[Review] - Justified, Season 4 Episode 3, "Truth and Consequences"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
For three episodes now, I've been struggling with a feeling in the back of my head. It starts around the time the cold open begins, and subsides about an hour later. Something I couldn't put my finger on until now: I think that season four might be my favourite of Justified. And I say that having only seen three episodes. But why, I ask my inner critic. What sets this season aside from the others, each as entertaining and of a quality to this?

For the first time, I feel as though the forces of the greater world of the show are driving the plot, rather then just Raylan doing something he knows he shouldn't. Season one was his obsession with Boyd, season two was his family history with the Bennett's, and season three was his sticking his nose into the business of Quarrels. This season, save for the precipitating event of finding the bag in the wall, Raylan is not driving the action. Art, more then anything, is forcing the story forward. And in the process, really for the first time, we get to see the Marshals do some real Marshaling. This isn't fugitive of the week, this is a full blow investigation. And because we're focused on the day to day of their lives, it is also giving us a better chance then we've had to get to know them as people, rather then gun hands to back up Raylan when he gets into a spot.

And that can only lead to good things. For us, I mean. These people's lives suck.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which, like Raylan, must KBO.

This show has gone to the occasional extreme. Quarles bringing his arm to a knife fight, Raylan shooting a nurse through another nurse, Mags trapping a man in a bear trap while he's poisoned to death. All of it going a little further then most shows would. And all it paling as of right now in comparison to snake-on-the-face. That whole sequence of the Crowder lackey getting bit over and over, only to be drug back to Boyd with a shotgunned snake head latched onto his cheek officially becomes the most uncomfortable thing this show has, and probably will do.

Last week I mentioned how Boyd's run in with Wynn was a rare showcase of Boyd not being the smartest man in the room. This week was an excellent showcase for why that is, as Johnny fails spectacularly to learn from the mistakes made by Devil (which Wynn full on name checks), and begins making moves against him, with the help of Wynn Duffy. The current season's insistence on using established characters, and threats, is fine by me if it means more and more Duffy. But exactly how, when Boyd has overcome, or simply outlived, everyone who has come up against him (without the surname Givens), does he expect this will end well for him?

And talk of established characters, the mystery of Waldo Truth and Drew Thompson had the curtains pulled back, and revealed the bigger bad this season will be the looming presence of Theo Tonin, Chicago mob boss and Adam Arkin cameo from late last season. Thompson is still in the wind, but I like that the show opted not to drag out that particular mystery until it was unbelievable that they wouldn't have made headway. By solving at least part of the mystery, it shows that despite their failings as human beings, the folks of the Lexington Marshal's office are good at what they do. Most of the time.

Case in point: when the dirty Fed appears at the boxing club, set up by the kidnapped witness, it takes Raylan all of five seconds to work out exactly what is going on. His personal life might be blown to shit, but he has a star for a reason. Which makes me all the more certain that too will be in jeopardy by year's end, as this episode also featured several more zingers at Raylan's expense (my favourite being Art's "Him? He's a lost cause."). It's all in good fun for now, but I expect these very public displays of contempt will take a dark turn soon enough.

Dark turns are how Raylan functions after all, and gods dammit the show did it to me again. After deflating last week's cliffhanger in an adult and reasonable manner (Raylan hardly being the sort who can look down on how someone conducts their life), and a hell of a well written confrontation scene with the ex-husband (which also gave me the impression that if he weren't a redneck rage-thief, these two might have gotten along), I suspected that things with Lindsey might go well after all. No such luck, unless she's been taken against her will. That last scene, as terse as it was, was a gut-punch to those of us who were championing the Bartender, though I suspected something like this would go down since the camera lingered on Raylan's ill gotten gains in episode one.

I doubt we've seen the last of them, considering how much time was given to establishing the ex last week, and expect next week we'll see Raylan hunting them down, aiming to get back what was his. Might be we'll finally learn if Raylan could take the guy if he wanted to. Though, part of me suspects Raylan to have more of a Indiana Jones attitude about this dust-up. Namely, shoot him before he can land the first punch.

Over on the Harlan side of things, Boyd had little to do other then repeat the confrontation at the church from last week, and I'll be honest, it wasn't as effective as the last time. They even used the same jokes. What was very well done was how fast Boyd turned when he realised that Timmy (or whatever his name is) was actually going to handle the snake. With the sister whispering in one ear, and Boyd in another, they were the angel and demon sitting on his shoulder, though neither was as pure as to take the angel role. Boyd knows a thing or two about loosing faith, and that look he had walking out said to me he was disappointed that it went the way he wanted.

It's hard being the smartest guy in the room sometimes. Especially when no one will listen to you.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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