Justified Season 3 Finale – “Slaughterhouse”
We have now found our way to the finale of this season of Justified and it is a pretty satisfying ending. The loose ends of all the threads of plot that had been dangling all over the place have now been neatly woven into place and all or most of the questions raised during the season have now been answered, including the most important one: How do you disarm a man with a sleeve gun?
We begin where we left off last week, at the scene of the shooting of Tom, Raylan’s state trooper pal, who we learn has now died of his injuries without ever awakening to confirm the identity of his assailant. Boyd was knocked unconscious by the blast that destroyed Quarles’ car, and Quarles is gone, apparently unmarked by anyone. Raylan hears that Boyd has now awakened inside the bar and is being interrogated, so he goes to hear what his old buddy has to say. Johnny keeps repeating that Quarles shot Tom, but Raylan is apparently suspicious of Johnny and tells him to shut up. Meanwhile, Boyd’s not saying much, but Raylan gets him to admit that Wynn Duffy blew up the car.
Just then, Arlo shows up. He wants to know if Raylan was the cop with the hat that was shot. Right away, Boyd points him out to the cops as a “family member” and wants to talk to him.
The conversation is very confusing because Arlo is out of his mind. He seems to be convinced that Helen is still around and is tormenting him. He accuses her of hiding his pills, and says he “took care of business.” That sounds ominous. What did he do? Boyd forces him to take some meds and watches him do it.
Raylan goes looking for Duffy and finds him in custody, handcuffed to the back of his winnie. Raylan takes Duffy inside the winnie for a chat, but Duffy isn’t very forthcoming, so Raylan borrows an idea from one of Duffy’s earlier cohorts: Harlan Roulette. Duffy is seriously freaked out when Raylan starts pulling the trigger and starts to talk. Loudly. He says that Limehouse set up the whole thing and that he doesn’t know where Quarles is. That seems unlikely, since he was so hot to hand Quarles over to Detroit for the cash, but maybe an explosion does make you lose track of people.
Next, we see Boyd meeting with Limehouse and a whole lot of backup on the bridge to Noble’s Holler. Apparently, this meeting was called by Limehouse, and it’s to resign his position as Boyd’s banker. He wasn’t really in Boyd’s corner anyway, and now I guess he wants to make it official. Why now? Is the auditor coming for a visit? Or does this mean he is openly moving against Boyd? He makes a point of noting that Devil’s not with Boyd, so message delivered: he knows.
When Limehouse gets back to BBQHQ, Raylan’s there, playing with the salt shakers. People must be curious about their own shortcomings, because when Raylan says that Limehouse screwed up, Limehouse says: “In what manner of speaking?” Raylan threatens to charge Limehouse with accessory to murder, but Limehouse rightly questions why:
Limehouse: Now hold on just a minute.
Raylan: You promised me Quarles, you promised me Boyd.
Limehouse: I don’t recall promising you donkey squat. I just pointed out an opportunity, more like.
Limehouse decides that it was Raylan that must have screwed up, because “one of yours is dead.” That tears it. Raylan goes after Limehouse, who pulls a meat cleaver, while Raylan pulls out two guns, one each aimed at Limehouse and Errol. Problem is, the backup from the bridge is still hanging around, and Raylan failed to account for them. Just as they all cock their weaponry, the salt shaker Raylan had poised on its edge falls over. That’s a nice touch. Once again, it’s the details that make this show so good.
Limehouse (to his posse): You boys know how to get rid of blood and bones. If he shoots, you make sure nobody finds him. None of him.
Raylan: I want what you promised me.
Limehouse: I don’t know if I can get you Quarles, but I might could get you Boyd Crowder.
Raylan: I’m listening.
Honestly, I don’t know why Raylan cares to go after Boyd at this point, but I guess any bad guy is better than none.
Next, we see a family camping in the woods, and you just know Quarles is going to spoil their fun. Sure enough, he pops out of nowhere and takes them hostage.
Shelby calls Boyd to tip him off that the marshals are digging up Devil and plan to pin his murder on Boyd. He says with that warning, they’re square. Sounds like Shelby wants a chance to be Sheriff without being under anyone’s thumb. Good for him.
Quarles is in the family van with Pete, Mitch and their mom. He makes a call to Theo Tonin and asks what he needs to do to come home. Theo says he needs $500k. Somehow, Quarles thinks he’s going to get it.
Boyd is explaining things to Arlo, Johnny and Ava, and he knows the tipoff to the cops came from Limehouse, because Limehouse made sure he knew it. Boyd suspects one of them told Limehouse. Suspicion falls on Arlo, because he’s crazy. Ava wants to find a way to fix it, but Boyd knows there’s no chance.
Quarles makes the family pull over and leaves mom by the side of the road. Guess he had too many mouths to feed.
The cops come to pick up Boyd and the marshals are with them. Boyd wants to know why they are involved and Art says it’s a joint task force. Boyd observes that is also as good a way as any to prove that Ralan and Boyd aren’t in cahoots. Art says “You aren’t as dumb as you look. I like the use of the word cahoots, though.” Nice.
