Justified continues to gently meander its way through its fifth season as the latest episode provides some interesting back story, but both B-plots are deadly dull.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s party like you’re unemployed week on Justified as Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) tries to make the best of his time off with a visit to Florida with girlfriend Alison (Amy Smart). Naturally they haven’t even packed before the Crowes drag them back into the thick of it; Kendal’s (Jacob Lofland) grifter “uncle”, Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) runs off with him and Wendy (Alicia Witt) calls Raylan to get him back. It’s a variation of a case of the week, only instead of focusing on meaty guest roles, ‘Whistle Past The Graveyard’ offers some much needed character development for both Wendy and Kendal.
It’s nice because up until now, all we know about the Crowes is that the brothers do bad shit and Wendy bails them out. This offers a little more depth to at least a few members of the family, even as it reinforces how nearly everything they touch turns to crap. Discovering that Wendy is, in fact, Kendal’s mother and Jack is his father isn’t particularly surprising (it makes too much sense), and anyone who notices that the right arm of Jack’s sunglasses is missing knows that this guy is trouble the minute he shows up on screen, so it’s also no surprise that Jack turns out to be a dud.
More interesting is watching Raylan once again get pulled into a situation that he yearns to stay out of. He protests, but Wendy knows all she needs to do is tease the promise of information on her brothers’ action in Mexico to string Raylan along. Unfortunately it is nothing more than a tease (which proves Wendy knows how to con just as well as her ex and her brothers), but it leaves Raylan no closer to busting Daryl Jr (Michael Rapaport). The experience does give Raylan insight on what makes Wendy tick, however, and that’s a responsibility to do right by her son, even as she acknowledges she’s not a great mother to him.
Things are wrapped up fairly quickly and uneventfully with a fairly easily hostage trade-off, leaving Raylan to chat with Kendal and offer advice (as well as his radio content winnings). The relationship between Marshal and teenager reminds me of Raylan’s relationship with Loretta McCready – both Kendal and Loretta are tempestuous teens descended from trash parents, which is something Raylan can obviously relate to. What’s interesting is that Raylan continues to find hope (or his version of it) in the future generation of what may very well turn into Harlan County’s next criminal families. Unless of course they end up like all of his childhood friends who didn’t become cops (they simply got themselves killed).
- The Mexico storyline unfolds pretty much as expected. The cops pull Boyd (Walton Goggins) over and at first glance appear to take the heroin when they steal his truck. Naturally Boyd is three steps ahead – he even figures out that the Crowe brothers, Daryl Jr and Danny (AJ Buckley), orchestrated the whole event to ensure a cut of Boyd’s business. Much of what’s been happening between Boyd and Crowes has been heavily telegraphed and this episode does nothing to change that, which is disappointing and mildly boring.
- Meanwhile, Ava (Joelle Carter) works out a way to smuggle heroin into jail while trying to figure out if Judith (Dale Dickey) can be trusted. Shocker: she probably can’t. This storyline is the fifth season’s anchor, it just drags everything down every time we return to it. It’s just not interesting.
- In the episode’s final scene Alison breaks up with Raylan. Hope he kept the tags on the new swimsuit he bought her!
- Raylan (to Wendy): “I thought our relationship was adversarial”
- Boyd (when Daryl Jr indicates he wants to be family): “I’ll bear that in mind when you bear in mind that I just killed the last blood relative I have.”
- Kendal (after Raylan tells him it gets better): “Man, I ain’t gay.”
What are your thoughts on the episode: underwhelming or solid? Were you interested in learning Wendy and Kendal’s back story? Were you hoping for more from Boyd’s Mexico adventure? Are you at all intrigued by Ava’s storyline? Miss Art, Tim and Rachel? Sound off below.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX