January 9, 2013

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "Hole in the Wall"

I've been pretty upfront about my disappointment in Season 3 of FX's Justified. It seemed like the only way they could replace Mags was with two over the top villains, and it lacked subtly in my opinion. Thankfully, I was more impressed with the Season 4 premiere than I was with the last one, and I have a feeling it's going to be a good run if "Hole in the Wall" is a strong indicator of what's to come.

The episode started off thirty years ago when a bickering couple was interrupted by a body that fell from the sky that left behind a bag filled with a white, powdery substance. As it turned out, this bag (and possibly its contents) had ties to Raylan's father. While on a side-job retrieving a bail-jumper for an old acquaintance, Raylan was called out to Arlo's place because someone was poking around inside. Two teens were tearing down the drywall looking for something, and they got a glimpse of the bag before being chased off. Raylan took the bag from the house, along with a driver's license that was inside, but he was being watched by the youths. They followed him to a hardware store where the girl distracted him by flashing her breasts while her boyfriend stole the car, the rub was the bail-jumper he apprehended was in the trunk. Givens and Constable Sweeney were able to track down the car at a wreck yard, but the guy from his trunk was missing as was the bag. This all lead to a showdown between Raylan, the bail-jumper, the teenagers and the wrecker, but guess who came out on top. After getting everything back, Raylan paid his father a visit in prison and asked if he knew anything about what was going on, but Arlo kept his mouth shut. Unfortunately, the younger Givens was not the only person interested in the bag. Another prisoner started asking about it, and said that it could lead to a lot of money, which prompted Arlo to stick him with a shiv.

Elsewhere in Harlan County, Boyd's Oxycontin business hit a lull possibly because of the emergence of a new church in the holler. One of his dealers claimed that he was saved and no longer had the drugs or money that belonged to Boyd, but our favorite Crowder insisted that he get what's his. It became pretty clear that this new church was going to be a thorn in Boyd's side because it was also responsible for Ellen Mae being hopped up on a new drug when she shot a man who wrapped the goods in a fake million dollar bill that was used as a flyer for the congregation. Meanwhile, a mysterious man showed up in Boyd's bar looking for him, and it turned out that he was an old military buddy of his. After they caught up, Boyd offered him a job and brought him along to get his money. The two threatened to blow up the former drug dealer, and he eventually gave back the cash right before he was shot by Boyd's friend. Towards the end of the episode, we got a glimpse of this new church and its preacher, and the camera ended on Ellen Mae who was sitting in the crowd.

Like many season premieres, "Hole in the Wall" was a table-setting episode that introduced the larger storyarcs while also having a self-contained story. For example, I don't know whether the bail-jumper will factor into future episodes, but his story was what led Raylan to the mysterious bag that has ties to his father and it's clear that this is going to be one of the driving forces this season along with this new church and those who are in charge of it. Now, I can understand if some fans are hesitant about this approach because it's something a little different for Justified, but I am excited about the idea of having a season long mystery that Raylan has to solve rather than another big bad for him to go toe-to-toe with. To be fair, we very well may have a rival when it's all said and done, but they could end up being a bump in the road rather than the destination. Either way, I could use a break from the standard set-up especially after the almost cartoonish Quarles and Limehouse.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I never expected to see furries in Harlan County, Kentucky.
  • I can't say that I'm the biggest Patton Oswalt fan, but I'm intrigued by his stint so far.
  • "It's from Lebowski. Netflix it, you could be one of the cool kids."
For a while now, I've been clamoring for shows to stray outside of their comfort zones and try something new, and it looks like Justified's doing just that. It's too early to tell whether or not the expeirment's going to work, but I have a good feeling about it, and at the end of the day the show's about Raylan and Boyd, so it doesn't matter what their stories are for the season. It's just good to have them back.


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