Out of nowhere, Arlo apologizes to Raylan for “the way I treated you as a boy.” Says it’s at Helen’s request. Apparently, she’s been after him about a lot of things. Must be tough to get nagged worse after your spouse is gone than when she was alive.
Ava is quizzing Johnny, wondering who could have tipped off Limehouse about Devil. Johnny says that Ellie Mae had Dickie Bennett in her trailer.
The cops have the mom and she tells them what she heard on the phone. (BTW, can’t they now track Quarles on the mom’s cell phone?) Art heads off to set up roadblocks on the roads to Detroit, but Raylan knows Quarles won’t be going there until he gets the money. Sure enough, he gets a call from Quarles. He goes to meet him and gets taken hostage with the boys in the van. Quarles reveals his sleeve gun and takes two guns off of Raylan: his regular piece and another one. The other one Raylan says he can keep.
Limehouse is holding court at the BBQ and has a private conversation with Errol. Apparently Errol is one of the few around who eats pig tongue. Limehouse is going to have to discontinue it, because Errol is going away. He’s being banished for his role in knocking over the oxy clinic with Tanner earlier in the season.
Just then, Johnny calls and lights into Limehouse about the way he let Boyd know that he knew about Devil. Apparently it was Johnny that told Limehouse, in order to get rid of Boyd and get back at him for getting Johnny shot in season 1. That’s a bit of a shocker. But I guess old wounds do fester.
Ava goes to have a chat with Ellie Mae about Dickie Bennett. She ends up smacking the girl around quite a bit and it’s remarkably reminiscent of the way Ellie Mae was treated by her former boss, Delroy, the one that Ava objected to. Funny how supervising hookers can bring out the pimp in just about anyone.
Quarles is taking Raylan and Mitch to see Limehouse in order to get the money from him. It’s hard to see exactly what his thinking is. How does having Raylan in tow help his case with Limehouse? Is Limehouse supposed to just object to killing the boy and the marshall on principle? Limehouse’s response is predictable: “Not my people, not my problem.”
Quarles: Well, then I’m going to kill you.
Limehouse: You do, and ther’ll be a dozen armed men out there before you can turn around, as the marshal can attest.
Raylan: I can.
Quarles: Yes, but then you would be…dead.
Limehouse: Ok, then, I guess we all know where we stand.
It’s a bit of a standoff, but Raylan breaks the awkward silence by reminding Limehouse that he keeps saying that all he wants is to be left alone, and this gets it done. Limehouse reluctantly sticks a knife into one of his hanging pork bellies and rolls of money come spilling out. “It’s a piggy bank!” cries Quarles gleefully.
Limehouse: Marshall you are one strange piece of chicken. One day you’re about to tear my whole world apart over a dead trooper. Next day, you’re given all this money to the man who killed him.
Quarles: Wait a second, you think I killed the trooper?
Raylan: Who did?
Just then, Limehouse’s trusty henchman shoots at Quarles, and Quarles fires back. Raylan grabs the arm with the gun so Quarles tries to use the sleeve gun, and Raylan grabs that arm too. Limehouse goes at Quarles with his meat cleaver and cuts off the his arm while Raylan’s holding it. Quarles tries to get his arm back from Raylan, but Raylan won’t give it to him. Quarles falls, bleeding out, but Raylan still wants to know: “Who killed him?” Quarles, laughing eerily, chokes out, “Your old man.” Poor Mitch had to see that whole thing. Yeah, he’s scarred for life.
Raylan goes and wakes up Arlo and takes him into the office. Seems like he could have waited for morning. Art mentions that one of the guns Quarles had was the gun that kiled Gary. Ha. Game, set and match: Raylan made sure to pin that on him. Boyd is there too, and as Arlo is taken for questioning into a conference room, Raylan asks Boyd, “Do you think it’s true what they say?”
Boyd: What do they say?
Raylan: One bad apple spoils the barrel.
Boyd: Well Raylan even in a little town like Harlan I think the apple barrel is obsolete.
Raylan: The expression ain’t, because of the truth contained therein.
Boyd: You trying to tell me we ain’t talking about apples.
Raylan observes that Boyd should be going away for a long time. Boyd repeats something that he said about Arlo earlier: “I’m connected to Arlo in ways I was never given a chance to do with my own daddy. He’s not my crew, he’s my family.”
Raylan goes into the conference room in time to hear Arlo say that he shot the trooper…and Devil. He confesses to both killings and says he did it to protect Boyd. Wow.
We hear Raylan’s voice narrating the story at the end, and it’s not clear why, until we see him telling the story to Winona. She wants to know why he’s there.
Raylan: Thought I might pat the belly, see the latest sonogram.
Winona: Tell me a story about a man getting his arm chopped off?
Raylan: You know what they say in the office? I disarmed him.
The last thing Raylan explains to Winona is why Art thought Raylan would be upset about Arlo: he shot Tom just because he saw a man in a hat pointing a gun at Boyd. The implication is that Arlo chose Boyd over Raylan. that Boyd is the son Arlo wants, even to the extent that he would be willing to kill Raylan to protect Boyd.
The only problem with that is that Boyd was on the ground and unconscious at the time. Tom had to have been pointing his gun at Quarles, not Boyd.