Drew Thompson's flight from the mob and the law was the focus of this week's episode of FX's "Justified." Showrunner Graham Yost spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the new episode and the shifting alliances that resulted. Of course, SPOILERS lie ahead for those who have not seen the latest episode.
Thompson's flight was complicated by a crisis of conscience as the fugitive still attempted to get Ellen May to safety despite his own tenuous situation. Yost points to a scene in which Thompson sees a stray dog on the side of the road as crucial to the character's sympathetic change of heart. "I was thinking, 'Oh great, you tell production that you need a dog wandering along the side of the road at night,'" Yost said. "It turns out you get a good guy with a dog, and they can wander along the side of the road at night. It was poetic that he sees this lost animal, and Ellen May is no better, no different."
He continued, praising Jim Beaver's performance, "If you were to watch that scene again [in which Ellen May expresses her joy of being on the run with Shelby/Thompson], you realize that Shelby has already decided what he’s gonna do: He’s gonna get her to safety, and then he’s gonna go turn himself in. You watch Jim Beaver’s masterful work lying down in the backseat, and there’s an air of melancholy and sadness to him. He’s playing along with her talking about Mexico and the Catholic church and Spanish, but he already knows that they’re not going there."
One of the funnier highlights of the episode was Art's acknowledgement that Drew Thompson is badassery personified, as he recounted the storied history of the outlaw turned sheriff. Yost admits that the speech was initially set to go to the star of the series. "That is a great speech and Nick [Searcy] just nailed it. Originally, Raylan gave that speech, and then Tim being Tim said, 'You know, let’s give it to Art,'" Yost said. "It was suggested by a story that we heard from Charlie and another Marshal who came to visit the set. I can’t tell you exactly what happened because we may steal the actual story someday, but it was, at some point, one Marshal saying, 'Well, I’ll call LAPD, and they’ll get their helicopter,' and the other guy said, 'Whoa, wait a second. Let’s just acknowledge that this guy is awesome, okay? And you want someone else to catch him? No, we’re gonna catch him.'"
The episode also saw the return of previous big bad Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), as well as the seedy manipulations that come with the character. "The big thing that Limehouse has is an intelligence network. Last season, he always seemed to know what was going on before everyone else did," the producer said. "So our supposition is that he’s got someone who, for a little bit of money, gets him information from the sheriff’s, the police department, a Statie, something like that. So while law enforcement was trying to keep a lid on the fact that Shelby is Drew, someone on his payroll found that out and told him."
What did you think of last night's episode?