“Justified,” Season 3, Episode 3

Season 3, Episode 3

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  • Courtesy of FX
  • “I’M NOT CALLING YOU A PAWN, BUT THIS *IS* A PAWN SHOP: Pruitt Taylor Vince and Timothy Olyphant

“Justified” switches focus away from law enforcement and toward outlaw enforcement this week, as we see various extralegal factions flex their muscles and find their limits. Compared to “Boardwalk Empire” or “Game of Thrones,” the various crimelords rule their fiefdoms from deceptively modest seats of power, like Mags’ general store last season. This week we get another look at Limehouse’s homestyle cookin’ barbecue joint, while Boyd’s gang reclaims its old clubhouse and Quarles reveals plans to turn an ordinary residence into a front for oxycontin operations. Should we call the show “Backporch Empire?” “Game of Homes?”

“Harlan Roulette” opens with Limehouse grilling up a heap of savory meat as Ava visits to broker a meeting with Boyd. They seem to go way back and quip about Ava shooting her husband at the dinner table: “The shame of it was wastin’ all that ham.” Segue to the bridge that, I take it, separates the local African-American enclave from the rest of Harlan. In a classic pulp-crime image, Limehouse and Boyd’s team face off across the bridge in the glare of their respective headlights. Limehouse shrugs away Boyd’s claim on Mags’ moolah, as well as Boyd’s offer to off Dickie Bennett, and says that he figured Boyd needed help with his other problem — i.e., the big heap of rotting marijuana. Boyd withdraws, lacking a move, and clouts Devil for refusing to burn the pot before they drive off.

Raylan and Winona are still talking about buying a house, but duty calls, and Raylan joins a state trooper roadblock to find Wade Messer (James LeGros), the guy who handed him over to Dickie last season. Wade’s riding in a truck full for stolen goods, but he and the wheelman get while to the cops and try to turn around, only to topple the truck into a ditch. Cue the wah-wah trombone.