'Justified' Recap: 'The Hatchet Tour'
March 6th, 2013 9:20am EST
"The Hatchet Tour" is the ninth episode of Justified's fourth cycle, meaning that after Tuesday, we're officially into the last quarter of the season. That's the perfect time to finally reveal the identity of Drew Thompson. But then what?
The episode opens on a very cranky note. Tim is not happy to find his friend Mark's dead body at a drug dealer's house. He cooperates with the investigating officers, but it's clear the wheels in his the most underappreciated Deputy Marshal's head are already turning. Elsewhere, Tim's psuedo-partner Raylan is collecting Hunter (guest star Brent Sexton) from prison, so it's not a good day for anyone. Including Art, whose response involves expletives and yelling. "Call him and articulate to him my extreme displeasure," Art's tirade starts, and it ends with "and that's where his nightmare will begin." One imagines the Chief Deputy gets bulk size bottles of Advil for the holidays.
Tim calls Raylan, who insists that he's going to drop Hunter off safe and sound at his new destination once he gets some information out of him. He says that just moments before his Lincoln rolls up outside Wynn Duffy's (guest star Jere Burns) motorhome. Raylan tells Duffy how the expression "hashing it out" came from the French word "hatchet" (hence the title of the episode!), and how he thought he'd put Duffy in the same room with Hunter and see what happened. What happens is that Duffy asks him if he's got any particular ideas about what to do with Hunter, while the former sheriff is standing within inches of them both. Awkward.
While this is happening, Ava and Boyd are house-hunting. Lest you think you've accidentally switched over to HGTV, Ava tells Boyd that the place they're examining looks familiar because her mother used to clean it, and then shortly thereafter tells the elitist real estate agent to shove it. Somewhere in that, Boyd thinks he just got one step closer to finding Drew Thompson. He and Ava arrange a surprise meeting with Ellen May's last client, at the same time that the late Pastor Billy's sister Cassie (guest star Lindsay Pulsipher) turns up looking for the missing girl.
Hunter rolls out of the back of Raylan's Lincoln and tries to commit suicide by oncoming truck, but Raylan pulls him out of the road just in time and knocks some sense into him (literally). The next thing that happens is that Sheriff Shelby rolls up behind them and pulls our hero over to get the 411. He and Raylan have different ideas when it comes to how to get Hunter to talk, but that doesn't stop Shelby from inviting himself along for the rest of the field trip.
When Colt arrives at the bar, Boyd tells him what Cassie said to Ava about Ellen May having left word yesterday, so clearly Colt didn't do his job of bumping her off. He dispatches Colt to the Last Chance Holiness Church to see if he can find Ellen May there, and as Colt freaks out in the bar's parking lot, Tim is watching him from across the street. When Colt departs for the church, Tim decides to follow him.
Boyd doesn't find Ellen May in town, and returns to the bar to chat with Ava and Johnny, who informs them both that Colt is a liar who cannot be trusted. Johnny's holding more cards than he's showing, especially since his new girlfriend overheard Ava's conversation with Ellen May's last client and told him about it. Boyd senses that the other man knows more than he's saying, and he pointedly tells his cousin, "Why don't you start from the beginning?"
The two men end up in Boyd's truck, with Johnny continuing, "I didn't want to accuse him without something solid," before defending his decision not to speak up earlier by saying that since Colt is Boyd's friend, he didn't know what to do. Cut to Colt wandering into what's left of Last Chance Holiness Church to question Cassie. By question, he clamps a hand around her throat, which seems counter-productive to his demands to tell him where Ellen May is. Cassie's saved, however, when Tim walks in with his service weapon aimed squarely at Colt. And Tim Gutterson doesn't miss. Unfortunately for Tim, though, Boyd arrives and gets to take the junkie home unharmed.
Constable Bob Sweeney (guest star Patton Oswalt) pays a visit to a shotgun-wielding Lee Paxton, wanting to collect him for a meeting, but Paxton brushes him aside. Sweeney's bruised ego causes him to storm back up the front porch with his gun, and when Raylan rolls up on the house, Sweeney is exchanging gunfire with Paxton and his houseguest...with an assault weapon. Dude has some serious self-esteem issues he needs to deal with. Raylan is in the ironic position of breaking up a gunfight. While he's doing that, Shelby gets into the backseat of the Lincoln and chats with Hunter, who calls him "Drew." Yes, the elusive Drew Thompson is now Sheriff Shelby.
Back in the house, Raylan's trying to sort facts out between Sweeney, Paxton and his buddy. When Sweeney starts another one of his spiels with too much information in it, the lightbulb goes on over Raylan's head and he realizes that Drew Thompson is in his car. Yet when he gets back outside, the Lincoln has a flat tire and Sweeney's patrol cruiser is missing, along with the man of the hour. However, Hunter's still there.
And in his office Boyd quizzes Colt about the murder of Ellen May. When he wants Colt to reenact the actual shooting, the other man squirms. That's Boyd's cue to turn around and put the gun right up into the middle of Colt's forehead. "Why are you lying to me, Colt?" he asks. "We know you didn't kill Ellen May. The lying stops right now." As Johnny looks on, the other man finally apologizes and admits that he messed up. He even reveals that Shelby knew that Ellen May was alive. But is that vital piece of information anywhere close to good enough to keep him alive, considering the ramifications of his mistakes?
Over Ava's objections, Boyd hands her some money and sends her on her way to parts unspecified, while he heads straight to Shelby's house. But when he gets there, there's a whole party of law enforcement officers waiting for him, including Raylan. Boyd is taken into custody, and as for Hunter, he's sent off to his next prison only a little worse for wear. Raylan turns back to the house and fetches Tim, telling him, "Let's go find Drew Thompson."
"The Hatchet Tour" answers the question of "Who is Drew Thompson?" just in time, considering how many episodes are left, but as any longtime Justified fan knows, that's about half the answer. Just knowing who is attached to the name is only scratching the surface of the mystery. It's not just who Drew Thompson is literally, but who he is now, what kind of man he is today, and what's going to happen to him. Shelby's been around long enough that the audience has a familiarity with him, but at the same time, clearly we don't know him that well if he's had this whole previous life. Do we believe what was previously established about the character, or do we put that aside and judge him by what we're about to find out? And what are we about to find out?
Another plus for the episode is more screen time for the character of Tim Gutterson, who appears to have a bigger part going forward, too. This is always a good thing - Jacob Pitts has proven himself a master of deadpan line delivery, has a great chemistry with Timothy Olyphant, and of all the supporting Marshals, Tim is the most underused. There have been episodes centered on Art and Rachel, but the series is due for more Tim, and it looks like we're going to get it.
However, here's a thought for these next few episodes: by the end of every Justified season, many folks tend to die. Plenty of bodies already dropped in "Outlaw." Given the reveal of him as Drew Thompson and all the history that entails, it'd be pretty surprising if Shelby continues past the end of this season; he seems more likely to die or disappear. There's also the issue of Johnny betraying Boyd, which would seem to put David Meunier's recurring role at risk. This would normally be considered acceptable attrition. But the series has proven this time around that it can create a great season without bringing in an outside "big bad," and that would be a pretty great way to go forward. One of the things TV writers are taught is never to hinge your script on a guest star - so why should Justified as a show not continue to build around its established group of vibrant characters and talented actors that would make other series' writers cry with envy? But that requires not losing too many pieces of said ensemble.
One thing's for certain: now that the proverbial cat's out of the bag, pretty much anything could happen next, and given that this is a show captained by Graham Yost and based on the works of the never-dull Elmore Leonard, it probably will.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Photo Credits: FX