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"Loose Ends"
Season 3, Episode 9
Loose Ends.jpg
Air date March 13, 2012
Written by Ingrid Escajeda
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
U.S. Viewers 2.26 million
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 "Loose Ends" is the ninth episode of the third season, and the 35th episode in the series overall. It was written by Ingrid Escajeda and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton. It first aired on March 13, 2012.



Raylan pursues a Dixie Mafia soldier who may be the key to taking down Quarles. Ava turns brutal in order to protect an imperiled prostitute.


Raylan returns to his apartment with the gun that was planted at Winona's house. He seems to consider his next move before hiding the gun beneath the radiator cover under a window. The next morning the Marshal is summoned into Art's office. Art asks why Raylan has been looking into a Detroit hustler named Brady Hughes. Apparently, the young man is connected — not in a legal way — with Quarles. Art, however, has had enough of this pseudo-investigation, noting that Raylan has nothing in the way of proof. "We're going to shut this down," Art says. "Us and Quarles. You and Quarles." Raylan isn't happy.

Delroy sits behind the wheel of a van while in the rear a trio of coke-snorting working girls from his brothel don sunglasses and wigs. Delroy encourages them to go out and make some money as they exit the van and enter a nearby check cashing outlet with shotguns. Shots are fired and the women soon emerge. Two of the women, Ellen May and J.J., carry a badly injured Krystal. "Oh shit!" Delroy exclaims. The women hustle into the van and Delroy stomps on the gas pedal as they tell him the guard and clerk were shot. Krystal soon expires. "She was a soldier. She knew the risks," Delroy says. "Let's fix this."

"Fixing it" means taking the body into the woods and dumping it into a slurry pond, then eliminating witnesses. Delroy pulls a gun and kills J.J. as Ellen May makes a run for it and disappears into the woods as Delroy tries to kill her too.

Raylan, in the meantime, drinks at the bar beneath his apartment where barmaid Lindsey pays special attention to him as Ava enters and the drunk Marshal gives her a lingering kiss. Ava is taken aback, but quickly recovers. "You do know what Boyd is, right?" Raylan asks. Ava ignores the comment and explains that Boyd wants to help Raylan get to Quarles. Raylan is immediately intrigued.

So intrigued, in fact, that the Marshal visits Boyd, who is in jail on a trumped-up charge of bombing the Sheriff's car. Boyd explains that the man Raylan threw out of a moving pill-mill trailer is the same man who bombed the Sheriff's vehicle. Boyd would like to provide Raylan with the man's name. "You're asking me to go get your 'get of jail free' card," Raylan observes. True enough, but it might also mean the end of Quarles. "Tanner Dodd," Boyd says.

Raylan calls Art, who reluctantly agrees to investigate Tanner. Raylan will have one more chance to nail Quarles.

Speaking of... Quarles visits Limehouse for a business meeting. Quarles explains that he has arranged for Sheriff Napier to win the upcoming election because a). Boyd is in jail and b). Napier looks like a hero for putting him there. But Limehouse warns that elections are not won in Harlan County without "insurance." And, of course, Quarles will have to pay for that insurance. The Detroit criminal has come well prepared and presents Limehouse with a briefcase full of cash. Limehouse tells Quarles to give the money to his new "campaign manager," who will be arriving shortly.

At Johnny's bar, Ava is cleaning up before opening for business when there is a persistent knock at the door. She opens it to find a bloodied, dirty and terrified Ellen May. "You got to help me!" she says.

Later, Raylan arrives at the house of Tanner's mother, Imogene Dodd. She denies having seen Tanner "in years," though she has a new hi-def wide-screen TV that is likely a gift from her loving son. Mom, who seems nice at first, soon turns mean. She has been dealing with "no dick lawmen" looking for her boy since he was 10 years old. "Now you get the hell out!" she yells at Raylan. The Marshal simply nods and leaves his card.

Quarles meets his new campaign manager, Harvey Jones, who goes on and on about his plans to rig the election. Quarles, who only wants results, isn't terribly interested. In fact, the cold-hearted criminal is annoyed. Tanner, meanwhile, is outside with Errol ducking Quarles when he gets a call from his mom and understands that he is in trouble. Errol overhears the call and tells Limehouse, who orders his lieutenant to keep a close eye on Tanner.

Sheriff Napier gets a visit in his office from Raylan and a large bearded man in a ballistic vest who he introduces as ATF Agent Masters, a bomb expert. Given explains that he suspects Boyd might not have acted alone. A second suspect is Tanner Dodd, and tells the Sheriff that Masters was able to match the bomb rigging to Tanner's previous work. Raylan urges the suddenly nervous sheriff to investigate Tanner and follow up with the Marshals' office. Outside, Raylan pays off the "agent," who is really just a passing big rig truck driver who'd borrowed the Marshal's ballistic vest for the ruse.

At Johnny's bar, Ava asks for Johnny's help in taking care of Ellen May who is asleep on a couch in the office. Johnny refuses, explaining that Delroy pays protection money to Boyd. In other words, Ava can't keep the girl. So Ava calls Delroy and agrees to turn over Ellen May for a "finder's fee" of $2,000. Delroy reluctantly agrees.

Tanner gets a call from Sheriff Napier, who says he wants to pay Tanner for his recent job. The pair agree to meet later that afternoon. But first, Tanner and Errol attempt to rob Lemuel Briggs, the old explosives dealer who'd provided Tanner with the makings of the bomb with which he'd blown up Napier's Sheriff's car. The crafty old man leads the pair inside his shop. In fact, he leads Tanner to a stool that is really a pressure-sensitive explosives device. If Tanner removes his foot from the stool, the bomb will go off. "You shoot me now, you'll spend the rest of your life in this room," the man says. "I'm the only one that can disarm it. And I will as soon as you boys hand over your weapons." Tanner lowers his gun... but Errol fires, shooting the old man in the back, killing him. There's a brief stand-off between the criminal cohorts before Tanner relents and shoves the canvas bag full of cash over to Errol, who promises to deliver the bag to Tanner's mother—and then leaves an angry and panicky Tanner standing on an armed bomb.

