Justified is still good

tn_justifiedWell, you guys know I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I have managed to keep up with JUSTIFIED, the FX show starring Timothy Olyphant as badass deputy marshall Raylan Givens, a character who originated in Elmore Leonard’s Pronto (although it’s credited to the later short story “Fire In the Hole,” since that’s what the pilot was adapted from).

This week we finally got to meet Raylan’s much referred to pops, who was a bastard as promised but luckily in a small-timer way. Some of the previous references to him made it sound like he was some international super-crook, but in this one he’s mostly an old man who smashes things with a bat. I was hoping somebody recognizable like Robert Forster or somebody would turn out to be the dad, like a surprise casting coup type deal. Instead it’s Raymond J. Barry, who is perfect. What they went for is much better than what I wished for. It’s a great character and great relationship.

My favorite episode so far was last week, though. Raylan went to L.A. after a mob accountant turned dentist played by Cameron from FERRIS BUELLER (looking alot like Anthony Bourdain these days). That was a great Elmore Leonard feel because they get you rooting for this dentist in the opening scene when he removes gold fillings from a rich asshole in the parking lot for yelling at his secretary.

Anyway, I want to point you to this article posted on elmoreleonard.com which reveals that Leonard likes the show so much he’s working on ideas to give them for season 2. Also, the comments here is a good place to discuss new episodes if you ever feel like it.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 11:28 am and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

96 Responses to “Justified is still good”

  1. Yeah, I’m still enjoying the show and last week’s was the best, although last night’s was excellent. I only know that actor from Walk Hard, so seeing him smashing those guys over the head with his baseball bat and being a crazy bastard.

    I tend to prefer my TV shows to be more serialized then this, but Justified is such a well done procedural that it doesn’t really matter that the shows ongoing storylines are progressing so slowly. A Tuesday night with an hour of Lost and an hour of Justified is a good night.

    My favorite moment in the entire show was the bit last week when Ruck was explaining about his love of Herbie the Elf and Raylan just goes, “THE LITTLE GAY FELLA? ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME YOU’RE GAY?!” That was hilarious.

  2. three words.
    pam grier cameo.

  3. This is my favorite new show this season.

  4. I’m still maybe slightly disappointed that it’s shaping up to be a crime-of-the-week show and not more of a long-form story-arc show, but it’s been damn entertaining either way.

    I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet, but I’m hoping the presence of Raylan’s father means we’re going to get more of Raylan’s back story.

  5. I really dig this show, even though I tend to like more serialized stuff. Guess they’ll have some kind of story arc in the future, probably involving the Walton Goggiins character. I like the show’s vibe – it reminds me of Out of Sight a lot, so although I never read a Leonard novel they must have captured his style in some way. And you just have to love the fact that he’s seemingly unable to close a case without shooting someone dead. Haven’t seen the last episode yet, but the one with the “dentist” was my favorite so far.

  6. This show has been really good, but I do agree Brendan that the show’s ongoing storyline is developing very slowly. However for a procedural cop drama it is excellent. It don’t like anywhere near as much as I liked The Shield, but really there are few shows as good as The Shield.

    Vern, I agree with your point that the dude from Ferris Bueller does look a lot like Anthony Bourdain these days. Speaking of Anthony Bourdain, my brother and his wife went and saw him do a Q&A recently here in Austin to promote his new book, and He mentioned that he is going to be a regular character on the new show about New Orleans called Treme from the creators of The Wire. The first episode of Treme premiered last weekend and it was very good. It could unseat Justified as my favorite new show of the year.

  7. Honestly I kind of like the fact that all the episodes so far could be stand alone episodes. It seems to herald back to a time when TV was something you caught on a certain channel at a certain hour and just enjoyed it for the entertainment it was. Still, for the serial junkies most of our generations tends to be, you can start to see some storylines that could well continue throughout a season. Raylan’s relationship with his wife and his father, for one. Timothy Olyphant makes a great fucking lead. So glad he’s got something better to chew on than…well, Hitman, for example.

  8. I also like that he has a new case each week, with the added bonus of implied back story (like he had already chased the dentist in the past, etc.) They’re definitely starting to set up some ongoing storylines, for example this episode tells us that something is about to happen that ties into the pilot episode and will have consequences. I don’t care if they have a big story arc or not. But I like the continuity, that different things that happened before may or may not come back again and cause problems. Also it looks like his relationship with his dad and stepmother will be interesting.

  9. I haven’t seen this show but I will track it down. I don’t get FX so we’ll see. I love the full poster for the show: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1441369088/tt1489428 . Very iconic. Based on Vern’s review and everyone’s comments I’m getting kind of a ROCKFORD FILES vibe. Is that close to the mark? That show was one of the greatest ever. The sharp writing still holds up today if you’re able to catch an episode on late night TV.

