Justified S05E02: “The Kids Aren’t All Right”

…an episode reminding us all the importance of “riding as high as Dewey Crowe”

If last week’s Justified found Raylan doing all he could to evade the responsibility of fatherhood, Tuesday night’s episode reminded us that it would still very much find him.  Our favorite US Deputy Marshall might not like it, but the truth came out: distancing himself from his biological daughter in Florida did not prevent his (metaphorically) adopted daughter from pulling him back into her orbit.

That’s right, Loretta’s back!

Now, I don’t want to get a reputation for being mean to kids or anything, but Loretta is a real rascal in this episode.  When Raylan finds out that a recent arrest for selling marijuana to a cop’s son has landed Loretta in jail, he takes offense at her bandying about his name as a sure-fire ticket for clemency.  Loretta’s all, “My b, Ray Ray.”  But for some reason, Raylan doesn’t completely believe her, which I honestly found surprising because she reminds me of a younger, female, drug-dealing version of George Washington.

To compound this, Raylan also bumps into Loretta’s boyfriend, a fine, upstanding young man named Derek.  And when I say fine, upstanding young man, I mean the kid’s a real turd sandwich.  Luckily, that smell is not unfamiliar to Raylan, so—ever the protective Papa—he decides to do what any dad would do when his precious baby girl brings home a loser: break them up but good.

Fortunately, it turns out not all is lost because Loretta’s social worker is a pretty thing named Allison (played by Amy Smart).  The two hit it off because that’s what happens when two attractive people meet on the steps outside a police station and share a common interest in a teenage drug dealer.

You see, it turns out Derek and Loretta have become embroiled in a bit of a quagmire with reputed Memphis drug kingpin Hot Rod Dunham.  Along with his most loyal of thugs, Dunham needs to track down a stolen package that Loretta and Derek ripped off and buried in a hole somewhere. 

When Raylan finds Derek, he’s sitting on his couch and getting a real thorough noogie from one of Dunham’s men.  Raylan finds this flummoxing because Derek doesn’t seem the kind of kid to relish the true joy of an honest-to-goodness noogie, so he breaks up the fratboy tomfoolery before encouraging Derek to break up with Loretta.

Not having received that message, Loretta shows up at the office and reports Derek missing.  On behalf of America, Raylan doesn’t really see a problem with this but eventually tracks him down anyway because the man will NOT turn down an opportunity to beat people with shovels and threaten to shoot them many times.  But this whole experience does more than quench Raylan’s insatiable bloodlust; he also learns a valuable lesson about being a dad: let your kids feel like they’re making their own decisions when they’re actually doing exactly what you want.

So Loretta breaks up with Derek and leaves him in an abandoned part of town.  Hope you have your pepper spray handy, Derek!

After negotiating a peace with Dunham, Raylan fulfills his fatherly duties for the night and invites Allison out for some bowling, if you know what I mean.***  Problem is, he can’t stop talking about his “kid.”  It’s Loretta this, Loretta that, Loretta, Loretta, Loretta.  It’s a real mood-killer tbh.

***No, but seriously.  They go bowling.  Raylan’s one smooth cat.

Aww, Raylan.  It seems like this season will keep the plot of his burgeoning fatherhood on the back burner; with several references to Raylan’s own father, I look forward to watching our favorite US Marshall negotiate the terrain of parenthood while also dealing with his own bruised childhood.

Meanwhile, life is not going so well for Boyd Crowder.  Remember when he broke into Lee Paxton’s house and seemed to beat him to death with a gun, then walked right out after threatening his wife and wiping gore off his chin?  Well, I know this will surprise you, but that did not turn out to be the best plan.

For one, Paxton’s still alive.  For another, a really creepy cop has a bit of Boyd stuck in his craw and finds himself hell-bent on bringing him down.  Paxton’s gorgeous foreign wife Mara at first seems to betray her promise to Boyd but, on a visit to the bar for the ostensible purpose of arrest, recants that.  Turns out she wants the money Boyd intended to spend bribing Ava’s judge to get herself back home.***

***Perhaps the most sexually charged blackmail ever committed to film occurred in the hospital stairwell between Boyd and Mara.  Bless my stars, that was steamy!

Now I didn’t want to befriend this cop or anything but then he showed his true colors after pulling Mara over on a backcountry road and yanking her out of her car by the hair.  I don’t want to jump to conclusions or anything, but it seems like this cop might not be the best guy in the world.  Hear me out!  He threatens to pin Paxton’s attack on Mara if she doesn’t re-recant her statement on Boyd.

As if this weren’t enough, Boyd and Winn Duffy hold a meeting of their drug distributors to let them know about the upcoming Canadian delivery.  An insightful young gentleman named Cyrus stands up and initiates his union president campaign by explaining the daily tribulations of a street level dealer.  Boyd breaks it down by creating an analogy between a dried up drug supply and poor cell phone reception, which I found really helpful because I have always wanted to know how a cell phone was like a drug supply.  #THEMOREYOUKNOW

Later, we see Cyrus shooting junkies with pellet guns, and I couldn’t help but wonder about his upbringing.  What happened to you, Cyrus?  I’m worried about you.  Do you want to talk about it?  Cyrus certainly doesn’t do himself any favors after that, letting the arrival of the upcoming Canadian shipment slip to some unfortunate-looking dame who completely misunderstands the true intentions of Pop Rocks.

Perhaps inevitably, Boyd’s shipment gets ambushed, and–this might also surprise you–he is not terribly excited to learn that.  Might as well get your junkie shooting in while you still can, Cyrus! It’s not looking great for you!  Boyd might seem a less traditional daddy than Raylan, but something tells me he won’t take kindly to you messing with his baby!

Elsewhere, Art looks into the deaths of Sammy Tonin and Nicky Augustine, Ava languishes in jail, and Cousin Darryl arrives at Dewey’s place of business.

While I can’t quite place my finger on where this is all headed or how it will inevitably intersect, Justified is in top form right now, moving its myriad chess pieces into position and delighting in watching the players squirm.


Harlan Chit-Chat

– Boyd: “That depends on your definition of friend.  He’s a nice enough fellow, but I wouldn’t ask to borrow his corduroy jacket.”

– Raylan [after drawing his gun]: “Don’t make me do the paperwork.”

– Raylan: “My general rule is: you keep talking, I put you in the trunk.”

– Raylan: “Derek, I got a loaded gun.  Get out of my car.”

– Dewey: “I gotta tell you right now, there’s not a man on earth riding as high as Dewey Crowe!”  (All the LOL at this one.)

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