February 26, 2013

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "Outlaw"

There was a lot going on in "Outlaw" and some parts felt a little too twisty-and-turny, but overall it was another solid episode of Justified.

Raylan tried to get a lead on Drew Thompson by cutting Hunter Mosley (the ex-cop mentioned in "Foot Chase") the same deal he offered Arlo. This show of cooperation prompted Mosley to make a move on Arlo, and had a guard help him try to off him, but the elder Givens was too smart and put up a fight before taking a pair of scissors to the chest. While his father recovered, Raylan kept on the trail of Thompson which led him to Sheriff Shelby who informed him of two dead bodies that Boyd was probably responsible for, so he decided to pay his old friend a visit and helped him out of a jam. When the feds were about to call it a day, Raylan revealed to Art and everyone else that Arlo passed away. When Art told him to take a week off, Raylan was hesitant but eventually agreed to take a few days to get things in order.

You see, Boyd was not too keen on the idea of being muscled around by the Clover Hill set, so he made a bold power play. He used Theo Tonin's own hitman to take out the aforementioned deceased as a way to send a message to both Clover Hill and Detroit. On one hand, he wanted the Harlan County elite to know that he's the true outlaw who runs things and took away all of their clout with the help of Tonin's right-hand man, Nicky Augustine. On the other, he needed to prove that he could be an asset to Tonin's operation in Kentucky. When it was all said and done, the Crowders were sitting pretty, but Ava was concerned because Tonin's the biggest bully on the block and no one would be able to help them if he turned on them.

One of the drawbacks of a show like Justified and a mystery like the one involving Drew Thompson is the tendency to muddy the waters as a way to keep the audience turned around and guessing, and "Outlaw" was an example of an episode that's main objective is to keep everyone on their toes, especially the bit involving Boyd. Now, that's not to say that I thought the hour was messy or bad because it was one of the more emotionally devastating and riveting offerings of the season. Watching Boyd masterfully play the Clover Hill boys was brilliant, but we also got those gut-wrenching moments involving Raylan and Arlo. Good stuff all around.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • The C-plot involved Colton being shaken down by Johnny who was pretending to be Ellen May via text, which led to the former killing his drug dealer and Tim's buddy. I want to like this smaller story, but it still comes off as an unneeded addition that gets in the way of the larger arcs.
  • There have been some theories out there guessing that Shelby's in fact Drew Thompson, and I wasn't buying them until this episode because the clues were pretty obvious. I don't know how I'd feel about it if he ends up being Thompson, but it could work.
  • Speaking of Shelby, I like his scenes with Ellen May but I'm trying to figure out why she's sticking around. I'm sure she'll be involved in the payoff at the end of the season, but she's also taking up a lot of screen time.
  • "Why do I all of a sudden feel like I'm sitting in the principal's office? Make that the assistant principal's office."
  • "Geez, I hope I got that right."
  • "Raylan, I just want you to know I was almost certain you weren't a cop killer."
  • Shelby: "Why are the pretty ones always go for the bad boys?"
    Art: "I ask myself that. I guess they think they can change us. Right, Raylan?"
  • "I am the outlaw, and this is my world. And my world has a high cost of living."
So, even though I could've done with some of the drama going on in the peripherals, "Outlaw" was another strong addition to an already stacked season of Justified. I just hope it can stick the landing unlike Season 3.


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