  10. Darryl-The first three episodes are on Hulu for free.

  11. Damn Hulu doesn’t work in Canada. And I ain’t paying for no cable tee vee

  12. Just watched the first one on Hulu. Thanks for the tip, Brendan.

    It was pretty good. Definitely had that Leonard feel, and I think I finally see Olyphant’s appeal — though he still occasionally has that weird, pained look on his face, like he’s got heartburn or something. Rolaids, dude. Try ’em.

    Now I’ll have to check out the other two free ones and then…and then…

    …oh my god, what am I gonna do then?! BRENDAAAAAAAAHHHHHHN!

  13. Have to download it in the UK, but really liking it. I love the fact that death does seem to have an emotionalconsequence (like Smoking Aces of all things). It’s not as self-consciously hip as I was worried it might turn out. Raylan is remarkably low key. Surprised no-one has mentioned last weeks episode about the kidnapped snitch – that felt really Elmore Leonard to me, witht he fake draw scene and the girl being in on it [SPOILER]

    And Natalie Zea is lovely.

  14. Meant to add, the theme tune is also great.

    And in an Olyphant connection, Vern, if you ever watch The Show That Must Not Be Named but is Set in Baltimore, Deadwood is also worthy of your attention.
    I think it may even be better.

    Damn you Yanks and your amazing TV shows nowadays.

  15. Jareth Cutestory

    April 15th, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Charles: Awesome way to mention THE WIRE while staying on topic.

    frankbooth: Olyphant had a pained look on his face throughout DEADWOOD. They didn’t have Tums back in the old west.

  16. I was really into the show for the first two episodes but it seems to be getting a tad stale.

    This shit needs to be on HBO with a little harder edge to it.

  17. Love the no-bullshit approach (“If you take another step I’ll shoot you.” . . . Bang!) and the dialogue is pretty sharp (“Use it or drop it!”) Five eps in, it’s as promising as anything I’ve seen.

    ‘Course, ALIAS had a terrific first season too and we all know how that turned out.

  18. It has it’s moments where you can see it’s potential or it’s attempt at an original character/style, then it loses it. I’ve watched the last 4 or so episodes and think it’s so-so. The episode where the guy from SEX IN THE CITY (not Mr Big) is an informant who got kidnapped was not, in my opinion, any good. The previous one before that with an escaped con was pretty weak as well. The latest with the Marshal dealing with his dad had it’s moments and was probably the best of the bunch since the pilot. Basically, as sad as this sounds, if there was something else on Tuesday nights I’d watch it:)

  19. The one thing that sucks about the Walter Groggins storyline is that you KNOW he’s going to turn out to be evil, and all his redeemed soul stuff is going to be some pose, or dropped at the first chance. It bums me out, just one of these days I would love for a TV show or movie to have a bad guy reform and STAY REFORMED.

  20. Best episode so far tonight, I thought. Loved Raylan’s Dirty Harry-like speech. “If you did that…where would it end?”

    Is it just me, or did we get a shot of Olyphant’s badass pubes?

  21. What are some other books and stories you guys’d like to see get turned into ongoing TV shows? My vote is for I AM LEGEND, I think that could be an amazing series, maybe if they turned it into a road series, with the dude wandering around in an America overrun by Vamps, especially if they kept the book’s twist that SUPERDUPEREXTRAMAJORSPOILERS the vampires are in fact rebuilding society and have souls and are afraid of him. Like how Battlestar Galactica did whole episodes from the Cylons POV, this show could do episodes totally from the perspective of the ‘evil’ vampires.

  22. Season 4 premieres tonight, in case anyone still watches. Although I can’t think of many reasons not to watch after the last two seasons.

  23. Last season was still pretty good, but I thought it was the weakest so far. I think mostly it had to do with all the time spent on Limehouse and Nobles Holler, which I just didn’t find to be a very fruitful subplot. Also, Mykelti Williams’ really broad performance was a constant distraction. It took time away from Quarles, who I thought was by far the more interesting villain, and Boyd and Dickie and all the other more interesting stuff. They could have truncated the Limehouse stuff to about 1/3rd of the air time it received and still moved the plot forward.

    Since it looks like Limehouse is sticking around, I hope they do a better job with the character this season.

  24. I think season 3 is the best so far. I like all the Limehouse stuff, which I’m sure will become more important this season. I think the only weakness of the season was how much the Boyd subplots just felt like limp excuses to keep the character around because everybody likes him. Luckily they made him crucial in the ending of the season.

    Oh shit, I better read an episode guide or something to remind me what all was going on.

  25. I wish more stand alone episodes, like the one with the dentist from season 1 or that oldtimey bankrobber in season 2. Not just episodes that are all about the main story arc of the season. I really like seeing Raylan doing actual U.S Marshal shit and not just being involved in personal businesses with the local yokels.

