March 28, 2012

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "Measures"

It's unpopular opinion time once again because I did not really care for "Measures" like I'm sure most fans of Justified did. It's not that I thought that it was a bad episode, because it wasn't; I was just bored by it all. 

Dickie Bennett was released from prison, and he continued on his mission to get all of his mother's money back from Limehouse. He even went as far as to try to ask Rodney Dunham from Memphis to help him out. Unluckily for Dickie, Marshals Gutterson and Brooks (remember them?) had been following him since he was released and convinced Dunham to help them get enough intel on him to seize the money. A now desperate Dickey turned to Errol, who's willing to turn on Limehouse, but only if they could recruit Boyd Crowder to help them with their takeover.

Speaking of Boyd, he had his own issues to deal with. It seems like his protection business has hit a snag, and things only got worse when Quarles killed a couple of drug dealers who were paying Crowder for his services. As a way to get back at Quarles, Boyd applied some pressure on Napier and made him send Quarles to his whorehouse. Once there, some of Crowder's girls distracted him long enough for Boyd to sneak up behind him and taze him. Coincidentally, Quarles was on the phone with Wynn Duffy at the time of his blindsiding, and Crowder and Duffy agreed to work together since the latter was hoping to take over the Harlan racket after Quarles was killed by the Detroit mob.

Oh yeah, Theo Tonin (the man in charge in Detroit) had sent some thugs down to Kentucky to kill Quarles for botching the operation, costing him money and for insulting his son. Instead of finding Quarles, they ran into Raylan (he and Art were looking to bring Quarles in since he threatened a U.S. Marshal) who assumed they were working for his new nemesis, so he and Art shot and arrested them before figuring out why they were in Harlan to begin with.

Now, I'll come clean and admit that my issues with "Measures" are purely subjective and have nothing to do with the actual quality of the episode or with Justified as a whole. For example, I've been upfront about my total disinterest in Dickie Bennett and Mag's money up to this point, so bringing him back into the fold did nothing but annoy me, and I tuned out every time he showed up on my screen with his stupid hair. Yes, I can see how he needs to be a part of the story as it heads towards the finish line, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Another aspect of this season that's been bothering me is the over-the-top nature of most of the characters, and bringing back Dickie took this element to an almost absurd level. Between the over-acting from Jeremy Davies, Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson, I was surprised that there was any scenery left, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes and let out audible groans by the end of every one of their scenes. The thing I don't understand is how some people think that these performances are amazing. That's not to say that I think the actors are doing a bad job (except for maybe Davies), but I also don't think that being able to go so big and unrealistic equals better characters. Again, I know that I'm in a very small minority when it comes to this viewpoint, and it's clear that they're not going anywhere anytime soon so I'll just have to deal. 

Annoyances aside, there was a lot to like about "Measures." Initially, I was a little put off by the idea that everyone was getting themselves into new alliances or turning on their old ones, and it started to get a little muddled, but I quickly realized that all the maneuvering was responsible for the tension, and will set up what should be an exciting last couple of episodes. I also loved seeing Raylan and Art together because they have such a unique relationship. You can tell that Raylan irritates the hell out of Art, but he really does care about his well-being and will do what he can to protect him. I just hope they don't kill off Art before the season's over because the writers are definitely laying the ground work for his exit.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I like Lindsey. Hopefully she'll be sticking around for a while.
  • For a second there, I thought Tim and Rachel had been transferred to another field office.
  • Quarles may be unrecognizable as a human being, but his fall from grace and the desperate measures he's willing to take has been one heck of a ride.
  • Ditto for the woman and her dog.
  • The story about Theo Tonin and his ear was another example of this show going too big for its own good.
  • Raylan and Art taking out the guys who were sent to take out the guy they were supposed to take out was pretty amusing.
  • "I think you're going to apologize for again for not giving me a full accounting of every second of your life before you heartlessly accepted the gift of my feminine virtue."
  • "Oh Jesus, Raylan!"
  • Raylan: "So, that's you come along? To feel the pulse?"
    Art: "Naw, some asshole threatened to kill one of my deputies, I'm the only one who gets to do that."
    Raylan: "I'm touched."
  • "I'm worried I'm going to get shot."
  • "What a dick."
  • Raylan: "Art, I've already got a daddy."
    Art: "Yeah, I've met your daddy."
    Raylan: "Fair enough. Continue."
  • "Do you ever get the feeling God's laughing atcha?"
So, in the end I guess I can admit that "Measures" was a decent enough installment of Justified, it just wasn't my kind of episode. I don't need wacky sociopaths and crime bosses to enjoy this show. I just need Raylan doing his Raylan thing in a world that feels somewhat grounded in reality. As of right now, that's not Harlan County and I really want it to be.


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