Justified: Full Commitment

NewImageAn other week an other great episode. The writing tonight was particularly great. At least as good as any this season.

What I loved about tonight were all the little moments between characters. Once again a lot said that isn’t said. A feature pretty common in this show and quite difficult normally to pull off.

We start out with Raylan giving statements to the FBI and find out the assassins were former soldiers. Raylan is distracted though by Gary talking to Winona. Gary’s whole personae has changed and Raylan is suspicious. (Justifiably as we discover) More interesting is Art’s treatment of Raylan – ordering him off the case and having Tim be a minder. Tim is one of those characters on the show we’ve not seen a lot of. I kind of wish we had. Hopefully next season. Of course as expected Raylan isn’t going to take Art’s orders sitting down. The banter between an obviously frustrated Tim and Raylan is pretty funny. Yet there’s a lot of tension going on. The directors and writers know that the way to play an Elmore Leonard character is to make it straight and somewhat tense with the humor being a kind of surface thing hiding utter seriousness. It’s a hard line to walk. (Note the difference between Get Shorty and Be Cool for examples of how to do it and how not to do it)

What I really love about these scenes that continue through the episode is that Raylan always plays it straight with Tim but Tim isn’t willing to give a wink and a nod to pretense.  Is this a sign that Tim knows something is up with Raylan on the missing money issue?  I suspect so.  All the characters are smart and Raylan wasn’t exactly being subtle.  (Which is why Art figured things out fairly quickly)  The real issue is what they think of Raylan.  As you might recall Art wasn’t exactly happy that Raylan was back with Winona at the beginning of the season.  Is Winona bad news?  I suspect there’s more to learn there.


As I was waiting for my wife to come down and watch tonight’s episode last week’s was on.  It was the opening scene with that great little kerfuffle between Art and Raylan.  You might remember that Art says he’s a great lawman but a lousy Marshal.  I think that tonight we see that.  Raylan’s kind of cowboy way of doing things really means he can’t work within the system well.  This is getting back to the theme that the whole show opened with.  Raylan effectively challenging a mob assassin to a duel leading to getting sent to Kentucky in the first place.  He’s a man out of place in many ways.  (This is true in the various stories and novels he pops up in as well)

Last week I thought we’d find out that the assassins were actually after Winona perhaps as part of an insurance scam by Gary.  I was completely wrong.  They were hitmen hired by Gary out of jealousy.  Raylan in his typical way resolves the whole mess (after ditching Tim).  My favorite scene of the episode is Gary going on about how he can’t handle knowing Winona is with Raylan.  He says, “do you know what that is like?”  A disgusted dumfounded Raylan replies, “Yes!”  (Of course Winona had left Raylan for Gary)  Oddly while Raylan could have just brought Gary back to the Marshals to confess to the attempted murder he instead protects Winona by letting Gary go.  Raylan has been protecting Winona a lot this season.  And arguably each time gets Raylan deeper and deeper into problems.

There were some other great scenes tonight – especially the banter between Mags and Raylan.  It changed my view of Mags as a character somewhat.  Loved quip to Mags corrupt sheriff son Doyle.  “You only brought one man for backup?”  “I figured you’d bring more men.”

The Boyd situation was progressing as well.  And not in a good way. Ava is really getting herself in trouble.  Boyd steals Dickie’s money and then goes into hiding to split it up.  Ava clearly wants in on everything.  Her only rule is no prostitutes.  Any of us that had any hope for a redeemed Boyd are being disappointed.  Boyd clearly intends to take over the region’s crime.  However Dickie’s answer is to kill Helen.

A lot will be going on next week.


12 thoughts on “Justified: Full Commitment

  1. I love how this show has interconnecting plot-lines that are finally coming to a head.

    I like Boyd the villain much better than Boyd the preacher (though I liked him, too).

    I was really shocked that they killed Helen.

  2. Loved this episode.

    I kinda like Boyd and Ava together (she makes a good oulaw chick), but it’s definitely going to lead to bad things eventually. Helen gave Ava some good advice, but it seems like Ava is not following it.

    As you said, the scenes between Raylan and Tim were especially good. Every time Tim is onscreen he is awesome. They have really drawn a great character there and as you said, we need to see more of him.

    But Raylan had great scenes with everyone. I liked the scene with Mags and Doyle a lot too. Looks like Mags is keeping her part of the bargain she made with Helen. It’s just Dickie that’s the problem.

    The scene between Raylan and the stakeout guy in the car outside Winona’s house was really funny. I don’t know why Raylan always seems to want to critique every bad guy’s technique. It’s like he’s insulted by them not performing their job well. He thinks he would make a better outlaw than the the outlaws he deals with.

    The scene between Raylan and Duffy was the perfect payoff to the whole show. Duffy’s cynical bemusement at Raylan was priceless.

