10 Things We Learned From Last Night's Premiere Of "Justified"
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10 Things We Learned From Last Night's Premiere Of "Justified"

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | January 9, 2013 | Comments ()


Welcome back y'all! It's been too long since we saw those unbelievably dapper gunslingers and oh-so charming meth heads. But we're back. Back in the Holler: back in Harlan. The Season 4 premiere episode entitled "Hole In the Wall" manages to evoke both the pilot episode ("Fire In The Hole") and that other pair of charming southern boys: Butch and Sundace. But we're not here to talk about outlaws of the past (at least not any earlier than 1983), we're here to talk about Boyd and Raylan, snake charmers and bear costumes, bartenders and madams and the finest modern Western on television. So here's 10 Things We Learned from last night's episode. You'll excuse me while I do an appropriate dance of joy.

Things We Learned:

  • Back in 1983, some hapless drug dealer fell from the sky bringing with him a ton of Christmas snow. Apparently this storyline is based on a real-life incident known as The Bluegrass Conspiracy. Hopefully no actual bears were harmed in the making of this episode. Did anyone else mistake this 80s flashback for an extended promo of "The Americans?"

  • Speaking of flashbacks, I choose to believe that if Raylan Givens has seen you naked at one point, that's how he'll always remember you. That's certainly how he remembers "super hot bail bondswoman" Sharon. Nice try, "Justified" writers, but this is not the naked bum we were looking for.

  • Enter bail jumper Jody Adair who, in case he was making that "who is that guy?" section of your brain itch, was played by Chris Chalk aka Tom Walker on "Homeland" aka Gary Cooper on "The Newsroom." Adair's a fairly typically loquacious Leonard bad guy, but he's also got the Daddy Issues thing going for him. He mentions that he turned to crime in order to provide for his kids. Daddy Issues were huge last season and I'd wager they'll play an even bigger role this year. Rayan's slick "shoot the airbag" move was reminiscent of the tablecloth maneuver from last season's premiere.

  • We learn of a new presence in Harlan, the "Last Chance Holiness Church." Apparently they're using Schrute bucks to get the word out.

  • Roz is the brace-faced Bonnie to Benny's Clyde and they've been sent to get something from Arlo's. (Presumably the Waldo Truth driver's license and accompanying bag. But I don't like to presume.) You know, for a brazen little hussy, Roz has a surprising level of commitment to word play.

  • Raylan has hired Constable Bob Sweeney to watch Arlo's house for criminal activity. First of all, what a fascinating look into the role constables play in Kentucky. Secondly I'm not 100% sure on Patton yet. We've had cartoonish characters in the past with Dewey Crowe and Dickie Bennett, but I'm not wholly convince Patton's fully eased into the "Justified" tone yet. But I'm willing to withhold judgment. Because it's Patton and his line reading of "beef stew" killed me. It must be said though: RIP Trooper Tom. You will be missed.

  • You know who does fit the "Justified" universe like a glove? The amazing Ron Eldard (of Mystery, Alaska, "ER" and looking like a hefty Alessandro Nivola fame) plays Sergeant Colton Rhodes, one of Boyd's war buddies. It looks like he'll fill the Devil-shaped hole in our hearts.

  • I never thought I'd be so delighted to see Ellen May's raccoon eyes again. Apparently our favorite little Trigger Finger is still pissed that Ava punched her at the end of last season. I'm glad that's not being glossed over because kabong-ing Devil upside the head with a frying pan was one thing, but hitting one of her girls seemed to be Ava crossing a line.

  • You didn't think, just because Arlo's in prison, that he'd be out of the mix this year? Remember that both Boyd and Dickie Bennett started last season in the clink. And as much as I enjoyed Raymond J. Barry's off-season work as Future Nick on "New Girl", he is so delightfully sly and snakey as the daddy of all of Raylan's issues, that I am so overjoyed to see him back. T'would appear he's back on his meds, too.

  • BYE WINONA, DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR SHAPELY PREGNANT BUM ON THE WAY OUT. Lindsay the gun-totin' bartendrix? I love her.

  • Finally, we have what will have to pass for the "Big Bad" of the season. (Creator Graham Yost says there will be no Mags or Quarles-like figure this year.) Preacher Billy St. Cyr enters the action with a cute little hick-hop dance. It's no Goggins cloggin', but it'll do. Those of you who know me will know why the casting choice of Joe Mazzello excites me. Billy's joined by his sister Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher of "True Blood" werepanther fame...yes, werepanther) and I expect them to pose quite the problem for Boyd in Harlan.


