Justified has taken a different approach to dealing with the fallout of recent events. Instead of stretching out retribution, the writers have opted for more immediate gratification. On the heels of Art’s (Nick Searcy) near-fatal shooting, the team behind Justified is pulling out all the stops to rapidly bring the season five story arc to a close. Without losing a modicum of its recently acquired momentum, the series is moving forward with Daryl Crowe, Jr. (Michael Rapaport) being singled out as the main antagonist. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), with the support of the Marshal’s department and their resources, has made it his personal mission to apprehend Daryl – and for valid reason.
Not only should Daryl rightfully be held responsible for his tangible crimes (drugs, attempted murder, etc.), but also for setting up his fifteen year-old nephew, Kendal (Jacob Loflan), as the scapegoat for his latest offense – something that Raylan has decided to rectify. Under these constraints, “Starvation” is a relative who’s who of criminals in Raylan’s jurisdiction as the focus on catching Daryl involves a string of trading favors and bending alliances, an area that Raylan is very comfortable traversing.
Fans of Justified have become almost immune, in a sense, to Raylan’s treatment of risks. On more than one occasion he has put his own life on the line, the ultimate risk, one might say, in favor of catching his guy. And, most of the time this lack of self-preservation has paid off (as long as you don’t figure any of the innocent bystanders who have been caught in the crossfire into the equation).
As part of his character development, however, this season has done a lot in terms of taking most of the risk away. Raylan is still essentially the same character, but his ‘shoot first, arrest if still alive after’ motif has been heavily subdued for the most part. Not enough to make his character unlikable by any means, but enough to showcase a marked difference from what viewers have seen in the past.
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