Justified started out as more of a family drama than a law enforcement one, and that continues in Season 5 and especially in "Weight," which continues to tell the story of the Florida Crowes as their family continues their tailspin.
While Dewey Crowe seems awfully sane for a guy who hit a DEA agent last week, his family members are making up the crazy, as they're dealing with plenty of problems - including Dewey on the run, Kendal being missing (again) and Raylan investigating the accident that put Agent Miller in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Boyd once again thinks he's one step from freeing Ava, but Ava is no longer convinced she's going to get out of prison. "There's things I've gotta do in here, in order to survive, and the less you got to do with them, the better," she tells him, which shocks and hurts her fiance. Although she insists that she loves him and always will, she walks away from him. And we all get a little teary-eyed.
Boyd's day gets worse when Dewey phones, insisting he's got half of Boyd's stuff and he's not giving it back unless he gets a quarter million dollars by the end of the day. That's like telling the killer in a murder movie that you know who they are and you might go to the cops. Just because Dewey found his guts doesn't mean he discovered any more brains. Boyd tells Daryl that Dewey is his problem.
Into all this walks Raylan, also looking for Dewey. He whacks Daryl in the face with Daryl's own briefcase, which contains a combination of real and fake money intended for the exchange. Some of that money then finds its way into the hands of two of the girls at the whorehouse, one of whom gives the Marshal her cell phone so he can reach Dewey. Raylan reminds our favorite screwup that he has a terrible reputation with Boyd and the Dixie Mafia and could use a friend, but even he can't convince Dewey to come in from the metaphorical cold.
Raylan's now ex-girlfriend Alison finds Kendal in her kitchen and calls Wendy to take him home, while Ava sees her opportunity to commit the murder she was ordered to execute last time. But before she can kill Judith, Penny (Danielle Panabaker) announces a bed check, and the window of opportunity slips away.
Old acquaintances resurface: Dewey pauses his road trip to see a now wheelchair-bound Dickie Bennett (a returning Jeremy Davies) in prison, while Wynn calls up a friend named Katherine to help him decide which side of the line he should play - staying with Boyd, or working with Picker. The former leads to Dickie phoning Raylan to offer up Dewey's location - because we all know that when you are on the run from the police, the first people to sell you out are your friends and/or your significant other. It's one of the ironies of life. But Raylan deduces what he needs to know without having to cut a deal, and leaves smirking.
While the Florida Crowes continue to define "dysfunctional family" with an argument worthy of Jerry Springer, Daryl finds out that Danny (A.J. Buckley) murdered Jean Baptiste all those episodes ago, and decks him for it. You knew that was coming.
It's crazy Danny who's the first person to find Dewey, and the two of them end up in an armed standoff with the drug dealer that Dickie sent Dewey to. Once again, Dewey gets screwed. Danny, on the other hand, has to deal with Raylan one more time. Our hero offers him the choice of owning up and being the only Crowe that takes the rap, or having Wendy and Kendal go down with him. Danny unwisely takes the third option - confronting Raylan with a knife, which he trips and falls on. That, you definitely didn't see coming.
Art, in Nick Searcy's one scene this episode following his near-cameo last episode, is amused by this. And amused by Raylan's sad social life. He reluctantly agrees to look out for Alison, while glibly calling Raylan "my own personal, special problem that I must deal with."
Judith tells Ava that she knows she's a dead woman walking - just before an all-out struggle between the two women in the prison chapel that ends with Ava stabbing Judith repeatedly. Unbeknownst to her, her now ex-fiance has captured the guard who landed her in prison in the first place, Albert (Danny Strong). Boyd is about ready to make mincemeat of Albert before the guard admits that he's in love with Ava, "but I don't have the power to make her mine." That confession makes Boyd set him free instead, since he's nursing his own broken heart over the same woman.
In the closing minutes, Wendy stands up to Daryl and the two finally come to blows, with Daryl leaving Wendy crying and beaten on the floor. Kendal has no idea about this when Daryl walks into his room and tells him to decide if he's really a Crowe or not. Daryl's clearly grasping at straws, as he knows now everyone else in his family has either betrayed him or is dead.
"Weight" is the episode that bears out a lot of what we saw in "Wrong Roads." Anyone who's been following Justified this long didn't expect Danny Crowe to survive the season, and so it's not surprising to see him meet his maker, but the manner of death is a shocker for a show that usually guns down a lot of people. Morbid though this may be to say, it's a nice touch to have him not killed by Raylan. Given the show's body count, we'd guess at least one more of his relatives will join him sometime over Season 5's remaining three episodes.
What's more heartbreaking is Ava walking away from Boyd, especially after everything they did to try and get their happy ending in Season 4. The normal way of handling this plot would have been to spring her from jail episodes ago. But Justified doesn't take the obvious route, and it now really looks like these two characters could go their separate ways by the end of this tale. At the very least, they'll be vastly different people and have to deal with those changes. Especially since Season 6 is the last season, it'll be interesting to see what this story arc ultimately means to the big picture of both these characters.
Raylan Givens is Justified's central character, but in these episodes, he's now become the guy that seems to wander in and out of these stories about other families - both blood related and not. On any other show, especially with a character so well played by an actor as talented as Timothy Olyphant, that might be the kiss of death for a show. But as Justified has built such a great world around him, it's actually not detrimental. Kentucky has plenty of families worth exploring, and stories left to tell. Let's see how this one wraps up.
Justified continues next Tuesday at 10 PM ET/PT on FX.