Justified – Season 3 Episode 5 – “Thick as Mud”
This is a really cool episode, with a ton going on and some amazing dialogue. It answers some questions (we know Detroit Guy’s name now: Quarles) and raises some others (Just how dumb IS Dewey Crow?) and we get to see Quarles in a confrontation with Boyd that is pure genius (Here’s a preview: they don’t become bowling buddies, but they may start a book club), as well as some great scenes contrasting Boyd’s relationship with Ava and Raylan’s relationship with Winona. The episode, “Thick As Mud,” is based on a story that is in Elmore Leonard’s new novel “Raylan.”
We begin with Limehouse and his righthand man, discussing the fact that Limehouse lied to Dicky about the money from Mags. Oops. Dicky should have checked the receipts. Regardless, Limehouse isn’t a guy that Dicky should mess with, as he warns his own man, “That will kill you faster than a bullet.”
Arlo and Boyd are burying Devil and Boyd prevents Arlo from taking Devil’s money, but decides to keep the guy’s cell phone for informational purposes. Boyd has some issues with having shot Devil, apparently, and he pauses to say a few appropriate words over the body.
Raylan and Winona are packing up the house but Raylan hasn’t been much help.
“I’m done trying to change who you are and I’m done pretending that I could ever feel about anyone else the way I feel about you.”
It’s a pretty nice thing to say, but it sounds more fatalistic than loving. Something’s up. She’s been too acccommodating without committing to anything.
Dewey wakes up in a bathtub of blood and is told by our friendly prison doc (who is actually a nurse), Lance, that his kidneys have been removed and he needs to get $20k in the next few hours to buy them back or Lance will sell them to a guy in Chicago. Something about that just doesn’t sound right, but Dicky runs right out to get his kidney money. Later, he’s robbing an appliance store and can’t figure out why there’s not much cash. Looking for a cash business, he naturally heads to a strip club where he has the following convo:
“Son, Drugs are a temporary solution to a permanent problem.”
“You think I’m a tweaker?”
“I’ve learned not to label.”
That’s just so awesome. Meanwhile, Ava finds Boyd at the bar, apparently upset:
Ava: You regret killing him?
Boyd: I regret that he made it necessary.
She then says she wants to show him something and unbuttons her shirt. Darn, turns out it’s just the bullethole scar she got from Dicky. Boyd has a matching one from Raylan. After comparing scars, she tells Boyd:
“Whatever you decide, I’m in it, same as you.”
That kind of loyalty can’t be bought, and Boyd seems aware of that. Contrast
this scene with the one Raylan had with Winona earlier. Similar things are said, but it’s Ava who you believe. Maybe matching bulletholes are good for a relationship.
Raylan talks to Ash at the hospital and asks him what he knows about kidneys. “They’re the cadillac of beans,” says Ash. He finally gives up Lance and tells Raylan that Lance was doing similar things at the prison. Raylan meets Layla (it’s Jules from Psych!), a nurse who tells Raylan about a doctor who may be willing to sell an organ or two to pay off gambling debts or pay for his illicit romps with nurses.
Boyd talks to Ava’s doctor, but not about Ava. He wants to talk about Oxy. Apparently, folks from Frankfort are offering to give him protection and Oxy in return for his writing prescriptions. The doctor is concerned that being squeezed by Boyd is going to result in Frankfort cancelling his Oxy contract permanently. Boyd says the doc is “between a rock and a much, much harder rock,” (nice) but Boyd feels like he holds the ace, because he knows where the doc’s mom lives.
Dewey just can’t catch a break. He goes into a convenience store just looking for directions and ends up in a gun battle with the owner. He gets shot with a shotgun and still manages to keep moving but ends up barricaded in the back room, which leads nowhere. Raylan shows up after the police do and figures Dewey will talk to him because, “He kinda likes me.” Sure he does. After racking in a load, Dewey does talk and Raylan informs him of the facts regarding kidney failure:
Raylan: Are you pissin’
Dewey: He took my kidneys, Raylan, not my dick!
Raylan: Your kidneys are for pissin’! So why don’t you try taking a leak and if you can do it then we know you’ve still got your two kidneys.
Dewey (pissing): You mean I had four kidneys?!
Someone that dumb has no right to still be walking around, but somehow, Dewey survives everything.
Raylan finds out Ash is now dead, supposedly of a stroke. He goes to the hospital to find out what happened and asks about the doctor that Layla told him about. He describes Layla to the duty nurse as “cute as a pailful of kittens.” Something tells me he may regret that description.
Boyd tracks down Tanner via Devil’s cell phone: “Well, it looks like we have a friend in common.” He sends a message via Louisville Slugger.
Raylan finds Layla at her house and starts having a flirty talk with her about stealing organs and causing strokes. You know, romantic stuff like that. Turns out that Lance is there with his handy needle and sticks Raylan with it. Lights out Raylan. Layla isn’t too happy about Lance’s M.O. and shoots Lance while he’s putting Raylan in the bathtub for carving. Raylan gets his own gun out of Lance’s waistband after Lance falls on top of him and manages to shoot Layla through Lance’s body, surpising both Layla and himself. Art shows up to help with the aftermath and has a talk with Raylan who is a little shaken up, as he should be. It was only dumb luck that saved him and he was being totally stupid by not being on his guard while casually chatting up Layla in her house.
Quarles wants to launch a new business venture with Boyd:
Boyd: If you wanted to be my partner, why didn’t you come to me directly?
Quarles: Call it a speed bump on the way to cross-cultural understanding. Important thing is, I’m here now. Boyd, have you heard the saying, “the most successful war seldom pays for its losses”?
Boyd: Thomas Jefferson?
Just one more reminder that Boyd is a lot smarter than anyone ever gives him credit for. Quarles isn’t going to make that mistake again. He calls Boyd an “educated man” and tries to prevail on him to see that they can make a lot more money as partners than enemies. Problem is, Boyd doesn’t trust the guy, and rightly so. He calls Quarles a carpetbagger and, after a stare-down, Quarles heads for the door, but Boyd has a final warning:
Carpetbaggers in three pice suits have been coming to Harlan for a long time. They have a habit of dying off like deer flies at the end of the summer.
Somehow, Quarles knows this is a quote from Saul Bellow. Hmmm. Okaaay. This isn’t exactly a well-known quote, from what I can tell. It’s actually from a letter Bellow wrote to Philip Roth which said “I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do about the journalists. We can only hope that they will die off as the deer flies do towards the end of August.” Are we supposed to believe that both Boyd and Quarles knew that? Seems unlikely, but hey, maybe both of them were pursuing masters degrees in American Lit before they became drug dealers.
Limehouse has some knowledge from unlikely sources as well. Luckily, he doesn’t start quoting Thomas Pynchon. He is paying Tanner’s girl to keep him updated on what’s happening between Boyd and Quarles. In this case, having a network of spies may turn out be just as smart as having a knowledge of arcane quotes from Jewish-American novelists.
On the drive home, Raylan tells Art that Winona “seems fine with the way things are,” but even he seems unconvinced by that, and Art sounds positively sarcastic: “She’s a special lady.” Raylan goes home to find no Winona, just a note. Uh-oh.