I’m actually feeling a whole lot better now

I keep adding things to my writing to-do list. Some of them are on me—anthologies to which I want to submit, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t. Others, though, are firm commitments. One of them is still awaiting confirmation, but it will require me to get the lead out and knuckle down for a couple of weeks if it comes through.

I’m working on a new short story this week, even though I have another one that’s only halfway done. The deadline for the new one is at the end of the month, so it gets top priority. Unless something else comes along with higher priority. This one is a speculative tale that arose from a suppertime conversation my wife and I had last week. One of those “what if” things where we marveled over the possibilities of something but then turned toward all of the nasty potential repercussions of the same thing. It’s a fun little tale that will have a rather grim ending, I’m afraid.

Justified always provides a bunch of quotable moments, and I usually steal one of the lines for my title. This week, the line was spoken by Josiah Cairn (Gerald McRaney), who has just had his foot amputated with an ax. One of the miscreants who believes Josiah is the near-mythical Drew Peterson realizes that he’s no good to them dead, so he decides to stop the bleeding with a blow torch. Once Josiah realizes the guy is serious, he utters the above line, which made me think of Monty Python, of course.

So, after last week’s episode, I came up with two hypotheses. One was that Josiah was Drew Peterson. I had a bunch of reasons for thinking so, and a couple of reasons for believing I was wrong. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had that idea. Arlo put his lawyer on the wrong trail, for whatever perverse reason, and Cairn ended up footless because of it. I also wondered if the guy who liked to dress up in animal costumes, the one Ellen May shot, could be Drew. Then this week the “previously on” segment firmed up that connection. The guy was the judge executive and Raylan’s cousin said that the last time she saw Drew was nearly a decade ago with the judge executive. So I was on the right track, sort of. We’ll see what happens next week when Ava and Boyd crash the wife-swapping party, where there’s a high probability that Drew Peterson will be present. Look for a guy with bad legs.

A lot happened on this “very special” episode, which ended on an appropriate-for-Valentine’s Day note with a proposal. Who knew Boyd was a romantic? Colton is starting to unravel because of his addiction, compounding his mistake in beating up a prostitute by accusing another man of the assault, which quickly spun out of control. Johnny is toying with Boyd by telling him what he’d do to him if he were Duffy. A bold move but one that’s bound to backfire. And it’s nice to see that someone has a conscience over the killing of another person, even if said person isn’t actually dead. Colton is sort of on Tim’s radar, and I just knew that his brother’s favor (“it’ll only take fifteen minutes”) would go south. Will there be anything more to that story, though?

My favorite part of the episode, though, was Shelby and Raylan teaming up. They don’t trust each other on account of their past associations (Shelby with Boyd and Raylan with his father), but they put all that aside to get the job done. Shelby proves himself to be a good detective, figuring out why Roz’s boyfriend was shooting at targets behind his trailer and coming to Raylan’s rescue when “Rapes With a Smile” threatened him. He even pulled off a crackerjack piece of gunplay with Dumb and Dumber, Arlo’s lawyer’s two flunkies. “I wasn’t always a greeter in a big box store,” Shelby tells Raylan and goes on to regale him with the story of the last person he shot, twenty years ago. I think that’s the most dialog Jim Beaver’s had in a TV program ever.

Survivor is back, and they call it Fans vs. Favorites, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Are the fans really fans? So far we haven’t seen much to qualify them as such, except for the guy who figured out how to start a fire without flint, which is a pro thing to do, rarely seen on Survivor. And are the favorites really favorites? A few of them might be, but several of them are in the “who?” category and some are decidedly unfavorites. Maybe favorites of the producers because of their volatility. The video clips that accompanied their arrival on the beach was like a worst-of collection. None of them have ever won. Only one (I believe) even made it to the finals. The advantage returning players have (well, those who’ve spent more than one day on the island, that is) is that they know what needs to be done straight away and how to accomplish it. While the fans argued, the favorites went to work and built a shelter. The disadvantage returning players have is that they think they know too much and they start to second guess themselves. Paranoia sets in. The vote at tribal might have gone differently if Francesca’s group had stuck to the original plan. But what if someone has an idol? To the best of my recollection, that was the first moment anyone mentioned idols. There was no sign that anyone was seriously looking for one.

The challenges were good. What better way to stoke the competitive nature than make everyone wrestle right off the bat? And the immunity challenge looked like a runaway for the favorites until the guy whose superpower is an uncanny ability to throw sandbags into holes stepped up. I think he got all six in about seven tries, while Malcolm piled his bags up around one slot. The marine looks like he could be a wild card, ranging from stubbornly aggressive to impressively capable, but Brendon appears to be the focus of next week’s tantrums. I thought that Philip would be someone who would go early, but he might just hang around for a while as the others implode.

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