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BY SAL NINER

"Blind Spot" episode Rewatch

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Saturday May 31, 2014 All Day





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PRE-THOUGHTS:

What would you do if someone suddenly came blasting with a firearm into your bedroom while you were sleeping at night?  What I remember most about this episode:  Raylan's lightning quick reflexes; and the fact that they never cease to amaze me...  He's not only quick on the draw but quick on the duck too.

INTRODUCTION:

After an apparent attempt on Ava Crowder's life, Raylan goes to investigate who is responsible...only to find that Ava is not their intended target.

PLOT:

Ava is at the hardware store inquiring about packing tape with the manager Mike Jackson when Johnny Crowder comes into the store and gives Mike a list of items that his uncle Bo Crowder wants in order to go deer hunting once he's out of prison.  As Johnny lists the items, Ava becomes increasingly suspicious of a possible veiled threat from him and asks Mike that the items filled be sent to her house instead.  When Johnny says that Bo probably wont be pursuing the deer past the Kentucky state line, Helen Givens cocks a shotgun right at Johnny with the excuse that Mike check the trigger as it automatically cocks itself at times.  When Helen refuses to point the gun away from Johnny, he leaves the store.

Later that night, Ava is in her bedroom cutting up her dead husband Bowman's clothes when Raylan comes in.  Raylan figures Ava will tell him what she wants about Bowman, but Ava proceeds to say a little more about why she left Bowman and then why she took him back, his light and dark sides.  Ava also shares that she's on probation and can't leave Kentucky, though she doesn't have to wear an ankle monitor.  Ava asks herself, and Raylan, that killing a man is a big deal.

A little later, Raylan and Ava are sleeping her bed, when someone in a mask bursts in through the closed door and starts shooting with a sawed-off shotgun at them.  Raylan rolls himself and Ava off the bed and onto the floor for cover, before Raylan grapples with the shooter.  Raylan grabs at him and shoves him through Ava's window, then grabs his own gun off the bed and shoots at the gunman through the broken window as Ava looks on from her place on the floor.

A little later, law enforcement arrive on the scene as Ava looks over the remains of her bed, glad that Raylan had been there with her during the incident.  Harlan County Sheriff Hunter Mosley comes in talking about what happened, that the shooter drove off in a pickup truck.  Ava still suspects Johnny from back at the hardware store, but Raylan doesn't think it's him.  And even with Mosley not second-guessing Raylan's acute powers of observation, he does state the fact that Ava and Raylan had been rolling on the floor fighting for their life.

Raylan and Mosley drive and on their way to the county line, Mosley talks about his history with the Crowders.  Mosley had arrested Bo five years ago when Bo was moving drugs into Harlan from the south.  Eight years ago, the one they considered the 'good' Crowder, Henry, had raped and strangled a 10-year-old by the name of Charlotte Rose Thomas in Pine Mountain Forest; Charlotte had been Mosley's nice and according to him they never found Henry to put him away.  This is the reason the Crowders, according to Mosley, believe that Mosley put Bo in prison, to make up for not finding Henry as opposed to just doing his job.

Raylan and Mosley go to the bar where Johnny works and force Johnny to undress as by the presence or lack of wounds they wanted to prove that Johnny wasn't the man they were looking for.  Johnny then shared that he only said the things he did to Ava at the hardware store because he didn't want her to get hurt.  Johnny claims he doesn't know if Bo got the word out on Ava to target her.  The next morning, Mr. Duke, a hitman, is sitting in his car, seeming to watch Ava across the street, as he talks to someone on the phone about writing a book.  He describes the book as being about doing a hit on someone and what the rules are supposed to be.

As Mosley and Raylan arrive in his patrol car at the Harlan Sheriff's Department, Ava is outside smoking since they told her to go out once she started to inside.  Mr. Duke ends his call to go take care of his local spotter who got himself shot and needs to be cleaned up.  Mosley goes inside the station to see if they found out anything about the shooter and Raylan reports to Ava what he found from Johnny.  Mosley comes back to report they haven't found anyone but he's going to be checking cabins in the area to see if the spotter isn't holed up somehwere.

At a cabin, Mr. Duke records the wounded spotter/shooter, called Red, on his video camera, silently threatening him with a pointed gun while Red begs not to be killed.  At the Lexington Marshals office, Rachel Brooks takes Ava out to put her on a bench for security, while Raylan goes inside Art's office to speak to him.  Art yells at Raylan for getting caught sleeping with Ava and, worse, shooting someone in her house as this will definitely be investigated and added by AUSA Vasquez to Raylan's other shootings.  Art suggests putting Ava in WitSec (witness protection) but Raylan claims she's not eligible and if she was, she'd refuse it; so Art asks Raylan what he is going to do about getting her protected.

