Justified 4.03: Truth and Consequences

SPOILER WARNING: This post will appear following a new episode of Justified. It is intended to be read after seeing the show’s latest installment as a source of recap and analysis. As such, all aspects of the series up to and including the episode discussed are fair game.

“Truth and Consequences” has a more literal title than most episodes of Justified (sure, they packed in a pun, but that’s almost cheating when the character central to the season’s big mystery has a name like “Waldo Truth”). It begins with Boyd paying a visit to the Last Chance Holiness Church, still struggling to figure out what game the preacher and his sister are playing. He’s sure there’s a game, though, there has to be. Boyd would never go to all the trouble the St. Cyrs have if he wasn’t getting something out of it, so he can’t believe anyone else would either. So what’s the truth he’s not seeing?

Half-jokingly, Boyd questions Cassie’s claims that she was merely “putting her brother to sleep,” implying the two are sexually involved and that the sibling act is merely part of their scheme (either that or it’s incest, after all, it’s Kentucky). But that isn’t it, and to his surprise, it isn’t that Cassie uses her brother’s faith and charisma to extort local criminals, either. Cassie turns down Boyd’s “donation,” insisting that what he’s smelling isn’t a con but the fact that “unlike the rest of these sorry souls, we’re not afraid of you.” Boyd quips back, “In that case, ma’am, I think we’ve misjudged each other,” words that turn out prophetic.

Having tried the carrot, Boyd decides to try the stick—sending his henchmen in to intimidate the St. Cyrs—which results in the one who isn’t Colton (apparently his name is Jimmy) being bitten to death by snakes, or so it seems. Given the severity of his injuries, Jimmy should’ve died hours before he got medical help. And just like that, a lightbulb goes off in Boyd’s head. So he heads back to the Last Chance Holiness with another gift, only this time, “it’s not to the church, it’s to the congregation. And it ain’t money, it’s knowledge.”

The main characters aren’t the only ones dealing with truths and consequences this week. Billy St. Cyr’s faith (and hubris) is cemented by the fact that he and his followers continue to survive snakebites without medical assistance. Seeing it as proof of divine intervention, he fearlessly handles snakes as a testament to his omnipotent and benevolent God. As it turns out, however, Boyd was right. There was a scheme afoot, and Cassie had the wool pulled over the eyes of her brother and his congregation both. She’d been “milking” the snakes of their venom to ensure their bites wouldn’t be fatal.

Ever the true believer, Billy insists on handling Boyd’s “gift” nonetheless, though his sister begs him not to. Having gotten what he came for, Boyd too tries to talk him out of it, saying, “You know what, son? I once stood where you’re standing now, mistaking my own hubris for God’s touch. That ain’t religion, son, that’s self-glorification. Best you leave this thing alone.” After that, things go about as you’d expect. Billy is bitten and, given his conviction, I’m willing to bet he’ll die as a result. The preacher was presented with the truth, refused to recognize it, and now he’ll face the consequences. For now, it seems the St. Cyrs weren’t out to get the Crowders. They were nothing but true believers in a place with no room for such. Boyd did what he did not because they were affecting his business interests, but to come to terms with the man he was, the man he saw reflected in Billy St. Cyr’s face.

Meanwhile, the search for the truth about Waldo Truth continues, bringing Tim and Raylan to the home of one Eve Munro, the supposedly psychic ex-wife of Drew Thompson, Waldo’s pilot. It seems just about everyone in the Justified universe has a dog in the Truth/Thompson race, as Eve escapes Tim and Raylans’ questioning only to be abducted by Mason Goins, a thug working for Detroit mob boss Theo Tonin (the man responsible for last season’s big bad, Robert Quarles). The kidnapping goes down thanks to the suspiciously timed arrival of the FBI’s agent Barnes, who then butts heads with the Marshals over the case.

We find out the shady truth about agent Barnes—he’s indebted to Tonin somehow, and the mobster will hurt his family if he doesn’t get information on Thompson—early on, but it takes Raylan and company a bit longer. Raylan’s still running personal errands on the clock, this time dealing with the appearance of his latest girlfriend’s ex, Randall the bare-knuckle boxer (who later robs him, more truths and consequences). Instead of the playground after school, Raylan is set to meet Randall at the gym where the latter’s been staying, but finds his locker’s been cleaned out. But Barnes shows up too, claiming to have received a tip, which makes no sense given that Raylan’s only there on personal business.

It doesn’t take Raylan long to put the pieces together, that Barnes followed him because he’s working on the wrong side of the law in the Truth/Thompson case. Faced with the consequences of his actions, Barnes commits suicide, an end he sees as preferable to being an ex-law man in prison and crossing the folks he’s in business with. Luckily, he gives up Eve’s location before pulling the trigger, and the Marshals are able to save her, not to mention coercing her into giving up some new information regarding her ex-husband’s whereabouts.

Eve Munro will play an important part this season. She’s been right about more than a few things psychic-wise, but the supernatural really isn’t in Justified’s wheelhouse. A show that has one true believer poisoned for his faith isn’t going to turn around and give us a woman who can actually predict the future. I’m willing to bet the truth is Eve knows a lot more about her ex-husband than she’s letting on and has access to information that allows her to seem like she deserves the “certified” part of “certified spiritualist.” For one, it was subtly mentioned that her customers’ houses have a knack for getting robbed, a plot point that’s sure to come up again.

A Few More Things:

-“What are the chances you name your boy ‘Minute’ and he ends up nearly eight feet tall?” – Raylan, in reference to Manute Bol 

-One of my favorite moments came from the Johnny Crowder/Wynn Duffy side plot. The doctor turns and says, “Mr. Crowder” and both Boyd and Johnny respond. The first public indication, subtle though it might have been, that Johnny wants to get rid of Boyd and become the head of the operation, be the Mr. Crowder.

-Let’s get a list of everyone involved in the Truth/Thompson mystery together: Raylan and the Marshals, Boyd, the Detroit mob, Wynn Duffy and the Dixie Mafia, Arlo. That’s just about all the show’s major players. Who’s missing, Limehouse?

Check out the preview for next week’s episode below and follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.


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