We're at the point in the season where we've got about five thousand different agendas flying around, and I love every one of them. First off, Colton uses his old military police ID to get a look at the gas station's security camera footage and sees a sheriff's vehicle on the scene at the time Ellen May vanished. Hoping to find her and get the job done, he lies to Boyd that everything happened as planned. Later desperate, he heads over to Shelby's and tells him not to say anything to Boyd -- but when he leaves, we learn that it was actually Shelby who took Ellen May, as he wants to know from Ellen May what information she has that could damage Boyd. Shelby, I am impressed.
The corrupt FBI guy's suicide has given Art and his crew the opening they need to take the Drew Thompson case back from the Feds, and Agent Barkley shows up to let us know he's not thrilled about that. The result of this development, though, is that a manacled Arlo is brought into the Marshal's office, and Raylan soon learns that U.S. Attorney Vasquez has offered Arlo his freedom in exchange for Drew Thompson, as Thompson could give them a shot at Theo Tonin, who you'll remember is the Detroit crime boss from last season. Raylan, as you might imagine, is not thrilled at the prospect of Arlo walking, so he takes the 24 hours he has before Vasquez gets an official green light for the deal and tries to find Thompson himself.
A lackey of the Tonin family, "Nick Augustine," played by Mike O'Malley, shows up in Harlan, and as it happens, he's an old buddy of Barkley's, and Barkley has been protecting him for years. All this comes out in front of an hilariously uncomfortable Wynn Duffy, who listens as Nick first chastises Barkley for missing the boat with Thompson and then tells him that Theo wants him alive, possibly because 30 years ago, Thompson shot Theo in the eye, stole $2 million in cocaine from him, and left him for dead on a runway in Panama. Having figured that Barkley isn't up to the task of making this happen, Theo sent Nick to contract the job out to Wynn, and the deal is sealed when Nick puts a bullet in his old chum Barkley's skull. Which makes me wonder: On exactly how many different TV shows has Stephen Tobolowsky met his death?
Wynn comes to Boyd for help in tracking down Thompson, which sends Johnny to Ava trying to sow a seed or two of discord. Meanwhile, Raylan gets Constable Bob to track down that girl Roz he stabbed in the foot in the season premiere. Having realized that Arlo didn't hire her, he asks who did, and the answer is her stepfather, a "Josiah Cairn," already known to Raylan as a scumbag from his coal mining days. Raylan uses some vehicular persuasion to get the truth out of the old man -- while Waldo Truth was plummeting to his death pretending to be Thompson, the real McCoy also had a landing mishap that left him with two busted legs. He got word to Arlo and Boyd's dad, who struck a deal with him: they'd send him to the hill people to get healed up and to have a place to hide out in exchange for the stolen cocaine. Trouble is, according to Cairn, Thompson's legs never really healed, so without any mobility, he was forced to stay among the hill people all this time. Raylan leaves Tim as a sentry but heads into the hills alone and on foot, and despite his declaration of peaceful intentions, he summarily gets taken away and shoved into a cage -- where he finds Boyd. Hee.
Although it looks at one point like they might escape, thanks to a double-cross from Josiah, they're sentenced to death -- until the woman Raylan came to see, an old friend of his mother's played by General Beckman from Chuck, intervenes. Raylan in turn talks them out of killing Boyd, and then the woman Mary lets them know that Josiah lied -- Thompson isn't there anymore, but she did catch sight of him ten years earlier, and he's in Harlan. To wrap things up, Boyd extracts a promise from Wynn that he'll get half the heroin business in Kentucky if he brings him Thompson, and he's feeling pretty good after he pays Arlo's lawyer to quash the deal -- not knowing that Wynn is on board with Johnny's plan to kill Boyd as soon as his Thompson errand is finished. Meanwhile, Raylan goes to have another chat with Josiah about his mendacious ways, only to find that he's severed his own foot to get his location monitor off. Man, is this the season of people losing their mobility or what?
We pick up right where we left off, as Colton goes to see the gas station attendant, a young, nervous Ed Norton-looking type. Colton tells the kid about the disappearance of the "young lady" with him and asks to look at the security tapes, but the kid tells him he's not allowed to let anyone back there -- no exceptions. Sensing what Colton's about, the kid then reaches down for a gun lying in a drawer in the desk in front of him, but Colton easily tells him to stop his movement. Despite the pants-shitting expression on his face, though, the kid denies that request. So after a long moment, Colton tells him he wants to show him something and goes for his pocket. You'd think this would result in one or both of them getting shot -- I've seen the scene already and I'm still clenching in anticipation -- but Colton merely produces his old military-police ID and tells the kid the girl he's after is AWOL. I think the kid relaxes at that, but I couldn't tell you for sure because I was laughing too hard at the image of Ellen May being in the military. It'd be worse than a remake of Private Benjamin. And, of course, the story doesn't hold up under strict scrutiny, as you'd expect if it were true, Colton would have taken steps to make sure his prisoner wouldn't escape. Regardless, Colton asks if the kid can help him out and I'm still thinking that he might take a bullet as soon as his hand is a safe distance away from the gun...
...but no, we merely cut to Colton checking out the security tape as the kid keeps an eye on him. After Colton watches himself leave the scene, he sees Ellen May seem to see someone and wander off, but she leaves frame without any conclusive evidence and the kid tells Colton that the footage is from their only working camera. However, Colton then sees the top of a cop car enter the picture going in Ellen May's direction and he grimaces at how much more complicated the situation may just have become.
