"There's a young man with a gun in our trailer, Wynn. Did you do something to upset him?" Quarles asks Duffy a few moments later. The kid's friends with the missing Brady Hughes, who might be dead (or might just be that guy tied up in the bedroom I don't like to think about). Here we find out Quarles' dad was a heroin addict who pimped out his kid, which explains, in part, what the hell is wrong with this maniac. It's a great scene for Neal McDonough, who does some great acting with a fake gun barrel pressed into his forehead. I mean, for heaven's sakes, the man is crying. And there's hugging. And despite knowing he's crazy I can't help but feel moved.
After that, Quarles decides to walk into Raylan's bar again, this time with Duffy, who seems resigned to the fact that his boss will do whatever he shouldn't. Quarles starts to chat with our favorite Marshal about his daddy issues, which Raylan does not want. Then comes one of the great individual scenes in Justified history: Quarles point-blank threatens to kill Raylan and Raylan is not bothered. He fires a single gunshot into the ceiling and encourages everyone else to get out of the bar so they can settle things. Quarles reconsiders his confrontational stance once the bartender pulls out a shotgun, and takes his leave, but the tension in that moment is awesomely ridiculous. And after that, Raylan decides to move on from his pregnant ex-wife with the bartender, twice.
The next day, Raylan goes to testify at Dickie Bennett's hearing, where Judge Reardon looks unimpressed at Dickie's spiel for mercy, and Jeremy Davies has some ridiculous hair. Raylan ends up just shooting his mouth off, as usual, much to the AUSA's chagrin. Dickie gets the early release he wanted. Art gets one step closer to a Raylan-induced heart attack.
There's always something in the final minutes of this show, and it involves Robert Quarles snorting a line of cocaine and giving a speech that David McNorris would be proud of. And now we've got the poor kid from earlier chained up in the bathroom. That's the one part of this season I could really do without. I'm going to need therapy for having to see these glimpses of something I don't need to understand that Quarles is a sociopath.
But putting that aside, This is a fine episode of Justified, because there's a lot going on here with technically, not a lot. We don't have a huge shootout or a big explosion, but I felt the adrenaline going as if there was one. That's what good acting - on the parts of both Timothy Olyphant and Neal McDonough - can do for you. Both these gentlemen are so talented that I am continually distracted and intimidated by their characters. Raylan and Quarles are evenly matched, and therein lies what makes this season so entertaining. These two could be playing chess and it would be worth watching.
Every week, this show brings a little bit of everything: character development, palpable tension, great humor ("He's not Derek Jeter black," for example), and particularly in season three, things that make us squirm just a bit. There has never been an episode of Justified where I don't have some kind of reaction. And that's why I watch television - to be moved, to be prodded, to have an experience. It's rare that critical acclaim and audience response meet, but this is one of those shows that's had that, and had it for the last three years. Let's enjoy it while we can.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.