I love season one of Justified. So many good actors and lines, so much possibility. Episode seven–
There’s Johnny Crowder, puffed up with a sense of his own style and constantly emasculated. Struts into the hardware store with his sunglasses, puts them on again before he leaves after Helen aims a gun at his dick. “We have to do this in my place of business?” he wonders, when the sheriff pulls down his pants.
There’s Ava on the edge of escaping, packing up Bowman’s clothes and wondering what it means to kill a man. Ava and Winona, quick and catlike and cutting, envy and fear and the edge of something that could be flirtation. “Was this before or after you killed your husband?” Winona asks, so polite. “It’s Winona, right?” Ava replies, making introductions. “Like the head case?” (There’s a great pairing.)
Hunter mentions Henry Crowder, and Raylan says, “He used to drive the bookmobile to all the schools,” and smiles. (And just imagine the boys young, labeled as troublemakers and bored and too much corked energy as kids, defacing their desks with pocketknives and pens to pass the time, hearing the tap-tap-tap of the horn as the bookmobile rumbles up the road, Mr. Crowder’s way of announcing the arrival of a wholly different form of escape. There’s nothing like a book, Raylan and Boyd both know, kept at the back of the line for being mouthy or disobedient or for fighting and wiggling, desperate to see what the bus has brought that they haven’t read.)
And there’s why I love the episode so much, two minutes of Raylan and Boyd over the table in the penitentiary. “I didn’t come to hear you preach and I don’t want to hear about my daddy,” Raylan says, and so Boyd does the first until Raylan can’t take it and swings, then does the second until Raylan stands to go. Boyd quotes Romans 12 at his daddy (at Raylan), Boyd says beloved, never avenge yourselves, quotes from a chapter that says let love be without dissimulation and ends with but overcome evil with good. They talk right over each other, Raylan wanting something and Boyd refusing to oblige, Boyd poking and poking and poking at all Raylan’s bruises because he can (Raylan knew he would, called it when Boyd came in, never could manage not to yank Raylan’s pigtails at school), but– “Now sit down,” Boyd says, and Raylan does, and it’s Boyd who solves the puzzle because he recenters it all on Raylan.
WINONA: I used to lie awake in our bed when you’d be out doing whatever it was that you did, and I would get so worked up over thinking about if you were never gonna come home again, and what I would do if that happened. And that seemed, to me, unbearable, and it seemed unfair. RAYLAN: I suppose it was. WINONA: Well, whether it was or wasn’t or is, now I lie awake next to this little girl and I listen to her breathe. I know you’re not coming home. And it’s
— that certainty… I’m just saying I think I liked it better the first way.