Review: Justified, Season 3, Episode 307 “The Man Behind The Curtain”
Airdate: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 10PM E/P on FX
Finally, we have a very intriguing and quite perplexing episode; one which leaves me yearning for more. Although it doesn’t come across immediately, it’s the layered nuances of “The Man Behind The Curtain” that pose a few questions I wasn’t prepared for and answer one key question – where is Gary (William Ragsdale)?
Before we solve the mystery of Gary’s whereabouts, let’s dive into the most peculiar scene of the episode: why is Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) chasing after his late wife up in Noble’s Hollar? If you recall in my review of “The Devil You Know,” we found out Raylan’s mother ran up there seeking refuge from her abusive husband. However, we don’t know what became of his mother; we’ve only seen her tombstone. Could Mrs. Givens still be alive? Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) refers to her as Arlo’s “late wife” but knowing the curve balls of Justified, nothing is set in stone, per se. Case in point –Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was shot at point blank range, leading us to believe he was a goner. But lo and behold, he rolls in at the end of season two alive and well…sort of.
Quarles (Neal McDonough) loses some of his cool factor when his idiot step-brother Sammy (Max Perlich) stops by to check up on things. The interesting parts of this visit are the revelations of Quarles’ past. Despite being groomed to be a big shot in the Tonin crime family, he is overlooked because he’s not Theodore Tonin’s biological son. That’s gotta hurt; especially when Sammy is just a weasel of a man hiding behind the façade of, “Do you know who my father is?” But Sammy proves useful to Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) after all when it seems they’re after the same goal – stopping Quarles. What I’d like to know is what happened to Quarles’ former “rent boy,” as Sammy puts it? Sammy reminds Quarles of a previous mistake he made to which his father took severe action upon. There seems to be a very interesting family dynamic in the Tonin family.
As I mentioned, this episode is layered with nuances. A bruised and battered Tanner (Brendan McCarthy) shows up in Noble’s Hollar, and Limehouse’s henchman does have a name…it’s Earl (Demetrius Grosse). After a taut moment in the butchering house, including a nice visual of pig innards splayed on the chopping board, I’m not sure what Limehouse or Earl have planned for Tanner but thankfully, we don’t see any human innards being spilled. Limehouse is very intuitive and ingenious. He offers Tanner a way out in exchange for being his eyes and ears in Quarles’ business. While I wouldn’t trust Tanner with a lollipop, it seems Limehouse is more effective in conveying his sentiments and consequences for non-compliance.
Quarles thinks Raylan is in Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) pocket and then Sammy thinks Raylan is in Quarles’ pocket. Why would anyone think Raylan would be in anyone’s pocket? Things don’t seem to be going well for Raylan. First Winona (Natalie Zea) leaves him and now he’s a dirty U.S. Marshal? And after repercussions of a favor Raylan asked of his Marshal buddy Tim (Jacob Pitts), now Tim seems to no longer be interested in helping Raylan. Doesn’t Raylan have a friend in the world? Well, it seems both Quarles and Duffy (Jere Burns) think so. Although you may not recognize the name, ‘Walter Parks’ is our long lost pal Gary trying to make a living in Tulsa, OK. I guess Raylan’s impromptu rescue of Gary from Duffy’s clutches made Quarles and Duffy believe Raylan cares about Gary’s well being. Knowing Raylan, he’ll probably try to save Gary…again.
What I enjoy most about “The Man Behind The Curtain” is we don’t really get to see the real man behind the curtain. We meet Sammy, the son of the man who calls the shots from Detroit who, in turn, controls Quarles. We also get a glimpse of how Quarles is treated while in Detroit yet, he’s the “swinging dick” (so to speak) in Harlan because he’s the city-slicker in the fancy suits. I love the multifaceted puzzle we are presented with: Arlo calling after his “late wife” up in Noble’s Hollar; Boyd banking with Limehouse for firsthand information; Raylan sleeping in a rented room above a local dive bar (what the…); and Quarles taking orders from his weasel step-brother. And it seems Sheriff Napier (David Andrews) is now in Quarles’ pocket but Boyd is going to make sure Napier isn’t going to slide by unopposed in the next election for Sheriff. I really got a kick out of seeing Jim Beavers guest star this week. Beavers plays Boyd’s old friend Shelby who’s working as a greeter in a department store. Boyd offers Shelby a chance to change his profession. It’ll be interesting to see if Beavers will continue to guest star, or perhaps moonlight and become a regular on Justified while fighting demons with the Winchester boys on Supernatural. While I appreciate the depth of this puzzle, I am hoping for more answers and less questions in the next episode. Wishful thinking?
I recall in the first season when Raylan didn’t seem to give a damn about anyone but himself. He was ornery and salted, like a man without hope or care. It seems after his little re-encounter with Winona and the fact that she may (or may not) be carrying his child has softened the good Marshal, but to what end? What is the point? He’ll either get killed or get someone else killed. I hope they don’t soften Raylan up too much. I enjoyed him punching Boyd in the gut, reminding him of what will happen if he is continually dragged through the mud of Harlan. That’s the Raylan I want to see more of. And when Quarles asks Raylan, “So, this is how you’re gonna do it?” after Raylan issues an eviction notice of sorts, it makes me wonder – what was Quarles expecting Raylan to do? Does he really think Raylan is dirty? What other way did he expect Raylan to come up with to get him out of town? I think Quarles wants things to get bloody. I think it’s a sadistic thrill for him – case in point, that not-so-secret bedroom with the guy tied to the bed.
Tune in to Justified, Tuesdays at 10PM E/P only on FX.
For more on the show, go to http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/justified/.
Follow FX on Twitter and use hashtag #JustifiedFX.
Follow cast member Joelle Carter on Twitter: @Joelle_Carter.
For fans of Walton Goggins, Follow @WaltonGFan.
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Photos © 2011 FX Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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