Justified – “The Kids Aren’t All Right”: Raylan to the rescue

Justified: Season 5

Episode 2 – “The Kids Aren’t All Right”

Aired: January 14, 2014

Director: Bill Johnson

Writer: Dave Andron

“God damn it, Loretta.”

– Raylan Givens

Raylan Givens may have saved Loretta from Mags Bennett, but there’s no saving her from who she is and what life she was born into.

So much of Justified has been about Raylan returning to his hometown and finding himself embroiled in the very Harlan County underworld he joined the U.S. Marshal service to escape. He may not be his father, but time and time again we are reminded that perhaps the badge gives him carte blanche to exhibit those Arlo Givens tendencies in a legal way.

Similarly, Loretta isn’t her father, the pot-selling man on the wrong side of the Bennetts. She got a fresh start with a new family, but she seems incapable of putting the criminal life behind her. She’s a smart girl with limitless potential, but this week we find out that she is squandering that potential by dating a moron she doesn’t trust and burning Memphis drug kingpin Hot Rod Dunham on a deal. The whole time, she counts on Raylan to once again come to her rescue.

Arlo comes up quite a bit in this episode. Raylan tells Loretta about the first time he found himself behind bars, revealing that Arlo left him in the cell overnight while Raylan’s partner in crime was bailed out by his parents. Raylan then proceeds to do the exact same thing to Loretta, leaving her in her cell to think about her crimes.

Later in the episode, Hot Rod tells Raylan that he knew his father. But Dunham says that Arlo knew when to cut his losses, while Raylan seemed to be in over his head with his ultimatum. Raylan does get him to back down, but you get the sense that this is far from over.

Most interestingly though, we find out this episode that Art is beginning to look into the death of Nicky Augustine after discovering that Sammy Tonin called Raylan right before he died. Raylan was in a very gray area at the end of last season when he facilitated Sammy’s hit on Nicky. Art is unlikely to support Raylan’s actions and it’s entirely possible that he could go after his badge and seek criminal charges if the truth comes out.

Speaking of the truth coming out, Boyd catches a break when Lee Paxton’s wife Mara decides not to ID him after he beat her husband nearly to death. We discover that she does this in order to blackmail Boyd for the bribe money he offered to her Lee. However, both Boyd and Mara are still in hot water as Lee wakes up at the end of the episode and the local cops are unhappy with her recanted ID of Boyd.

Further complicating things is the fact that Boyd’s drug shipment is hit, meaning he once again must return to his dealers empty-handed. Boyd always seems to find a way to come out on top, but this is by far the least in control we’ve seen him. He has no drugs, no control over the Lee Paxton situation and no way of getting Ava out of prison. I’m curious to see what he does with his back against the wall.

Dewey Crowe also seems destined for rough times ahead. The episode ends with Daryl Crowe Jr. showing up at Audrey’s looking for a handout. And, on top of that, it seems that Wade is giving money under the table to Boyd that Dewey knows nothing about.

We are still in the early stages of season five, but I like how things are shaping up. It’s always nice to see Loretta pop back up and I really enjoyed seeing two familiar faces – real-life brothers Wood Harris (a.k.a. Avon Barksdale from The Wire) and Steve Harris – as Hot Rod’s heavies. Amy Smart also seems like a nice addition to the show as Loretta’s social worker Alison.

And another thing …

  • Am I alone in wanting a Wood Harris/Steve Harris spinoff where they go around doing Hot Rod’s errands and sassing people?
  • Wynn Duffy is clearly no Boyd Crowder. His attempt to reassure their dealers that things would be okay was downright pitiful. Luckily Boyd showed up to make the save.
  • The attempted ID/arrest of Boyd seemed pretty unprofessional, didn’t it? Why wouldn’t they bring Boyd in for a lineup and have Mara behind a two-way mirror making the ID?
  • Am I alone in thinking that Cyrus the dealers Pop Rocks fetish seems … painful?
  • In case you missed it earlier today, FX announced at the Television Critics Association press tour that Justified will be ending after next season. The decision was made by Graham Yost and Timothy Olyphant, who both felt like it was time to end it.

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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