Moving on to Boyd (Walton Goggins), in his opening scene with Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher), he wondered if Cassie and Billy (Joe Mazzello) are into incest.
We liked the fact that Boyd would sort of assume that. Again, this is Boyd’s view of the world: Everyone is suspect, nothing is as it seems. So, he’s confronted with Preacher Billy, who he comes to see at the end of episode 2 really is a true believer and he’s not running a scam, so he assumes that Cassie is. And he goes to a dark place about them. He has no justification for saying that. It’s just his dark imaginings.
I liked the way that Lindsay Pulsipher played that scene: Cassie seemed to enjoy going head-to-head with Boyd. It was almost like she was attracted to him, in a strange way. She wanted the challenge.
We wanted to make sure that Cassie was a formidable adversary for Boyd, that she’s not cowed by him.
So Cassie guessed that Boyd’s next move would be to send his henchmen there, and that’s why the snakes were free to bite Jimmy (Jesse Luken)?
We struggled with that for a long time. We actually had a shot of Billy in the corner of that back room area praying while it was all going on, like he had released the snakes. And we just found it distracting and it didn’t really help the scene. But yeah, they were expecting something, so the snakes were released.
Jimmy getting bit in his face — and leaving the snake’s head attached to it — was fairly graphic.
Well, we’ve seen some incredibly graphic things on Justified. And by the way, you’re gonna see some this season. [Laughs] There is this great Carl Hiaasen book [Double Whammy] where a guy gets bitten by a pit bull. The pit bull just chomps onto his arm, and he shoots the pit bull but he can’t get the head off, so he just saws off the rest of the body and goes around through the rest of the book with this big lump wrapped around his arm, the head wrapped in a towel. There was just something about that: Okay, it’s fine, you’ve killed the thing, but you can’t get the head out. There was something natural to us about Billy and Cassie using what they have at hand, using the snakes as a way to get back at these guys. But it also, as you see in the episode, becomes part of the story: It’s well, why doesn’t Jimmy die having been bit by all these rattlesnakes?
Boyd figured out that Cassie milks the snakes before Billy handles them, so he brought one to the church that still had its venom. My favorite part of that scene was that Boyd tried to convince Billy not to do it once Cassie had come clean.
We wanted as a subtext for Boyd throughout this thing that he had a sympathy for Billy, and an understanding of Billy, and almost a wish that he still had the faith that Billy has. So it kinda hurts him to bring down a man of faith. And yet, it then confirms again his dark nihilistic view of the world. So it was just the idea that he offers up the challenge, it’s a test of Billy’s faith, and he’s hoping that Cassie will stop him and that that will be that. The church will then have to pack up and move on. That’s all he wanted. He didn’t want Billy to die. It was Billy’s own feeling of having been betrayed by Cassie and his own hubris — that “No, no, the Lord is gonna protect me.”
So Billy is dead.
Yes. Much to Joe Mazzello’s chagrin.
Have we seen the last of Cassie?
I would say keep your eye out for Cassie. She plays a role in the season.
And what can you tease about Johnny (David Meunier)? He went to see Wynn and offered to serve up Boyd and help kill him. When will we see how that turns out?
We had this big dangling thing from the end of season 3, where you find out that Johnny had been working with Limehouse to betray Boyd, but then shut that down and said, “I’m not working with you anymore, we’re done.” So, we had established that Johnny was traitorous, and we felt like we needed to follow that along: What does Johnny want, and how will he go about getting it? You’ll see in episode 5 or 6 that it starts to take a turn. Johnny picks up on something else, but it’s related to that. He has the long game that he would be the king of Harlan and not Boyd.
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