“Well I guess I have to be more careful with my words.”
- Boyd Crowder
Trouble has a way of finding Raylan Givens. But as we start season four of Justified, we are reminded that, just as often, Raylan Givens has a way of seeking out trouble. With most of his foes either dead or in jail, things are quiet for the U.S. Deputy Marshal as the episode begins. But, with his ex-wife gone once again and too much time left on his hands to reflect, it doesn’t take him long to abandon answering the phones at the office in favor of taking an off-the-books fugitive tracking assignment, which actually goes quite smoothly until Raylan finds himself back in Harlan again chasing up another loose end left behind by his incarcerated father. From there, things get a bit hinky.
With no new big bad guy introduced, it seems that the overarcing storyline this season will be the mystery of the parachuter who crash lands to the ground with a bag full of cocaine on January 21, 1983. Somehow Arlo Givens ended up with the guy’s bag and driver’s license hidden away inside his wall. Arlo sends two kids to retrieve it, which is what tips Raylan off to the case. And, for whatever reason, the bag itself (or something hidden inside it) is incredibly valuable to the right set of people. Valuable enough for Arlo to slit the throat of another inmate who sees a bit too much of his exchange with Raylan and asks too many questions. I would imagine that getting to the bottom of this whole mystery will take up the bulk of Raylan’s time this season, which is an refreshing way to go instead of simply bringing in another new villain.
Of course, while Raylan is distracted by his father’s old demons, Boyd Crowder seems to be gearing up to go to war with an evangelical preacher who is cutting into his oxy sales. The Last Chance Holiness Church, which is little more than a tent in the woods at this point, is run by a true believer who heals the sick with his hands and holds rattlesnakes to prove his devotion to God. This makes him a captivating foil for Boyd, who dabbled in the priesthood himself, though Boyd’s intentions were quite a bit less noble. Crowder already had one of his drug sellers try to quit on him after finding God and now it seems Ellen May has found her way to the tent. I’m interested to see Boyd’s approach to dealing with this new problem.
Boyd also may have his own problem brewing within his ranks. Sgt. Colton Rhodes, one of Boyd’s friends from the war, shows up in Harlan looking for work. But while Boyd initially wonders if Rhodes will be comfortable getting his hands dirty, the good sergeant takes things a bit too far and kills Hiram, the man who found God and refused to keep selling oxy. Rhodes’ overzealousness and how his presence effects the ranks of Boyd’s organization will be intriguing going forward. At least initially, Ava and Johnny seem rather leery of him.
We also get another new character introduced – Constable Bob Sweeney, played by the always entertaining Patton Oswalt. I like the dynamic between him and Raylan, with Raylan needing him to keep an eye on his dad’s place and Constable Bob seizing the opportunity to prove himself as a bad ass and to try to feel like a real cop. I’m not sure how big a factor he’ll be in this season overall, but, with Trooper Tom gone, a few more humorous cameos by Constable Bob would be quite welcome.
Overall, I thought it was a solid first episode that did a great job setting up the season to come. The standalone part of the episode was strong too. It was nice to see Raylan use the airbag to get the upper hand on his escaped fugitive, when in years past he may have shot first. I also liked all of his exchanges with the girl in braces, particularly their back and forth in the hardware store as her boyfriend was stealing Raylan’s car.
And another thing …
- Natalie Zea, who plays Winona, took a job on the new Fox show The Following, so her involvement in this season of Justified will be limited to a few guest spots at most.
- I liked the parallel we saw with both Boyd and Raylan tucking away a secret stash of money for the future.
- The name on the license in the bag is “Waldo Truth.” It sounds a bit like an odd pun, with a mystery about who the guy was and how he ended up in that cul-de-sac (Where’s Waldo?) and a mystery about what it all means (the truth).
- For a guy going senile, Arlo seemed particularly sharp in this episode. I wonder if he’s in for more mental lapses in the near future.
- Just as a random side note, I live about 15 minutes from Bel Air, Maryland, the town Sgt. Colton Rhodes says he is from. It was bizarre to hear it be referenced on Justified, though I’m guessing it’s not coincidental that Graham Yost chose to make Rhodes be from the hometown of John Wilkes Booth. What the exact purpose of that association is though is yet to be seen.