As Raylan is driving up to Big Sandy, he gets a call from Mosley and tells him he's going down there to talk to Boyd Crowder.  Mosley tells him he checked local cabins but hasn't found the shooter yet.  At the courthouse, Winona Hawkins walks down a hallway when she finds Ava sitting at the bench.  They talk about the last time they saw each other in "The Lord of War and Thunder" when Winona had to excuse herself on account that she's Raylan's ex-wife, and about Ava knowing Raylan when they were growing up but that she hadn't seen him in 20 years before he showed up at her house in "Fire in the Hole".

Winona had thought they were handling Ava's case in Harlan because she sees her waiting there for her lawyer.  Winona talks a little about what it was like being a law enforcement officer (LEO)'s wife.  Ava tells Winona that Bowman had been on the other side of the law and Winona questions as to why she's even sharing what she did in the first place.  Mosley comes up to them to take Ava to a safe place, with the excuse that Raylan asked him to.  Ava changes her mind then about meeting her lawyer and they all part ways.

At Big Sandy, Raylan waits in the prisoner area for Boyd as guards bring him out.  Boyd asks what he can do for Raylan, but Raylan threatens Boyd with bringing down every resource he has on him as well as the other imprisoned Crowders for suspicion that one of them came after Ava.  Boyd seems surprised to even hear that Ava was targeted and wonders when it happened, but Raylan suspects he already knows this.  Raylan continues to ask him until he gets to Bo and Boyd tells him that he's assured Bo shouldn't go on a revenge kick and should leave this all to God instead; previously having warned Boyd not to talk about religion, this infuriates Raylan and he goes across the table at him, before pinning Boyd against the bars.  Two guards come and separate them both.

Meanwhile, at the cabin, Red has had his wound bandaged and talks about being one of the best hunters in Harlan county and with that claims he has the instincts to be a hitman; but Mr. Duke disagrees seeing that Red has a hole in his shoulder.  Red acknowledges he screwed up his only job of watching Raylan.  Mr. Duke tells Red his favorite weapon is a sawed-off shotgun and gives reasons as to why.  Red is told that he shouldn't have burst in through the door at Raylan but that he should have layed in hiding and waited until Raylan came to him, breaking the hitman's rule #9 of his soon-to-be-book.  Red wonders about the other rules, but Mr. Duke tells him that he has to wait and buy his book to find those out.

Back at Big Sandy, Raylan is sitting out in the hallway, a little more composed, when a guard ushers him back in to sit with Boyd.  Boyd assures Raylan that Bo would not go after Ava when he talked to him about her.  Bo would give Ava a pass at least until he got out of prison, but that he couldn't guarantee him not changing his mind after that point.  Boyd tries to get from Raylan where the shooting happened and who Ava was with at the time.  When Raylan doesn't give Boyd the answers, Boyd moves on to Raylan's motivation for getting his gold star and his gun from his time as a boy when he saw Arlo beat on his mom Frances and how helpless Raylan must have felt not being able to do anything about it then.

Boyd tells Raylan that Raylan's motivations could be clouding his judgement and not making him see things as they really are.  Boyd asks him, since Raylan naturally assumed it was a Crowder because the shooting happened at Ava's and since Raylan was with Ava at the time, if the shooter might not have been going after Ava but after Raylan himself; this makes Raylan think.  At the cabin where Red and Mr. Duke are at, Mosley comes in to find Mr. Duke pointing a gun at him and wonders who peed on his rug.  Mr. Duke asks Mosley where Raylan is and Mosley assures that both Red and him can help him find Raylan.  Mr. Duke had specific orders from Miami to, via a spotter, find Raylan and cut him up, videotaping the evidence to send to Miami before Mr. Duke went back to Texas.

Mosley takes a shot at Mr. Duke and did so because he found out from Miami that Mr. Duke had authorization to tie any loose ends.  Mosley figures that he, along with Red, were a few of those loose ends.  Miami wouldn't have wanted Mr. Duke dead but Mosley didn't see any other way around it.  Mr. Duke, still alive but barely, points his sawed-off shotgun at Mosley, but Mosley lays a few more shots into him, this time killing Mr. Duke.  Red had traded in his truck for a van to prevent from being IDed, but Mosley assures Red that he can't hide anywhere as the law will eventually find him.  Mosley gives the example of a money launderer that Raylan was after which the cartel got first (indirectly referring to Rollie from "Long in the Tooth")...so to prevent their fate from being like that money launderer's, Mosley decides to show Miami good faith and hand Raylan over to the cartel.

