Justified Season 3 Episode 12 – “Coalition”
You know, when someone is warned repeatedly about something it’s almost inevitable that the very thing they were warned about is going to come to pass, so no one should be surprised that Robert Quarles finds a way to escape his predicament in this episode. What is surprising is that someone like Boyd would make it so easy for him.
He leaves a guy like Robert Quarles (who he knows is worth $200k in Detroit) chained (with a comfortably long chain) by his ankle in a trailer and watched by two hillbilly hookers and a moron with a gun. Quarles’ clothes and sleeve gun (still loaded of course) are in the trailer along with a bottle of oxy. Now what could possibly go wrong with that scenario?
A lot of important stuff gets revealed in this episode, which is nice since there was probably a little too much to hold it all back for the finale anyway. The episode is called “coalition” because we are seeing the shifting tides ebb and flow as first one, then another alliance forms and breaks as the characters pursue the Bennett money and each other. There are at least four separate sets of players in this drama as we wind down to the final episode of the season:
1. Team Raylan: This is primarily Raylan and the marshals, but also Lindsay the barmaid and Tom from the state police. Raylan wants to put Quarles away and get Dickie back in jail, but he also is looking for the Bennett money to take into custody.
2. Team Limehouse: Consisting of Limehouse, Errol and the other henchmen in Noble’s holler. Limehouse is the only one who we know for certain has knowledge of the whereabouts of Mags Bennett’s $3 million dollars. So far, he ain’t tellin’. At the end of last episode, Errol looked to be allied with Dickie Bennet in pursuit of the cash.
3. Team Boyd: Boyd and Ava and Boyd’s brother Johnny plus Arlo Givens are all looking to get ahold of the Bennett money, run a bar, a protection racket and Audrey’s Brothel, and run the weed and oxy trade in Harlan. You have to admire Boyd’s ambition. Errol told Dickie at the end of the last episode that he wanted to use Boyd to help them get the money.
4. Team Quarles: Quarles and Wynn Duffy have been tight for most of the season and, at first, he appeared to have the backing of Theo Tonin and his son from Detroit, too. That’s all gone now, as Tonin has put out a contract on Quarles and Wynn is trying to cash in on it.
Also looking frayed are Quarles’ alliances with former Sheriff Napier and Limehouse. Quarles appears done for, but as we see in this episode, he never panics and is ever-resourceful, even if he remains totally creepy. Boyd has previously appeared to be allied with Limehouse, but it’s not clear if Limehouse is actually willing to help anyone. Raylan has been getting help from Boyd at times, but has had no luck getting anything out of Limehouse. Quarles promised to kill Raylan, and he’s at odds with Boyd over the oxy trade, but he may still be abe to get help from Limehouse.
We start with Quarles naked at Audrey’s getting babysat by two hookers. He tells them about the sleeve gun: It’s a .32 caliber ACP, and he uses hollow points. Of course, Quarles subscribes to the philosophy that:
“When things are at their darkest, pal, it’s a brave man that can kick back and party.”
Bonus points if you can name the movie where that line comes from and the actor who said it.
Dickie is following Errol’s advice to get help from Boyd (sounds stupid, but what choice does he really have?). As he walks into the bar, Boyd can’t believe it. He nearly kills Dickie before he decides to hear him out on the money angle. Arlo just wants Dickie dead, but Ava convinces them both to listen to what Dickie and Errol have to say.
Raylan visits Napier, who somehow is still in the Sheriff’s office and in uniform.
Napier: You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t need something, what the hell you want?
Raylan: Looking for Robert Quarles
N: Never heard of him.
R: He’s from Detroit. He financed your re-election campaign
N: If you know so much, how come you can’t find him yourself. You’re the marshal, isn’t that what you do?
R: Yeah, it is. And this is how we do it.
N: You got any idea what it’s like running local law enforcement in this county?
R: Some, I expect.
N: No you don’t. At the end of the day, you truck off to Lexington or wherever the hell you go, and put it all in your rearview mirror. I go home right up to that holler, and let me tell you son, the shit follows me home like a three-legged dog.
Your heart just aches for the guy. Raylan gets the info that Quarles is at Audrey’s and goes to make a social call. Napier is not overly fond of Quarles anymore. That’s if he ever was.
Back at Audrey’s, Quarles is partying with the hookers to one of the cheesiest songs of a cheesy decade:
He doesn’t seem to mind though, he’s shotgunning oxy hits with the hookers until the dummy with the gun comes in and puts a stop to it. Quarles figures out pretty quick how to get the drop on these rubes.
Boyd and the gang are interrogating Errol about the whereabouts of the money. Errol is saying it’s in a safe deposit box at a bank. Boyd wants to have Ava and Arlo case the joint while he delivers Quarles to Detroit and sees about some explosives. He’s not going to have to do at least one of those things. He also seems a little leery of involving Ava in a bank robbery.
Raylan is at Audrey’s and Quarles is gone, leaving the hookers chained to Boyd’s gunman. Raylan finds it funny:
You know what the two saddest words in the English language are? “What Party?” That’s kinda how I feel right now.
He leaves them all chained up and heads out.
Ava is at the bank checking out the boxes for rent while Arlo looks around outside. Raylan is summoned by Tom to watch them casing the bank “about as subtle as a marching band” according to Tom.
Raylan: So Dickie’s with Limehouse’s guy up at Boyd’s and these two are down here poking around. Makes for some strange bedfellows dontcha think?
Tom: I think if I’ve ever seen a clutch of fools fixing to rob a place, I’m looking at it right now.
Boyd now has to explain to Duffy how he lost Quarles, and Duffy is going to have to explain to Theo Tonin about it. He tells the story about Theo talking into the ear and Boyd asks the same question: What does he say?