  • Cocaine Dealin' Parachuter (Cause of Death: Newton's Law Of Universal Gravitation.)
  • Roz's Left Foot (Cause of Death: Constable Bob's Pig Sticker.)
  • Prison Librarian, Trustee Sam (Cause of Death: Arlo Givens' Toothbrush, Whittled To A Fine, Slicey Point By Pressure And Time.)
  • Erstwhile Oxi Dealer And Born-Again Christian, Hiram. (Cause of Death: A Failure To Communicate.)

    Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks and Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson Line Count

  • Rachel=4
  • Tim=0

    Winona B*tchwatch
    She's gone. GONE!
    We'll be retiring this feature for the time being but I reserve the right to resurrect it should Natalie Zea guest star. Instead we'll be looking at...

    Potential Yostian Guns
    Yost and his merry band of writers are fond of bringing items and actions from the beginning of the season back around in the finale. (See: Rail Gun, Quarles or Apple Pie, Mags.)

  • Constable Bob's Go Bag
  • Preacher Billy's Snake (mmmhmm)

    Favorite Lines:
    "Phone's ringing."
    "Thank you Donny."
    "It's from Lebowski. Netflix it, you can be one of the cool kids."

    The Gist: An excellent premiere. We had a tightly paced single-episode arc with Jody Adair and the teenaged hoodlums along with the seeds of two season-long plots: The Cocaine Cold Case and The Problem of Preacher Billy. The first will enmesh Raylan with his father and his father's past just as he's preparing to become a father himself. Boyd, on the other hand, will have to revisit his own religious past in taking on The Last Chance Holiness Church. Crowder references Asimov at one point. Here's the full quote: "I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism." When Boyd's father killed his entire flock in Season One, Boyd lost his religion. Now he's playing the Bo Crowder role. The cynic. The faithless man. The writers drive this home when Hiram says to Boyd, "Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner." This is something Boyd said to Raylan in Season One. And even Preacher Billy, whose father and whose father's father died of snakebites, is grappling with some Daddy Issues. Those themes, along with the usual Boyd/Raylan two sides of the same coin drama, should make for some juicy television. At the end of the episode we saw both Givens and Crowder tucking money away for a rainy day. But when it rains in Harlan, it pours. It's good to be back.

    Supplemental Reading:

  • The Gangstagrass Twitter feed. These boys (who perform the "Justified theme song) are huge nerds for the show.
  • My new favorite novelist, Kristopher Jansma, wrote a solid piece on "Justified" and the sticky relationship between book and show for Salon. Check it out.
  • A spoilery discussion with creator Graham Yost on the upcoming season. I haven't read it because of said spoiler warning, but you should if you like that sort of thing!

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  • Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

    • burstyourbubble

      You need to read your spoilers and interviews (vulture.com, for one). The show has use of NZ for 3-4 episodes a season. Easy to cooperate since FOX owns FX. So, Winona is NOT gone, and Yost has said that not only will she always be there, but that she is Raylan's 'soul mate'. So hot bartenders and poker players aside, Winona is where his heart is and always will be.

    • TallulahBelle

      Is that . . . are we talking about the same Joseph Mazello who got stuck in a car in a tree with Sam Neill in Jurassic Park? Ohhhmygod it is. Fuck, I feel old . . .

    • Salieri2

      As God is my witness, I did not recognize Ron Eldard. He got all Kilmered!

    • Uriah_Creep

      Great! I don't know when these are going to show in Canada, so I can't even risk reading the comments. THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED!! TO ANYBODY!!

    • Siege

      Although I missed last season (due mostly to my own ineptitude and a hatred for Winona) I am psyched about getting back into this show. The fact that Ron Eldard (one of my absolute FAVORITE underrated actors, and usually a feature on my Pajiiba 10) and Joseph Mazzello (amazing turn in "The Pacific") are going to be there just lights the fire under my butt to make sure to watch. Besides, my life just needs more Goggins and Olyphantastic.

    • Bodhi

      Oh shit. I was wondering why the snake handler looked so familiar!

    • rn3

      i watched the previous seasons in one big swoop and now all the plotlines are blurring together. and they've taken them off netflix, hulu, xfinity, etc. anyone know why or if there's a plan to bring them back anywhere? would love to rewatch

    • dizzylucy

      Loved it, not surprisingly. Great set up for the season.

      Agree that Ron Eldard fit right in, and I like Constable Bob, if for nothing else than that pathetic warble his siren lets out. As long as he's not overused, I think he's also a great addition.

      I do always hope for more Art, Tim, and Rachel, but given the storyline here of Raylan going rogue for a day, it made sense they weren't there.

