Well, this episode certainly was all over the place, wasn’t it? It’s pretty par for the course for season 5. Every episode so far seems to overdose on storylines, without sticking around to the really compelling scenes for very long. Here are the best and worst moments from “Shot All to Hell.”

Best: The Old Boyd is Back

For the first few episodes this season, Boyd spent most of his time meandering through plotlines. He had a mission to get Ava out of prison, but it lead him on many different paths, including dealing with Detroit bad guys, Mara the Russian bride, and Mooney the corrupt cop. In this episode, Boyd gets rid of Paxton, Mooney, and Mara in a show of Crowder genius. He flawlessly makes his murder of Paxton look like a suicide, while destroying the thing Paxton loved most: his reputation. He also hired a man whose tenure in the coal mines left him with the black lung to kill Mooney, significantly scaring Mara enough to get her out of his life. Although it was sad to see a potentially intriguing character like Mara go without a penny, it was fun to watch.

Boyd’s murderous maneuvering took away all potential witnesses to Ava’s crime, allowing her to get out of jail. He also made a deal with Dunham to start trafficking heroin from Mexico. Unfortunately both plans were squashed by varying elements, but at least Boyd is back on track.

Worst: The Crowes

The continuing Crowe plotlines have turned me into a broken record. However, they are just not compelling villains at all. The smartest of the group is clearly the youngest, Kendal, who is clever enough to know when to back down. The same can’t be said about his dumbass kin. Wendy, who rescues him from social services, immediately puts her younger brother back into the brothel and into the hands of her psychotic relations. Danny’s temper, combined with a low IQ, leads him to kill his ally, Jean Baptiste (who never really got to do anything but hang around in the background of the Crowe scenes.) Dewey has pretty much given up on life, family, and anything having to do with this dragging storyline.

Daryl is the worst of the bunch. He comes head to head with Boyd and suffers in comparison. Why he thought he’d have the upper hand in a confrontation with Boyd is baffling. He didn’t seem to have a plan except to demand that Boyd give him more money and was stupefied by the fact that Boyd had no intention of handing it over. Should we be quivering in fear over this pathetic crew? The upcoming battle between Raylan and Daryl is barley worth worrying about, since Raylan is smarter, faster, and stronger in every way. So far, they’re the worst villains ever.

Best: Raylan’s Confession

As soon as Art heard that a marshal was partially responsible for the death of Sammy Tonin, he must have known it was Raylan. Art spent much of this episode trailing Detroit’s most elusive gangsters to get to the bottom of things (and ruin their breakfasts.) Art even copied many of Raylan’s most infamous tactics during his investigation. Telling a criminal to go to breakfast elsewhere seemed like something Raylan would have done, as well as the draw down in the restaurant. (Plus, messing up Wynn Duffy’s day is Raylan’s favorite activity.) Art was even sort of dressed like an old man version of Raylan. Art may not really like Raylan all the time, but at least he understands he gets things done.

When Picker refused to name Raylan as the crooked law enforcement officer, it could have ended there. Raylan could have just decided to let the matter fester between the two of them. Instead, he decided to confess in the very last moments, likely because of the respect he has for Art. This won’t end well, but the storyline says so much about the Raylan-Art relationship.

Worst: The Long List of Guest Stars

Did anyone notice how long the list of guest stars was after the credits? It went on past a few scenes, naming the many, many actors that appeared in the episode. Did the episode really need that many people? It’s one of my main problems with this season so far. Too many characters show up, only to die a few scenes later. Will Sasso’s Canadian criminal was killed by Alan Tudyk. (Also, notice that Justified is obsessed with casting comedic actors as baddies.) Jean Baptiste was killed by Danny after being completely pointless for 4 episodes. With all the Crowes, Detroit gangsters, Dunham’s crew, and lawmen, it’s no wonder that every episode feels packed.

Best: Johnny Turns the Tables

Despite his constant complaining about being shot in season one, I’ve grown really like Johnny. He’s learned a lot as a Boyd Crowder henchman and tonight it paid off. Just as Dunham was about to turn on Johnny in favor of Boyd, Johnny proved to be a few steps ahead. He spent his cut of Boyd’s drug money on buying the loyalty of Dunham’s crew. Hopefully this means that Johnny will step up his game as an adversary for Boyd.

Worst: Ava vs Danny Strong

It’s not really surprising that the pipsqueak prison guard from last week wasn’t going to just leave well enough alone when it came to Ava. The second it was announced that she’d be freed in the morning, it was clear things would go badly. However, the way it went badly was laughable. Danny Strong’s guard shanked himself to ensure that Ava wouldn’t get out. No matter that her prints won’t be on the weapon and therefore won’t stick in court. Who cares that he was already threatened by a fellow guard? He’s clearly not worried about her drug kingpin fiancé killing him where he sleeps. Logic be damned. There definitely could have been a better way to keep Ava behind bars. She could have actually attacked him in order to protect herself. She could have been framed on a drug charge instead. Nope, they went with the dumbest solution possible.

Other Musings:

  • How long was Boyd watching Paxton sleep?
  • I love Alan Tudyk but he doesn’t really work for me as a stoic criminal because he’s not very intimidating.
  • Picker: “I got my nose from a surgeon in Beverly Hills.”
  • “Hey, sh!t fingers. I see you.”
  • Dewey gives away all the things that connect him to Florida. Could turning against Daryl be next?
  • Daryl finds Boyd as cool as the rest of us do.
  • Boyd: “I’ve been called many things. Inarticulate isn’t one of them.”
  • Wendy and Daryl mention “the old thing” so look out for something vague and probably-not-menacing in the future.
  • Art catches Theo Tonin, who makes his second appearance in the whole series just to get caught.
  • Jean Baptiste: “I prefer sticks and stones because I like to break bones.”
  • The reaction to Johnny’s affirmative action joke was great.
  • Walton Goggin’s performance in the prison was great. Distraught Boyd will be fun to watch in the future.”
  • “Raylan, you’re a dick. Art, you’re an American hero.”