Six rounds on tonight’s Justified.
1. Garret Dillahunt expands on his very welcome appearance in the season premiere as Ty Walker, a silver-tongued manipulator with a strong violent streak (which is a description that could apply to most of the characters on this show, but nevertheless). Being the show that put Timothy Olyphant back in a cowboy hat, Justified has always had one eye toward the late, lamented Deadwood, and from the beginning has made room for alumni, from Ray McKinnon to Gerald McRaney to Jim Beaver. It’s no surprise that the erstwhile Jack McCall/Alexander Wolcott makes himself right at home in Elmore Leonard’s Kentucky.
2. That being said, guys, at this point you only have ten more episodes to squeeze in everybody else. While John Hawkes or Ian McShane turning up for an episode or two would certainly send hearts aflutter, I’d be more interested in seeing at least one of Deadwood‘s formidable actresses take a turn through Harlan. Paula Malcolmson, Kim Dickens, Molly Parker, Sarah Paulson (she’s already on FX!), Robin Weigert, even Geri Jewell. Ava is not the only woman who lives in that county.
3. Speaking of Ava, one of this young season’s savviest moves is keeping her loyalties so close to the vest. Historically this show is not one that keeps important details from the audience for very long; rather, the pleasure usually comes in filling us in with more details than any one character has, then watching them crash into each other. But so far we can’t really tell what Ava is up to. We know that she is ostensibly working as an informant for Raylan in order to keep out of jail, and that ostensibly any loyalty shown to Boyd is an act. But in these last two episodes we’ve also seen her withhold information from Raylan and give information to Boyd that she shouldn’t have, so what’s her game? Finding out should be a hell of a lot more interesting than stranding Joelle Carter in prison for an entire season. (Although her “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” line to Danny Strong last season almost made the whole enterprise worth it. Almost.)
4. Dewey Crowe is dead and gone (RIP), but his idiocy apparently lives on, as Boyd’s newest henchman decides that the departed Crowe’s gator tooth necklace is a swell thing to keep laying around the bar.
5. And while the show hath taken away poor, poor Dewey, it hath given us Choo Choo and Seabass, two bags of hammers no doubt destined to meet bad ends. I hope there is an episode this season dedicated to watching the two of them try to change the batteries on a smoke detector. Or a spinoff!
6. As jarring as it was to see Sam Elliott without his moustache (perhaps it will appear later in the season as a separate character) his stoner gangster philosophy and easy chemistry with Mary Steenburgen made me immediately regret that the rest of the episode was not just the two of them in bed together, wistfully discussing torture techniques.
Bullets for Later:
Ty Walker is buying property in Harlan through local real estate slimeball Calhoun, but to what purpose? And both episodes this season have made a point of reminding us of Boyd’s neo-Nazi past–is this simply a callback to how far the character has come since the series premiere (which he was originally not planned to survive), or will this bear out in his ultimate fate? Stay tuned!