Justified Review: “Raw Deal” (Season 5, Episode 7)


Justified Review: "Raw Deal" (Season 5, Episode 7)

It’s not that this episode of Justified was uneventful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. At its core though, the characters and their actions were a bit too predictable to make it a contender for thrilling. The story keeps moving, but at the same time it has managed to fall into a rut, seemingly moseying through the midpoint of the season as if Justified is simply intent on going through the motions just to say they did.

Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has managed to upset the balance after his confession to Art (Nick Searcy), and there’s something about his professional life being off kilter that makes everything else seem somewhat normal. For the first time in several seasons his relationship seems to be progressing at an average pace with all the usual bumps and bruises that come along with inviting someone new into your personal life. Allison (Amy Smart) may come with some baggage and a side of conflict of interest, yet on the whole (with the exception of Winona), she is the most stable woman that we’ve seen Raylan date.

Despite the palpable tension at the office, Raylan still outperforms his colleagues, gets the bad guys and walks into the sunset with an ultimatum hanging between the chief and the future of his career. The problem with that ending is that it is almost entirely expected. Raylan doesn’t know how to be anything other than bold. He asserts himself in situations all the time. Yes, he does stand around and cross his arms, smirk, and wait for situations to unfold, but that just makes it even more climactic when he stalks in later head first, gun drawn. It’s hard to argue that Raylan isn’t a complicated and equally compelling character, but the only time during this episode that he acts outside of character is when he appeals to Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt) in an overarching effort to rid Kentucky of Daryl (Michael Rapaport) – a feat he seems willing to admit he can’t accomplish on his own.

This possible collaboration between the Wendy and the Marshal creates a new twist, and frankly is the most exciting thing to happen to Justified this season. We’ve seen Raylan work with Boyd (Walton Goggins) when the circumstances were mutually beneficial, but afterwards they’ve always ended up back on opposing sides. We’ve never actually seen Raylan flip someone before. Wendy’s cooperation would put her in a precarious situation. On one hand she would be turning her back on her brother(s), but on the other hand she could end up free to pursue her own life, hopefully taking Kendal (Jacob Lofland) along. This proposition certainly made for an interesting curve ball and should pay off for the show in the long run.

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