  26. Personally, I like the longform stories over the individual episodes; it affords us more time to hang out with weirdos like Quarles and Wynn Duffy, who would have been dispatched after one episode if this show was more like MAGNUM PI or CSI or something. And I think the show does a good job of making episodes distinct adventures that tie in with the overall plot (like the one where Dewey thinks his kidneys have been stolen), instead of just being one overarching story like THE WIRE.

  27. Anyways, I’d have to pick season 2 as the best so far. Even though I wasn’t as gaga for Maggs Bennett as the rest of the world seemed to be (just seemed like a case where an actor delivers a monologue in an impassioned voice and everyone just sort of assumes it’s great acting), but she was still an awesome character and I think the Bennett family story worked better than the clusterfuck of conflicting criminal interest in season 3. The final scene, with Raylan and Maggs at the dinner table, was such a perfect climax for the season, too.

    Although, to season 3 and Limehouse’s credit, it was pretty awesome when Limehouse chopped off Quarles’s arm with the meat clever.

  28. That reminds me that I still have the rest of season 1 and the complete 2nd season on my DVR.

  29. Alright, that bit with the airbag was pretty good. Tonight was my 1st ever JUSTIFIED episode. Pretty good. Any show with a bad guy who quotes Keynes is okay by me.

    Reckon I’ll give it a go, maybe watch this season simultaneously with season 1 somehow if I get a hold of the discs.

  30. “You ran into an asshole this morning? You ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day? Then YOU´RE the asshole” Man, I love this show!

  31. Was this weeks episode great or what? So much awesome stuff…
    – The amazing speech-off between Preacher Billy and the Goggs
    – Chief Art at his most exasperated
    – The spectacular introduction of the Truth family, who simply do not give a fuck
    – That UFC asshole trying to “tap out” during the streetfight
    – Wynn Duffy!

  32. Yeah, I especially dig the introduction of this backyard fighter guy. I have a feeling he’ll be giving Raylan some real trouble even though so far I’m rooting for him. That’s very Elmore Leonard.

  33. Oh yeah, as soon as that scene was over I turned to the person sitting next to me and said “I LIKE this guy.” Hope he sticks around for a while. I like Boyd’s new buddy as well. His reaction when he accidentally capped that guy in the first episode was priceless “Oooh.. shit.”

    What did you think of Constable Bob? I know some people thought he was too goofy for this show, but I thought he was okay. If he’d just been an oblivious doofus who thought he was hot shit it might have been too cartoony, but as he said to Raylan he KNEW he was ridiculous and that everyone looked down on him. I liked him. Plus he stabbed a teenage girl in the foot.

  34. I hope Michael Ironside will return. He was just briefly in season 3,but it would be great if they could give him something to work with. He seemed like the kind of knucklehead loser who never really made it big time and got stuck beating up people beacause thats what he did best.

  35. A bit like Ironside himself, then?

  36. It was a little weird having a guy so familiar from Blade 3 as Constable Bob, but I kinda liked him. I liked his obsession with knifing and his talk about his “go bag.” And his awareness of being used by Raylan. And that when it was time to “go” he was not an accurate stabber. I do hope he gets to purposely stab someone at some later point though, it might feel triumphant.

  37. It was cool seeing Oswalt play basically a modern day Barney Fife to Olyphant’s Barney Fife, especially after seeing him in YOUNG ADULT.

  38. I’m digging this season so far, but does the lack of a concrete Big Bad (Yost said they’re not doing an over-arching villain this year) make anyone else kind of concerned? Even at their rangiest, the previous three seasons usually had some kind of longform tension to keep things of a piece. Boyd, Wynn et. al. already exist on the fringe of Raylan’s world and constant contriving to link them into Raylan and marshal’s could become problematic, fast.

    Eh, it’s hard to be worried. Yost and his team have proven that they get these characters, this world, and the language that keeps the action flowing. Hell, last year the huge event with Arlo that coalesced the entire season into one thematic whole…that was a last second re-write. So even when they’re flying by the seat of their pants, the Justified team knows how to keep things humming.

  39. I’d argue that Season 3 didn’t have an overarching big bad. Quarles started off that way, but he gradually self destructed and became more of a wildcard amongst a whole group of rivals bad guys.
    Enjoying season 4 so far, and I do think introducing the bare knuckle guy is funny considering how Raylan doesn’t have a great record on the show when he takes on people hand to hand. Also basing it around a mystery is interesting too, though is it at all realistic that the Marshalls would be investigating that sort of thing?

    And maybe it’s just because he doesn’t get featured enough on the show, but where does Art’s description of Tim possibly having PTSD and itching to kill people come from? He’s always struck me as one of the more level headed and composed characters in the show.

  40. Stu – yeah,the stuff about Tim was news to me. I thought I missed something from last year.

  41. Oh wait, I just remembered that Art thinks that guy is after his job, so maybe he was bullshitting him to try to put him off pursuing the position?

