Since I’m such a fantastic predictor of sport’s happenings (especially when it comes to the NFC, apparently [Go Saints! Go Pack!]), please allow me to explain—through inarguable telepathy skills, as it were—what will happen on this Tuesday night’s third season premier of FX’s original series, Justified.
– US Marshal Raylan Givens might could shoot somebody.
– Boyd Crowder will have spiky hair, and be endlessly fascinating, like a spider who’s read a lot of deeply influential books on psychology.
– There will be mud, and drugs.
All right, so it’s pretty obvious—yet again, if you’ve been following along—that I’m not too good at this whole “betting” thing. It’s either an indictment of my stupidity, or my inability to reason; the future makes no sense to me, and therefore, I’m blind when it comes to an accurate vision of possibility. This is either a blessing, or a curse. On one hand, I invent my own future… on the other, I lost my house recently to a crafty Indonesian with a slick tongue and deceit held deep within his solitary golden tooth.
But thank God I’ve still got my TV—somehow, miraculously—and Tuesday night, I’ll be watching the proceedings as they unfold deep from within Harlan County, Kentucky.
In case you’ve missed it—and shame on you—Justified is entering its third season of programming. Based off of a short story by Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown), Justified is primarily the tale of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a handsome-ass lawman with a penchant for shooting people. He’s cooler than Clint, as dreamy as Clooney, and equipped with enough one-liners to make Rickles blush. And though these zingers could be the downfall of an otherwise blemish-free character, in the hands of lesser writers—nobody’s THAT clever, after all—Olyphant manages to pull it off, even garnering a fist-pump from the viewer now and again.
But he’s only half of the story.
The better actor—and more compelling character, really—is Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins)—a childhood friend of Raylan’s who:
-Became a white supremacist
– Denounced his Nazi-tastic beliefs (or did he?!?!)
– Found the path of the Lord (or did he?!!)
– Blew up a coal-mine where he formerly worked as part of a robbery (indisputable fact)
– Found comfort in the arms of Raylan’s former lady/his late brother’s ex-wife (this too is indisputable… and understandable—Ava Crowder—subtly portrayed by Joelle Carter—is jaw-dropping)
The most important thing to remember about Boyd is that he’s a rattlesnake, and sometimes, you can hack at a rattler with a hoe, and all you’re liable to get is the tip of a tail.
So really, if you’re unfamiliar, all you need to know is that, despite their deep history, Boyd and Raylan ain’t besties. Oh sure, they’ve teamed up in the past to defeat various shared enemies—crazy, fat hill-women who ran the Kentucky weed trade (Mags Bennet, brilliantly played by Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale) and for that matter, the whole Bennett clan (Dickie—deceased—was a particularly awesome character), but it’s not likely that they’ll be catching a ball game together anytime soon.
Bottom line, if Raylan or Boyd wants you dead, your days are numbered.
When last we left them—SPOILER ALERT!—Mags was downing a Mason-jar of her patented apple-pie moonshine, poisoned, of course, by her own hand. Her boys were all dead or dying, the young girl who she’d kidnapped to raise as her own kin (after killing the girl’s daddy with that very same ‘shine) was all set to kill her, and so she saw it fit to die her own, lonesome death. Offed herself. Dang.
Raylan sat by as this internal self-immolation happened, helpless. We were left to wonder if he was concerned at all. On one hand, the matriarchal head of the Kentucky weed mafia, a neverending source of bloodshed and trouble was gone; on the other, he grew up getting candy at Mag’s general store.
Mixed emotions, and whatever.
So now, Mags and her boys are dead, Boyd is getting crazier by the Biblical passage, Ava (left) got shot, Raylan is deeply in love with his pregnant ex-wife Winona (the also-gorgeous Natalie Zea), and he’s promising that eventually, he’ll live a life far removed from this mess and be the husband she’s always deserved.
And I get it, it’s a soap opera of the most primetime’d, ridiculous order, and if you haven’t seen it before Tuesday, you’re likely lost and couldn’t care less.
But if somehow, you’ve got a little extra DVD cash (or a way to download things on the internet), and you can take Tuesday off as a personal day, then by all means get caught up. If you like gritty crime dramas with a twinge of Deliverance, then please find a way to check out the first two seasons and brace yourself for the third.
Somebody pointed out in my “Hell on Wheels” piece that it’s bound to lose some steam, sooner rather than later (they didn’t actually say, ‘lose some steam.’ That’s pretty fucking clever—but they made their point). Along those lines, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that something like “Justified” is limited. You can’t watch Raylan kill people forever and keep it interesting.
However I do think there’s AT LEAST a season left, if not a few more. So come on, writers, do your thing-thing, girlfriend. Let’s keep the magic moving in Season 3.
Justified, Tuesday 9PM, FX