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Headscratchers / Justified

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  • Ava. Good God, where do I start on how much her character bugs me? But I don't want to be typing this all night so I'll just highlight the two biggest reasons why I feel like she's The Scrappy: in one of the early Season 2 episodes, she yelled at Raylan for "cheating on her" with his ex-wife Winona. Um. Ava? You weren't dating. Raylan came over to ask you questions about the murder and you jumped on his crotch at the first chance you got. That's not dating, that's fucking around, pardon my French. Now, granted, he should not have been sleeping with two women at the same time because that is just disrespectful and hurtful for everyone involved, but Raylan was not dating you. He did not ask you out. You did not go on dates. He did not express at any point the desire to pursue a relationship with you and therefore don't act like you were an item when in reality you were lonely and horny and needed someone to take care of those two problems. Grow up. (2) Has anyone else noticed how every single male in the entire city has to comment on how "beautiful" she is? Granted, at least this isn't her fault—it's the writers' faults. There's a rule called Show, Don't Tell and they really forgot about that rule because every single time she is in the presence of a male character, they have to call her "beautiful" and it's honestly very annoying. There are a wealth of attractive female characters on this show and they don't get the same kind of recognition, namely Winona and Rachel, who are both smart, driven, independent, and equally gorgeous. Though I will admit that if the emphasis on Ava's "beauty" is a case of Fridge Brilliance, i.e. they call her beautiful all the time because she's a Brainless Beauty or Satellite Love Interest who offers nothing else as a character, then I will much less bugged by the constant comments. As it stands, it bugs the hell out of me.
    • YMMV obviously but for point one i would claim that they shared bed and table. They slept together, ate together, spent time. There is a sizable chance intentions got miscommunicated but i do not think that Ava is somehow off the deep end for thinking that there could or was something more just because Harlan did not role out the whole dating stuff, after all they already knew each other, though less biblical. As for 2: She is part of a pretty dangerous crowd. Flattery might save you broken ribs or get you a better price for the dope.
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    • Also, Winona and Rachel are attractive, sure, but on this troper`s opinion and most of his male friends, Ava is clearly much hotter. By the way, the actress used to be a model.

