Tuned In

Justified Watch: Not Just the Raylan Show Anymore

  • Share
  • Read Later


Quick spoilers for last night’s Justified:

FX originally intended to call Justified by the title “Lawman.” Circumstances and Steven Seagal interposed to change that, but a couple of things happened in “Debts and Accounts” that reminded me of it. The first was Art’s comment to Raylan that he’s a lousy marshal but a great lawman, an important distinction that sums up much of Raylan’s trouble at his job.

The second thing is that the original title, “Lawman,” suggested a show that is about Raylan Givens. Which it was to begin with and largely still is. But there was a point watching the screener of this episode when I realized that it had been several scenes since I had seen Raylan—and I didn’t mind.* And while this episode did not quite reach the heights that the past couple episodes have, it was a strong showcase for the fantastic ensemble of actors and characters who now fill it.

*(Which makes it ironic, I know, to illustrate this post with a picture of Olyphant, but that’s all FX made available for this episode.)

Part of this is thanks to the direction the story has taken in season 2. The first season was essentially about Raylan returning home, adjusting to doing his job on his estranged home turf and being forced to face issues in his family and his past that he would rather avoid. This is an element of season 2 as well. But more than that, this season has become a story about Harlan County in and of itself, beyond how it relates to and illustrates Raylan’s character.

It’s not just about Raylan’s journey now. Mags and her family are an element of Raylan’s past, of course, but really they’re interesting in and of themselves and for their relations with each other: we’ve discussed how great Margo Martindale is, but I loved how well Jeremy Davies portrays Dickie’s frustrated hurt at being cut off by his mother for circumstances largely beyond his control. (As he says, if he hadn’t given Coover up, Coover and Loretta would have died; for Mags, though, all that matters is that Dickie was disloyal to family.)

Meanwhile, I had worried that a Boyd Crowder going bad again would not be as interesting. But Walton Goggins has done such a fine job transforming his character—with the aid of that stint in prison—that Boyd is now a more compelling criminal than his earlier, more purely despicable incarnation.

With more shots getting fired at him by the close of the episode, of course, it’s not as if Raylan is going anywhere. But who have been your favorites from among the supporting cast this season?