After tonight, no more Harlan County, no more wise cracks from Tim Gutterson, and no more Raylan Givens. It’s an end of an era that should be getting more attention than it is.
My love of Justified is no secret. Raylan Givens is a near perfect TV hero and Boyd Crowder make an excellent foil to our hero. The actors (Olyphant and Goggins) share some of the best on-screen chemistry in all of television. The first 3 years of the FX show have given us some of the best action/drama this side of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.
Tuesday night marked the close of Justified‘s third season. And while the episode, titled ‘Slaughterhouse’, did not result in killing off as many characters as it’s title might lead you to believe, it did deliver an emotional conclusion. Going into the episode there was a lot of stuff up in the air – The explosion at Boyd’s bar, Winona’s pregnancy, Arlo’s degrading mental health, the fate of Dickie Bennett, the future of Noble’s Holler, and the shooting of State Trooper Tom Bergen. In the middle of it all, US Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW…
SUMMARY: The finale picks up after the shooting of State Trooper Bergen, which we learn was indeed fatal. This sends all the Law Enforcement into an uproar, and focuses Raylan’s rage towards the alleged shooter – Robert Quarles. As Art and the State Troopers mobilize to hunt down the man from Detroit, Raylan launches his own investigation. One that is sure to bring a lot of shit down on the heads of Limehouse, Wynn Duffy, and the Crowder gang. Anyone Raylan thinks might be able to lead him to Quarles. This results in a great scene in which Mr. Duffy is forced into an involuntary game of Russian Roulette. This scene shows Raylan displaying very little caution in the wake of his friend’s death, and clues us in to his state of mind a bit. Someone is gonna pay for the death of Tom Bergen.
After his dealing with Duffy, Givens take a much bigger risk as he marches into Noble’s Holler to to threaten Limehouse. This, as expected, does not go well. Raylan, finally after weeks of build up, takes a swing at the esteemed leader of the Holler, it does not work out as planned…
Limehouse, knowing Raylan’s death means only more trouble for the Holler, makes a deal with the Marshall to get Boyd Crowder back in prison. He informs as to where the body of one Mr. Devil is buried, and from here it seems only a clock’s tick away from seeing Boyd back in an orange jumpsuit. It would seem that someone let word slip of the murder and unmarked grave to Mr. Limehouse, and the most likely candidate for that honor is – Arlo. Raylan’s father.
Now as Raylan is tearing apart Harlan County looking for Quarles, the man himself decides to kidnap Vic Mackey’s wife and her 2 sons. He then contacts Detroit and learns that it’ll cost him $500,000 to return home. At this time he contacts the man hunting him and adds Marshall Givens to his group of prisoners. You see, Quarles knows the only place he can get the money he needs, is from Limehouse. He sees Raylan as the insurance he needs to exit the Holler afterward. Here’s the thing though, we soon learn the ol’ crazy Quarles was in fact NOT the man who shot Trooper Bergen, and that Johnny Crowder, the very man who pointed the finger at Quarles to begin with, was a liar. Despite the new found truth about the Trooper however, things still do not end well for Mr. Quarles.
As Quarles lies on the ground, bleeding out, he drops a bomb on Raylan. Tom Bergen was shot by none other than Arlo Givens. During the interview with Arlo two major events occur. First he covers for Boyd and cops to the murder of Devil. This lets Boyd off the hook and out of custody. Secondly he reveals he didn’t know who the Trooper was, only that it was a man with a hat, pointing a gun at Boyd. In one swift moment Arlo delivers a crushing blow to Raylan, while freeing Boyd and reuniting him with Eva.
REVIEW: A man with a gun and a hat – like Raylan. It’s at this point that we see an already strenuous Father-Son relationship get even more strained as we learn that Arlo made a choice. Boyd over Raylan. Father of the year or what? The end of the episode features a voice over by Raylan as he tells the story to Winona, and in essence what will undoubtedly be his own son.
While Season 3 was no where near as good as Season 2, Justified remains one of the best shows on television and consistently one of the safest bets to spend an hour of your time. The whole cast is superb and I especially enjoyed Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy, as he often steals near every scene he is in. I’d give the finale a 5/5 and the season overall a 4/5.
As for next year…
Likely Season 4 will reduce Johnny Corwder, Limehouse, and Dickie Bennett to a subplot as there are already rumors of Jeff Goldblum and Eric Stonestreet being brought in as new villains next year.
