All Roads Lead to Mexico: Catching up with Justified S05E07 through S05E09

a series of episodes reminding us all the importance of “being a caller number seven.”

Look, I love my DVR and all, but sometimes the dude’s a real pain in the keister, if you’ll forgive my language.  Talk about pressure!  Originally, the idea to combine several episodes of Justified into one supersized recap spawned from my realization that I’d fallen quite behind on it.  Three episodes behind, in fact.  Because writing for this blog isn’t my full time job, I couldn’t dedicate the time to watching and covering each installment individually, so I thought, “What the hey-ho?” and devoured all three in one sitting.  Consider me tickled pink when I found that if ever a string of episodes warranted a one fell swoop approach (#BillyShakespeare), then these three hours certainly fit the bill.  Win-win!

I mean, we learned a ton during the middle chunk of the season, didn’t we?  For instance, Tim openly admitted–in PUBLIC–that he prefers cribbage to backgammon!  Controversy warning!  But wait, the truth bombs did not stop exploding there.  Kendall also has an interest in bartending!  Not to mention the fact that Dewey Crowe smells like the back end of a summer hog!  And Roscoe, the taciturn former henchman of Dunham, can form Shakespeare quotes into an apt analogy for whatever situation he’s in**!

**Raylan’s reaction to him spouting off about King Lear had me in stitches: “I don’t know what he’s talking about, but I am interested.”  Quick thought: can Raylan play an undercover English professor in an upcoming episode?  Please?

I mean, right?  It was three hours of nonstop discovery is my point.

If you’ll allow me a brief moment of seriousness, then let me confess that–although I love Justified with every fiber of my being–I didn’t love taking Boyd out of Harlan.  One episode I can see, and it worked well enough, with Boyd traveling to Mexico to meet Mr. Yoon (the surly Asian member of the Mexican cartel because sure) alongside his merry band of Crowes and hellbent on putting an end to Johnny.  Even though it was inevitable, I got a kick out of watching Boyd turn the tables on Johnny out in the desert, particularly in that it came after their heart-to-heart about their childhood connection.  Though, come to think of it, that devolved rather quickly, ending with Johnny promising to wait a few weeks after Boyd dies to bed Ava. #OhNoHeDidnt Granted, Boyd did get the last laugh on that front in the form of a bullet to his cousin’s chest.  RIP Johnny.  Your frequent backstabbing proved a narrative delight.  Ye shall be missed, sweet prince.

Fine, I’ll be the bad guy on this, but someone’s got to take a stand, and I guess it’ll be me.  Look, Danny Crowe’s human dog barking I could chalk up to garden variety quirkiness.  I’m even willing to forgive his penchant for pants-less dog training.  I mean, we all have our hobbies.  But remember when he killed a bunch of dudes even after Mr. Yoon politely requested him not to do that on Mexican soil?  Danny totally panicked and mowed them down but good.  Danny Crowe: big on murder, not on pants.  Get a grip, sir.

I’m not sure we needed an entire second episode devoted to Boyd disentangling himself out of such a seeming impossible quagmire, but the way he outsmarted the corrupt Mexican cops who pulled them over en route to Texas felt like vintage Boyd Crowder foresight.  Loved it, but–at the same time–this is just another instance of Boyd flexing his grey matter better than those around him.  We get it.  He’s a smart cookie.  But focusing an entire episode on it seemed  unnecessary.

Yet, in many ways, I’m digging what’s come out of the whole Mexican adventure, particularly the not-a-morsel-of-trust-amongst-them alliance of Boyd, Darryl, and Wyn Duffy.  The power vacuum left in the wake of Hot Rod Dunham’s death needs filling, and it’s clear that neither Jay nor Roscoe (most of all Roscoe, what with the bullet he took and all) are up to the task.  Moving forward, I’m really excited about what this partnership means for Boyd in particular.***

***Aside from, of course, some undoubtedly scintillating conversation punctuated by the occasional reference to the 60s motown scene if Darryl Crowe Jr has a thing or two to say about a thing or two. #ExcellentTasteinMusic

Meanwhile, I can’t seem to force myself to care an iota about The Continuing Deevolution of Ava Crowder.  She’s spearheading a drug operation with Boyd’s help? Sending her husband on errands to kill old men in nursing homes? Going toe-to-toe with the Mother Superior of the female criminal element?  I mean, I get it, Ava’s in a bit of a briny pickle right now, but sorry I don’t care?  While I have absolutely no doubt that Justified will manage to weave this plot more cohesively into the season’s overall vision, this remains the one plot arc that I would not miss for a moment if Graham Yost chose to jettison it right now.  Sorry, but you know I’m right.