  42. And that´s why Art was out on the field and everyone else was like “why?”…? Hmm…

  43. Stu, Shoot- In the past, whenever Art or Raylan need to talk with Tim off-duty he has always been drunk. Don’t know that we’ve ever seen a sober Tim out of the office. Easy to miss as neither he nor Rachel has received all that much development over 4 years.

    And you’re right Stu, Quarles doesn’t ‘really’ count as a Big Bad, but I would say that that kind of proves my point. His storyline was sort of dragged out and featured a whole bunch of contrivances/stupid decisions by Raylan and Boyd to keep Q in action. Him burning out as a threat contributed to the kind of aimless feel that 3 had. Still a great, GREAT, season of television, but it didn’t have the command or conclusion that 2 earned with the Bennett clan.

  44. My favourite episode of JUSTIFIED ever sofar is perhaps “Hatless” in which Raylan loses his hat after getting his ass kicked by a couple of hicks outside a bar after provoking them. It has one of the best Raylan lines ever.
    Sitting by the bar asking the loudmouthed hicks to be quiet and they ask “Why? he says:
    “Because I didn´t order assholes with my whiskey” and then they beat the crap out of him.

    Another great line in the episode: “back off or I´ll paint your office with your own shit.”

  45. Great episode this week. Some great acting from Oliphant in his reaction to the news about Arlo. Nice to see the Drew Thomson mystery moving forward. For a few episodes there it seemed like the series was spinning it’s wheels. Not that I’m complaining too much… it’s some highly entertaining wheel-spinning, like with titanium spinning rims and everything.


    So, Sheriff Shelby Parlow is Drew Thomson, right? In this weeks episode Ellie May asks him if she could ever re-invent herself, and he responds that if you pretend to be someone long enough it’s pretty much the same thing. That and the fact that he said his wife left him 25 years ago pretty much seals it. It would also explain why he’s helping Ellie May so much… he’s tried to leave behind an ugly past as well. Do you think he had something to do with that police-uniformed hitman?

  46. Oh shit Crustacean, I think you’re right. I didn’t pick up on that.

    I have a question about that episode. Didn’t it seem like Raylan set up his own father? He purposely let that guy believe that Arlo was making a deal (even though he had really turned it down). It was because of that misinformation that the guy killed Arlo. I don’t think Raylan would do that on purpose, but why would he not see that coming? Does he know he fucked up and that’s part of why he’s being so closed up about Arlo’s death?

    Also, did anybody else get the implication that Raylan has some secret reason for wanting to find Drew Thompson? That guy that killed his dad seemed to think so.

  47. That a good point about Raylan being complicit in Arlo’s death. I don’t think he intentionally set him up, but I do think he manipulated that guy without giving two fucks about the consequences for Arlo. I think Arlo’s death is going to have some big repurcussions. It’s clear that he meant more to Raylan than he lets on.

    Well, it’s clear that Drew Thompson has a big connection to Arlo Givens and Bo Crowder, and a theme of this show has always been how people are compelled to dig up the past when it should probably stay buried. I think it’s Drew’s connection to Raylan’s past that’s driving him to solve the mystery. Any reasons past that, except maybe he wants to find Drew as a “fuck you” to Arlo, I’m not sure about.

  48. Vern- Arlo was in protectice custody, so it’s not like he was sending him to the wolves. More than that, it just seemed like an oversight on Raylan’s part, not being able to see the full ramifications of his manipulations.

    Can we all agree that last night’s was probably the best episode of the whole series? Between Bob withstanding torture (and paying off that knife trick) the Tim/Colt phone call, Drew’s Vietnam story and Raylan/Boyd’s delight about the astronaught (none of that sentence made sense to anyone who didn’t watch) it was an unbelieveable mix of tension and adrenaline. I was a little worried for a couple episodes there, concerned that maybe the pay-off to the Drew mystery wouldn’t be worth this much attention. Nope. JUSTIFIED is still at the top of its game.

  49. The last few episodes have been amazing. Loved Art’s little “this guy is awesome” speech last week, and the Tim/Colt thing has been great stuff all season, and the standoff between them this week was brilliant.

  50. I don’t know about best of the whole series, but it was a good one. I like how much it was like a western (and even like an Elmore Leonard one, 3:10 to Yuma). Transferring a prisoner, holing up in a building, circling the wagons. I really like that Tim has gotten more to do this season, and especially in this episode. I liked the trick Colt played to get his gun. And it was so satisfying when Raylan called Bob “a tough sonofabitch” since Bob’s been trying desperately to impress him all season. And he did it without his go bag.

    And now all the sudden Ava’s digging herself into a hell of a hole! It was great to see her tell that asshole off, but now I’m afraid she’s gonna get killed. (But more likely cousin Johnny will. And Colt.)

