If you would have told me that there would be zero screen time for the Bennetts and about five minutes for Boyd Crowder this week, and "Blaze of Glory" would still be fantastic, I would have said you were crazy.
That's just how good Justified has been in this second season.
Between Raylan being Raylan, Winona acting crazy, and an old-timers' battle between the episode's bad guy and an ever so enjoyable Art Mullen, "Blaze of Glory" was really all you could ask for out of a Bennett and Crowder-less hour of drama.
Let's start with the Chief Deputy himself.
It is rare to hear someone mention Nick Searcy in his role as Mullen when speaking of how great Justified really is, but they should. Searcy brings such charisma to this role. Art runs his Marshals department with an iron fist, but he's always prepared to throw a few one-liners out to lighten the mood. That is what always makes many of the scenes at the office much more enjoyable.
This week, Art got to be the hero, as his past with ex-con Frank helped him figure out what the old man's end game was going to be. Watching the Chief save the day was great, but watching him reluctantly chase down Frank, who was trying to escape via plane, was possibly the funniest moment of the season so far. I mean, two old dudes limping along at a pace of .02 miles per hour? You can't beat that.
The group of bad guys themselves, Frank and his two cronies, were exactly what we are used to from Justified. They had a plan, they all double-crossed each other, and then they all ended up getting caught by the Marshals.
What helped make it all that much more intriguing was that the bad guys might have held the fate of Winona in their hands. That is, if you think the Secret Service would actually care that there was one $100 bill in their stash that came from evidence lock-up.
Are things that bad for Winona that she has gotten to the point of stealing from the Po-Lice? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a muy loco Natalie Zea as much as the next guy, but I remember the days when Winona Hawkins was one of the normal ones on this show. Now, she's with her ex-husband while still married to her second husband - and stealing money from the law in order to get out the financial hole that she is in because of her idiot man. She's messed up, alright, and being with a dude like Raylan can never help that.
The issue of whether or not Winona and Raylan can end up together came up again this week. She, of course, worries that his job makes it impossible for them to have a family. And he, of course, can't imagine a life without the Marshal service. But as Boyd and Ava continue to get closer and closer, does Raylan have a chance at love any place else? As long as my man with the big white hat doesn't continue to give her silence, I can see these crazy kids working things out in the end.
The bit we did see of Boyd and Ava at the beginning of the episode got me extremely excited to see what happens next in that story. Are the feds going to continue to hound Boyd about that money? How thankful will Ava be for Boyd putting himself in harm's way for her?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.