This review contains spoilers.
5.5 Shot All To Hell
This episode started off with a shot of adrenaline and seemed to raise the tension at every turn. The Boyd/Paxton feud is finally at an end as Deputy Mooney informs Mr. Paxton that the bodies of several dead criminals have been mysteriously found at his establishment and it is at this point that Mr. Paxton realizes that Mooney has sold him out to Boyd, who is still very much alive. In fact, Boyd has been in Paxton’s room the entire time and this time Boyd is going to finish what he started. As ruthlessly vicious as Boyd is, one cannot help but be impressed by the fact that the “low” class pariah has completely outmaneuvered the seemingly invincible “high” class socialite. Metaphorically, I would argue that this feud has always been about examining the perceived stereotypical social hubris of the wealthy and how it is never wise to underestimate the stereotypical blue collar worker because in America there is not much of an intellectual difference between “the haves and have nots.”
This feud also examined the idea of legacy and in particular a person’s family name, which, especially in certain rural areas of middle America is something that can affect how future generations are judged by their respective communities. As such, Boyd, before forcing Paxton to shoot himself, tells him that his death does not end this feud and that his family will suffer and his “children and their children’s children will have a mark against their name.” Boyd has also cleverly tarnished Paxton’s name by making him seem to be a coward for killing himself in the face of a criminal investigation that was going be launched into his personal affairs. The calculating brutality of these actions by Boyd is something that even Michael Corleone would be impressed by.
Not so coincidentally, when we later found out that Boyd has decided to rid himself of the services of the treacherous Deputy Mooney, the murder scene in the restaurant is eerily similar to the famous scene in The Godfather when Michael Corleone kills Sollozzo and the crooked cop McCluskey. That moment in The Godfather set Michael on a path that he would never return from and also set him on a course to seize a great deal of power as Boyd is no doubt poised to do as well. Boyd even excused himself to go to the bathroom like Michael did before his hired henchmen Hayes takes care of business for him. It is also worth mentioning that this scene had many similarities to the ending scene of The Sopranos as well and perhaps if we had a different angle of the diner in The Sopranos finale we would have seen a similar situation unfold.
Mooney was always trouble and it was nothing sort of lunacy on Mooney’s part to think that Boyd would help him get elected Sheriff. Mooney was oblivious to this fact and he was more concerned about people seeing him in Boyd’s presence. Now the writers on this show who never seem to miss a chance to make some sort of commentary on the complicated nature of the cultural attitudes of Americans have Boyd tell Mooney that people knew who LBJ was but that he still got elected. For anyone unfamiliar with American politics, LBJ was by all accounts an extremely difficult person to deal with and this statement is loaded with all sorts of possible interpretations. Of course Boyd has also decided that Mara deserves to get none of his money and by having Mooney killed in front of her the message is clear. However, Boyd makes it clear that Mara does get to leave Kentucky with her life and that is in fact something. Boyd is a criminal mastermind and his devious plans, as I said, are as scary as they come.
This week seemingly against all odds Dewey Crowe actually comes to a sort of deep metaphysical realization that a person’s actions do in fact alter who they are. He even begins to see that the people that we think we are are often not the people that we actually are and how everything can change in the matter of a moment. It was a great moment from Dewey because for him to come to this sort of personal enlightenment is truly shocking and it also foreshadows a troubling event that will take place later in the episode in regards to Ava. Dewey also knows that his family poisons everything that they touch and that he is essentially doomed.
On that note, Daryl is one confident criminal as he walks into Boyd’s bar and despite being threatened in only the great way that Boyd can decides to respond after having a gun pulled on him with the line “God damn man that was cool as ice.” Then he tells Boyd that he ripped his cousin off and that reparations need to be paid. Boyd tells him no and Daryl is shocked that Boyd could treat him with such disrespect. Boyd responds to this by saying” I’ve been accused of being a lot of things but inarticulate ain’t one of them.” Boyd then makes Daryl pay for the drinks and leave a tip before he is to vacate the premises.
Boyd also manages to make a deal with Hot Rod Dunham to turn his cousin Johnny over to him by allowing Hot Rod to become his partner in the heroin business. Life is looking much better for Boyd then it has in a long time and this is when Boyd’s world begins to spiral out of control. Cousin Johnny, ever the survivor, had already astutely realized that loyalty is very often bought in the criminal world. Johnny had bought Hot Rod’s men and rather than carry out Dunham’s plans, they instead turn on Hot Rod and Johnny is far from defeated. Boyd also, by removing Mara and by killing Paxton and Mooney, has made the case against Ava cease to exist and she is scheduled to be released from prison. Instead the exceptionally disturbing guard who tried to rape Ava last week proceeds to cut himself and get Ava’s cellmate to go along with this farce in order to have Ava sent to the state penitentiary. Boyd upon finding out about this demands to see Ava at the prison and has to be restrained from trying to break through the bars. Quite literally his plans have been “shot all to hell.”
Sticking with the title of this week’s episode, Raylan comes very close to being connected to the murder of Sammy Tonin as Art has found the infamous Mr. Picker and wants to question him. However, this interaction almost never happens because Theo Tonins right hand man Elias Marcos is there and wants to “talk” to Mr. Picker in order to bring him to Theo so that he can personally kill him for murdering his son Sammy. Theo apparently was hiding out in a shipping container waiting for Elias to deliver Picker to him. Art is able to get Elias to back off but these two meet up again and this time Raylan comes along for the ride. Raylan kills Marcos in a wild shootout in which Marcos uses a special type of as Art called it “badass” gun. Honestly why would a criminal not bring a machine gun to a gunfight? It makes perfect sense and yet we rarely see it happen. This scene also visually referenced the ending of Scarface in which Tony Montana, played by the same man who played Michael Corleone, attempts to single handedly use a machine gun to defeat all of his enemies. Needless to say it does not work and Raylan puts Elias down before Art has a chance to question him which is very convenient for Raylan. However, not all is lost as they found Theo Tonin at the scene and Art makes the biggest arrest of his career.
Back at the station, the crew is celebrating and Raylan is seemingly off the hook. it is at this point that Agent Vasquez, who just never seems to go away, tells Raylan that Picker said that the FBI agent who was on the tarmac when Nicky Augustine was killed was none other then Agent Barkley. Raylan is beyond relieved that he was not the one named and proceeds to leave the office but not before Art asks him if he has anything else to tell him. Art knows that Raylan was involved with the Nicky Augustine murder but he has no real proof. Then almost inexplicably Raylan walks back into Art’s office and tells him that Agent Barkley was not there that evening and that is a fact. Raylan is confessing to Art that he was there. So quite literally everything seems to be “shot to hell.” It was fantastic and utterly compelling television.
Read Matthew’s review of the previous episode, Over The Mountain, here.
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