Raylan, Raylan, Raylan.  The man just cannot help himself from doing everything he can to avoid his personal responsibilities, can he?  I find it fascinating that Raylan seems far more invested in repairing his relationship with Art, who remains a bit prickly about his involvement in the Nicky Augustine murder, rather than that of estranged daughter. The scene in which Raylan all but begs for forgiveness from his boss worked beautifully to convey Art’s attitude toward Raylan: resigned to the US Deputy Marshall’s uncanny ability evade consequences.  Is it just me, or might that refer not just to the professional sphere?  (#DoubleMeaning)

Of the plots Raylan found himself embroiled in over the span of these three episodes, tangling with Monroe’s money trail (via online backgammon because yes) and tracking down Jay and Roscoe on their quest to fill the power vacuum left in the wake of Dunham’s murder (beard death is the cruelest death but even more so when it belongs to a trusty informant) both had a more direct impact on the seasonlong narrative and introduced an amazing new character in DEA Agent Alex Miller, but I preferred the tale of him helping Wendy track down Kendall after having been kidnapped his Uncle Jack/dad.****

****Not as creepy as it sounds. Turns out Wendy is Kendall’s mother and Jack his deadbeat dad.  But you know what is creepy? Jack rolling up and using some charming child molester humor to get his son’s attention. Um, what?

This plot caught my attention because, like the season’s earlier episode with Loretta, it found Raylan playing father to another wayward youth that was not his flesh-and-blood.  He and Kendall totes bonded about having straight up the worst dads, which is always a great topic of conversation especially at dinner parties, and then gave him the money he rightfully scammed off a radio station sweepstakes.  Awww!  Raylan, my heart is not your personal fiddle, so stop a-pluckin’ its strings!

It also seems fitting that Raylan’s plans to visit his daughter in Florida found themselves derailed now that he’s begun to formulate an impression of the Crowder-Duffy-Crowe Tower of Power (patent pending).  With his personal life in shambles in Kentucky (Allison broke up with him) and so unknown in Florida, it makes sense that he would choose to dwell in the domain of his life with which he has the most confidence.  Makes sense, yes, but it’s also infuriating and incredibly compelling.  I can’t imagine another actor being able to capture Raylan’s frustrating pathos as well as Timothy Olyphant.

Also, Dewey Crowe’s malfunctioning GPS (not a euphemism) delayed his return trip from Mexico and put him on a literal collision course with Agent Miller.  And by literal I mean he legit ran over both Miller and Danny with a tow truck. And now he’s driving around Kentucky with a vehicle full of heroin!  I can totally relate to this because once I forgot to pay for a cantaloupe from ShopRite and drove around town for hours wondering how I would apologize to the manager.  I get what he’s going through is my point.

In the end, although I wasn’t overly enthused with Justified‘s foray into National Lampoon’s Mexican Vacation territory and am still underwhelmed by Ava’s plot, I am eager for what’s next because the characters are in such interesting places both personally and professionally.  As we near the final stretch, the chess board is set; some pawns have been eliminated, and I cannot wait to see what the next move is.


Harlan Chit Chat

– Tim: “Wait a minute.  How many legs did this guy have again?”

Raylan: “Just the one. Plus the prosthetic he took with.”

Tim: “When he jumped out the window, thus escaping the scene of a murder.”

Raylan: “He was surprisingly fleet.”

– Miller: “You’re on vacation, huh? And you thought you’d come down to Memphis and kick the hornet’s nest?”

Raylan: “That and have some ribs.”

Miller: “And have some ribs.”

– Raylan: “Miller, would you call this a herd, a flock, or a gaggle of assholes?”

Miller: “I’d call this the United Nations of assholes.”

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