After his latest fling Lindsey ransacked his apartment and took off with her husband Randall, Raylan Givens is not in a good mood and understandably so. This week’s Justified picks up right where last week’s left off, with Rachel telling Raylan he “should’ve seen this coming,” and Raylan predictably refusing to call in the crime. Rachel points out how little he knows about Lindsey, and asks what he plans to do when he finds her and Randall. Raylan doesn’t answer her.
The guilty couple are visiting Randall’s backyard fight promoter (guest star Josh Close), who’s throwing an awkward party, to discuss “that thing we talked about.” The promoter takes Raylan’s money from Lindsey (guest star Jenn Lyon) and asks who they stole it from. Randall (guest star Robert Baker) is twitchy and decides to cause a scene instead of answering the question, much to Lindsey’s amusement. He’s overeager to get things moving, but they’ll have to wait until the morning for arrangements to fall into place.
Meanwhile at the bar, Johnny (guest star David Meunier) and Boyd are surprised to see Ella Mae turn up, and not in a good way. She tells Boyd that she has nowhere else to go after the snake-related death of Pastor Billy, for which Boyd has no remorse. Ava is worried about what Ella Mae might have said while she was gone, and dispatches Cole (guest star Ron Eldard) to find out.
Raylan and Rachel show up in the aftermath of the questionable party, to ask if anyone has seen Randall and Lindsey. Rachel chats with one of the partygoers, Gina (guest star Navi Rawat), who takes them back to speak to the promoter at an incredibly awkward moment. Raylan tells him about the scheme Lindsey’s running, and in return, the guy tells him about Randall’s desire to get into “fighter management” – except he’s not talking about people, he’s talking about poultry. Hence the title of the episode.
Elsewhere, sheriff Shelby (guest star Jim Beaver) tells Pastor Billy’s grieving sister that Boyd’s crew are looking for her, and that Boyd is “absent any moral compass.” Unbothered, she rattles off a whole list of things she knows about Boyd, and only after she leaves does the audience realize that Boyd and Ava were listening in on the whole conversation. Now that they know the sister isn’t aware of anything too damning, they’re torn about what to do with Ella Mae, and Boyd suggests sending her to live with one of his relatives in Alabama.
Ava sends Ella Mae off with some money, telling her to make something of herself. “Look at it for what it is,” she encourages, “you’re free.”
On the road, Randall decides to get into a fight in a convenience store after the clerk is friendly with Lindsey, which causes her to call Raylan on a payphone. She only gets a few words out before Randall emerges. When Raylan checks his cell phone voicemail, he finds Lindsey’s half-message, and he and Rachel rush to the convenience store to find the clerk bloodied. Rachel leaves Raylan to handle the rest of things himself, but not before she gives him a shotgun to take with him.
Raylan thus tracks down Lindsey and Randall, with Lindsey acting stupid as to how he got there, at least until Raylan tells Randall about her phone call. In his usual no-nonsense way, Raylan shoots Randall – unfortunately with a bean-bag round – before confronting Lindsey. Unfortunately, Randall gets back up and starts a fistfight, which abruptly ends when Lindsey shoots both of them with bean bags. She tells Raylan where to find his money, to which he replies, “I knew you liked me.”
Lindsey takes off and leaves Raylan to deal with Randall, while he also discovers that when Lindsey was referencing his money, she meant the chickens. Raylan leaves Randall for the state troopers and heads back home to faceplant his bed.
Meanwhile, Cole gets a phone call from Ava while driving Ella Mae, and tells her that Ava has offered her a place back home. This proves to be a lie: Boyd tells Ava that “it’ll be quick.” Cole goes into the bathroom intending to shoot Ella Mae when he gets back, but when he returns, she’s gone.
If “This Bird Has Flown” feels like a mixed bag, it’s likely because the ‘A’ story is focused on Justified‘s most problematic element, the romantic subplot. Lindsey as a character has proven to be the least interesting of Raylan’s love interests, and turning her into a con artist doesn’t help that; intimating that she has some sort of legitimate feelings for him only comes off as an attempt to retroactively excuse her behavior. Without concern for the players in the main story, it’s hard to become enamored with the episode as a whole.
However, the ‘B’ story fares better. While Raylan’s constantly ill-advised love life has occasionally gotten tiring to watch – this Lindsey storyline being an example – conversely it’s been intriguing to see how Boyd and Ava have gelled together, creating a sort of psuedo-family unit with their associates. Their relationship has clearly changed them both and the audience can see how they balance each other out. Their handling of Ella Mae shows how they are people who definitely do some very bad things – but are still protagonists in the story because we are invested in who they are and what made them that way. Their getting together enhanced both characters, whereas Raylan’s relationships have never really done that.
With the Lindsey storyline now behind us (at least for the foreseeable future) and Pastor Billy killed off, season four of Justified can now turn its focus onto some of the more intriguing plot ideas for the season, such as the ongoing Drew Thompson mystery and whatever Arlo Givens is up to in prison (because he is undoubtedly up to something). This might not be the most memorable episode, but it served to wrap up some of the filler, and now it’s back to the main event.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.