As Raylan is coming out from Big Sandy, Mosley calls him to find out what he got from Boyd.  Raylan tells Mosley that the moment he sees him he should shoot him, per Boyd.  Mosley threatens Raylan with having Ava and if Raylan doesn't pay attention, she will die.  Raylan drives up to mseet Mosley.  Mosley lays out the situation for Raylan:  if Raylan kills Mosley, Red will put a bullet in Ava's skull before Mosley hits the ground.  Mosley knows Raylan has his cell on from which the Marshals are listening in to their conversation.  Mosley tells Raylan of those they see on T.V. who run on foot after their ride has been compromised, and the fact they don't show the ones who get away...this is the one-in-a-million-shot Mosley's about to take.

Raylan demands to see Ava and make sure that Red hasn't choked her to death due to his incompetence.  After Red shows Ava through the van's door, Mosley orders Raylan off.  Raylan puts his guns into the trunk of Mosley's patrol car and gets into the driver seat wtih Mosley in the backseat.  Mosley takes Raylan's cell and threatens the Marshals that if they try to take out Red with Ava in the van or if they get in shooting distance behind Raylan and him in the patrol car, Mosley will shoot Raylan in the head in both cases.  Mosley throws the cell out the window before motioning Red to drive and ordering Raylan to follow him.

In the patrol car, Mosley shares that he never did want to be a federal cop as he feels there's a lot of need for his services within Harlan alone.  Mosley then reveals that Henry Crowder wasn't at large but that the Miami people and their Dixie Mafia boys found him and delivered him to Mosley.  Since Mosley didn't have enough money from his sheriff's paycheck to pay Miami for their service, he took Bo out of the drug-running business in Harlan which then Mosley took over himself to pay his debt to Miami.  Since Miami felt that Bo was providing very expensive drugs to them, Mosley offered Miami to provide them drugs at a fraction of the price.

In the van, Red tells a bound and gagged Ava that when she became single again, all the men in Harlan were glad, including himself.  Back at the car, Mosley explains that Mr. Duke did not know his way around the local mountains, so Miami had asked Mosley to get a spotter for him, hence Red.  Raylan offers Mosley to get into witness protection, but Mosley knows that he has no information to give to the U.S. Attorney that can help them so he doubts said protection will even get granted to him.

In the van, Ava finally gets free enough of her wrist restraints to wrap them around Red's neck from behind before slamming his face into the steering wheel, knocking him unconscious and making the van swerve into a tree.  Raylan follows behind them, stopping the patrol car just as Mosley shoves a pistol through the backseat.  Raylan takes a hold of the pistol by breaking Mosley's wrist before he pulls him out of the patrol car.  Mosley tries to run but Raylan has a hold on him, forcing him to sit on the ground and cuff himself while threatening to shoot him in the kneecap if he moves.

With his gun trained, Raylan goes to check on Red.  Raylan hugs Ava, apologizes, as Rachel and the other Marshals arrive.  In Big Sandy's laundry room, Boyd is reading the Bible outloud when Corker and his men come to join him and claim that Boyd has been talking too much to Raylan.  Boyd tells them it's all due to speading the good Lord's word, but the inmates don't believe him.  When the men tell him that Boyd used to be somebody among the Crowders, Boyd simply replies that they should all repent for their sins and beg God for forgivness.  One of them knocks the Bible out from Boyd's hand, making Boyd go after him in a trade of blows.  The other men descend on Boyd and beat on him.  But when one of them pulls a homemade pick near Boyd's neck, Bo Crowder pulls him off.

Bo says they have no proof that Boyd is snitching and that God will take care of him when it's time for Boyd to die; but if Boyd dies because of any of them, then Bo will take care of killing them in return.  Corker reminds Bo that he will be out of prison in a few months and can't guarantee what will happen to Boyd then, but Bo dares him to take a shot and find out.  Corker goes after Bo, angry that he's pushing his buttons, and one of Bo's men pulls Corker off.  As Corker walks away all threats, Bo turns to Boyd and wonders what he's doing, but Boyd simply replies to Bo that it's good to see him.