  • Arlo is supposed to be a legendary criminal in the area. At one point he and Bo Crowder controlled almost all the criminal activities in the county. Yet he constantly gets himself into situations where he would be killed by other criminals if Raylan did not become involved. Is his reputation overblown or did he lose his edge as he got older?
    • I'm betting on the latter. He may have been smart and powerful in his younger days, but now he's such an asshole that he doesn't think things through completely like he should.
    • It's probably pride. It is implied that when he was younger he was as vicious and ruthless as Bo Crowder. When he got treatment for his PTSD he 'mellowed out' and can't intimidate people as he used to. However, he considers himself a Magnificent Bastard and cannot admit to himself that he was just a thug.
    • Season 3 reveals that he suffers from the onset of old age dementia
  • Is this troper the only one who's disappointed that Boyd went back to his criminal ways at the end of Season 2? He was a much more interesting and sympathetic character when he straddled the line between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, at least in my eyes.
    • He is still straddling this line. He sees Raylan as a friend and knowing Boyd their uneasy alliance may blossom into something weird. Maybe even the gang turning into some bunch of vigilantes.
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    • One of the Season 3 teaser commercials even suggests this: it starts with Raylan and Boyd apparently stalking each other — and then shows them charging down an alley, side by side, guns blazing at an unseen foe. Hmm...
  • Limehouse took a vast sum of money that Mags deposited with him, telling Dickie that Mags spent the money herself before her death. Isn't he concerned that word will get out to the criminal community that he stole from an investor? Wouldn't that ruin his reputation as a criminal banker?
    • Turns out he gave the money to Loretta as per Mags' wishes. He could not tell Dickie about this so he told him the money was spent. He is willing to take a hit to his reputation in order to honor his promise to Mags. Also he figures that people would not trust Dickie's version of events.
  • Quarles is clearly a very disturbed man, but why did it take this long for his insanity to come to a head? Didn't the Detroit mob or his family recognize his mental problems before he put the first rentboy in a coma (as mentioned by Sammy)? How could someone earn a college degree AND become a successful mobster if he were that unstable from the start?
    • Theo Tonin seems like the sort of person who could control Quarles. Quarles actually has a lot of self control most of the time so might have been able to keep his impulses in check for a long time.
      • Also, keep in mind, this entire season has been a lengthy downward spiral for Quarles. It's obvious his actions were a liability in Detroit, and since starting operations in Kentucky, he's been outgambitted and seen his plans fall apart repeatedly.
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  • How did Quarles imprison Brady and Donovan? Quarles might have been strong enough to overpower them, but how did he get them into his living quarters without other people noticing? Wouldn't Brady and Donovan have been shouting or struggling? Did Quarles drug them first?
  • Why does Boyd have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness when he is such an unsuccessful criminal? He and his gang are just scraping by on the proceeds of cousin Johnny's bar and the prostitution ring/protection racket that falls into their lap after Ava kills the guy who was running it. Most of his big plans fizzle out. The only one that works - getting a new Sheriff elected - is ultimately futile because the man he backs is honest and is only prepared to help him out once. Also, he is a terrible judge of character - of the four main members of his crew, one is a senile old man and two of the others betray him!
    • Boyd is ruthless. If he thinks someone needs to be killed, he will kill that person. Boyd's 'cunning' is more a case of Refuge In Audicity. He is willing to take risks and he survives the consequences. He took on his father and survived. He took on the Miami cartel and survived. He took on the Bennetts and Dickie is the only Bennett of significance left. The criminals in Harlan do not know the details and how lucky Boyd was. They see someone who took on the toughest criminals in the area and came out on top. They do not know that he does not actually have the new sheriff in his pocket. Devil and Johny know the reality of the situation which is why they choose to go against Boyd. Right now he is essentially bluffing everyone else and only Limehouse is smart enough to realize that.
  • In the "Hole in the Wall" episode of season 4, Ava is trying to get Ellen May off of cocaine and meth. Why isn't Ellen May showing any withdrawal symptoms?
    • Maybe she just got off the drugs, maybe she's still doing it behind Ava's back or maybe she just doesn't start to show signs until later. There's tons of reasonable explanations.
  • In season 3, Theo Tonin was disgusted when he learned that Quarles father was pimping him to get drugs, so much so that he arranged for Quarles to kill his father. He was also horrified by Quarles brutalization of rentboys. In season 4, however, we see the depravity of Mason Goins, an employee of Tonin who threatens Agent Barnes' family and brutalizes Drew Thompson's former wife. Why would Theo Tonin be all right with the depravity of Mason (who threatens innocents and would have sexually assaulted his captive had the marshals not shown up in time) but not Quarles or Quarles' father?
    • Tonin probably sees a difference between using violence and depravity as tools to achieve a goal and using them to satisfy one’s own base impulses.
    • Also, the stakes are much higher - they're looking for a guy who can put Tonin's entire organization to the ground. Calls for some desperate measures.
  • Just why is Duffy so interested in women's tennis?!
    • Hey, everyone needs a hobby...
    • Speaking of Duffy, but does anyone else feels he is Ambiguously Gay and is secretly in a relationship with his bodyguard. This is just the vibe I get when watching the scenes where they're together, especially one episode in particular from the most recent season.
  • What ever happened to the Black Pike money after Mags died? Did some unknown Bennett relative take over or did the deal just fall through?
    • The deal was already completed by the time she died. She specifically waited till all the paperwork was done before getting Dickie out of jail. One would assume that the money went into a trust for Doyle's children.
  • How can Audrey's brothel operate openly in Harlan county? Not only does it engage in the sex trade and sell alcohol in a dry county, but all kinds of other criminal activities take place under its roof. Why doesn't state or local law enforcement shut it down?
    • Corruption. Harlan County as it is portrayed in the show is massively corrupt. Someone, somewhere along the line is getting a cut.
  • In "Weight", Ava breaks up with Boyd so that he won't be impacted by the aftermath of Judith's assassination. In doing so, Ava cut off her heroin pipeline, which she was relying on to stay safe in prison. Ava agreed to assassinate Judith in the first place so that Rowena would smuggle Boyd's heroin into the prison for her. Why did Ava cut off Boyd and his heroin supply, the whole reason why she agreed to kill Judith for Rowena in the first place? For all purposes, she just shot herself in the foot!
    • Rowena had her own source for heroin, it wasn't going to come from Boyd. Boyd's entire role in the equation was to get revenge on the man who killed her partner.
  • Before winning his $300,000 settlement and purchasing Audrey's brothel, where did Dewey live? How did he support himself? We see him make some small change by committing minor crimes, but he had no stable source of legal or illegal income. He couldn't have afforded a place to live by making chump change from minor crimes.
  • Was Robert Quarles ever specified alive or dead? I keep reviewing "Slaughterhouse", and the first few episodes of the next season, but I never find any indication. If he lives, is he left forever with a stump or is the arm reattached or does te state give him a cheap prosthetic?
    • Word of God says that Quarles survived season 3, sans an arm. They just never found a way to bring him back organically.
  • What exactly happened to Dewey in "Thick as Mud" (the kidney episode)? He wakes up in a bathtub full of his own blood with incisions where kidneys would have been removed, but he discovers later that he still has them. Did the nurse who cut him up make it look like he had performed a kidney removal without actually doing it? Why wouldn't he just do it for real, considering he and his girlfriend had a successful organ selling business already?

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