  51. It is sort of worrying that they’ve built this season to a place where wiping the board clean seems inevitable. Really, Raylan and probably Boyd are the only ‘safe’ characters. For everyone else, the writers have pushed the narrative to a place of such tension, where everyone is out to kill everyone else, that it’ll feel almost like a cop-out if there aren’t major, physical, repercussions.

  52. How great is Mike O’Malley as Augustine? I always remember him from this horrible kids game show GUTS and a bunch of shitty sitcoms, but here he’s great as a fearsome killer. There’s something about his… affable heartlessness that I have found incredibly entertaining. I’m kinda hoping he sticks around, although I suspect he’ll be dead by the end of the season.

  53. He kind of reminds me of Dana White if he was a ruthless gangster instead of the president of UFC.

  54. Justified Season 4 Death Rating

    Cousin Johnny: 5/5
    As Harlan said, “That’s what happens when you choose live your life as a small time asshole.”

    Colt: 5/5
    This showdown with Tim can only end one way. Well, two ways really, but who do they think they’re fooling?

    Augustine: 4/5
    Nobody would be more deserving, although I do admit I find his jovial cruelty somewhat endearing, in a very Elmore Leonard kind of way.

    Ava Crowder: 2/5
    She done fucked up threatening Augustine like that, but I’ve no doubt Boyd will talk their way out of this mess. It’s kind of his thing.

    Limehouse: 2/5
    It’d be a surprise if they turfed ol’ Limey after just re-introducing him, but stranger things have happened on this show.

    Ellie May: 2/5
    This week Ellie May is the new Drew Thompson. Maybe she’ll eat it in the crossfire?

    Tim: 1/5
    I’ll be furious if they rob Tim of his moment of glory, which will doubtlessly be punctuated by a sardonic quip. Hopefully Rachel will get a turn in the spotlight next season.

    Sherriff Parlow/Drew Thompson: 1/5
    I assume we’re done with Drew this season, although some big self-sacrificial act of redemption isn’t off the table.

    Constable Bob: 1/5
    He’s a tough sonofabitch.

    Raylan Givens: 0/5
    Yeah right.

    Boyd Crowder: 0/5
    You need to get your Walter Goggles checked if you think he’s going anywhere.

    Art Mullen: 0/5
    Art is an immortal machine that runs on bullshit and produces world-weary exasperation, and Raylan isn’t running out of fuel any time soon.

  55. I finished re-watching the entire run of THE SHIELD, and it’s amazing how night and day Boyd is from Shane, but how Goggins had both characters down rather easy and quickly.

    I enjoyed last night’s show immensely. Aside from everything else mentioned, the movie references were pretty funny in how quick they were (Colt picking up on the FORREST GUMP thing and saying a young Depardieu should play him, Art’s exasperated shout-out to THE WILD BUNCH).

  56. Chopper Sullivan

    March 29th, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I’m all for cliffhangers, but the ending to the last episode was just mean.

  57. Interesting that it has a reference to Freaky Deaky (where a character sits on a chair that will detonate a bomb if he gets up), while last week’s episode seemed like an homage to 3:10 To Yuma (where an officer has to hide out with a prisoner before escaping on a train).

    I like what they’re doing with Limehouse. I hope Boyd doesn’t kill him. Sorry to lose Colt as a character (he was probly the highlight of this season), but glad he didn’t take Tim with him.

  58. Have to go through 2 and 3 again to be sure, but my gut is that this was probably the best season so far. The mystery structure, while odd at first, eventually built to an elegant, melancholy whole. Nice that they finally used Gutterson and Rachel, too.

  59. Hopefully I don’t need to remind you season 5 premieres tonight. I’m stuck in the worst snow storm of my life, but the good television forthcoming warms these bones a bit, between this and the TRUE DETECTIVE premiere next week. Also not forgetting the returning HOUSE OF CARDS and HANNIBAL next month as well.

  60. I liked the Elmore tribute at the beginning. It was an okay start. I won’t say “disappointed” but it sort of lacked the bang I’d been hoping for, but I’m assuming that will accumulate as time goes on. That said I liked the turns by Dave Foley, Will Sasso and David Koechner all playing it straight. Michael Rapaport made a mark as well. Interesting to see what mischief he causes in Harlan.

  61. So it appears that Olyphant and Yost told FX they were done after next season. Sad to see the show going when it’s still at the top of its game, but I’d rather they do this than fade into repetition and irrelevancy.

  62. JUSTIFIED wrapped up what was almost certainly the worst season the show has ever done. Just a bunch of dud storylines with endless convolutions that were nowhere near as interesting as the show needed them to be.

    Reading interviews, it seems like some of that was out of the writers’ control. They had a major actor quit, other actors with limited availability, etc. But the real killer was that they decided to end the show after next season, meaning that this season was devoted to nothing more than spinning shoe leather and moving people to where they need to be for the endgame. Disappointing, after an unbroken run of excellence.

