Justified “Wrong Roads” Review (5×09)

12 Mar


Well, Justified is back, ladies and gentlemen.

After a bit of a stumble, we’re back in fine form tonight; this is mostly due to the fact that everyone’s back in Harlan now, allowing for sharper interactions and increased tension. One of the major problems of season 5 so far has been a feeling of detachment, a lack of forward momentum that seems to be hurting the show a bit.

Of course, a lack of forward momentum is not necessarily a bad thing; the problem earlier on was that, even if it was a logical progression for Raylan, he really had nothing much to do. I get the isolation that would ensue from his fallout with Art, but part of the beauty of the show is using the way characters play off of each other to drive the plot and the development.

We get plenty of that tonight, though! In fact, Raylan’s whole arc serves as a cautionary tale of sorts, a mirror held up to his own life–the “Wrong Roads” he’s taken–in the form of Eric Roberts’ Alex Miller. The plot isn’t exactly subtle, but then again, Raylan Givens isn’t a guy who’ll be moved by subtlety; something big has to happen in order for a change to occur, and even then, that isn’t a given. With Miller, the similarities are all present: operating outside of the confines of the law, the way he handles interactions with criminals, and finally, the inability to maintain a relationship with his kids. The only thing preventing Raylan from being run over like Miller at the end is the fact that he’s still in his prime.

Boyd also seems to be facing his future self, this time in the form of Elmont Swain, a person who took it upon himself to dole out revenge for his wife’s death. There’s a part of Boyd that genuinely recognizes the emotional connection they share, and the sympathy is, to an extent, real. We also see how the story ends: Swain strangled by the side of the road as a payment to keep Boyd’s own wife safe. Both of these arcs foreshadow a grim conclusion for our characters–in fact, their relationship mirrors Hot Rod’s and Miller’s–one that may very well arise if behaviors aren’t changed.

As they know, though, behavior is sometimes very hard to change. For example, when Art chews out Raylan–in one of the best scenes of the episode–it’s a catharsis of sorts for the Chief; he’s frustrated because he knows he’s been partially complicit in Raylan’s downward spiral, constantly letting things go and hoping he’ll change on his own. Here, he finally lets loose, treating Raylan like a kid; Searcy really plays this well, expertly conveying his frustration and the disappointment.

Elsewhere, we’re taken on a ride through the wonderful minds of Jay and Roscoe, those Shakespeare-spouting, charismatic, and complex characters portrayed so brilliantly by Wood and Steve Harris. I hope Jay isn’t dead–I assume he is–as these two really inject something into the proceedings; this is exemplified in that stellar scene in which everyone’s in some Mexican standoff situation. We have everyone in the same room, tons of comedy, and an undercurrent of tension throughout. This is what Justified does best. Here’s to the final four episodes of the season.



-Roscoe and Jay explaining King Lear is just stellar.

-Roberts and Olyphant have lots of chemistry.

-We end with Dewey Crowe hitting people with a truck and driving off. I’m cool with that.

-Ava’s gaining power, but as she’s doing so, she’s being buffeted around more and more with each passing week. The very person who saves her ass is now her target, and she doesn’t have the leverage she might think she has.

-“Miller, would you call this a herd, a gaggle, or a flock of assholes?”
“I’d call this the United Nations of assholes.”
“Well, that’s funny, because we were just discussing ratifying some shit.”

-Damon Herriman let out a Jesse Pinkman-like guttural scream there at the end.

-Wynn Duffy’s back! “Hi, this is Wynn Duffy in 236. Can you send up a fresh pot of coffee? …Because this tastes like my ass on Sunday.”

-“Meet Roscoe. Say hi, Roscoe.” “Hi.”

-Dewey Crowe vs. GPS. I’d like to see that.

-Alicia Witt’s still looking very nice.

-Raylan asking a prostitute for advice is such a Raylan thing to do, and it emphasizes the road he’s going down.

Photo credit: FX, Justified

3 Responses to “Justified “Wrong Roads” Review (5×09)”

  1. louisoc March 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Jesus, it’s just uncanny how similar are views are on certain things – great review!

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