Raylan is at the Women's Health Clinic of Lexington and regardless of whatever emotionally demanding errands people normally go there, it must be pretty slow if he's being allowed to sit by himself. That becomes irrelevant, though, when we see Winona get out of her car in the parking lot and from what I hear about The Following, it wouldn't surprise me if we get Natalie Zea back in a rather larger capacity soon. For now though, Winona is delighted to see Raylan and when he tells her that he's been there for fifteen minutes, she points out that he missed her last two appointments. After he realizes he's screwed up a nice gesture by bringing her caffeinated coffee, they engage in a little small talk with Winona saying that she's picked up a little freelance deposition work now that her morning sickness has passed and Raylan telling her he's been making extra money doing side jobs. Winona pegs him for going behind Art's back and I'm hoping Raylan at least got some money for the chickens, but it's not like Art would approve of that either. Raylan uses the mention of Art to say that he's just put Raylan in charge of the biggest case in their office's history and Winona is impressed even though he can't divulge particulars. Just as well; she may claim no longer to be particularly susceptible to nausea, but why test her with tales of twisted parachutist corpses? Winona then says the baby's kicking and guides Raylan's hand to the right spot and mother and father share a nice moment as they remember what things used to be like between them. Raylan tells Winona that he's going to be there for her and the baby and she says that's great, confessing that when he didn't respond to her text about the time of the appointment changing, she thought he wasn't going to show. But as it happens, Raylan didn't in fact get the text, which means that as far as he knew, he showed up about half an hour late. Now that he's looked at his phone, he sees that he needs to call in and the remainder of Winona's temporary optimism drains away as she guesses he's not even staying for the appointment. But on the other end, we see that Rachel has a good reason for telling Raylan to get his ass over there -- Arlo is being led in, still in his prison uniform and shackles. I'm guessing this isn't some kind of prison family-therapy program, but we'll have to wait until after the opening credits to see.
When we return, several underlings are wheeling boxes of files in off the elevator as Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowsky) agitatedly rushes up to our favorite US Attorney - Vasquez -- and demands to know why he's commandeered his case files. Art answers for Vasquez in saying that his office petitioned the DoJ to take the case over from the Feds, and Vasquez adds that the reason might possibly have been the fact of that Agent Barnes who blew his brains out two weeks ago working for the Detroit outfit. Barkley tries to say they had opened an investigation into Barnes, but Vasquez informs him that the suicide taints the case and the decision has been made. As we continue to hear the argument in the background, we check in with Arlo, who observes to his middle-aged lawyer that they've got everyone "spun up." She notes that they want to solve the case rather badly and I should note that the actress, Romy Rosemont, played Finn's mom Carole on Glee, which is hilarious for reasons that I will get to in a bit. She goes on, though, that if Arlo were to become incapacitated, the deal on the table might be nullified so it'd be in Arlo's best interests to share "the name" with her. We don't yet know to what she's referring, but it's still no surprise that Arlo snaps up with a look I'd loosely interpret as "Haaaaaail, no." Meanwhile, Barkley -- getting nothing more for his arguments than Art's trademark brand of relaxed condescension -- stomps off in a huff, only to run into Raylan and accuse him of being behind "all this." Raylan, in no mood after having disappointed the mother of his child for the bazillionth time, asks what the hell Barkley is on about, so Barkley clarifies that he thinks what's going on is payback for the time he came after Raylan. "And I still think you're dirty." It's too bad that events won't allow Raylan to learn that an "It takes one to know one" sentiment would be appropriate here, but his blunt response of "Kiss my ass" at least has a documentary feel to it. Hilariously, Rachel calls Barkley back to give him a receipt for his files...
...while Raylan saunters over to Art and asks what the hell is up with Arlo. Given what a quick draw Raylan is, I'm surprised they don't disarm him so he doesn't shoot the messenger, but Art steps up and tells Raylan that Vasquez is going to make a deal with Arlo, and Vasquez clarifies that Arlo is going to hand over Drew Thompson -- and in return, they're going to let him walk. Given the fact that Arlo killed a cop who he thought was Raylan, this news obviously slaps Raylan hard in the face so Art says into the awkward silence that Drew Thompson's testimony could nab them Theo Tonin and Vasquez adds, "And if we got a shot at Theo Tonin, we gotta take it, right?" Raylan's dark answering glower suggests that there is no "we" here and his mood certainly isn't improved by the smug look Arlo throws in his direction. Raylan then takes a deep breath and it may not be the right time, but I'm impressed that his face remains so attractive when emotions are pulling it in several different directions simultaneously. Raylan finally chokes out that the whole thing makes sense -- it's "upsetting" sure, but it makes sense! Vasquez points out that Barnes may not have been the only bad apple in the FBI's orchard, so they really do need to get to Thompson before Detroit does, but Raylan then asks how much time he has. Vasquez doesn't catch his drift, so Raylan spells it out -- he's going to look for Thompson himself, so how much time does he have before the deal is official? Vasquez tells him it'll probably be twenty-four hours before the written approval comes from Washington, which sends Raylan out the door toward Harlan.
In his own trailer, Wynn Duf