    But what was the deal between Gary and Duffy? I don’t understand that transaction at all. Gary went to Duffy for money for an investment opportunity, then apparently got Duffy to send the hitmen to kill Raylan, then tried to back out of that after they failed. Then apparently Duffy made plans to kill Gary.

    Does any of that make sense? Why would Duffy hire hitmen to kill Raylan at Gary’s request in the first place? It’s been clear since last season that Duffy has nothing but contempt for Gary, so why would he go into business with him again? I just don’t get this part of the plot.

    I don’t think Dickie intended to kill Helen. He went there to take Helen hostage so that Arlo would have to get Dickie’s money back for him. Helen realized that Dickie was going to kill Arlo after that, so she tried to shoot Dickie and he had to shoot her. There’s going to be hell to pay now, because Helen is the only mom Raylan had growing up. Arlo will be out for murder and Mags is going to be super pissed off too. Dickie better just hide under a rock.

    It’s not only good writing in this show, it’s really good acting. They’ve assembled just an amazing cast. There’s not a single line that’s delivered without deliberate consideration of character and personality and motivation. I really liked Duffy and Dickie in particular this episode. Those actors are just at the top of their game.

  3. My two cents: One – oh was I right! Not to toot my own horn or anything.

    Second – Duffy is asked by Gary to kill Raylan, the unsaid part of this is that Duffy tells his men to wait for Winona to be there and kill both of them, then go over and make Gary disappear. This would help him (Duffy) from being under suspicion for the whole thing. As for why would he agree, maybe he hates Raylan even more than he hates Gary. That’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it.

  4. Jeremy Davies’ transformation from a physicist in Lost to a redneck outlaw in Justified is amazing. That guy can act.

  5. MCQ great point about Raylan critiquing the bad guys. I love it when he does that.

    Regarding Duffy’s plans. I don’t know. There’s something missing. I get that the racehorse was actually the hitmen. I don’t quite understand why Duffy wants Raylan dead. I have a feeling this is all going to end up tied up to the shipment of oxycotin from early in the season and Raylan’s pressuring of the Dixie Mafia to be hands off.

    I agree Dickie didn’t plan on killing Helen. He did it when she took off the safety. Which I admittedly don’t understand – it’s really not terribly sensical to approach intruders with the safety on. Unless she put it back on when she thought it wasn’t intruders. But that didn’t make much sense either.

    Tim, I have to admit I find the actor for Dickie the weakest thus far. (Which isn’t a criticism so much as everyone else outshining him) I don’t think you can just credit the actors. Were it just a few constantly performing then I think that fits. When everyone does good then it is the producers and directors really pushing them and being able to draw out great performances. Especially with a show like this where subtlety is so important communicating to the actors is key. I love how even the guests tend to do pretty well.

  6. I like the character but to me he does the same facial ticks and voice that he did in Lost. As an actor I just don’t think he has a lot of range. But I dig the character within the show. I just don’t see him pulling off a lot of the subtlety that ironically the actor playing his (now dead) brother did. And that was impressive because that was a character without a lot of range. Sort of a dumb drugged out character. But I just found a lot more conveyed there. Surprisingly.

    I don’t mean to pick on Jeremy Davies as the characters he plays in Lost and Justified I’ve really enjoyed. I think Justified really requires a lot out of an actor because you are playing dumb stupid characters often yet having to convey a lot of layers to them.

  7. Hm. I’m surprised, because I thought he was doing an amazing job. I like the way he gives every line a twist. One thing is, I don’t think most of these characters are dumb. Even Coover was a genius with weed.

  8. Yeah – I’ll concede that. I think they’re dumb in the sense of regular characters. Yet the strength of the show is in showing in subtle ways strengths to the characters. Even characters like Dewey are more than they appear at first glance. (And let’s be honest – he’s about as dumb a character as there is on the show) The show never treats them as a joke. There may be humor, but there’s always a certain “respect” the show has to these characters. Even Dewey.

    As to Davies’ acting. I agree he gives a bit of a twist to the words. It’s just that he has a single style of doing this. I think comparing him to how the actors doing Dewey or Coover is interesting. Those are really hard characters to pull off with nuance because they are almost living caricatures. I think there’s a way most people would play those characters which would lose that depth. Coover when Loretta was over is particularly good.

    I think the best performance Davies gave Dickie was that moment when Raylan comes looking for Loretta and it torturing Dickie. There’s a desperation to Dickie that Davies gave him that was combined with this knowledge of what would happen to Coover if he told. It’s a great little scene. I’m not sure I see it elsewhere. For instance I was kind of disappointed in that whole conflict with Raylan where Raylan won’t let Dickie in to see his mother. While Davies played it well he certainly didn’t play it great. There’s a ton of history there and that should have come through that scene. But it didn’t.

  9. Guys,

    I’m pretty sure Gary’s agreement with Duffy was to kill Winona and collect the life insurance. At least that is how I understood it. Thus the stuff about insurance with the divorce attorneys. Gary wanted to chicken out at the end of course but as usual he was in way too deep.

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