Justified Review: “Good Intentions” (Season 5, Episode 3)


Justified has definitely found its stride with Good Intentions. Any of the missing elements from the first two episodes of the season have been addressed, and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is once again at the top of his game – along with all of the characters it would seem. Three episodes in, and already have some of the best performances I’ve seen from this series.

My past two reviews have grossly ignored or over-simplified Boyd (Walton Goggins) and his storyline thus far, so it seems like as good a place as any to begin. Boyd is in a predicament. He’s fighting against his very nature in order to restrain himself enough to accomplish the task of freeing his lady love, Ava (Joelle Carter) from the big house – which is where she’s going to be spending 25 to life if he doesn’t figure something out in the very near future.

Boyd’s first attempt to maneuver this situation involved an influential funeral director and a measly testimony. That didn’t go so well. Now he’s looking down the barrel of a lonely life as even Ava is starting to lose hope in his usually cunning negotiation skills. Perhaps she should be worried about something else though. The funeral director faux pas came with strings attached in the form of a fast-talking Russian mail-order bride, Mara (Karolina Wydra).

Although Mara doesn’t seem capable of causing too much physical harm on her own, she still remains a threat for at least two reasons. One, she knows the truth about Boyd’s latest transgressions and two, she has a sexual prowess that simply oozes from her pores. The kind of natural energy that makes men do stupid things for all the wrong reasons, or no reason at all – and this has not escaped Boyd’s attention (it’s a little hard for anyone not to notice).

Mara is an interesting character though. She is overtly sexual and uses it to her advantage. She’s obviously in this situation because of her looks, yet she’s bent on not becoming a victim of circumstances. Personally, I think that a lot of what we are seeing is an act. There’s a clear divide between her personality while interacting with different characters. I doubt Ava would have too much trouble seeing through her façade – unlike Boyd who is outwardly struggling with the effects of her potent sensuality.

I don’t think that technically being shirtless (or willingly taking your shirt off) in front of a woman that isn’t your betrothed falls under the umbrella of cheating, but there was nothing about the moment that Boyd and Mara shared that felt innocent. When you start to add their increasing number of interactions up, Boyd may want to start praying that Ava never gets her freedom, or she might end up right back in a very familiar situation. I wonder if she could get away with killing two Crowders.

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