Please don’t mistake what I am trying to say here. I loved the season premiere of Justified. I really, really did. And I recognize that there was some necessary table-setting to be done to get the Crowes to Kentucky and to explain Harlan’s drug supply troubles, and that dueling road trips were an effective tool to do that. Hell, you could make an entire spinoff about Boyd Crowder and Wynn Duffy traveling around the country in a Winnebago making shady deals with unsavory characters — proposed title: Bullets Over Highway — and I would set up the series recording with such urgency that my DVR would think I was doing it under duress. My intention is not to tear down any of that, because it was all wonderful. But last night’s episode just felt more like Justified, didn’t it?
Maybe it was that we were back in Harlan. Or maybe it was Art and Rachel showing up to give Raylan a hard time. Or maybe it was the thing where Raylan saved a teenaged jackass from dying in a hole in the woods that two criminal siblings made him dig himself. Maybe it was a lot of things. I don’t know. But whatever it was, I enjoyed it very much. We are only two episodes in, and things are progressing quickly. Boyd is going to kill everybody. Stay tuned.
And now, the highlights. Lots to get to today:
- Okay, two big Raylan things and two big Boyd things from last night. Raylan first.
- So George Mason from 24 (Xander Berkeley) is a money launderer with incredibly complicated feelings about race that a mental health professional could write a series of books about, and the government is taking all of his sh*t. Also, Raylan is moving into his house and living it up. It’s basically Act II of Blank Check, but with slightly fewer go-karts. This development has my full support. Hopefully he can get the housekeeper to stick around and cook up some of that iguana.
- Second Raylan thing: HEY, IT’S LORETTA!
- The Raylan/Loretta dynamic is one of my favorite recurring themes on the show. I love that Raylan frustrates everyone else to no end with his renegade, lone wolf, shoot-first-ask-questions-later-but-sometimes-never-ask-questions schtick, and the only person who has figured out how to consistently play that in her favor is a 16-year-old burgeoning criminal mastermind.
- If a picture is worth 1,000 words, Raylan’s “Goddammit, Loretta” was worth somewhere north of 10k.
- Derek never saw Loretta coming. He’s a moron and an insufferable douche, so to a large degree he had it all coming, but that dummy never stood a chance.
- Boyd … Boyd has some troubles. Between the sexy Russian lady holding the law over his head and his drug pipeline springing a substantial leak, I’m beginning to see what Walton Goggins meant back when he said Boyd would feel “impotent” and “in a place of volatility” this season.
- Oh, and his fiancee is in prison awaiting murder charges, too. My man has a few things on his plate.
- The second time the cop described Boyd, he said “skinny, medium height, with dark spiky hair and big shiny teeth.” For the record, that also describes the Big Bad Wolf. It’s no wonder the Russian lady got confused.
- I know I’ve now suggested somewhere in the neighborhood of three dozen Justified spinoffs or made-up shows at this point, but in the Justified universe where all of these things are really happening, a reality show on premium cable about Dewey Crowe trying to run a whorehouse would be the pinnacle of the genre.
- FYI: For those of you keeping score, this now makes two hooker threesomes that Dewey Crowe has had interrupted by an authority figure. And we could be looking at three if this Zombie Hitler thing happens. (Ian McShane as Zombie Hitler? I would really like to see that. Keep the Deadwood crossover rolling and all.)
- I can’t believe I made it this far without mentioning Avon Barksdale: Memphis Henchman. The guest star quotient so far this season is ridiculous. I fully expect Pauly Walnuts to show up in Harlan as a New Jersey mob representative by Episode 5.
- “My general rule is, you keep talking, I put you in the trunk.”
- Memphis Avon ratted out Hot Rod awfully fast, didn’t he? I mean, not that I can’t see why he might have been a little extra willing to talk…
- You know who the real star of this episode was? The person who decided that Art should be casually/menacingly tossing a ball to himself while questioning Raylan about Theo Tonin.
- I DEMAND MORE TIM. I miss that sarcastic little tramp.
- Two quick notes about the meeting in Boyd’s bar: 1) You don’t often see Wynn Duffy speechless. It’s almost as if he doesn’t know how to behave when faced with a conflict where shooting the other person isn’t a viable alternative. 2) If it weren’t for the part where he has a criminal record longer than the great and mighty Mississippi, Boyd Crowder would make a hell of a politician. The sentence “And now, because talk is cheap and liquor is not, drinks are on the house” alone could get you elected mayor in most cities.
- Yup, Raylan officially has his sights set on Allison, the social worker played by Amy Smart. And one has to imagine she’ll fall for him in rapid fashion. What lady can resist witty repartee over Chinese food and a few bottles of a half-racist money launderer’s wine?
- If I had to pick one bone with this episode, it would probably be the thing where Raylan gave a Tennessee drug kingpin a stern talking-to and said drug kingpin agreed to wave Loretta’s debts and stay out of Kentucky from that moment until his demise. I get that Raylan’s a bad man with a quick draw and an even quicker turn of phrase, but, like, what’s to stop Hot Rod from getting back in his car and being all, “Yeah, business as usual, starting tomorrow morning”?
- NOTE: I say that as someone who basically squealed like an excited infant when this happened, so take that with a grain of salt.
- In the last two or three minutes of the episode, the dude Boyd beat into a coma woke up, and his much-needed drug shipment got hit by someone who mowed down a bunch of his men. I feel like these things will come up next week. I can’t wait.
Okay. That about sums it up, I think. Feel free to chime in below, and please do not shoot me with an air gun for your own personal enjoyment.