The most enjoyable part of the episode for me were the Ava scenes. Her presence has been fairly scarce this season up until this point, so the fact that the writers are delivering an intriguing arc for Joelle Carter to shine is more than welcome.
After a failed heist from Ellen May (Abby Miller) and two other girls for Delroy leaves one of them dead, Delroy (William Mapother) decides to mop up the loose ends by killing the second girl, before Ellen May flees and escapes certain death. She seeks refuge at Ava's, and Boyd's girlfriend keeps her safe by baiting Delroy to the bar and gunning him down with a shotgun.
I believe this is the first time we've seen Ava doing something this severe. Ever since she's hooked up with Boyd, there have been hints of how she would develop. In the season premiere, for instance, she stamps her authority while Boyd is locked up and even smacks Devil across the face with a pan.
Then at the end of this week's episode, with Delroy biting the dust, she suggests to Boyd that she can take over and be the girls' new pimp. How dirty she's willing to get her hands will be worth keeping an eye on, but the one thing that is important for the writers to keep in mind (from my perspective, at least) is that Ava has heart. And that's a big factor in taking that extra responsibility - she wants to protect the girls.
Ava has come a long, long way since the first season when she was simply seen as Raylan's girlfriend. Raylan does drunkenly give her a surprising kiss in 'Loose Ends', but Ava is most definitely her own character now.
Her beau Boyd has also been a bit busy this week - firstly, he manages to get himself released from county jail, and then he gives a rousing and charismatic speech at the sheriff election debate between Napier and Shelby. This scene reminds me how underused Walton Goggins has been this season (as have Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel), but when you have Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson on board, it must be hard to fit everyone in.
So despite Quarles's backing, Napier (David Andrews) is struggling to win the support of the public for the election. That's not the only thing the Detroit mobster has to worry about as Raylan is getting closer to finding out what Quarles is really up to.
Though Tanner (Brendan McCarthy) died from the Bouncing Betty (as predicted, though maybe not in the manner I was expecting!) before Raylan could get any useful information out of him, Raylan has learnt a few valuable tidbits - most notably, he now knows Errol is involved in all of this.
Raylan attempts to use this information to get Limehouse on his side but is turned down in a rather fascinating exchange. Limehouse counters by bringing up memories of Raylan's father Arlo, which don't appear to affect the deputy that much. But when he mentions Raylan's mother, that hits a nerve.
It's hard to tell where his allegiances will end up in the next few episodes, but if Limehouse does turn into Raylan's foe, he has the understated power to get Raylan emotional - something that we've not really seen before on the show and hugely contrasting Quarles's approach.
With Limehouse uncooperative, Raylan may have to team up with Boyd to take down Quarles. As this episode proves with Raylan visiting Boyd and learning about Tanner, he's not against using the Crowder to get his man.
'Loose Ends' may be a transitional (yet still enjoyable) instalment. But now with everything finely poised, surely it's only a matter of time before we get that something that will kickstart everything. Remember Coover's death last season?
Also, how awesome was it when Raylan borrowed that trucker to pose as a bomb expert in front of Sheriff Napier?
What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!