  63. I agree. JUSTIFIED is still better than almost anything else on television, but it’s disappointing given that the fourth season was maybe the best they’ve ever done. A lot of the things I found most interesting at the beginning of the season got shunted aside for a bunch of disconnected plotlines that went nowhere e.g. Ava’s prison drama, Boyd’s adventures with the Mexican cartel. All of the other seasons had pretty clear themes and narrative arcs, but I’m still trying to figure out what the hell this season was about. The last episode made it clear what the end game was, but there was a hell of a lot of wheel spinning to get there.

  64. I think this was the weakest season, but I still really enjoyed it. I liked Michael Rapaport with his enjoyably over the top accent, Dewey was hilarious, Raylan was more badass than ever with his greying hair, his conflict with Art was good, and that little girl from DUNE has grown up to be, uh, someone who I enjoy. Boyd got to blow a guy up. There were multiple surprising, sudden deaths and character’s arcs not at all going the way you expect, like in an Elmore Leonard novel.

    But I really was looking forward to seeing what that Jean-Baptiste guy would do, and after he was gone I read that the actor wanted to leave and they actually intended for him to be important. It feels very low key compared to other seasons, and not necessarily in a good way. And did Jimmy really have to cry and then get killed? He shoulda got a spotlight episode after his long henchman career.

    I think the show’s biggest weakness has always been in keeping the main characters around even when they don’t need to be. In earlier seasons it felt like Boyd shouldn’t be in every episode but they liked him so they had to give him a storyline just to keep him there. That was definitely the case with Ava this season. There was some interesting stuff there but really it was an unnecessary drag on the season.

    But I like how the season ends as kind of the last chapter before the book starts wrapping up. It looks like the story is going full circle with Raylan trying to get Boyd, with Ava’s help, so he can get retun to Winona and Florida. I hope Art, Rachel and Tim all make it out alive.

  65. Vern- The writers are so good that even a weak season still came with multiple indelible moments and scenes (the dog-grave death was so Leonard it hurt [apparently inspired by White Boy Bob’s death in OUT OF SIGHT]). I have absolute confidence that next year will be one of the show’s greatest runs, if not THE best. Boyd vs. Raylan has been a goldmine for five seasons, so a no-holds-barred showdown between the two will be amazing.

    That actually reminds me of another weak link in this past season: Raylan and Boyd interacted…twice? Three times, maybe. And again, it’s symptomatic of them knowing what the final season would be about. I get, and respect, the way that that tied their hands, but it’s still a bummer.

  66. Of the ones that I have seen (didn’t finish the 1st one) I definitely agree this was the weakest season. But by no means bad at all. Had some excellent bit parts (really liked Eric Roberts, one of the few things of his that I’ve seen that trades on his Southern roots), awesome one-liners and a lot of the trademarks of the show.

    I agree about the Jean-Baptiste character, but also the brother played by Jason-Gray Stanford who I remember fondly from MONK and looked like he was going to be formidable but they killed him off too early as well I believe. And the Ava stuff dragged a bit, but how it was tied up at the end will prove to pay off in the final season I think.

    I’ll be sad to see this go, as I think it’s the best show on FX right now. However I am looking forward to FARGO and season 2 of THE BRIDGE. It’s been a very good year for TV so far. TRUE DETECTIVE, HOUSE OF CARDS, and of course HANNIBAL have been my favorites so far.

  67. This season has been definitely moving with more momentum than last year’s, and the show is looking to go out with a bang. Which I’m happy about, despite it going away. All the guest spots and bit parts have been satisfying (and in some cases too short-lived for my liking), and the leads have been delivering on all fronts too.

    My sadness about it going away is at least partly relieved by BETTER CALL SAUL, which I think if given the chance can achieve better things than expected of it’s predecessor.

  68. Vern, have you been up on this last season so far? It’s been damn good, and if the momentum continues I’m sure they’ve saved the best for last.

  69. Yeah, I’m kinda sad there’s only one episode left. It’s been a great season. They’ve run through so many great villains already it’s unbelievable.

  70. Agreed. I was really bummed at the news that this would be the last because the 5th season was kind of a bummer, but provided the finale delivers, this has wrapped up things the right way a lot of shows really haven’t. Even some great shows tend to peter out by the end, but this is going out with both barrels blasting. That final image from the last episode was just perfect.

  71. That show finally showed up on a streamer over here, after German TV treated it as bad as only German TV can. (If I remember right, they only showed the final season on a little pay TV channel, years after it came out on DVD.) Just finished season 1, which I only saw half of back in the days. Totally forgot how damn entertaining it was. Haven’t heard otherwise, but it would be cool if they managed to keep up that quality till the end.

  72. They do CJ.

  73. Wasn’t too fond of the first two season 2 episodes (The pedophile on the run and the the pregnant fugitive) though. Also the resolution to the “The Miami cartel want’s to see Raylan dead” storyline felt a bit lazy. It wasn’t a HUGE drop in quality, but a noticable.

