Justified – “Where’s Waldo?”: You can’t handle the Truths

Justified: Season 4

Episode 2 – “Where’s Waldo?”

Aired: January 15, 2013

Director: Bill Johnson

Writer: Dave Andron

“There ain’t no salvation for people like us.”

– Ava Crowder

As Justified has progressed as a show, the writers have gotten really great at making early episodes like this one, which are heavy on plot in order to set up the overarcing season-long storylines, feel like entertaining episodes in their own right.

So while “Where’s Waldo?” mostly served to set up things down the line – Raylan investigates his first lead in the mysterious “Panamanian Diplomatic Bag” mystery, Boyd Crowder sizes up Preacher Billy at the Last Chance Holiness Church and Raylan finds himself in the crosshairs of Lindsey’s angry, street fighting husband – it was still an enjoyable hour of television. The criminally-underused Tim got to shine as he tagged along with Raylan and Art to look for Waldo Truth (and he gets the episode’s best line: “He’s stealing your bit”). Boyd and Billy’s scene was highly enjoyable as well. As was everything involving the Truths.

What I think made the scene with the Truths so enjoyable was how flustered it made our three marshals. Their disregard for lawmen in general and their willingness to commit a number of crimes in front of them had our trio scrambling to figure out how to handle the gang. And the first lead turns out mostly to be a bust, other than the fact that it allows Arlo to connect the dots to Drew Thompson (and clues us in that Arlo is going to be a major asset in this case since he was an active lawman when it happened).

Billy continues to be a wild card. So far, he seems to be legit, but the revelation that he’s been to five cities in three years seems a bit suspicious. (Although, one could argue that he’s simply following the Biblical Paul, who went from town to town setting up churches – many of his letters to those churches becoming books in the Bible.) His conflict with Boyd is an intriguing one since Boyd himself dabbled in the priesthood (as we are reminded in this scene, where Boyd channels his inner televangelist for the crowd, quoting scripture with passion as he attempts to tear down the new preacher man). For now, Billy is able to fend off Boyd’s claims he’s a fraud by telling his flock to stop donating money, but we’ll have to see how long that lasts. We’ll also have to see how his sister – who Boyd sizes up as the true leader of the organization – chooses to respond.

Boyd has a few other threats looming as well. Wynn Duffy reemerges on the scene, shooting his own man in the head to undercut Boyd’s claims that he’s encroaching on his turf. And we also see the return of Sheriff Shelby Parlow, who helps Boyd get the info on Billy, but then once again vows not to be in Boyd’s pocket.

As for Lindsey’s husband, we don’t know what role he’ll be playing going forward, but for now we know that he has anger issues and he is not a fan of Raylan. Their introductory scene, as Raylan oversees the beer delivery and the husband helps himself to a beer, is tense enough before we know who he is, but knowing he’s Lindsey’s ex makes it all the more captivating. And, after seeing him fight for some extra cash and beat down two guys who challenge him afterwards, he actually seems remarkably restrained in that opening scene. Something tells me he won’t be quite as hands off in their next encounter.

So good stuff all around that sets things up well going forward. Lots of threats for both Raylan and Boyd to deal with, a few great moments for Art and Tim and a memorable clan in the Truths. Not bad for episode two of a season.

And another thing …

  • Maybe it’s just me, but the revelation that Art is planning on retiring doesn’t seem to bode well for him going forward. That combined with the fact that he has knowledge of this case makes me wonder if he’ll a) get killed or b) turn out to somehow be involved. Or maybe I’ve just seen too many action movies.
  • Whether you are running for sheriff or trying to run an evangelical church, the last thing you want is to get into a verbal battle with Boyd Crowder. That guy just shines in front of a crowd.
  • I sort of assumed the “Waldo Truth” license was a fake ID. Interesting to see it’s the real name of a guy collecting a government check.
  • Speaking of Waldo Truth, last week commenter Ed made a connection that I should have made to Ralpho Waldo Emerson: “I am going to go out on a limb and say that Elmore Leonard wasn’t referencing Where’s Waldo? Most likely it refers to Ralph Waldo Emerson who was pre-occupied with the idea of Truth. Much of his writings are on the subject.

    ‘Truth is beautiful without doubt; but, so are lies’ He has about a 100 other truth quotes as well. In his most famous essay, Self reliance, he has whole section called Conceptual Truth.”

  • That being said, I do feel slightly vindicated in making a Where’s Waldo? reference after seeing the name of this episode.

Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. You can contact Joel at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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