny Crowder a favor. Out in the parking lot, Johnny brings up that Raylan shot his cousin Boyd.
Raylan wants Johnny to tell him if Perkins is up to something and knows that Johnny can provide that answer to him since Johnny hears quite a lot of things from people he serves alcohol to. Johnny agrees to provide information if Raylan manages to get one good bat swing to his three baseball pitches, which Raylan does. Johnny then tells Raylan that Perkins is moving 'hillbilly heroin' or OxyContin but that Johnny doesn't know where Perkins keeps it. Before Raylan leaves, Johnny warns him that Bo Crowder, father to Bowman who Ava shot dead pre-"Fire in the Hole", is getting out of prison and will be gunning for Ava. Johnny recommends Ava get out of Kentucky before Bo's release.
Raylan goes to Perkins' house, seeing how his nephews came out from Arlo's beating. Raylan proceeds to tell Perkins about his personal history in the house that Perkins is now renting, once serving as a refuge for Helen and Raylan when times got bad with Arlo. Raylan comes to the secret compartment in the bedroom closet who he shares was his favorite hiding spot as a kid. When Raylan finds a baggie of OxyContin in the hidden compartment, Perkins tries to get away. Raylan catches Perkins' legs with Arlo's bat that he found in Perkins' house a few moments before.
Perkins convinces Raylan that he didn't know the drugs were in there and tells him that he previously had drugs stashed which went missing when Arlo had trashed his house. Raylan goes back to the hospital and confronts Arlo. With Helen sent outside, Arlo and Raylan talk about the drugs. Raylan suspects Arlo stole the drugs, stashed them, before going back to the house and waiting for Mosley. Raylan further suspects Arlo knew he couldn't report those drugs stolen, so Arlo had hatched a plan to get caught in the house on the assumption that Raylan, the law enforcement officer, would not only bail him out but would eventually come after Perkins to put him away, thus clearing the road for Arlo to freely go back for the drug money later. Raylan suspects Arlo already sold the drugs he stole and hid the money received for them.
Raylan swears he'll put Arlo back in jail, before leaving him in the hallway and exiting the hospital, passing Helen on his way out. Raylan accuses Helen of helping Arlo to plant the OxyContin at Perkins' house for Raylan to find; to which Helen tries to convince him it isn't true. Helen tells Raylan that all which happened wouldn't have if only Raylan had come to see Arlo the moment he arrived in Kentucky in "Fire in the Hole". Helen tries to convince Raylan that Arlo did want to see him, but Raylan walks away. Later, at the Givens house in the dark, Raylan contemplates his family's situation in front of the three gravestones we saw before: one for Arlo, another for Raylan's mother Frances (who's buried under it), and the last for Raylan himself.
Ava Crowder. By this point in the story, she is just someone who wants to have fun with Raylan and is experiencing that excitement which only comes from the newness of a relationship. It doesn't look like she expects it to go anywhere; but that might seem to change real soon.
Arlo Givens. Raylan's biological father. Angry, ANGRY man. Angrier than Raylan who's been labeled 'the angriest man' himself? I'd say so. We finally get to see what was referred to during Art's conversation with Raylan in "Fixer" about the ill temper. Arlo seems to still be angry at his own father and that anger has not seemed to have diminished throughout his entire life, evidenced by how much he inflicted it on Raylan as a kid.
Helen Givens. Raylan's aunt and stepmother, married to Arlo. The woman who protected Raylan from Arlo's abuses and wrath whenever she could. And yet, Helen is willing to stand by Arlo and protect him if he is threatened. At this point, it's difficult to grasp why Helen would even try to get Raylan to accept Arlo despite their past. Maybe this is her way of uniting father and son? But if the father continues to be this difficult himself, then her attempts would be equally so if not harder to realize.
Johnny Crowder. It's interesting to see his early association with Raylan as being his childhood baseball buddy. They both seem to be on good terms at this point, going as far as Johnny helping out Raylan by giving him information. Also, Johnny is not yet wheelchair-bound. The relationship with Raylan, however, will change as Johnny chooses sides.
Stan Perkins. Drug runner. He might look like he can be taken advantage of, but I'd say...never judge a book by its cover. This guy means business and what's more he means to realize that business any way that he can. Have we seen the last of him? I'd say no, but I could be wrong. He might have gotten away as the victim this time; but next time...that could very well be a different story. Besides, where one OxyContin runner fails, another rises up to take his place...so if it's not him, it's going to be the next one after him causing trouble.
The Bentley Brothers. Perkins' nephews. They, along with Perkins, get arrested for the drugs found in their house. Assuming that Helen formerly accuses them of trashing her house, they might at least get put away where they wont cause so much trouble.
When Art inquires to Raylan and Rachel for a sign that Wilson Toomey is in the house they've been staking out for three days, Rachel points out Sonya doing something out of the ordinary by bringing in lots of beer into her house...beer that could very well be for Wilson himself.
Oh, the looks that Raylan and Rachel must have gotten when requesting that search warrant. I'm not sure what they were thinking exactly, seeing as drinking beer is not illegal, much less cause for a warrant. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt because they tried and they are really dedicated to getting this guy.
Musically, the moment Ava and Raylan are having sex. And no, it's not because of the sex, but because of the actual song that's playing in the background which illustrates their moment of first-time relationship excitement. Here is Kim Taylor with "I am You":
The moment where Arlo finds out Helen was attacked by Perkins and the Bentley brothers at their own home:
Now Arlo might be one angry and abusive dick, but here I have to give him credit. One doesn't go after a man's wife...and if one does, well, prepare for the consequences. Arlo cares enough about Helen, apparently, to avenge the bad time she went through.
The moment after Wilson is handed over to the Marshals and Sonya felt that she should have gone with her instincts when she first met Raylan at her front door as an out-of-work yard cleaner:
If and when Raylan retires from being a Marshal, he could take up landscaping as he seems to have a knack for it.
After the previous two episodes in which we dealt mostly in Raylan's professional life, we come back to his personal life here in a full-blown way. By this point in the Justified series, we seem to have a good and equal balance of both his professional and personal, but I suspect the scales will tip and we will end up dealing mostly in Raylan's personal life.
So Raylan's relationship with his parents is something that his former boss Dan did not know about or simply ignored? I'm starting to think it was the latter more than the former. I've said before that Raylan has the advantage of working in a place he knows so well from having been raised in it, over a Marshal who wasn't raised in that same place. But having that advantage does not come without a price...and that price or disadvantage is coming back to confront a turbulent past with an abusive father, which by this point we are starting to see. Frankly, I can see this disadvantage affecting Raylan more and more as the series goes on.
I really like how Helen describes her long-time relationship with Arlo, when Raylan asks her outside of the hospital before he goes in to see Arlo himself:
I will admit, I don't know what that sort of relationship is like. However, I've often heard that the longer couples stay together, the better they've gotten at taking the bad with the good...and sometimes to the point where they've gotten better at taking the bad much more than the good. Now, some of us might think that such a thing is toxic...but how do some older couples still manage and perhaps even thrive? Maybe one has to reach a certain length of time in their relationship or a certain age to find that out and understand it for themselves.