    • Arran

      I dunno, I thought Patton fit in pretty well. His character is inherently goofy, but he's a good actor so he doesn't play up the goofiness much.

    • seanfast

      @JoannaRobinson:disqus : are you gonna start up the Justified podcast again?? please say yessss :)

    • JoannaRobinson

      We're probably going to do two episodes. But, alas, not a full season.

    • seanfast

      aww. okay. ill take what i can get lol

    • Blake

      The Gist: An excellent premiere. Yes, but it was Art (and Tim) light which has a bit disappointing. Also does anyone know if Carla Gugino is going to appear in this season?

      Side notes:

      I am happy to see Ron Eldard again and hopefully he sticks arounds, but that hair was to go.

      Chris Chalk will always be Tom Walker and Joe Mazzello will always be Tim Murphy (to me a least).

    • lowercase_ryan

      Regarding Arlo, no way he gets out of jail now right? I mean, he just killed a dude in front of the whole cell block. He's already an old man, logic tells me he just sealed his fate. Of course he will be extremely active from behind bars.

      Still, why take the risk of killing the dude if it could mean you never get out? What's in it for him?

    • seanfast

      Well he killed a cop (state trooper tom), so I doubt he was getting out anytime soon period. So I think killing the other inmate was a precaution against anyone else knowing about the secret stash.

    • lowercase_ryan

      But I'm thinking it's got to be some kind of get out of jail free card.

    • Yemayah

      Arlo's case has not yet been adjudicated. Not much time has elapsed since the end of season 3 events, so it is likely that he is still pre-trial detention, without bail due to the seriousness of the charges.

      Arlo's lawyer(s) can always play the diminished capacity card. Arlo's act in the jail was so blatant that there has to be an angle. But Arlo just placidly lying there, staring at his bloody hands- that was creepy and unfathomable.

      What I find interesting is that Arlo saw fit to tell Raylan that his "mother was Frances, not St. Frances." That made me sit up and take notice. Is Frances somehow connected? Will Raylan find out something about his dear departed mother? The couple in the opening teaser may be tied in some way. We know Frances went to Noble's Holler around the time Raylan was 10. The bag was empty. Did money go with her and to Limehouse?

      I just love your Justified love and reading your reviews, Joanna. (**Doing the happy dance**)

    • seanfast

      yeah i dont know. i mean that couldnt have been arlo in the opening of the episode right? that definitely didnt seem like a house/neighborhood where he lived. the cops were called, even if the guy grabbed and hid the drugs and stuff, so im assuming the recovery of the body isn't a part of the cold case. he must just be after the money/drugs. maybe hes plannin to escape and run to mexico or somewhere with it?

    • lowercase_ryan

      I think it's dirt on someone powerful. If it was money or drugs why not take off before he was in jail? you know, before he would have to break out.

    • JoannaRobinson

      State's evidence or something? I like it.

    • lowercase_ryan

      First - you left the Furry out of your carnage count.

      But thank you for the stellar review. God it is so good to have this show back. I think Justified may have the best, most consistent, and smartest writers on TV right now.

      Before seeing him in action I wasn't sure how Ron Eldard would fit but he pulled that shit off like a boss! I understand and share your reservations about Patton. He makes for good banter, but I don't like the inept loser, wannabe cop shtick. I expect more from the characters on the show (hell even Ellen May has some serious depth to her, well much more than you would expect from a drug addled prostitute who is high in most of her scenes). But Yost & co. have earned the benefit of the doubt, we'll see what they do with him.

    • JoannaRobinson

      But he didn't die. The Furry.

      (Then again, nor did Roz's foot.)

    • lowercase_ryan

      nope, but it was carnage and it was pretty damn funny.

    • Fredo

      I couldn't stop laughing at the "failure to communicate" scene. Just pitch-perfect. Thing is, it's set up perfectly by the scene of Boyd and Colton on the bridge as they drive to Hiram's. You're made to think bad things are about to happen. But bad intentional things.

      That said, the scene between Arlo and the other inmate was also frightening. We forget that, though he's a doddering old man, Arlo is a hardened criminal.

      As for Patton Oswalt, I think he'll be fine in the long run. Right now, he's obviously playing for laughs -- you don't get him without expecting that. BUT I think he'll have an interesting arc this season.

    • "You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."

    • Slash

      Yes, I did like that one, too.

    • Slash

      No, the best line was when Raylan was looking for his stolen car and Constable Bob asked him what the big deal was (kinda, my memory may be faulty there) and Raylan said something like, "Because I've got shit in it I don't want crushed" (ie, the bail jumper in the trunk).

      And I had completely forgotten Boyd was a veteran.

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