Justified Review: Somebody's Poisoned the Waterhole
"Guy Walks into a Bar," tells a U.S. Marshal he is going to kill him, prepares for a duel, and then says "night, night" with his hand as if he had drawn a face on it.
That entire scene in the bar, combined with the rest of what was going on with Robert Quarles, was absolutely fascinating.
The character has lost his mind, and Neal McDonough continued to do a fantastic job portraying this mad man in this week's Justified. It all started to turn in the wrong direction for Quarles two weeks ago when his plan to take Raylan down fell apart.
The downward spiral continued when Napier was disqualified from running for office. Quarles had already stolen the sheriff's office, and was ready to run the shit out of Harlan County, but Boyd outmaneuvered him, and the Detroit man silently walked away from the situation.
It was as if he knew it was all over. Watching him slowly chew on pill after pill in almost a curled up ball in his trailer was sad. Hearing the story of his childhood, however, was much worse. When that kid pulled on him, I knew a Robert Quarles speech was coming, but I never expected what actually came out of his mouth.
His father a heroin addict, little Robbie Quarles was whored out to men a a young child. Then the mob took the kid in, and brought his father to him on his knees, and handed Quarles a gun.
That was this sociopath's first murder. At the ripe age of 14, he murdered his father in cold blood. Wow. It is no wonder the man is as creepy and cold-hearted as he is.
Then there was the eponymous moment when Quarles paid a visit to Raylan at his new digs. In true Justified fashion, the scene was filled with creepy chills, hilarious digs, and tension you could have cut with a knife.
First, there were a couple of big laugh moments that need to be mentioned, namely when Quarles first walked in and Lindsay hilariously referred to him as an "albino deer." I then proceeded to crack up when Raylan responded to Quarles' election loss with "I'm just gonna file that under who gives a sh!t?"
Things got super serious when Quarles flat out told Raylan that he was going to kill him. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it will happen. Raylan, starting to get a little crazy himself, sent everyone out of the bar with a gunshot to the ceiling. Famous smirk on his face, he asked the mobster, "Why wait?"
I thought it was going to go down right then and there. With the two men staring each other down in the bar, I wanted to see how Raylan would best him, or if Quarles would try to lull Raylan to sleep before pulling out his hidden gun. But alas, Lindsay ruined everything with her fully loaded shotgun.
On his way out, as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Quarles said goodbye by mouthing "night night" with his hand. That might have been the single creepiest moment I've seen on Justified. How weird was that?
Finally, "Guy Walks Into A Bar" ended with maybe the most disturbing scene ever on the show. Quarles, now possibly completely out of his mind, was in his trailer, snorting lines and talking to himself.
He then stripped completely naked and entered his bathroom to do God knows what with an extremely afraid boy tied up to the toilet.
Robert Quarles has certainly been one of most interesting and compelling characters on television this season. Did the events of this week make that even clearer, or was it all a bit too much?
While I was wrapped up in the performance by Neal McDonough, I didn't forget that Boyd and Raylan were also kicking around Kentucky. Boyd easily cemented his place atop Harlan County politics by helping Shelby land the new spot as Sheriff. I especially enjoyed the Crowder campaign tactics, which include free HJs for any vote for Shelby.
Raylan, when he wasn't being threatened by Quarles, had to deal with the fact that Dickie Bennett was getting out of prison. Although my man crush on the Deputy Marshal has been well noted in our Justified Round Tables, I am not afraid to admit when he is inept at something.
He really had no idea how to go about that testimony. He pretty much wrote two sentences before he was asking his new bartending lady friend to do it for him. And as if his preparation weren't bad enough, Raylan's execution in court might have been worse.
It was nice to see him struggle. I'm not sure whether it was just plain nerves in the courtroom, or in his heart he wanted Dickie out of prison (either to catch him again, or have him lead the Marshals to the Bennett money), but it was fun watching him completely butcher that testimony. It was also hilarious to see the joy Art got out of the event as well.
Any negatives I had to say about the third season after last week's episode were pretty much wiped clean following "Guy Walks Into A Bar." I loved this hour, and the season seems to be coming to an exciting end with the downfall of Robert Quarles.
With three episodes remaining, how do you think it will all end? Is the final climax going to be about the Bennett money? Is that what Raylan and Boyd will team up for?
What did y'all think about this week's Justified? Check out all the best lines from the series in our Justified quotes section, and then sound off in the comments!
Justified: "Guy Walks into a Bar"
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.