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Justified “A Murder of Crowes” Review (5×01)

8 Jan

jus3It’s been a long wait, but we’re finally back in Harlan.

Well, not exactly; in fact, the episode takes us to places like Florida and Detroit, expanding the show’s universe a bit and introducing new sides to the Crowe family and the mob. It’s really impressive how the show manages to remain as entertaining as ever while it’s spending its time place-setting for the remainder of the season. In fact, each character, however peripheral he or she is, is utilized magnificently in this fantastic premiere.

A Murder of Crowes is fundamentally about family, whether it be through Boyd’s vendetta against pretty much everyone or the crazy relations of the Florida Crowes. Michael Rapaport is introduced as Darryl Crowe, and accent aside, he fits into the role well as the man who’s had huge weights on his back, but is only just breaking now. The premiere has a fairly engaging storyline involving Elvis and Wendy, and the murder of Dilly Crowe illustrates the various messed up shit people will do in the name of “family”.

In fact, Boyd’s going around trying to get Ava out of jail, and he’ll do almost anything to do so. Goggins is fantastic here, still maintaining that cool exterior, but conveying Boyd’s frustration and desperation slowly building up inside of him as the episode wears on. This is definitely one of the darker storylines of the show, and Goggins is, as always, handling it beautifully; it doesn’t hurt to have Jere Burns to play off of, either. As for that final scene, I’m glad he doesn’t kill the wife. It’ll bite him in the ass for sure–he and Ava will live happily ever after, though, which is a fact–but it’s also a nice moment that serves to highlight the brilliance with which the show has been handling Raylan-Boyd. Lots of times, we forget that the two are on opposite sides of the law and are very different people, and that’s due to 1) the performances, and 2) the parallels. Both do have morals, but both will do what each thinks is justified to get what they want. Much like Raylan could let his emotional connection to Arlo cloud his judgment, Boyd’s rage and connection to Ava can still control him, as it does in the final scene.

It’s going to be really intriguing this season seeing Boyd go down a darker path than he has before, in the name of family, while Raylan tries to come to grips with himself being a father. I like that the show hasn’t strictly made it Raylan vs. Boyd all the time, but rather Raylan alongside Boyd.

Speaking of Raylan and fatherhood, the episode deals really nicely with Raylan; Koechner’s character serves as a nice passageway into the exploration of Raylan’s worries about being a parent, and in an episode all about the intricacies of various familial relationships, this is a nice, subtler subplot amidst all the other fireworks. There’s an inherent and understandable sadness in his situation. He spends time worrying about what kind of father he’d be, but that just ends up increasing the distance between him and his kid. I’m glad there are other people to pressure him into going to visit, because without them, we know he has case after case after case he can throw himself into.

All in all, it’s a fantastic opening to the penultimate season, and the episode brings the humor, the violence, and the crackling dialogue. We’re in for a ride, folks.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-High body count tonight.

-Damon Herriman does great work in his scene with Raylan, and his “Somebody get a bucket!” throwaway line is fantastic. Nothing says Dewey Crowe like Marco Polo in an inflatable pool.

-I’m so glad about Jere Burns, AKA Wynn Duffy, AKA Mr. Eyebrows, is a regular this season.

-I’m sad to see Sammy Tonin go.

-“Sorry, I had to shoot the chainsaw guy. Shit happens.”

-“I’ve been to Iraq. It’s like Detroit, except you have better music.”

-“What happened to your ear?” “Ceiling fan.”

-Dave Foley and Will Sasso are brilliant as the Canadian gangsters.

-The Skype call between Raylan and Winona is pretty heartbreaking.

Photo credit: FX, Justified

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