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

CHARACTERS:

Ava.  Raylan's lover.  Here she sees for the first time what it's like being 'tangled' with a LEO.  She becomes the bait for Raylan by being taken hostage.  If it hadn't been for her brave antics in subduing Red, who knows if she would have survived after they captured Raylan.  But it's a good thing our Ava is strong enough to have changed her own fate.

Boyd Crowder.  A gray man...gray because he goes from being a good guy to being a villain, back to good guy, back to villain, and so on and so forth.  But I'm placing him here this time because he actually helps Raylan with his investigation.  Boyd is the turning point for Raylan to shift focus and suspect who the shooter was really going after:  Raylan himself.

Winona Hawkins.  Raylan's ex-wife who, like Boyd, is a sort of 'parallel turning point' in shifting how Ava sees Raylan.  I think after their talk in the courthouse hallway, Ava will start to come down a little bit from her "I-just-want-to-have-fun-with-Raylan" phase.  It'll be interesting to see how that, if any, plays out.

VILLAINS:

Mr. Duke.  A hitman of the Miami cartel who is sent after Raylan.  A writer of a 10-rule-book on how to perform a kill hit on a person.  This guy must have a lot of experience being an assassin, and yet he couldn't escape his fate at the hands of Mosley.

Red.  The spotter assigned to orient Mr. Duke who ended up getting shot by Raylan when he burst in Ava's bedroom.  A hunter in Harlan county who knows his way around a shotgun but lacks the knowledge to be an assassin, although he seems to aspire to want to be one.  In the end, Red gets knocked out unconscious by Ava and no doubt law enforcement arrest him for conspiracy and kidnapping.  Would like to see where and how he ends up...

Mosley.  So here we have the corrupt Harlan County Sheriff...and not the last in Harlan, I will say from a rewatcher's perspective.  This guy taking over the Harlan drug business so that he can pay off Miami for them giving him Henry is pretty extreme.  But not if you consider his reason:  to avenge his niece Charlotte.  If it wasn't for how he went about getting vengeance for her, I think this guy might have even made a great LEO... I'm not going to say he just made bad choices, because that would be downplaying what he's done.

FAVORITE MOMENT(S):

Helen Givens protecting those she cares about, namely Ava, when Johnny makes a veiled threat to her in the hardware store.  Maybe using a shotgun was a little extreme, but we don't know Johnny well enough and Helen seems to know him more than we do, so what do I know?











Right before Art yells at Raylan at the Marshals office, Raylan's line about being confused makes a chuckle escape me every single time.  If it wasn't for the fact that he's being a smart-ass here, I'd forgive him for it.  Still, it makes one of my favorite moments:





But Boyd...Boyd's smart-ass line about prison as his home I can forgive...since technically, TECHNICALLY, it's true, except for the part that he can't do everything he wants in that house of his:






And finally, Raylan just standing by his town car as he's in a stand-off with Mosley when he comes to meet him once he knows he has Ava hostage.  Boy, can that man not only walk but STAND too:



GENERAL REFLECTIONS:

Ava killing Bowman pre-"Fire in the Hole" starts to hit her, as evidenced here, in the scene where Raylan finds her cutting up Bowman's clothes.  She wonders if not getting an ankle monitor and instead just a slap on the wrist by not being able to leave Kentucky is enough punishment for what she did to her husband:









It's interesting to see this side of Ava early on Justified, especially in a rewatch, because for those of us who have watched the series at least once already, we know that killing someone will not affect her as much, if at all, as the series progresses and she draws away from Raylan...an interesting journey to see Ava go from soft to hard in the course of five-plus years.

The scene with Ava and Winona in the courthouse hallway talking about Ava's case and then about Raylan gives us an opportunity to know what the acronym LEO stands for.  So, for those of you following the rewatch, everytime I say "Leo" I am referring to a law enforcement officer and not someone's zodiac sign:








After Winona tells a little bit about what it was like to be married to a LEO and some of the good parts about it, she shares what the worst part was to her:



Now here we get an example of Raylan's career stresses and how they affected Winona as well when she was married to him.  This was something I had brought up in a talk on Tumblr earlier this week and I am glad it got illustrated in this episode, if only in a few words.  By the way, that Tumblr talk I'm referring to is linked at http://cdsal99.tumblr.com/post/87160369131/shadowolfhunter-cdsal99-so-what-really-made  I hope to get more Winona insight as the rewatch progresses, and if we do I'll be talking more about it then as well.