Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Justified: Blowback

This was a great episode. The writers found a perfect balance between the serialized and standalone elements. We opened and closed with the ongoing Crowder/Ava/Raylan case and had appearances from ADA Vasquez sprinkled throughout.

Since Raylan took down the corrupt sheriff last week, all this cases have to be retried. A judge decided anyone with less than six months left on their sentence could be let free. This includes Bo Crowder, who shows up to have a delightfully creepy scene in a diner with Ava. At the Marshalls’ office, an inmate being transferred to a Super Max prison takes two guards hostage, which forces Raylan to act as a hostage negotiator. After the standoff is settled, Raylan has his interview with Vasquez. Said interview reveals how damaged the case against Boyd Crowder is by Raylan’s ongoing relationship with Ava and ends up in Boyd’s release.

The first few episodes of the season show Raylan as a man in control at all times. He’s a great Marshall and the best shot in the world. Even when it looks like a convict is going to get over on him, Raylan pulls out the charm and wins in the end. The last two weeks (we can probably include the episode that introduced his father, too) show Raylan out of his element. He’s never negotiated a hostage situation before, so he does the best he can. We’ve seen hundreds of hostage situations in TV and movies and recently more of the “we know the hostage situation playbook” hostage situations, but this is a new twist on the “we know the playbook” situation. And it worked well.

Since the writers had a fair number of episodes setting up the character of Raylan Givens, we now know what his comfort zone is. And it’s very entertaining to see him put in situations where he’s out of his zone.

The other serialized element of Raylan’s ex-wife and her (probably) shady new husband got some traction this week too. Looks like next week’s episode will focus more on that. Can’t wait.

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