"You think there's never going to be any consequences for this?" -ArtRaylan Givens began this series as a man in control - of his emotions, of predicting the actions of his opponents, and of winning any and every fight. As we enter the second half of this first season, his return to Kentucky, and the various headaches from his past that have come with it, now has him as a man in control of very little, save for his usual good aim and skill in a fight. He can keep it together when dealing with the amateurs and low-level thieves and killers he's faced in recent episodes, but put him in a room with Boyd Crowder as Boyd goes on about the Good Book, and all of Raylan's cool, all of his training, goes out the window, and he becomes every bit a 21st century Seth Bullock. His relationship with Ava has opened up all kinds of blind spots - to how he's risking his career, and to the dangers still posed from the Miami mob over his shooting of Tommy Bucks - and all of a sudden, Raylan looks less a superman than a mortal, fallible one.
After last week's episode tried to split its focus between a routine Raylan case and all the ongoing storylines, "Blind Spot" was devoted entirely to the various messes Raylan finds himself in, with Art, with the Crowders, and with Miami. And while I've quite enjoyed a bunch of the self-contained stories the show has done, there's no question that it's more intense, and more fun, when we're dealing with stories and characters continuing from week to week.
Walton Goggins was tremendous tonight (as was Timothy Olyphant at showing Raylan losing his cool). Goggins can go pretty broad at times, as he did in the series pilot, but ever since Boyd had his jailhouse conversion, he's been doing some really small, interesting work with the character. As Goggins plays him, you're never quite clear how much of the born-again thing is real and how much is Boyd just playing an angle. After all, Raylan told us in the pilot that Boyd was too smart to buy into the white supremacy nonsense, and was just doing it as a way to get over. It's entirely possible that's what he's doing here - that he knows it gets under Raylan's skin, and even that he knows he can survive whatever the other prisoners throw at him - but there's also a weird conviction to it. If it's all an act, would he really let things in the prison laundry go that far, not knowing his father was nearby and ready to save him?
And speaking of big, bad Bo Crowder, give a big welcome to Mr. M.C. Gainey, boys and girls. When I said a few weeks ago that the producers had to get a really imposing actor to play Bo after the off-screen build-up, Gainey (aka Tom Friendly from "Lost," among many, many bad-ass roles) was the kind of guy I had in mind.
We're very clearly pushing towards some kind of ultimate confrontation between Raylan, the Crowders and Miami in the second half, and I'm looking forward to every minute of it.
Some other thoughts:
• Better late than never, but I was glad to see Ava finally acknowledge that it's kind of a big deal, emotionally, that she killed her husband. Up until now, Ava's been temptress first, character second, and between the early scene in her bedroom and then her initiative in stopping the bad guys at the end, she seems both more like a real person and more like a good match for Raylan.
• And speaking of which, note Winona trying to mark her territory by going on and on with Ava about all the burdens of having been married to Raylan.
• Getting back to Seth Bullock, in an interesting bit of casting, the hitman from Miami was played by Ray McKinnon, who played the doomed reverend on "Deadwood" season one. Not only does he have history with Olyphant, but he and Goggins teamed up for "The Accountant," a 2001 short film that won both men an Oscar (and led to me sitting at home asking, "What on earth is Shane from 'The Shield' doing at the Academy Awards?").
What did everybody else think?