Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) isn’t any closer to settling his differences with Art (Nick Searcy) at the close of this episode of Justified then he was at the end of the last one, but at least he’s found some semblance of purpose. Instead of taking that vacation he promised everyone, Raylan spent his free time following a lead that ended in death and shockingly only trace amounts of mayhem. None of which earned him accolades back at the office, but it did give him a reason to stick around Kentucky.
Justified has reached a point in the narrative where Raylan no longer has a personal life. His only potential lead at relationship happiness at the moment has hit a brick wall, and his daughter and ex-wife have relocated to Florida. Raylan has had two convenient opportunities to go visit his baby girl already this season, and has passed on both of them. Yes, he did invite Allison (Amy Smart) to venture down to Miami with him, but that makes it a watered down effort at best. After being the cause of Winona’s (Natalie Zea) near death experience involving a rocking chair and the Dixie Mafia, he probably isn’t done beating himself up, but the fact remains that he is indeed a father now – despite the considerable emotional distance he has put into place.
Art may not be ready to forgive Raylan, or even let him off the hook in the meantime, but even he can appreciate the value of keeping him around. Frankly put, Raylan gets results. He also comes with a side of headaches and the burden of almost always having to clean up a mess. But again, he still gets results. Raylan’s character is the ‘by whatever means necessary’ type, and has padded Art’s long list of accomplishments quite frequently over the last few years. Art may be experiencing wounded pride syndrome at the moment, but that too shall pass – or, Art will retire. There are definite benefits to both courses of action.
In the meantime, Raylan has been a busy boy. In the first couple days of his vacation he has managed to get himself tacked on the DEA investigation into four American bodies found in Mexico with heroin residue. Yes, these would be the same ones that Boyd (Walton Goggins) and his gang of miscreants let a group of corrupt Mexican officials drive off into the night with. Raylan has never been the greatest of friends with Johnny Crowder (David Meunier), even though they do go way back, so his interest in the case isn’t that of revenge. It is however, the most direct line to taking down Boyd that he’s had in a while.
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When the season started, Raylan and Boyd were kept at somewhat of a distance. This may not have been the intention, but with nothing to change the status quo, it was the result. There has been the occasional breach in this arrangement for various reasons, but overall that has remained the situation throughout season five. Moving forward, Boyd may not have that luxury. Boyd has been able to maintain his legal innocence over the years through loopholes and favors. With all roads leading back to him, those options may be null and void in the coming episodes. Where will that leave Ava (Joelle Carter) though?
Ava may be making inroads into the independent woman role, but she still relies heavily on the assistance of her fiancé, or at least, in theory. If Boyd doesn’t come through with the heroin, her deal for protection goes away. She has already made enemies of Boyd’s enemies simply by association and her only hope is making good on her entrepreneurial attempt at becoming the cell block supplier until Boyd can come through with his promise and frees her. Even with the new condition on the table, Ava has a small window of opportunity to make this situation work in her favor.
Joelle Carter has really stepped it up this season with her performance. There’s been a vulnerability about the character that we haven’t seen since her uncertainty after shooting her husband several years ago. The additional layers to the character not only make her more complex, but make her more interesting to watch. Even as some of the other characters go stale, in this episode namely Boyd, she continues to give every scene something that makes it memorable.
Is there anyone else that you think has given it a little extra this season? Will Ava’s new stance on taking care of herself work, or will Boyd’s problems be the death or her, literally? Let us know all your theories on Justified in the comments section below!Previous