February 28, 2012

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "The Man Behind the Curtain"

"The Man Behind the Curtain" was the episode of Justified that I've been waiting for since the season started. Robert Quarles stepped out of the shadows, and we got to know him a little bit better as he took on both Raylan and Boyd in a game one-ups-manship.

After Quarles tried to buy off Raylan, our favorite lawman decided to dig up more information on the man from Detroit. Thanks to Marshal Gutterson and his friend in the FBI, Givens learned that Sam Tonin (the son of Quarles' boss) was in Lexington, so he decided to pay him a visit. After a conversion, Tonin decided to stop bankrolling Quarles' operation, and Raylan warned Quarles that he had 24 hours to shut things down before the U.S. Marshal seize everything. Since Quarles didn't have any other options, he moved his place of business, and then he and Wynn Duffy went down to Oklahoma to meet up with Winona's ex-husband.

Since Quarles was not able to get Raylan into his backpocket, he turned his attention to the Harlan county sheriff. After a convincing presentation, and a briefcase full of cash, Sheriff Napier decided to play along. The first order of business was to harass Boyd Crowder to send a message that Detroit was going to be running things in Kentucky. Such a bold move deserved a response, so Crowder contacted Shelby to see if he'd be willing to run against Napier for the sheriff's seat.

Aside from a few punches and pistol whips, "The Man Behind the Curtain" didn't have a ton of action, but it made up for it with a lot of character development and plot. Up until now, Robert Quarles has been nothing more than a over-the-top sociopath who wants to stake a claim in Harlan county. Sure, he's still all those things after "Curtain," but at least we have a better sense of what motivates him and where he's coming from. Truthfully, I wish it was something else besides an inferiority complex and jealousy because he's been overlooked in favor of Sam, but I'm willing to go with it for now. The chess match that's he's been having with Boyd has been one of the more captivating aspects of this season's arc, so watching them one up each other with dirty cops was an entertaining sight. Now let's see what Limehouse has to say about all of it.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Even Arlo got some character development this week. I wonder how this story's going to pan out.
  • So, Raylan's living above a bar now? I have a feeling that's going to get old fast.
  • I kinda feel bad for Gutterson. How does he keep putting up with Raylan?
  • Ava become more and more bad ass with every episode.
  • Jim Beaver and Stephen Tobolowsky! Some pretty great guest stars this week.
  • Quarles really wants to paint Raylan as a dirty cop.
  • "Asshole first, girlfriend second."
  • "This is our home Raylan. Now, I start to turn on my own people, however contentious at times our relationship might be, well that's a world that becomes so muddy even I can't fathom it."
  • "So, I tell you where Sammy is, and then you go all 'Raylan' on him and drag him out of some restaurant by his nutsack."
  • Raylan: "I got mad ninja skills buddy."
    Gutterson: "You know karate?"
    Raylan: "And two other Japanese words."
  • "Sammy, if I was going to kill ya, you'd have never turned around."
"The Man Behind the Curtain" was the kind of serialized storytelling that Justified excels at. It had the right combination of character, plot, forward momentum, and lack of filler that made Season 2 so great. Hopefully, this episode set the tone for the rest of the season, and we don't have to endure more stand alone episodes that involve corrupt civil servants, but I doubt that we'd be so lucky.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail