Justified Review by Henry Tran

Justified 5.11: The Toll

Justified 5.11: The Toll

Written By:
Benjamin Cavell
Directed By:
Jon Avnet

Art gets shot getting ready to protect Alison from whatever threats the Crowes have planned for her. This action kicks off one half of the plot for this episode. The other half is a result of Wynn calling in his "assessor" Katherine Hale to decide whether he should continue to do business with Boyd or with Mr. Picker. 

It's fascinating how each plot plays out as the episode is running. Art getting shot should spur the Marshals into action, yet they hold back. They demonstrate restraint and patience, waiting for the culprit to come to them. If it were any other time in the series, they would pretty much declare war on the Crowes with Raylan leading the charge guns a-blazin'. Boyd plays things on the down low at first. He is just trying to see the lay of the land. When he realizes that he isn't going to get the upper hand, he improvises. In the end, he proves yet again why his enemies would be wise to not underestimate him or his improvisational abilities. Boyd has a talent for survival, and it shows in the most unexpected of ways.

The Marshals' restraint was a bit surprising to me. It certainly looked like they were going to go full bore right at the Crowes for shooting Art. At least, Tim and Raylan were ready to do so based on their conversation in the hallway. That kind of thinking is perhaps why Art recommended Rachel be the head of the office when Art leaves. Raylan stays away from this course of action mostly out of guilt. He had created the entire situation out of his own cocky nature. Art's wife nailed it right on the head: Everyone is wondering why Raylan wasn't at Art's side when the shooting took place. Only Raylan and Art know why. It was Raylan who decided to take on Darryl out of a desire to avoid the scut work Art was leaving him as punishment for Nicky Augustine's murder. Danny died of his own stupidity, but only Raylan knows that. He let Darryl give into his desire for revenge, and that mentality led to Art's shooting.

The curveball comes when Darryl surrenders to the Marshals, but then Kendal takes the fall for the shooting. It's all elaborate lies borne out of an impromptu blood oath that closed last episode. Raylan easily sees through this, though he doesn't have the power to refute Kendal's sworn confession on the record. The only witnesses to the shooting are incapacitated at the time or didn't even see the shooter. It's difficult to see what the endgame to all this is. It's clear Darryl wants to properly avenge his brother's death, pinning it squarely on Raylan, but how is Raylan going to come after Darryl? Does he use Wendy in some way? 

Everything has become too muddled to see how it will all be resolved. It's also clear that Darryl doesn't care about Kendal. He just becomes another pawn to be used in Darryl's twisted notion of "family." If that blood oath were something tangible, Kendal wouldn't be thrown to the wolves like he was. He's going to end up paying the highest price for his uncle's various crimes. It proof yet again that Darryl doesn't seem to know what he's doing.

Actually, Darryl would be wise to watch out for Boyd. He has failed for the most part in his attempt to be the end all, be all drug kingpin of Harlan, but that doesn't stop him. Boyd plays the cards he's dealt, and even his bluffs pay off. Unlike Darryl, Boyd has some idea of the bigger picture. He covers his ass, stowing away what little heroin he has left as insurance in case the meeting with Wynn goes south. Both he and Ava need that heroin to salvage their respective positions of power. Ava has the respect of the women in her cell block from murdering Judith, but that will only last as long as she can keep the heroin pipeline open.

It doesn't really look good for Boyd when he meets Wynn, Picker, and Katherine Hale. For all the charm he lays on her, it's largely ineffective, and he knows that. He's not in the best position to bargain for the business, and after a brief interlude with everyone being questioned by the Marshals, the play is made. When they return to the hotel room, Boyd blows up Picker with a pack of cigarettes. I had figured the cigarettes would play a larger role when it was first introduced out of the blue in the first act. Like Chekhov's gun, it has to pay off in the third act, which it did. Again, Boyd's enemies should not underestimate this man. He's always looking for the upper hand in every situation he finds himself in.

I wonder if this would be something that Raylan uses to his advantage. He has kept Hale and Wynn at bay (with the promise of Hale and her complicated backstory with other supporting characters to be unfurled in the future) so that he has only Darryl left to deal with. Raylan and Boyd's partnership could be to their mutual advantage. It would bode very unwell for Darryl Crowe. Raylan would then become the outlaw that he has spent the entire series avoiding. That would be rather ironic, don't you think?

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Nice show of Boyd's improvisational abilities
  • Textbook foreshadowing
The Bad:
  • Season continues to feel muddled

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Justified by - 3/25/2014 9:54 AM137 views

Your Responses

Registered Participants can leave their own Concurring/Dissenting Opinion and receive Points and Loot! Why not sign in and add your voice?


Log in to add your own voice and receive points by leaving good comments other users like!