Boyd then tells Duffy about the bank job, but why? Why would he offer to cut Duffy in on the bank money? He wants Duffy’s help with the diversion, but I don’t see why that requires that he tell him about the bank. Anyway, the upshot is that Boyd will set the charge in Quarles’ car and Duffy’s job will be to blow up Quarles’ car so that Boyd can then rob the bank. One other problem I see with that plan is that it will most likely leave precious little evidence of Quarles’ death to take back to Theo Tonin. Will he pay $100k for another ear, or a bone, or a few teeth? I doubt it.
Quarles has gone to beg Limehouse for help again, and somehow Limehouse is in a mood to listen. He hires Quarles for his “particular skill-set” and tells him that Boyd is robbing the bank and wants Quarles to hit Boyd when he comes out of the bank.
Boyd is planning the bank job and wants Ava and Arlo to go home instead of participating. Arlo is extremely unhappy, but Ava takes him home.
Quarles calls Duffy and wants him to meet outside the bank. Duffy was expecting the call.
Limehouse is still making meat dishes when Raylan shows up. Does he ever do anything else?
Raylan: Escort’s a nice touch, it’s like visiting the wizard of oz.
Escort: Yeah, I’ve never seen it. All them flying monkey’s? Mm-mmm.
Raylan: You should stick with it. At the end, they pull the curtain back, turns out the guy’s kind of a pussy.
Raylan is just there to tip Limehouse that the bank is going to be robbed by Boyd and see what Limehouse’s reaction is, but Limehouse one-ups him by spilling his own info that Quarles is going to be there to rob Boyd.
Limehouse: It’s funny how that money brings together all them wayward personalities, but they’re going to be right there, all in the same place for you to do whatever you want to do with them. Ah hell, I’d just let em kill each other if I was you, but…I’m not.
Raylan: Looks like Christmas is coming early to law enforcement.
I’m not sure whether this was the plan all along or if Limehouse just saw an opportunity, but it has worked out very nice for him to either get all the others to kill each other or get them arrested. But Raylan’s not dumb enough to think that the money is actually there, and he warns Limehouse that he’s going to keep coming after it until he gets it.
Meanwhile, Boyd isn’t too dumb either. He asks Errol to go into the bank with him, and seeing Errol’s hesitation, he knows. He has figured out that the bank job stinks to high heaven and wants to know which one of them, Errol or Dickie, set him up. He figures out it’s Errol, and since Errol has no place to go outside of Noble’s Holler, he figures Limehouse is behind it. Errol confesses that Limehouse is trying to get Boyd sent back to prison. Looks like that was the plan all along.
Arlo is cracking up completely, having a violent argument with his dead wife abouut how Boyd has cut him out. Ava goes to get his meds, while Arlo gets a gun. Boyd is calling on the phone and knows something’s wrong. Dickie wants to know when Boyd is planning to kill him. Boyd isn’t going to do that right now because he figures Limehouse told the cops that Errol and Dickie were at the bar. Boyd takes off to find out what happened to Ava, and Dickie manages to get the drop on Johnny. He turns the gun on Errol and makes him tell where the money is. The question is, does Errol actually know?
The cops and Limehouse are both watching the bar and see Dickie and Errol take off. Limehouse immediately calls Raylan, which means that Errol does know where the money is, and Limehouse is down to his last play: sell out Dickie and give the money to the feds to buy some peace and get Dickie out of his hair.
Boyd gets to Arlo’s house to find Ava locked in the basement and Arlo gone. You have to figure Arlo would make a beeline for the bank or Boyd’s bar. Johnny calls Boyd and tells him about Errol and Dickie leaving. He overheard Errol say that the money is…with Loretta!!!
Dickie and Errol are pulling up to Loretta’s house and Dickie locks Errol in the trunk of the car. As he sneaks into the house, Raylan is sitting in the front room. He says Dickie is going to back to prison, and breaks the window of the house to make sure of it. Raylan provokes Dickie by calling him a stupid craven hillbilly and Dickie follows suit by trying to shoot Raylan, which just gets Dickie shot. Limehouse is sitting on the front porch and Raylan thanks him for the call.
Raylan takes Loretta in to the office and Loretta wants to know what Raylan is going to do. Raylan says the money would just sit in an evidence locker and anyway, he made an agreement with Limehouse to “respect Mags’s decision” about the money. Loretta says she respects his decision.
Raylan: I’ll tell you tell you something, if I drive by your place and see a brand new Lexus in your driveway or hear about Van Halen playing your Goddamn birthday party I will drop down on you like a piano, throw your ass in hock and take every bit of that money with me, do you understand?
Loretta: Marshal, do I strike you in any way as a Van Halen fan?
So Loretta gets to keep the money!
But Quarles is still out there, like a snake in the long grass. He’s smoking oxy in Wynn’s winnie and Wynn ain’t happy about it. Limehouse calls and says Boyd is not going to hit the bank, but that he wants Quarles to hit Boyd anyway for his intent. He sends Quarles to Boyd’s bar to “show Boyd them skills.”
Duffy decides to wait until Quarles tries to kill Boyd before triggering the bomb in Quarles’ car.
Boyd sees Quarles pull up and calls Duffy, wondering what is going on. When he can’t get him, he goes out to confront Quarles, and Quarles tries to use his sleeve gun. Duffy, incompetent (or just unlucky, your call) as ever, finally triggers the bomb, blowing up the car, but somehow Quarles once again survives. Boyd is thrown into a pole and knocked out. Tom sees the explosion and responds to the scene, ordering Quarles to drop his weapon. Somehow, Tom gets shot and Quarles takes off before Raylan is able to get there. Raylan is left looking all directions for Quarles, but seeing nothing.
The final showdown will be next week.