Thursday, April 28, 2011
"Justified" recap: Oh, this is going to be very, very bad
This season, I've gotten so lost in praising members of the supporting cast of "Justified," I've often spent little time on the equally amazing work done by the series' lead, Timothy Olyphant. This week's episode, the penultimate one of the season, was a phenomenal showcase for Olyphant, as Raylan worked through his rage and grief over his beloved aunt, and struggled to be strong enough to seek justice -- and not revenge -- against Dickie.
It's a cliche to have your hero walk toward a tragic scene in slow motion, but this week's opening sequence, as Raylan strode toward his family's home, was beautifully done. The closeups of Olyphant's face as Raylan, lost and alone in world without the one person who loved him unconditionally, works to process the tragedy that's just befallen him.
The rest of the episode provided similarly devastating moments: Raylan futilely charging at Boyd (who now has Ava and her shotgun as an extra level of protection); Raylan pummeling Arlo in his jail cell and, of course, Raylan holding a sobbing Dickie at gunpoint in the woods, struggling against all instinct not to kill Helen's murderer.
It was a brutal, brutal episode. And, with Dickie freed from jail and Mags seeking her own revenge against the man who almost screwed up her Black Pike deal, I expect more bad things are yet to come for Raylan.
Here are some more of my thoughts on "Reckoning":
* Though this episode gave us a Raylan who was often just shy of boiling over, we did get at least two scenes of cool, stoic Raylan -- in the trailer with the prostitute, and at Jed's house, where he calmly convinces Dickie's accomplice that turning Dickie in is the smart thing to do. Of course, in the latter scenario, Raylan only stays cool until he realizes that it was Arlo's actions, not his own, that got Helen killed. Still, he saves Jed's life (temporarily at least), and one-ups Doyle yet again.
* Just really, really liked that scene in the trailer with the ditzy prostitute, and how her flakiness is temporarily punctured by Raylan's admission of loss. His encouragement for her to praise him as "the best two pumps of your life" was a rare moment of humor in a dark episode.
* Though this was Olyphant's episode, some more great work this week from Jeremy Davies as Dickie, Margo Martindale as Mags and Raymond J. Barry as Arlo. The scene where Arlo recounts his growing relationship with Helen was the most raw and honest we've seen him thus far. And all the scenes with the Bennetts were, as usual, excellent. Plus, I think this is the first episode that's given us a scene with Mags and Arlo together. And, surprisingly, they mentioned not one word of their musical phenom son Dewey Cox.
* I don't know that we needed that scene with Loretta at her new foster home, though I always enjoy Kaitlyn Dever's performance as the damaged teen. It just seemed sort of tossed in there.
* Given the look on her face at the funeral, it's clear that Raylan never told Winona about the pre-bought headstone with his name on it. Seeing it this episode was an effectively creepy reminder that Raylan's life is constantly in jeopardy.