This comes from The AV Club:
The hat-smoke has barely cleared from last night’s Justified finale, but already showunner Graham Yost is looking ahead to the next wave of character actors he can bring in to drive Timothy Olyphant into a terse, squinting rage. In an interview with The Wrap, Yost says he’s currently trying to coordinate schedules with the Modern Family production team to get Eric Stonestreet down to Kentucky, a casting choice prompted because, as Yost says, “He’s a Kansas boy, and he’d like to play a bad guy”—particularly a bad guy on a show where the bad guys get do most of the fun stuff while racking up Emmy nominations. Also on Yost’s wish list: His former Raines collaborator Jeff Goldblum (who could definitely make up for that show by playing a Justified villain), displaced Luck star Jason Gedrick, and “anyone from Boomtown, anyone from Band Of Brothers, anyone from The Pacific,” as the show apparently looks to branch out beyond mining the former cast of Deadwood. This is despite the fact that they still haven’t brought in Ian McShane yet, and we’re probably just going to keep muddying Justified casting reports by bringing that up until it happens.
Personally, I loved Raines and I really enjoy both Stonestreet and Goldblum so I hope Yost can snag them both. I also suspect that we’ve not seen the last of Theo Tonin and his Motor City based syndicate.
The long-awaited, but inevitable return of Justified aired last night, and it was worth the anticipation. Raylan Givens probably accounts for about 37% of the total ‘swagger’ in all of television right now. The guy has got character, and he exudes a remarkable likability factor. Basically, he is so cool that I want to be his sidekick. I could make witty quips and get kidnapped, and eventually snag an unorthodoxly hot girlfriend, who doesn’t really compare to his girlfriend, but is a catch none the less on her own. She wouldn’t be “Hollywood Hot”, because she would have glasses or something, but she would be “Real life Hot” so it’d be cool.
Tim Allen, Michigan native and admitted Lions fan has a new show coming out. It was listed among the successes being picked up by ABC for the upcoming season and will be called Last Man Standing. I bring this up though not because Allen grew up in Metro Detroit, or cause I enjoyed Home Improvement as a kid, but because of the show’s description. This is from EW:
Tim Allen’s return to primetime is a go: ABC ordered a new comedy that will star the Home Improvement star as a traditional manly-man in a progressive world. The laugher also will feature Nancy Travis, who will play Allen’s “smart and loving wife who doesn’t miss much.” Hector Elizondo will serve as Allen’s boss Ed.
“A traditional manly-man in a progressive world” That is what peaked my interest. As I’ve talked about before, there is a shortage of real modern day men left on television. We are for the most part given one of two men. First, a man who is portrayed as a buffoon, shown to be on the same intellectual level of his kids, and cowers before his all-knowing wife. Perfect example would be Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) on Modern Family.
Secondly we get a man who is such an elite bad-ass that he is completely shut off from the world around and therefore becomes unrelatable. Best example here may be Jack Bauer. Now don’t get me wrong, 24 is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I love Modern Family. But can you imagine grabbing a beer with Jack? What would you talk about? Sports? Movies? Terrorist Attacks? Perhaps how inept his daughter is? And what about Phil? Could you look at Phil and not lose respect for him entirely once you saw how easily he is pushed around by his own kids?
Those are the 2 archetypes we are most commonly given now, but they aren’t the only ones. A 3rd type, and one that is appearing more often, is the old-school, fatherly caveman. Sticking with Modern Family you could look at Ed O’Neill‘s ‘Jay Pritchett’, but an even better even better example Zeke Braverman (Craig T. Nelson) on Parenthood. Here are the guys that remind me of my dad. They have an old school ideal, but it is almost always displayed in negative light. Their way is considered ‘archaic’ and the world has changed around them. All the problems of the next generation are heaped on them as they get blamed for any shortcomings since.
There is at least one show though that has a lead who is a somewhat believable beacon of modern masculinity – and that show is Justified. The main character, Raylan Givens is a lawman, but unlike Jack Bauer he is not some unstoppable killing machine, he actually loses fights more that once. Unlike Phil Dunphy however, he commands respect for not only his actions, but his character as well. He has the old school attitude of a Zeke Braverman, but without the constant crutch of being always questioned and looked down upon. Raylan Givens is like a modern-day Will Kane and he is ever the rarity.
It’s funny to think that when I was a kid, watching Roseanne, and seeing John Goodman‘s ‘Dan Conner’ character, that I was watching a dying breed. This was a TV Dad who actually lost his shit and yelled at his kids sometimes. He liked football, played poker, and worked on his motorcycle. He was a good father and a good man, but did it all without paying the cost of giving up what made him a man. He was a relatable everyman and even that is something not often seen anymore.
So that brings us back to Tim Allen. As masculinity is so often looked down upon now in a public eye, where people want you to talk about your feelings and get in touch with your feminine side, it’ll be interesting to see the direction this show takes. And I think in private, most woman would still prefer overly masculine man to an overly sensitive one, that just not how it’s perceived in modern media. So where will ABC will take this new show. It’s a comedy obviously, but will they allow Allen to buck back against progressive society, or will he simply be made the butt of every joke as the television medium once again tries to tell us men need to evolve?