  74. CJ, on the contrary, I think the “Jess, you ever hear of a spot snipers call “the apricot”? It’s where the brain stem meets the spine. Hit a fella there, he ain’t gonna pull no trigger.” exchange is one of the highlights of the first two seasons. But that could be because I’m a big fan of Tim Gutterson.

  75. Yup, that was a great moment. Also I love it when Raylan gives his partners moments to be badass. But otherwise the two episodes were for me at least a bit boring. Probably just “Adjusting to new plot” syndrome, now that Bo Crowder is gone and we move on to another villain.

  76. Just stick with it for a couple more. If you don’t like it just stop I guess. There’s nothing wrong with not being in to show. I have a friend at work that I loaned my sets of The Wire to and she devoured the series in a couple weeks. I then recommended Breaking Bad to her. She couldn’t get in to it. No harm no foul.

  77. Nah, I really loved season 1 and was entertained enough by what I saw of season 2 so far, but S1 was high point after high point, while S2 started more like “Okay, that was good.” And since the show is already finished, I won’t waste years on it, in case I turn out to not like what follows. Just a few weeks. I can live with that.

  78. At the time I had some misgivings at first about season 2 transitioning to a season long arc format after season 1 had so many standalone episodes that felt like little Elmore Leonard stories. But I got used to it and it gets really good. Season 3 is my personal favorite, but I enjoyed the whole run.

  79. Season two was my introduction to the brilliance of Margo Martindale. I also really liked the character of Loretta and think that actress did a great job as well.

  80. Okay, Episode 2.3 was as good as anything in season 1. Dewey Crowe pretending to be Raylan because he couldn’t buy a proper mask was a hoot. Dewey might be my favourite side character anyway. He seems to be the writers’ secret weapon that they can use whenever they need a character to act hilariously dumb.

  81. At first I wasn’t quite into Justified because of all the one-offs…but I ended up enjoying them too, they are like great little short stories. 2nd and third seasons are the best. I think they figured out the formula best in the third season where they would do their side one-offs, but a lot of them were a little more tied into the main narrative instead of being completely standalone. Like the super scary pawnshop guy who was vaguely tied into Quarles but barely. The second season did it well too, just the first season they felt so disconnected, but still fun.

    Best show ever! Even the season that took a quality dip, 5, was still good but I thought that was the signal it got tired, until 6 was fantastic. The main problem with 5 is really just a weak villain…it’s nice that they went a little different and decided to just stack the bad guys with genuine idiots, but takes away from the threat level aside from them being blunderingly violent, and not even scary violent. The brothers in season 2 were a better example of having morons being genuinely interesting characters and dangerous, but still funny and dumb.

  82. I really enjoyed season 1’s mix of standalones and arc. Can’t tell yet how the other seasons handle it, but they did a good job of laying the groundwork from the beginning, hyping Bo Crowder’s arrival up long before we actually see him in prison, hinting at Raylan’s father trouble, making you wonder what the fuck Boyd is up to and every once in a while drop a cartel killer into the mix. And all that while giving us extremely entertaining villains of the week.

    So far season 2 doesn’t seem to do it that differently, as far as I can tell, with the new crime family as a background threat, while we follow the Marshall Service’s quest to catch one-off villains.

    BTW, I really enjoy that as…what would be the right term for it? Heightened reality? Pulpy? I don’t know. You know what I mean. As much as the show is that, it’s the only crime show I’ve ever seen where the cops actually have to deal with all kinds of red tape and paperwork regarding their gun use. Kinda nice to see such a gunplay heavy show that goes: “Yeah, good guys killed bad guys, but now they have to explain themself for doing so!”

  83. I did like season 1’s mix too, the setup was great…it’s just to me some of the stories seemed so different than the rest of the show, like the one where he flew to LA or whatever to capture the dentist. Seems like so much of a disconnect. Isn’t that the one with the guy in the mansion too? Season 2 seemed, as I recall, to keep things smaller.

    The show is definitely a heightened pulp reality for sure. You don’t get that tone very often where it’s not too over the top, but not too serious, but also not too silly. The shocking thing to me was the pilot where Raylan went ahead while everyone else was going to hold off the bad guys, and it was cool that they were all super competent. That was neat.

    As for the gun thing…you def picked up on something the show was doing. They even said at one point in season 1 they had Raylan simply stop shooting people, they would come up with other solutions. Maybe heavier in season 2, he barely shoots anyone. Because in the real world there’s no way he’d still be on the force, so even though it’s pulpy, they still try to ground it. I used to read the weekly interviews with the creator of the show who would talk about the episode that showed the night before, interesting stuff.

  84. I won’t spam here what I think of every single episode, but it was nice to see a pre-fame Chadwick Boseman unexpectedly popping up as drug dealer with magic ambitions.

