Justified: The Many Artistic Puns of ‘Foot Chase’

By  · Published on February 13th, 2013

This week’s Justified seems like a bit of a present to those of us who are loyal viewers of the show. There was swift Raylan and Boyd banter. There was that Deadwood reunion proper between Timothy Olyphant and Jim Beaver as Sheriff Shelby (or is that Bullock and Ellsworth?) as they formed a formidable crime-fightin’ team. And for all us Marshal Tim fans, he finally got his own little storyline that further revealed some backstory and some more Marshal Tim witticisms. There was also “romantic Boyd,” which clearly was a delight in some respects.

However, some of these story threads didn’t wrap up so nicely, so while the episode, “Foot Chase,” certainly was a pleasure to watch, these threads needed a lot more polish. And the plot as a whole needed to unravel more organically, shall we say, in order to join the pantheon of great Justified episodes. There was a lot of loose logic, too, which we can’t abide.

If you can think back from last week, this week’s episode is entitled “Foot Chase,” not because there’s some Point Break-style foot chase (though that would be strongly encouraged), but because Raylan joins forces with Sheriff Shelby to track down Josiah Cairn (Gerald McRaney, a third Deadwood alum) who is sans foot. Get it? Well, Art sure did, as he greeted Raylan with a slew of foot-related puns. Ah, Art, you ol’ cut-up!

Anyway, as alluded to, this episode’s shining moments occur as Raylan and Sheriff Shelby search for the footless man ‐ our two boys cross paths as Raylan pays a visit to everyone’s favorite braces-wearing teenage harlot (and Josiah’s stepdaughter) Roz. A burly Native American gentleman answers the door as Roz puts on her shirt. His name is Teddy, but Raylan dubs him “Rapes with a Smile,” so that’s really the only name we need call him. Roz, per usual, knows precious little. And Raylan is wisely unsure of trusting Sheriff Shelby with any Drew Thompson intel as he knows he is in Boyd’s pocket, telling Shelby, “You’ll understand if I call bullshit and be on my way.” Though as we learned last week, with Sheriff Shelby housing Ellen May, he really wants to take Boyd down. And so they do (kinda). It’s a lot of fun to finally watch Olyphant and Beaver acting together ‐ the two have a lot of chemistry from their past work history and riff off each other quite nicely here.

However, Raylan/Sheriff Shelby isn’t all that well-constructed… Raylan accepts Sheriff Shelby’s word that he wants to bring Boyd down fairly easily even without seeing Ellen May. That would have been powerful physical evidence toward Raylan believing Sheriff Shelby is legit. And I know little of law enforcement, but what grounds did Sheriff Shelby have to arrest Boyd for possibly killing Ellen May? Besides the fact that she is obviously still alive, Boyd covered his tracks pretty well. Boyd had a right to be pissed. The one good thing to come from Boyd’s “arrest” was that it, again, put him in the same room as Raylan for the two frenemies to exchange delightful barbs, like Boyd’s to Raylan: “That’s what assholes do, Raylan ‐ they get old and die from being assholes.” A taste of last week’s perfection… just a taste.

Another important thing happens from the Boyd “arrest,” though it’s based on some flimsy logic. Raylan sees that Boyd shares the same lawyer, and somehow pieces together that she is behind the Josiah kidnapping. Um… okay ‐ if any of you readers have a better understanding of this, please share. She did keep your daddy behind bars, Raylan, though she’s a bad egg. By the way, the severed foot scene? Just a little bit gross, y’all. This is Justified, not The Walking Dead. By the way, that lawman from Season One who tried to have Raylan killed apparently knows where Drew Thompson is ‐ it’s cool, even I had to look him up.

War vets got it tough, it seems. Colton is obsessed with heroin, and Marshal Tim’s friend Mark has some drug issues also… in that he owes people a lot of drug money. Our three vets meet at the same vet support group, where Marshal Tim meets Mark to help him out with cash ‐ and they run into Colton in passing, on his quest to score some sweet, sweet heroin. Anyway, this perhaps might be the first time (I think it is, actually) Marshal Tim has his own storyline in an episode, which is a welcome turn. He and Mark also exchange some funny banter upon meeting. Mark says, “Maybe [acupuncture] will help you with your menstrual cramps.” And Marshal Tim hilariously responds, “They went away once I went on birth control.” But while it is exciting to see Tim have his own narrative thread for once, the entire thing just comes to an abrupt end, which is really disappointing.

Marshal Tim makes Mark give them money… and we never see these two vets again. We can hope that perhaps they will pick up in future episodes, but it doesn’t quite look that way. Dropping the storyline seems a bit lazy… and Marshal Tim deserves more than that! He’s the second hottest Marshal in Lexington and he’s a sniper. This is again a taste of something desirable in the episode, some Marshal Tim backstory, that just falls short. Can a girl dream and have some one-on-one time with Marshal Tim and Colton at some point? Can a girl dream?

Circling back to Boyd Crowder, there are a few harbingers of bad things to come for him and Ava. Well, both Johnny and Wynn Duffy want to backstab and kill him. Johnny even brazenly says that there’s nothing stopping Wynn from offing him once he finds Drew Thompson. Boyd has to know something is going on ‐ he’s too sharp for stupid barbs like that, Johnny. Also, the wedding proposal to Ava. While fittingly unromantic for Boyd ‐ the ring is underneath piles of cash in a box (and he tries to put it on her right hand) ‐ it’s hard to buy that Boyd and Ava can conceivably ever simply pick up and leave Harlan. If that happens, there’s no show. The marriage proposal was almost too easy of a foreboding moment here. Those two aren’t going anywhere ‐ which likely means (and I’m just taking an educated guess) ‐ that one of them will not survive the season. With Ava getting deeper and deeper into Boyd’s criminal empire, could she fall victim? Her coup in inviting herself over Ellen May’s furry john’s home was quite impressive, after all, and she is a good madame to all those hos. I’m just nonplussed at the tacked-on nature of the proposal… that we’re supposed to know that everything can’t go as planned.

The Upside: Raylan and Sheriff Shelby joining forces, Raylan’s banter with Boyd, Ava gettin’ the job done, Marshal Timconnecting with his fellow vets (that includes YOU, Colton!), and Boyd’s not-overly-romantic proposal to Ava.

The Downside: The Tim/Mark storyline seemed a lot truncated. The resolution of finding Josiah also could have used work ‐ it came off as somewhat anti-climatic. And shouldn’t Sheriff Shelby have probably shown Raylan that Ellen May was alive in order to get his trust? Also, not that I’ve ever even been in the same room as heroin, but it’s doubtful that you can extinguish the smell with just a match, right?

On the Side: With the ski mask, Boyd channels “Jon” from Delocated. Next step: taking Ava down to the “bone zone.”

Top Moments of Badassery: Sheriff Shelby smacks Teddy to the ground with his own knife, Tim greeting Colton with “Hey, Boyd Crowder’s ride,” Tim pulling a gun on the druggies in his trademark masculine fashion, and Raylan’s ever-present Henley