As long as he’s alive, Arlo Givens is going to be causing trouble, especially for his son Raylan. And so it is in this week’s all-new Justified – except this time, he’s just the impetus.
At the beginning of “Cottonmouth,” Raylan gets some information from the now-incarcerated Dewey Crowe, last seen getting nearly killed in “The I of the Storm.” Some of it is painfully obvious (that Doyle Bennett is a corrupt cop, for one) and some not so much. He says that he’s “formed a bond” with Jimmy Earle Dean, the child molester who abducted Loretta McCready in “The Moonshine War,” and that Dean has clued him in to the fact that there are much bigger things going on in Harlan. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want the bad guys Raylan’s put away socializing with one another. Maybe they could form a support group?
Dewey’s little warning is reinforced by the return of Trooper Tom Bergen, who also has his suspicions, especially when it comes to who’s been cashing Walt McCready’s government checks. As if that wasn’t enough, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) rolls into the Marshals Office returning what’s left of the $20,000 he absconded with. As he’s significantly short, Raylan decides that perhaps his father might be a useful source of information regarding some of these recent red flags. And it’s what Arlo tells him that sends him down the path to ultimately beginning to unravel the Bennett family’s criminal exploits. By episode’s end, we dispense with the subleties; it’s very clear that the two sides are on an imminent collision course, with Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever) possibly caught in the middle.
In other happenings, Boyd Crowder is apparently back to his old ways, mired in a new business proposition with his “friends” from the mine. To say any more than that one sentence would be egregiously spoiling, but needless to say it is not at all what you think it’s going to be – and it all makes perfect sense by the time it plays out. The storyline also leads to a heartbreaking scene between Boyd and Ava that’s so good, it once again makes me incensed that he hasn’t yet won a major award for this series yet. Joelle Carter is herself just as impressive, and the two of them together has been the most pleasant surprise to come out of the second season for me.
There are two more things about this episode I feel compelled to mention: it features the most interesting use of a Taser I’ve ever seen, and it ends with yet another gut-punching cliffhanger. This season is certainly doing well in that department. I’m starting to be concerned that it may give me a heart attack. But rare is the television series that has me so arrested.
Check out “Cottonmouth” for yourself when it airs tonight night at 10 PM ET/PT on FX. And tune in this afternoon for my exclusive report from the set.