Later, Raylan, who had followed the Sheriff from his office and watched him prepare for Tanner's arrival with rope, duct tape, and a shovel, gets a call from Trooper Tom Bergen outside of Briggs' shop. Tanner has used his cell phone to call the State Police to turn himself in to save himself as he is still standing on a bomb trigger. Amused and disgusted, Raylan drives toward the scene, taking a detour on the way to pass Sheriff Napier who is waiting for Tanner. Clearly, the sheriff had nefarious plans for Tanner. "Sheriff, pretty certain he ain't coming," Raylan says before driving away. Caught and knowing it, the sheriff grimaces.

At Johnny's bar, Ava awakens Ellen May with an "eye-opener" shot of tequila and hands the young woman a belt as she points a shotgun at her, telling her to bind her wrists with the strap. She marches the now hysterical woman, who can't understand what she's done "to deserve this," out to the barroom where Delroy waits. The murderous pimp puts a bag of money on the top of the bar, and lowers his revolver. Ava calmly raises her shotgun and fires a blast into Delroy's midsection, killing him instantly.

It was another ruse... she never had any intention of handing over the young woman to be killed.

Elsewhere, Raylan puts on his ballistic vest and enters the shop where Tanner stands on a bomb. A real ATF bomb expert, Agent Keaton, enters behind Raylan to attempt to defuse the device. "It's going to take a few hours," the expert explains. While they wait, Raylan explains that Napier was waiting for Tanner in a secluded spot with a shovel and a rope. "Why don't you tell me something that will make life easier for you down the road?" Raylan proposes. Tanner stridently delays, countering that if they get him out of his dire situation, he'll give up all the information Raylan seeks. While he and the Marshal are arguing, he accidentally drops his gun. The slight change in weight causes the device to emit a soft high-pitched sound. Keaton rises and excuses himself, telling Tanner he's going to got to get "the robot" from his vehicle, but quietly tells Raylan, "We need to get out of here." As they exit the shop, Raylan urgently continues to interrogate the doomed man. Outside, Keaton explains that the bomb has armed itself, making it necessary to evacuate. Tanner yells for help, but it's too late. The shop explodes, taking Tanner with it.

Sheriff Napier and Shelby engage in a "candidates' debate" at the local VFW hall with Harvey acting as moderator. Harvey is giving Napier the advantage in the discussion when Boyd, recently released at the urging of the Marshal's office, enters. He explains that Shelby was implicated in a robbery by the hated Blackpike Coal—and who would believe that dishonest firm? The charismatic Boyd soon has the crowd in a frenzy. "I'm not saying you're a bad man, Mr. Napier, but I do know that you've been feeding too long at the public trough!" Boyd says. The crowd cheers. Harvey pounds his gavel, but it's drowned out.

Later, Ava tells a quietly incredulous Boyd about the murder of Delroy. "If that's a decision you felt you needed to make, well then I respect it," Boyd says. Ava then suggests that someone will have to make sure that Ellen May and others like her can be safe. In short, Ava has volunteered to start running women in Harlan.

Errol, in the meantime, makes good on his promise and delivers the sack of cash to Tanner's mother. She is mighty grateful through her tears. Mom then steps back inside, where Raylan has been sitting. "I truly am sorry for your loss," he says.

Having seen Errol visit Tanner's mom, Raylan heads to Limehouse's place. "Robert Quarles," Raylan begins. "I'm either going to put him in prison or in the ground." Limehouse feigns ignorance. "You're going to help me." Raylan explains the Errol connection, which connects Limehouse to Quarles. Limehouse, however, is not so easily intimidated. He lets Raylan know that he won't be revealing anything and admits that he'd earlier lied to the Marshal—when he said he didn't remember Arlo Givens, when in fact he had... and talks in some detail about the savage beating he'd given his father decades before. Limehouse says the only thing that kept him from finishing Arlo off, was the fact that his nine-year-old was watching "with eyes as big as dollar coins."

If he was hoping to upset Raylan, he failed... so he says "Well if you like, I can tell you what I remember about your mama." The Marshal's eyes go cold as he stands and tells the man, "That would upset me."

There is a frozen moment between the men before Raylan again pushes for information about Quarles. Again, Limehouse stands his ground.

"So be it," says a tired and disappointed Raylan. "So be it," repeats Limehouse.


First Appearances[]

  1. Harvey Jones - Campaign manager assigned to make sure Tillman Napier wins re-election


  1. Krystal - Prostitute at Audrey's assigned to rob a bank for Delroy. Shot by a bank patron.
  2. Unnamed bank patron - Tried to stop robbery. Shot by Krystal.
  3. Unnamed teller- Shot by Krystal.
  4. J.J. Corliss - Shot by Delroy.
  5. Lemuel Becket -  Shot by Errol.
  6. Tanner Dodd - Killed in an explosion caused by a weight shift while standing on a land mine (the mine was set off by Becket).
  7. Delroy Baker - Shot by Ava.



Starring cast

Guest stars



  • This episode marks the re-appearance of Lemuel Becket, last seen in the Season 1 episode, Veterans.
    • His last name is changed to "Briggs" in this episode. 
  • When Ava meets Raylan at the bar he tells her an anecdote about a guy they arrested named "Tiny". That happened in "Fixer", the third episode of Season 1.

Screenshot Gallery[]