Justified – “Wrong Roads”: The ghost of Raylan future

Justified: Season 5

Episode 9 – “Wrong Roads”

Aired: March 11, 2014

Director: Michael Dinner

Writer: Dave Andron & Leonard Chang

“I’m the crazy one here, thinking you are going to change. What the hell is ever going to do that?”

– Art Mullins

Just as it looked like Raylan might actually make it to Florida to visit his family, he instead detours to Memphis and meets DEA agent Alex Miller, a man who very much seems to be a future version of Raylan. Miller is a tough as nail, alcoholic, rogue agent who has alienated his coworkers and who operates by his own code, but is a good enough lawman that the ends justify the means. His GP100 revolver is his version of Raylan’s hat, his one non-regulation item that is a throwback to a bygone era. And, like Raylan, he’s just dirty enough to get the job done while never crossing over his own (imaginary) moral line.

But he’s farther gone than Raylan is. He’s completely estranged from his family. He shoots Roscoe before the man even has a chance to aim his gun at him. He openly drinks on the job. And while Raylan can actually walk away after his showdown at Audrey’s, Miller’s fixation on tracking down the second tow truck ends up getting him run over by Dewey and left for dead on the road (with Danny there to finish the job if he isn’t dead yet). He’s clearly where our hero is headed, though he isn’t there quite yet.

Of course, Art shows up to convince us that Raylan is unlikely to get off this destructive path. Art points out that Raylan has won again and that there’s nothing to stop him. He finally gives up, determined to retire and let Raylan be someone else’s problem. It’s good for Art’s health, but probably bad for Raylan’s soul.

The rest of the episode was the culmination of a lot of fringe elements. The heroin finally made its way into America. Boyd and Ava finally had a face-to-face meeting. The Crowes, Boyd and Wynn Duffy all formalized their uneasy partnership. And all of our bad guys ended up in a room together in Audrey’s jockeying for power.

This was easily the best paced episode of the season. There have been a lot of different fringe storylines so far this season that kept things feeling fractured, but for the first time it all is starting to come together into a clear path. Raylan is onto this new heroin coalition, Ava is a recipient of their dope and our villains are all (for the moment) united.

Of course, things are already starting to crack. Wendy and Kendall both desperately want out and are likely to either turn to Raylan for help or to find some other way to escape from Daryl’s clutches. Dewey has finally snapped, running down Danny and Miller and driving off into the night in the tow truck full of heroin. And Daryl has made his intentions clear to Wendy – he wants to kill his three partners and take over the heroin business for himself. Plus, Raylan is officially partnering with DEA to bring it all crashing down.

I really enjoyed this episode and am excited for where we are headed.

And another thing …

  • It was already a long episode to begin with, but I feel like a scene was cut out explaining exactly what happened to all of the criminals at Audrey’s. Wendy mentioned Daryl making bail. Boyd vaguely referenced a problem with the cops, but it was unclear if he was arrested or not. And we didn’t see Wynn or Picker again, but I would presume they were arrested and made bail as well. I wish that had been explained a bit better.
  • That is a rough first day for Caleb the new bartender. I like that all of the employees are forced to pretend that Boyd doesn’t work there, even though it is clearly the worst kept secret in Harlan.
  • Rest in peace, Hot Rod. You will be missed.
  • I will also miss Hammer and Anvil. The brothers Harris were a great addition to the show. This was a perfect way for them to go out, but I wish they had gotten more to do leading up to 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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