[Review] - Justified, Season 6 Episode 9, "Burned"

Courtesy of Sony Picture Television

This was a peculiar episode. It was an episode without a beginning, picking up right where last week left off and accomplishing more before the credits had stopped rolling than some shows managed in a full hour. And it was an episode without an ending, seeming to pause mid scene, and giving us a place to pick up next week. With only four episodes left (!), I wonder if this is a sign of things to come. The heat is on, for all involved, and the cut-and-dryness of things is starting to wane. From here on out, it's a mad dash to the end, as folk come to the beds they've made, and have a lie down.

It was also, for my money, the most suspenseful episode the series has put together. I genuinely feared for characters I never would have before throughout this episode. Maybe it's because this is a show that has never hesitated to kill a character when the opportunity and the reason presents itself. And maybe it's because there are only four episodes left (!!), but when danger rears it's head, it's a keen thing to take notice. And when a brash young gunslinger rolls into town, attention best be paid.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are one deranged and possible dangerous individual.

I called it! Wynn was the rat. Of course he was, it made perfect sense. And the show wasn't interested in beating around the bush about it. Raylan and Art saddled on up to his tanning bed, looked him square in the speedo, and called him on it. And Wynn, to his credit, didn't deny anything. In fact, as he explained to Mikey later one, in the sort of business they're in, you don't survive as long as Wynn without working with the other side from time to time. It's only good sense. But now that we know, that makes Catherine and Markham's relationship all the more treacherous, because they don't. We can now view them through a clear lens, and see them as both being overly paranoid, murderous folk. Catherine in a cool handed, gut-you-on-a-whim sort, while Markham is a seething bastion of rage.

The episode was really about Loretta, and assuming that she makes it through to the end (I don't recall Elmore ever killing children, though feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), she has all the makings of the sort of character that Elmore would have been tempted to revisit twenty years later. Of course, within the confines of the series, we don't need a "where are they now" with Loretta, we've already seen her future: Mags. She's Mags' daughter, through and through. She's spirited, brash, honest and can turn a room with her invoking history and loyalty. There might be a temptation to think that Loretta can learn form Mags' mistakes, but Elmore's characters aren't like that. Loretta will certainly think that she's smarter than Mags, will avoid making the same mistakes that Mags did. But she won't. She can't. It's in their nature to make the same mistakes over and over, while thinking that they are being so clever.

Boyd, at this point, is a wild animal. He's been pushed to desperation by Raylan and Markham, and Zachariah, and now he's feral. Raylan was pushing him to make a move. Markham was tempting him by sitting pretty, and Zachariah was waiting to make his own move. Boyd, meanwhile, had the blinders up. You'd have thought that a man as smart as Boyd would have eased up, seen the bigger picture, the more he learned about how deep Raylan was into his business, and how dangerous Markham was. Instead, his vision narrowed and narrowed until all he could see were dollar signs. In past seasons, he would have seen Zachariah's move coming well off, and put an end to it before he had the chance. But he was so blinded by his own ambition, it nearly got him killed. I genuinely worried for Boyd, as he whimpered in terror at the thought of meeting his end at the bottom of a shaft. Kudos to the show for well establishing Boyd's fear at just that fate, his only true fear if we're to be believed.

Now, no one's plan's paid out. Boyd is rapid, biting at hands and still only seeing that money before his eyes, except now it's blood red. Markham is discouraged, his plan falling apart around him. Like everyone else who has come to Harlan seeking his fortune, he's underestimated the stubbornness of the locals and is starting to see his Jenga tower tip. And Raylan and the Marshals, who have devoted time, money and effort into setting up Boyd to fail, are back to square one because of all the other influences distracting and destroying Boyd. It's a domino effect of failure. Of course, success for any one of these groups likely means bloodshed for the other two, and don't get us wrong, that is where this is headed. Raylan admits to Markham that he'd be just as likely to shoot Boyd as not. And as the pressure cooker increases it's output, these folk are all getting itchier on the trigger fingers.

Which brings us to Boon, Markham's new muscle, and one scary dude. Not scary like other, former goons on the show. He isn't overly evil, or suave, or built like a brick shit house. He's scary because he's cool and calm, like Raylan. He's sure of himself, sure enough that he shows his piece to the Marshal while complimenting his hat. Sure enough that, while he's delivering that chilling ultimatum to Loretta, you never once get the sense that he's a loose hinge. He's completely in control. Nothing is going to happen that he is ready to make happen. Now, a quick draw artist, making threats on Raylan's kin and a show of his skill is certain to come up against Raylan's own tendency sooner rather than later. And he might well prove a challenge. While I think it doubtful that Raylan would be taken out by a goon rather than the boss himself, or his ol' buddy Boyd, there is a Leonardian element to Raylan suffering his greatest defeat from the quarter least suspected.
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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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