Sociable

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Justified" recap: He ain't a heavy, he's my brother-in-law


Spoilers for this week's "Justified" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

This was a nice little cocktail of serial drama and standalone story, was it not? The main story, involving the angry ex-con trying to celebrate his son's birthday, was involving on its own. But the fact that he was married to Rachel's drug-addicted sister (whom he inadvertently killed) gave us a nice tie-in to the marshal's office, and some nice material for the oft-underused Erica Tazel.
There was also a lot of attention paid to Raylan's various dramas, including his battle to win back his ex-wife and his investigation of the oxy bus robbery. To that end, we had that great opening scene of Raylan interrupting the Bennett family picnic, passing out Marshal coins and apple pie before lowering the boom about the robbery. Again, this was an episode that featured little of Margo Martindale's Mags, but used her well nonetheless. Her angry take down of Raylan and her blow-up at her sons after his departure were pretty stellar moments for Martindale and the three actors who play her sons. I see this whole thing heading toward a very bad end, especially considering that Gary's former business associate Emmett Arnett might still have something to do with the Dixie Mafia. Arnett even mentions the creepy Wynn Duffie, whom I was sure got killed in the shoot-out in "Hatless." Did he not die? I'm confused on this point.
At any rate, it was a solid episode in what's turning out to be a pretty excellent season thus far. Here are some more thoughts on "For Blood or Money."
* Rachel's brother-in-law was played by Larenz Tate, who played Don Cheadle's brother in "Crash." However, he's best known to me for his funny, likable performance as Black Sean on "Rescue Me." Here, he played an angrier, more violent character, yet he was sympathetic enough that I rooted against him dying in the pizza place confrontation.
* I really loved the scene of all the marshals talking about their messed up families and drinking in Art's office. The show hasn't quite established the marshals' office as the tight family unit that many TV workplaces tend to be, but there does seem to be a bond between these characters. I don't think that bond needs to be shoved down our throats (there's already a lot going on on this show), but I hope their camaraderie slowly builds through scenes like this one.
* Also liked the scenes between Ava and Boyd. Whether or not you believe that Boyd has truly reformed, I do think it's unquestionable that he honestly cares for Ava. In the first season, he was mostly seen as a creepy interloper on her relationship with Raylan. But it's apparently more complicated that than. I really liked them sitting on the porch, talking about Boyd's musical ambitions. It's a sweet counterpoint to last week's big scene with Boyd tormenting Creepy Kyle.
* Speaking of which, Creepy Kyle is back and has some sort of proposition for Boyd. Uh, yeah. This can't be good.
* Some very Elmore Leonard-y touches in this episode, particularly the drug dealer who wants to be a magician. Leonard's thugs all have odd ambitions (the enforcer who wants to be a rap star in "Be Cool," for example, or the female ex-con who wants to be a stand-up comic in "Pagan Babies").

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