Justified: Season 5
Episode 8 – “Whistle Past the Graveyard”
Aired: March 4, 2014
Director: Peter Werner
Writer: Chris Provenzano
“I think of them like a cancer. I’m just a doctor working on a cure.”
– Raylan Givens
When Raylan had Kendal Crowe taken away by Child Protective Services, he was treating his as a pawn in a quickly-escalating war with the Crowes. (Even Alison questioned his motives at the time.) But this week, as he gets caught up in the drama with Wendy and “Uncle” Jack, Raylan realizes that Kendal’s childhood isn’t that much different from his own. And even as he realizes that Wendy lied to him and has no concrete information on her brothers, he takes solace in the fact that he saved the boy.
I really liked his conversation with Kendal at the end of the episode. Giving him the ill-gotten radio contest money was a nice touch as well. Of course, Kendal doesn’t seem ready to hear it. He knows his dad is a two-bit hustler, but that’s still who he turned to to get away from the rest of the Crowes. Kendal doesn’t see an out from this life. And he doesn’t trust Raylan’s motivations for trying to show him a path to freedom. He’s a tough kid who can take care of himself, but right now he seems too lost to get free of Daryl and Danny’s grasps. (Though perhaps that could change by the end of the season. He could end up turning to Raylan for help and maybe even offering up information on his brothers, like Danny murdering Jean Baptiste.)
Finding out Kendal was Wendy’s son was a nice touch, as well. It helps shed some light on both of these characters, particularly Wendy. We have a clearer sense of what derailed her chances at a better life as a lawyer and why she continues to get involved in all of the family nonsense – she can’t abandon her son. And we also realize how confusing and sad Kendal’s upbringing must have been, especially since he suspected that Jack was his dad and Wendy was his mom, even though they both were lying to him about it.
Meanwhile, Boyd and Daryl’s journey through Mexico was entertaining, if not a bit predicable. It was pretty obvious that Daryl and Danny had something up their sleeves when they gunned down the drug dealers last week, so it was no surprise that they are trying a bit of slight of hand with the mysterious, estranged contact who comes to the rescue. It does set us up for an intriguing showdown next week though, with Boyd onto Daryl’s plan, but still stuck in a foreign country without a lot of control over the situation. I imagine things will get ugly very soon.
Ava’s storyline is finally headed somewhere, though I continue to be less invested in it than anything else in the show right now. Having to dislocate her own shoulder to get to the infirmary was a nice touch, though clearly she lacks Boyd’s knack for subtlety and charm as she loudly asks the crooked medical professional for drugs in front of her colleagues. I’m holding out hope that the whole plotline ends up going somewhere worthwhile, but for now I can’t shake the feeling that our time could be better spent following other characters (like Rachel or Tim or Art).
And another thing …
- The reveal that Kendal is Wendy’s son does explain why he is the only Crowe boy who doesn’t have a D name.
- I really enjoyed Uncle Jack’s pronunciation of “rolley-coasters.”
- The Asshole King of Them All sort of sounds like it could be a Maurice Sendak children’s book.
- Alison is breaking things off with Raylan just as he’s getting closer to Wendy. Could he end up in bed with Ms. Crowe?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.