'Justified' Recap: 'The Weight' Brilliantly Dabbles in Coen Brothers' Territory
It took a some reflection, reevaluation, and a rewatch of several key scenes in last night’s episode before I could completely come to terms with what an exceptionally good, darkly comic episode of Justified it was. On first blush, so many of the boneheaded decisions made by the characters — the Crowes, in particular — seemed more of the same bullshit we’ve endured for most of the fifth season. No one watching at home really gives a shit about the heroin shipment that’s swallowed the last several episodes of Justified, but in “The Weight,” we finally saw it for the MacGuffin it was all along.
That goddamn shipment of heroin, which had already cost the lives of Hot Rod, Roscoe, and Johnny Crowder, as well as several other henchman, continued its trek from Mexico to Kentucky, now in the sole hands of Dewey Crowe. The way he bumbled his entire get-rich-and-escape scheme was almost frustrating until I reexamined it after watching the Fargo trailer that aired during the commercials. It was then that I began to see the darkly comic richness in the episode. The entire Crowe clan are like something straight out of an early Coen Brothers film, and with that subtext, the episode took on a new light.
Dickie Bennett was suddenly Justified’s Turturro, hamming it up with Olyphant, while Dewey and Danny were Forsythe and Goodman in Raising Arizona. From that viewpoint, it clicked. The heroin shipment was nothing but an opportunity for Dewey to drive a Gremlin, and later, for poor Danny Crowe — weeping over the death of his dog — to fall in a hole and stab himself through the chin trying to demonstrate the 21-foot rule. It’s been so long now since Justified has really tapped into its comic roots that I’d almost forgotten how capable it was at it. Ultimately, everything about the Crowe plotline ended up feeling like one of those great, zany Coen Brothers’ heists that always end up pear-shaped in the end.
It didn’t exactly remedy the problems with this season. Daryl Crowe is still a terrible character, and there was nothing darkly comic about the way he beat up his smaller sister, Wendy Crowe, although it did call to mind the kind of characters that Rappaport usually plays: Weak, sniveling fools desperate for validation and respect, especially when he turned to Kendal Crowe — of all people — to get it. Cornered and isolated, it’s only a matter now of watching Daryl’s demise play out.
Nor did the episode rectify that terrible prison plotline. After breaking up with Boyd (which did elicit some real heartache when Boyd yelled for Ava through the glass) and acknowledging that there ain’t no one outside of the prison that can save her, Ava dug herself in deeper by killing Judith. The fact that, at this point, she is never likely to see the outside of a prison cell again makes me sad because Ava Crowder deserved better than to die in prison.
I didn’t like the way that they set up Art to be in danger’s way next week, either. It seems contrived, and I don’t like to believe that Raylan’s entire relationship with Alison was nothing but an excuse to move Art into a position to be shot. If Art has to die, he also deserves better than to be taken out by a goddamn Crowe.
Still, while this week’s episode of Justified didn’t exactly make up for an entire season-long storyline building toward a heroin shipment, the payoff — at least with regards to Danny Crowe and a brief visit with Dickie Bennett — was plenty satisfying.