January 31, 2012

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "Harlan Roulette"

After a brief detour to stand-alone territory, Justified returned to the land of serialized storytelling with "Harlan Roulette." Now, you'd think that I'd be excited for this shift in style, but this episode had a few elements that I found questionable. It was still pretty good though.

Everything kicked off with Ava paying a visit to Limehouse, and it's apparent that they have some sort of history. She was at his cookout to set up a meeting between him and Boyd so they could have a conversation about what to do with Mags' money. While Limehouse didn't show his hand about the loot, he did suggest that they work together, and he was even willing to take all of the Bennett weed off of Crowder's hands. Boyd practically gave the weed away which caused Arlo and Devil to question his leadership. After a brief pep talk about his vision for their little outfit, Crowder strong-armed his way into getting back a bar that belonged to his cousin and made it the first brick towards building his new criminal empire.

While Boyd was making his way towards becoming the new kingpin of Harlan county, Raylan had to deal with another group of criminals trying to make a play for his little Kentucky home. The state police called Raylan to help out with a roadblock they set up to find a couple of Oxycontin addicts who they suspected of stealing, and one of them was Wade Messer (the guy who strung up Raylan for Dickie). As it turned out, Messer was working for an Oxy dealer/pawn shop owner named Fogle, who in turn was working for Wynn Duffy and Robert Quarles (aka the new leader of the Dixie Mafia). Quarles decided to have Messer kill Raylan knowing that he probably would not succeed, but Messer decided to turn on Fogle which led the lawman to the Mafia. Both sides stared the other down, and the gauntlet was thrown down.

At first, I was a little unsure when Fogle was introduced because I thought that this was just another bad guy for us to keep track of. Thankfully, he turned out to be an insignificant underling who was not long for this world, but he did provide a glimpse in the hierarchy of the Dixie Mafia and how they operate. Speaking of the Mafia, Quarles was still a little too over-the-top for my liking, but I do see a ton of potential. I just hope they dial him down a notch

By far my favorite plot of the night was Boyd's. Seeing his grasp for power was entertaining, and I'm not hating the idea of him partnering up with Limehouse. I'm interested to see how that working relationship develops. What made Boyd's story even better was the role that Ava played, and I'm loving how she's become a strong second in command.

Other Odds and Ends
  • I know that scene between Dickie and the guard will be important down the line, but it just stuck out during this episode.
  • Boyd's speech to Devil about how he's every person that Devil describe was a nice bit of acting on Walton Goggin's part.
  • That pissing contest between Raylan and Quarles at the end was pretty intense stuff.
  • Raylan: "Besides, these boots aren't made for runnin'."
    Trooper: "And yet chasing fugitives is a Marshal's primary function."
    Raylan: "It's ironic, isn't it?"
  • Quarles: "You see Wynn, that is why it's called 'organized crime.'"
  • "We all got lines we gotta cross, Wade."
Again, "Harlan Roulette" was ultimately a good episode of Justified, but I'm starting to think that they're introducing way too many characters. Like I mentioned in my review of "Cut Ties," I'm all for the world of Harlan to be expanded, but there are limits, and having to keep track of half-a-dozen bad guys can be taxing. Then again, I trust the writers to keep me on the hook, but I may need to come up with some flashcards to keep everything straight.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this episode, and glad they moved back away from the Case Of The Week format that they fell into last week. However, I disagree with you on one point, as far as the introduction of new characters. Last year we had one central villain, and a brilliant one, in Mags. After the end of her era the crime of Harlan has once again fractured, little pieces falling into little hands…and for every person like Quarles there’s a Wynn, and for every Wynn there’s ten or twenty Fogle’s…we have to have these underlings as a way to move the story forward. I too loved the scene between Boyd and Devil (Walton Goggins is AMAZING) and am really looking forward to more Ava, and of course, anything that brings more Jeremy Davies on the screen I’m a fan of. My favorite line of the night: Raylan drops that bullet on Wynn’s chest and says, “Here…next one’s comin’ faster.” SUCH perfect delivery by Olyphant! Really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season pays off. Before “Harlan roulette” started I wanted to kinda refresh myself for the show so as a DISH customer and employee I was able to watch some clips and recaps of the last two episodes at DISHOnline. Love that aspect of my regular service, that something so awesome is just free to any customer. Thanks again for the rundown, I’ll be back to see what you think of next weeks episode for sure.

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