Never has Justified ran at a pace this fast. After "This Bird Has Flown" we are only five episodes into season four, but it feels more like an entire year's worth of story has already passed.
Just because the search for Drew Thompson took a back seat for the Marshals, and Preacher Billy was no longer an obstacle for the Crowder clan, that didn't mean that the excitement took a week off for Raylan, Boyd, and the rest of our favorite Kentuckians.
"I knew you liked me," Raylan told Lindsey on his way towards passing out. While he said it because he thought she had left him his money in the truck, he wasn't wrong. She liked him. She didn't like him enough to not steal his money and buy a bunch of chickens for her husband and then run away, but she did like him enough to shoot him less than Randall so that he could wake up in time to handcuff the burly grifter to the van for the cops to find.
Given her shady past, and her recent transgressions against Raylan, obviously Lindsey wasn't a perfect fit for the cowboy. It still hurt to see him hurt though. Whether he was more upset that he lost the money, that he lost the girl, or that he didn't see any of it coming is up for some discussion, but he was certainly down in the dumps.
Getting the snot beat out of him by Randall couldn't have helped, but he's a gunfighter, not a fist fighter. At the end of the day, Raylan is probably better off without all of that trouble. Maybe now he can get some much needed sleep, and get back to being a good Marshal.
The rapid pace I alluded to stemmed mostly from Boyd's arc. After the premiere, with Preacher Billy hootin' and hollerin' about being a hillbilly with snakes, I never thought that he would only last three episodes. And now that Boyd seemed to believe that Cassie didn't know anything, she is seemingly out of the picture as well. So that's it? The church that looked like it might be the main antagonist is just finished? If Justified just used it to entertain and intrigue us while they set up the next part of the story, well, it worked.
It was a very interesting arc that allowed Ellen May to remain in the center of the story while we waited for what may be coming next. In the wind, who knows what Ava's former prostitute might do to incriminate the Crowders.
Watching Colton drive off into nowhere with Ellen May was the best moment of the hour. Even before they cut to the conversation between Boyd and Ava, we knew exactly what Colt was doing. The tension was incredible. They threw Ellen May in our face so much the past few episodes that it was difficult not to get attached to her. She might have been crazy, but it was easy to like her. She was lost, so it was hard to imagine her deserving her coming fate.
At first I thought he was definitely going to kill her, and it was going to be severely dramatic. Then once he went into the bathroom to do some lines, I thought maybe he wouldn't have the nerve. Maybe he'd let her go, or maybe he would have to leave with her and hide from the Crowders. But no, she was gone, and the dude who was previously counted on to get things done, had lost her.
Like last week, and the week before, and the week before that, it keeps getting more and more difficult to predict where Justified Season 4 will go next. With Ellen May escaping from the Crowders, Lindsey having left Raylan very alone, and all of that Drew Thompson business still hanging in the air, I couldn't be more excited to see what's next in Harlan County.
What about you? What were your favorite moments from "This Bird Has Flown?" What do you think will happen with Ellen May? Is Raylan better off? And cock fighting, really?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.