Is Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) being duped by another crafty female? And has Boyd (Walton Goggins) finally regained his power in Harlan? It appears that the tide may be turning…just in time for the Crowes to roost.
Let’s bitch it out…Justified continues to struggle to find its central story in this third episode. I felt a similar feeling in the third season when all I could do was compare the series to its previous (stronger) season. So far it feels as though things are happening in season five, but it’s just not fully coming together for me.
Another week, another set of separate stories as Raylan and Boyd operate in separate autonomous spheres. This week Raylan plays house for a majority of the episode, lounging around Monroe’s (Xander Berkeley) repossessed McMansion in order to charm case worker Allison (Amy Smart) out of her pants. There’s a great deal of questioning and deception in ‘Good Intentions’ and a lot of involves both Raylan’s story. At first Raylan’s belief that Monroe is behind Henry, the “shit kicker” that shows up outside the house, seems like the usual Justified adventure: a criminal doesn’t realize who they’re talking to and Raylan resolves things by talking big and throwing his badge (or gun) around. It’s nice to realize that there’s something unexpected going on, although it takes Raylan a strangely long time to piece together. Even when Monroe fails to admit he hired Henry, it goes in one ear and out the other to Raylan.
It’s a bit strange then that Raylan still ends up having to deal with Monroe when the “maid” tries to collect the gold bars from Monroe’s safe. Unfortunately the resulting drama and off-screen shoot-out at Wynn Duffy’s (Jere Burns) proves to be a little anticlimactic. I suppose we can’t have Raylan shoot everyone (and really, what else are dumb bodyguards for?), but the whole Monroe storyline doesn’t really feel like it ends up amounting too much.
Throughout all of this, the big question is whether Raylan’s judgment is clouded. After Art (Nick Searcy) hears about Henry’s threats, he assigns Rachel (Erica Tazel) to provide back-up/chaperone Raylan. Almost immediately she calls him on his interest in Allison, even going so far as to inquire whether he’s considered that the blonde bombshell is a criminal. It’s interesting because the way that Amy Smart plays the character supports both arguments: she’s a bit trashy, but that could just be part of her charm. With that said, it’s not hard to imagine her planting crystal meth on a deadbeat (Side Note: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend most of her scenes watching to see if she pulls a fast one on Raylan. Gosh this show makes us suspicious of human nature, doesn’t it?)
Boyd’s side of the story is less murky as he sets about trying to find out who stole his drug shipment. As reader bhammel103 astutely pointed out last week, the perpetrator is none other than disowned Cousin Johnny (David Meunier, who provides only a disembodied line of dialogue on the phone). Boyd is also taking control of the Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson) situation now that he and Mara (Karolina Wydra) are in cahoots. I almost feel like the scene between Boyd and Ava (Joelle Carter, underused this season) is only included to remind us that Boyd’s engaged when Mara comes onto him at the bar. If I liked the immigrant-bride I might have appreciated their chemistry, but I have a residual hatred of Wydra from her tenure on True Blood, so all I did was shout at Boyd while Mara trails her manicured nails all over his tattoos. Of course until Paxton (and by extension William Gregory Lee’s Deputy Sheriff Mooney) is dealt with, the money grubbing wife isn’t going anywhere, so we may need to steel ourselves for more of these scenes to come.
The missing piece of the picture are the Crowes. Again, nothing too substantial happens on their front this week aside from Daryl Jr (Michael Rapaport) showing Dewey (Damon Herriman) who’s boss. After appearing in the final scenes of last week, Daryl Jr essentially settles in for the long-haul, taking over Audrey’s, calling in his cousin and Jean Baptiste (Edi Gathegi) and revealing that Wade (James Le Gros) has been skimming off the top of the weekly profits. These scenes don’t tell us anything new (we know from 5×01 that Wade has been using the whorehouse as a front), but it does establish 1) how pathetic Dewey is at holding his ground and 2) how expertly Daryl Jr can manipulate to get his own way. I doubt that he’ll be able to compete with either Boyd or Raylan, but it should be fun to see him try.
- The feminist in me shuddered, but I did love the visual of Candy, Cousin Johnny’s informant, being delivered to Boyd in a chest. All of the sudden Justified felt like Carnivale!
- Similarly the multiple near-strangulation of Monroe’s “maid” made me really uncomfortable. Oftentimes the violence on this show has a cartoonish feel to it because it’s delivered in conjunction with Raylan’s sarcasm, or it’s over quickly. In comparison, seeing the girl strangled, then smothered with a pillow was extremely graphic and disturbing. Of course some of my discomfort is distilled when she shows up a few scenes later at the McMansion with narrow a bruise or residual injury. It’s magic!
- I get why Ava lashes out at Boyd – it makes perfect sense – but it certainly doesn’t feel earned based on what we’ve seen of her this season. There’s been a lot of focus on Raylan and Boyd and since Ava is no longer involved in Boyd’s plotting, she’s faded into the background. I hope we spend more time with her in prison to get a better sense of what she’s going through (something tells me it’s not Orange Is The New Black in there)
- Finally, I know that Boyd is simply trying to get rid of Dewey when the intellectually challenged Crowe requests Boyd return $100 grand, but damn if I didn’t feel like cheering when Boyd artificially inflates Dewey’s ego with his “Put your foot down, Dewey Crowe” speech. Goggins’ delivery is simply marvelous.
- Boyd (when Dewey compares Audrey’s with a cheaper restaurant property): “Does this restaurant serve blowjobs?”
- Wynn (advising Mickey, his bodyguard, what to do when Raylan shows up at his immobile trailer): “No, I want you to get back behind the wheel and try to outrun him.”
You’re up: how are you feeling about this season compared to last? Are you enjoying Raylan’s slow slide into increasingly murky moral territory? Is Allison really a criminal? Is Boyd going to cheat with Mara? What will he do to Cousin Johnny? Are you excited that the Crowes are taking up residence? And why is there such an alarming lack of Wynn Duffy still?! Speculate away below in the comments.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX. Looks like Raylan finally interacts with Boyd next week. Check out the promo below