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Justified “Kill the Messenger” Review (5×06)

12 Feb

jst_506_messenger_0015Justified knows how to deliver its cold opens.

“Kill the Messenger” starts off with a wonderful teaser, one which effectively sets up the episode and is brilliantly acted by both Timothy Olyphant and Nick Searcy. The punch is a long time coming, and we can see the inner and external conflicts bubbling at the surface, just ready to boil over once morals trump respect.

Smartly, the show manages to dance around the idea throughout the episode, electing to send all its storylines careening down collision paths. Unless the Augustine situation gets swept under the rug–I’m 99% sure it won’t be–the episode is a nice exploration of the relationships Raylan has built up over the years. For, season 5 seems to be all about exploring our protagonist’s emotional state, the way he tends to avoid his problems and dive headlong into his work, the way he deals with uncertainty over fatherhood by physically distancing himself from the rest of his family. Throughout “Kill the Messenger”, he has to navigate the waters of Tim, Rachel, and Alison–pretty much anyone that isn’t Art–which certainly brings up some moral complexities due to the bonds they share.

Take, for example, the wonderful car scene between Raylan and Rachel. It emphasizes his emotional state, but it also emphasizes their bond, the respect they have for each other that never crosses over into romantic tension. I especially like how Raylan seems to truly hurt Rachel with one of his comments, but quickly fixes it and realizes he can truly be a son of a bitch sometimes.

As for Alison, the fact that she’s so on the nose endears her to me; Raylan’s the kind of guy who doesn’t quite hear that stuff often enough, and giving it to him straight seems to lead to him pausing and thinking for a bit. If the season is about Raylan’s “redemption” of sorts, then his friends and colleagues will have to be a part of it.

Elsewhere, we also continue to explore the family dynamics of the Crowes, and by episode’s end, them and the Crowders are business partners, a pairing that makes complete sense giving their respective situations. I have to say, though: the Crowes don’t seem to be living up to my expectations at the beginning of the season. The premiere showed promise, but I’m just not very interested in people like Danny Crowe, stock characters who serve as the unpredictability factors; the concept of this family is very intriguing, but I hope to see the characterization a bit tighter in the future.

Our final storyline involves Ava in prison, which, thankfully, ties even more into the goings on of Boyd and his crew. It’s easily the best episode this year for Joelle Carter, but then again, where do you go with this? Each character in the show is improved when in the presence of the others, and having Ava so detached from the proceedings feels like a bit of a waste. Hopefully, I’m proved wrong.

All in all, it’s a quieter, place-setting episode that sets the stage for the second half of the season. I have a feeling everything’s going to come crumbling down.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Well, Boyd wants Johnny dead.

-Nice hair in the Boyd-Wynn-Yoon meeting.

-“I won’t give up on my dream!” Nice to see the return of Dewey’s pool, now with no water-holding capabilities. Okay, okay…minor cosmetic damage.

-“Dysfunction and family…go together like peanut butter and chocolate.”

-More Tim! More Tim!

-Goodbye, Ava’s beautiful hair. Seriously, I’m at the point where I’m so afraid for her that every time she goes near a sharp object, I’m yelling “Don’t do it, show!”

-See you in two weeks.

 

Photo credit: FX, Justified

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