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The season premiere of Justified opened with a touching tribute to Elmore Leonard. The cast and crew commented on Leonard’s amazing writing ability and devotion to his craft.
FX’s modern day western has officially returned, and our favorite good/bad guys are heading down quite the bumpy road.
“A Murder of Crowes” has Raylan dealing with Dewey Crowe and his extended Florida family, while debating his role in his own daughter’s life. Raylan is sent to Florida to investigate a missing coast guard. The coast guard was under investigation for his dealings with the Crowe family. Art decides to send Raylan when he realizes that Dewey Crowe’s cousins are involved. Raylan reluctantly accepts, only after a nice little visit to Dewey Crowe. Dewey was awarded $300,000 for all of those beatings and unfortunate incidents he endured thanks to Raylan. Eager to invest his money, Dewey bought Audry’s. Raylan stops in to see him, but Dewey is barely any help, as always. Dewey demands an apology from Raylan, which Raylan gives to him. Dewey, surprised at Raylan’s apology, asks, “You ain’t gonna bust my nose again?” Raylan replies, “I’m gonna shoot your balls off and feed them to the squirrels, you don’t tell me what you know.” Dewey claims the only thing he knows about the Florida Crowes is that they are bad news. Raylan believes him, but that doesn’t stop him from putting two bullet holes in Dewey’s new swimming pool.
The trip to Florida not only introduces the extended Crowe family, but it also gives a little insight into Raylan’s reluctance to go see his daughter and ex-wife. He keeps himself busy dealing with the Crowes, which stops him from actually visiting his daughter. Family continues to be a running theme for Justified. Daryl Crowe is the head of yet another southern crime family, who places importance on family, “Almost like the word family don’t mean shit to some people no more.” Although, you have to take that with a grain of salt considering he just had his own brother kill his other brother. This visit not only sets up Harlan County’s new villainous problem with the likes of Daryl Crowe leaving Florida for greener pastures in Kentucky, but also further feeds Raylan’s paternal issues. Although his father, Arlo, is deceased, Raylan’s still coping with his lifestyle, career, family, and how it all fits together. At the end of the episode, he video chats with Winona and their daughter, but neglects to mention his trip to Florida. He’s still playing the role of the lone cowboy who rides into town, saves the day, and rides into the sunset on his own.
Meanwhile, Boyd is forced to deal with Ava’s current cozy stint in prison as he deals with a drug-flow problem. Boyd visits Ava in prison where he promises her that he will do anything to make sure she’s cleared of all of the charges. However, Ava’s dilemma isn’t his only problem. After a drug shipment goes awry, with Boyd’s ear being shot, he calls Duffy and the two make their way to Detroit. Upon their arrival, Boyd insists he talk to the man in charge, Sammy Tonnin, “My momma always said, ‘You want clear water, go to the head of the stream.’” This leads him and Duffy to the top floor of a rundown, abandoned building and a not so lovely run-in with a man with a chainsaw. Mr. Picker shoots Sammy and the man with the chainsaw before explaining he took a deal with the Canadians to save his own life. After a meeting with the Canadians, Duffy and Boyd realize their drug pipeline is gone.
Back in Harlan County, Boyd discovers that Judge Bishop, the only judge he couldn’t buy, has received Ava’s case. He originally tells Ava that he’ll threaten Bishop’s family if he has to. However, Jimmy comments that Bishop doesn’t have any family. Boyd goes to Paxton for help. He offers Paxton $300,000, but Paxton says he wants Boyd to beg. Boyd does his version of begging, but then Paxton informs him that he doesn’t need his money. Rather, he offers Boyd a deal. He tells him that he will clear Ava’s name, if Boyd confesses. Boyd doesn’t accept. Paxton goes on a rant about how he knew Boyd wouldn’t confess, “We both know you don’t love your white trash fiancée that much.” This sends Boyd into a fit of rage and he beats Paxton to death. Paxton’s young Latvian wife (basically mail-ordered) walks in to find Boyd’s bloody self standing over Paxton. He calmly says, “This situation here is pretty simple, we could have a double homicide or I could pay you what I was gonna pay him and you can buy a big house for all your relatives in Latvia.” She asks how much. He replies, “$100,000.” She accepts.
The season premiere set up what is sure to be a lovely little roller coaster ride full of violence, drugs, and family. With plenty of witty humor (albeit dark), superb delivery, and intriguing story line, Justified is an outstanding show. It’s an intriguing look into how the themes of the Western are placed into a modernized world of crime.