12
Mar
2013
Justified: Season 4, Episode 10
Get Drew
Jordan
Considering that this episode of Justified actually lives up to its title, and considering it features a large game of cat-and-mouse involving most of this series' major characters, including the returning Limehouse, its surprising how much "Get Drew" feels like the storm clouds are gathering rather than the raindrops actually falling. In the weeks to come, I have no doubt we will see more than a small share of violence befall our characters. But tonight, instead, we got to watch these people do the thing they are best at (besides trying to kill each other): talking.

I've discussed before the way Justified has learn to make every death count, but "Get Drew" is impressive in that the show makes every choice on the way to some seemingly inevitable carnage count. Each of these choices has huge, life-altering consequences, to the point that, by the episode's end, virtually every character's mandate is just "run." And by lingering on these decisions, and by letting these characters talk out their choices, we learn more about each of them and set ourselves up for what will doubtlessly be one hell of a final stretch.

Much of "Get Drew"'s finest moments come in the scenes between the titular character and the show's greatest wounded puppy, Ellen May. In his decision to return for her, Drew proves that his years spent as a lawman (and probably the years before that he spent in hiding from his previous life of crime) have given him a stronger moral code. He begins by basically telling Ellen May what Boyd and Ava originally did: to get on a bus and not get off until she hits a coast. But he wants more than that for her, and he feels obligated to give it to her. So the two go on the run together, and their brief ride is one of the most poignant things this show has ever done. Drew makes a choice to stick out his neck for another person. And it doesn't end well. But in making that choice, we learn about the man he is behind all of the obfuscation he has practiced for decades, and that makes his downfall all the more depressing.

The two talk about the life they will lead in a seaside village in Mexico, and its so idyllic, it becomes increasingly obvious they will never see that day. It was clear, from a plot perspective, these two weren't making it out of Harlan, but the way the show builds to the revelation that Raylan has the airport staked out makes it a much more emotional conclusion. Now I understand the game the show has been playing with Ellen May all season. I imagine there are more twists to her journey ahead, but even if her whole story built to those few, brief moments of "freedom" in the car with Drew, it has been worth it in my mind.

Ellen May makes a choice herself, one of the first she has made of her own volition all season, when she suggests the two hide out with Ellstin Limehouse, whose return is timed perfectly for the biggest possible payoff. Keeping Limehouse offscreen so far this season gives his return the gravitas the character was always best at in spades. But of course, with Limehouse involved, things are never as simple as they seem, and he immediately takes Drew and Ellen May into his "protection," with an eye towards flipping them both to the highest bidder. Limehouse gets one of the episode's great monologues in his recollection to Boyd of a dream he had of flying a plane with everyone in Noble's Holler on board, and that he changes the terms of the deal he offered Boyd is only heartbreaking because it is so predictable. He forces Boyd to make a choice, and again, that choice tells us a lot about the character.

See, Boyd chooses Ellen May. To Boyd, the first priority is ensuring Ava's safety from the law, of making sure the two of them can't be separated by their crimes coming to light. Boyd may be ambitious, and he may have his eyes set on a very large prize, but he's also a romantic at heart, and his fiance is his first priority. Ava, though, has always been more calculating, and has grown even more so the closer she is tied to Boyd. She knows that Drew is the key to their future, and also the key to staying on Theo Tonin's good side. So she persuades Boyd to choose Drew, yet another decision with momentous consequences.

Meanwhile, the episode continually ratchets up the stakes for Raylan. Its always been clear Drew Thompson is a big case, but "Get Drew" spends a lot of its runtime having other characters tell Raylan that catching Drew will make his career. Rachel tells him that he may soon be her boss. Art tells him he'll be able to write his own ticket. And when Raylan puts Drew in the back of the car, the look on his face isn't just one of satisfaction. Raylan looks positively bowled over by what has just happened. And its because, for our hero, this case may mean a whole lot more than even he has yet realized. But just as soon as he allows himself to feel the weight of the accomplishment, he reminds the others just how far they have to go. "We just gotta figure out how to get out of Harlan alive."

That's the line that ends the episode, and combining that with scenes of Boyd telling Ava and Johnny they should run and Wynn Duffy asking his bodyguard if he has a passport, the show has done an excellent job of establishing just how large a threat the characters are facing in Theo Tonin. A lot of season four has been building to what I imagine will be an explosive and thrilling final few weeks. If Justified sticks the landing, this will go down as its greatest season yet. And even if it doesn't, this is still one hell of a ride.

Grade: A-

Notes:

-"You shoulda been on the other side, with me and your daddy. You'd still be able to shoot people, and be an asshole. Your two favorite activities. Except you'd be a rich asshole."

-"I hope they broke his cell phone in half before they let him go!" "I think you're the only one who does stuff like that."

-"How the hell do you come all the way down here every other damn day?" Art has been so god damn delightful all season.

-"Ellen May is a bullet in a loaded gun. Its best you stay out of those sights and stay safe."

-"I know we're on the run and all. But I ain't never felt so free."

-"You got another battery?"

-"It didn't look to me like she mean you no harm at all..."

-"I'm prettier than her. I'm blonde! And I can do shit they ain't even thought up names for yet!"
Tags: Justified
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