  85. That was him? Ha, been awhile…that was funny, I love how half the time the criminals have such modest ambitions. I remember one of them had a guy who made terrible porn videos.

  86. Finished season 2 earlier and that was indeed still good. A teeny bit less than season 1 maybe, but not a lot. I disagree with it being more serialized at this point. They did pretty much the same mix of standalone stories, with a huge background threat that only became the main story in the last few episodes. Margo Martindale absolutely deserved her Emmy. I loved that the big, evil plan of the new villains was basically just selling out to a corporation and they would’ve gotten away with it, if – of course – some of them weren’t so goddamn stupid.

    The biggest flaw of that season was IMO the Boyd Crowder story. I kept hearing that the rivalry between him and Raylan is more or less the engine of the show, so I was a bit more patient than I usually would’ve been, because seriously, right now he suffers a lot from “Character who was supposed to be in it for only one season, but everybody loved him so much that they kept him and now none of the writers know how to use him after his story was told”-syndrome. I mean, over the course of 13 episodes he went from “reformed but depressed”, to anti-hero who blows up a bunch of assholes in mostly self-defense, to criminal mastermind and Ava’s lover, with a touch of Deus Ex Machina.

    Still, can’t wait to start season 3 once I return from work.

  87. To me the one flaw of the show is that it’s stuck in the old TV ways so they felt they had to keep the same characters around no matter what. So I agree there are some seasons where Boyd and at least one other character could’ve left and come back later, but instead they keep checking in on them. Ultimately it works out, though.

  88. The driving force behind the quality of the show is of course Olyphant’s ability to interact with all the other characters in briliant ways. When the show returns we will see if that still goes, and if it works to have the “hillbilly whisperer” roaming around in a big city. I know they’re going to adress all the shooting, for one. And that could be interesting.

  89. Looking forward to the new series. As for Boyd? I don’t understand not liking his presence. Although me and a friend of mine made a deal. He’d watch The Shield if I watched Justified. I had a predilection to avoid it because every movie I saw when I lived in Phoenix seemed to have an EPK kit for Justified so it made me not want to watch it. Long story short. We agreed and both watched those series. Personally I prefer Walton Goggin’s character Shane on The Shield but that might be why I never minded his character on Justified always being around. I also prefer that show to most others so I’m a bit biased.

  90. I apologize my comments keep getting flagged as SPAM Vern.

  91. It’s a worry, Pegsman. City Primeval is super tight and very tough, written in that period when Leonard was moving from being a great crime writer to being feted as “the greatest living crime writer”. The novel is terrific, but there’s not a lot of space in it for the kind of ongoing relationships that made Justified so good. And while Raymond Cruz is clearly proto-Raylan Givens, making him actually Raylan could be tricky and deprives the audience of the chance to discover that character.

    Part of me thinks that if they wanted to reboot Raylan, they should’ve just Quantum Leaped Olyphant into the Carl Webster stories. Although I guess period drama is more expensive to make.

  92. My memory is a little hazy, but I sort of remember wishing City Primeval was about the judge whose antics make up the first chapter, rather than the “it’s an urban western! Get it?” stuff that followed.

    I mean, it mostly entertained me for the train/bus ride I read it on. But I’ll admit to being surprised when I heard they were making it into a TV series (albeit with a different protagonist)

  93. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Boyd. I can see why they kept him around and upgraded him to regular cast member. And I think we can all agree that Walton Goggins is one of those actors who are always watchable. Yet every time they cut to him in season 2, I felt like the show was treading water, despite some highlights (like him getting rid of the assholes who robbed the mine or the duel of words between him and Raylan and the town meeting). It wasn’t really about him or his actor, but the way he was used in season 2. At one point he gets hired as bodyguard/muscle for that mining company woman, but one episode later Raylan basically takes over his job and that point in Boyd’s career is instantly forgotten. It’s a bit sad that an otherwise excellent show like this fell into the same “We just drag this character around for no other reason than him being popular” trap as almost every other show of this era.

  94. A bit off topic, but that scene in a season 3 episode of THE SHIELD where Dutch strangles the kitten is one of the darkest, most disturbing things I’ve ever seen broadcast on US tv.

    I’d give Goggins performance in THE SHIELD the edge over his work in JUSTIFIED. The entire death of Lem storyline and Shane’s character’s ultimate fate was pretty amazing work from Goggins.

  95. I surely hope the new Raylan miniseries will be good…like pegsman my concern is him being in the city…a lot of the charm is him dealing with lots of hillbillies.

    There were a few times it felt like they were giving Boyd stuff to do just to do it…I think season 2 was him being blackmailed by the mine criminals? But to me even that ended up working because all of these little things was death of a thousand cuts, where you not only see Boyd going back down the criminal path, but sucking in Ava.

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