The beginning of this final season has already seen plot twists that came quicker than a blind curve on a Kentucky back road, most notably the death of dim-witted gator poacher/neo-Nazi Dewey Crowe. Ava is out of prison and acting as a confidential informant for the Marshals with Raylan as her handler. Art is at home recuperating from his gunshot wound, leaving Rachel to ride herd over the lunatic misfits at the office.
Raylan is trying to sell his father's old property and turned down the offer from a bearded man named Ty Walker. Ty also made a generous offer for land owned by Raylan's former English teacher and her husband, which was also declined. The teacher and her husband died from carbon monoxide poisoning after their furnace malfunctioned. Raylan isn't so sure it was an accident. His suspicions are confirmed when Tim discovers plastic taped to the windows of her house.
The bad guy behind the scenes of the Harlan County land grab is Avery Markham played by Sam Elliott. He's got high hopes (pun intended) that marijuana will be legalized, which he will then grow in Harlan County. Avery's girlfriend Katherine (Mary Steenburgen) seems to know entirely too much about everyone's past, including parts of Ava's that aren't supposed to be public knowledge. Katherine tells Ava that she's the real brains behind Avery's scheme and she seems like the kind of woman who could kill you at the slightest provocation. Her silky menace reminds me of a character from another FX series, Gemma Teller-Morrow of Sons of Anarchy. I have a feeling she will meet a similar fate. Katherine and Ava have a lovely girls' day out involving snorting cocaine and ripping off a jewelry store.
Harlan's resident explosives expert Boyd Crowder is planning to blow up a safe in the basement of a local pizza parlor. Its owners are involved in the Dixie Mafia and rumor has it the safe has a few million dollars in it. He recruited the help of a wild-eyed safe-cracker played by Jake Busey, son of poster child for sanity Gary Busey. SPOILER: Jake does not survive to the end credits.
Additionally, Rachel running the office has meant a lot more screen time for one of my favorite characters: Deputy US Marshal Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts). We haven't learned anything else about his mostly shadowy past, but that's not really a big deal. It's a lot of fun to watch him and Timothy Olyphant play off each other. Tim's already had some good snarky one-liners; in an episode a couple of weeks ago, he saw Raylan watching nanny-cam footage of Willow and said, "I thought that was a random Internet baby." Last night, when Raylan told him about his former teacher, Tim asked if she "watered little Raylan, helped him blossom?" Raylan confessed that she was a mean old coot who nearly made him hate reading.
Next week's episode looks promising with Patton Oswalt reprising his role as Constable Bob.