Now that we know who Drew Thompson is, Justified is all about what everyone else wants with him – and that also means the return of a great character from Season 3.
After getting the drop on Boyd, he and Raylan are having a little chat, while the Marshals are looking through Drew’s (guest star Jim Beaver) house. Boyd quips that Raylan’s two favorite activities are being an asshole and shooting people. It’s hard to argue with that. Raylan, Tim and Rachel try to figure out where Drew will go next. As it turns out, he’s in his office, advising Ellen May (guest star Abby Miller) what to do once he’s gone. He tells her to either tell what she knows, or take the money he hands her, get on a bus, and don’t look back. She’d rather go with him, but he tells her, “You don’t wanna be part of what I gotta do.”
With those parting words, Drew hits the road, only to spot Ellen May wandering the streets. He reconsiders his earlier statement, saying that if she comes with him, she’s never coming back. She gets into his car, and the plan is for them to head to Mexico. Somehow, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll get there. Justified really isn’t known for happy endings – and this is still the guy who shot Theo Tonin and pushed Waldo Truth out of an airplane.
As Ellen May drives to the airport Drew hides in the back seat and makes small talk with her, but they don’t know Raylan and Rachel are waiting for them. The sheriff’s plane is there, which is a surprise to Raylan, who is particularly irritable as they wait. His mood isn’t helped by Art rolling up on the scene, informing them that the state police let Boyd go. “If he calls Theo Tonin, we’ve got less time than we thought,” Raylan grouses. Then the light bulb goes on over his head and he realizes that Drew must be traveling with Ellen May. Art is impressed by this, calling Drew “awesome” for not only all of his criminal accomplishments, but also having the balls to get a job in law enforcement not once, but twice, and then running off with a hooker half his age. He’s got a point.
Boyd phones Ava and updates her on the situation, asking where Ellen May would go if she was in trouble, and once he gets a name, he rallies the troops – including Colt (guest star Ron Eldard), who is still out of it but swears to Boyd that he’s “gonna make this right.” Johnny (guest star David Meunier) is a little miffed at being told to stay behind. He decides to call Wynn Duffy (guest star Jere Burns) and get him up to speed. Duffy tells him to find Drew himself, or “say goodbye to that dream of displacing your cousin.”
Meanwhile, Drew and Ellen May have aborted their original plan to head for the airport, and set off again, as Ellen May thanks him for looking out for her. They eventually get to Ellstin Limehouse (guest star Mykelti Williamson) and ask for his protection. Limehouse is not impressed, at least not until Drew offers him a significant sum of money to keep Ellen May safe for the next two weeks. An uncomfortable Ellen May watches as Drew is hauled away by Limehouse’s men.
But her safety may be short-lived as her old friend Nicky squeals Limehouse’s name after Boyd threatens him with a drill. Ava visits Limehouse, and is surprised when Ellen May greets Ava with a hug, insisting that she didn’t say anything. She asks Limehouse “How much for the both of them?” and his answer is a cool $150,000 apiece. When Boyd tells this to Tonin’s associate Nick Augustine (guest star Mike O’Malley), the price has somehow jumped up to $500,000. Boyd then phones Johnny, interrupting his moment with Teri, to explain that he’s brokered a purchase agreement with Limehouse.
No sooner has Johnny ended that phone call than Raylan, Rachel and Art are all in front of him. “Oh, my God, not Ellen May again!” Teri whines when Rachel says they’re there looking for someone. Johnny takes this opportunity to vent about Boyd to Raylan and Rachel. “You know what he’s doing now, Raylan?” he says. “He’s buying a house in the goddamn suburbs. Up on Clover Hill. Because he’s in love.” When Rachel says that makes him sound like Boyd stole his girlfriend, Johnny retorts, ” He stole Raylan‘s girlfriend. He stole my job.” Snap. Raylan finally brings the conversation back around to the search for Drew, saying that if Johnny helps them, they might be able to do him a favor. That is, after all, how these things usually work.
Boyd and Ava come to collect Drew and Ellen May from Limehouse. After Boyd hands over the money, though, Limehouse decides that it’s only enough for them to purchase one or the other. He wants Ellen May, but she persuades him to opt for Drew, even as Ellen May begs to be taken in his place. “It’s okay,” Drew reassures her. “It’s my time.” Afterward, he talks about his past with Boyd and Ava, who hand him off to Colt. What they don’t know is Raylan and Rachel are lying in wait, Johnny having tipped them off.
Drew and Colt have an awkward back-and-forth while they wait in a field for Tonin’s men, with Drew first taunting Colt and then asking to be shot, so that he can be spared whatever torture is in front ofh him. Colt walks away when he hears an approaching helicopter, which is carrying Augustine. However, he orders the chopper back in the air as soon as it lands, as the Marshals have arrived to free Drew. “I guess this is where I’m supposed to surrender,” Drew says, adding that if they get him out of there, he’ll tell them whatever they want to know.
Colt doesn’t go far, though, because Boyd gets a call informing him that the Marshals have recovered Drew. When Ava asks what they’re supposed to do, “We make a case to Theo or we run,” he admits. Duffy isn’t pleased to hear the news either. Back in the field, as Art reminds his team that Theo Tonin also knows they have Drew, Raylan reflects that their concern is now how to get out of Harlan County alive.
Most of the tension in “Get Drew” comes from the various relationships coming to a head now that everyone’s major goal of identifying and finding Drew Thompson has been achieved. With that off the table, Justified is free to push forward aspects like Johnny against Boyd (and thus allying with Raylan), or Boyd and Ava’s status as the criminal figureheads of Harlan County (a pretty quick rise all things considered), or even the always-great banter between Raylan and Rachel.
There’s a particular poignancy to the bond that’s formed between Drew and Ellen May; you really have to feel for her as it’s made apparent that she’s always just wanted someone to give a damn about her, and now that she’s found that person who cares about her without any sort of expectations, she also may lose him permanently. Who knows if they’ll ever be reunited – and even if they are, it might be during visiting hours in prison.
With all the talk about Theo Tonin, however, this is an episode that sits as the prelude to the usual whiz-bang awesome finale arcs that Justified is known for. The show couldn’t keep mentioning his name without bringing him firmly into the picture, and something had to happen to mandate him coming all the way from Detroit – this episode provides that something. Hopefully at some point soon we’ll actually get to see Theo, as played so creepily by Adam Arkin, and not just his associate Augustine. There are just three episodes left in the season, and there’s never been a season of Justified that’s ended quietly.