Justified "Good Intentions" Review: Questions of Trust

By Tim Surette

Jan 22, 2014

Justified S05E03: "Good Intentions"


Harlan County's twisted network of law and crime is built on one core value: trust. You break trust, and a chain reaction causes the whole thing to come crumbling down, chaos pushes the reset button, and everyone scrambles to set up again. "Good Intentions" had so many trust issues that everyone involved found themselves on a level playing field, wondering if the person they just shook hands with had their back. There was opportunity to be had by newcomers and veterans alike, and everybody was a-grabbin'. And in Season 3's best interests, these trust issues weren't fully resolved by the end of the episode, leaving us to question the intentions of more than a few of Harlan's prettier faces.

The first person on that list is Allison (Amy Smart), who went from bangable social worker to suspected schemer thanks to a few eerie coincidences that can only occur in a town as small as Harlan, where being a crook is a second job for most. This whole story was a bit muddy, so please excuse me if I don't get all the details right, but the house that Raylan was staying in while it was seized by the government had a few secrets in its coffers—like, a million dollars in secrets, in the form of gold stashed in a hidden safe. When Henry came to the house pounding on Monroe's car alarm, we were led to believe that it was either a diversion or a mean ghost from Allison's past (Henry's son ended up in foster care because of Allison's intervention), neither of which is good for Raylan. But we all know Raylan is a sucker for pretty blondes, and pretty blondes just can't help themselves when it comes to using Raylan for their own gain (see: Lindsey, the leggy bartender from Season 4). 

The situation conveniently (and temporarily?) resolved itself when Monroe got shot up outside of the Wynn-ebego, but we were still left wondering exactly what Allison is up to. In Elmore Leonard's world, characters of such questionable intent aren't content to just let the mystery linger, and Allison asking Raylan if he thought she was in on it only confuses things more—and in the best way possible. My hunch says Allison is up to no good, and that once again, it's Raylan's penis that'll get him in trouble. If that's the case, hopefully it's not just Lindsey Part II, and that Raylan catches wind of it before he's handcuffed to a heater in nothing but his polka-dotted boxers, because it would be embarrassing if the mighty Raylan Givens got hoodwinked again, especially by the girl who had animal-like sex in front of a bunch of strangers in Crank


But the character with the most interesting stuff going on in Season 5 so far is Boyd, who is experiencing such troubling times that he doesn't know who's working with him and who's working against him. Right now he has no choice but to trust Mara, Paxton's Russian bride and Boyd's new accomplice, and the situation has dictated that Boyd will fake his death to Paxton to shake his trail and then resurrect himself later to take Paxton out after Paxton's testimony against Ava is reversed. Boyd's best course of action would be to get rid of Mara as quickly as possible, because mail-order brides are as reliable as gypsies. But mail-order brides are mail-order brides for a reason (because they're hot), and Boyd found himself under her spell when she said, "Show me your tattoos," which is criminal-speak for "What's your sign?" It was a fantastic scene as she ran her hands over his body, scoping out his ink and all the stories it told about him. Was it seduction? Partly. But because this is Justified, the sexiness was all a ploy for Mara to figure out what tattoos that Boyd's stand-in corpse would need to make his passing seem legit. It's too bad it felt like Mara fell into this fortunate situation of hers rather than earned it; had she been crafty enough to get here on her own, I'd like her a lot more as a character. While I give her credit for running with the circumstances (and doing a good job of it), it's obvious she's going to try to screw Boyd over, and we can't have that. She's gotta go. 

And alas, Mara isn't Boyd's only problem. With his drug delivery snatched from his clutches, Boyd even accused Wynn of being responsible. Shame on you, Boyd! That ain't Wynn's game, and he would never be that stupid. Some snooping around led Boyd to the carnally talented prostitute Candy, whom he appropriately had put in a box and delivered to him. She'd taken what she heard on the street and delivered the news to Boyd's cousin Johnny Crowder, who subsequently ripped Boyd off, and that led to one quick and uncomfortable phone call between the cousins to close out the episode. 

It's a lot for any man to handle, even Boyd. And the frustration within is slowly rising to the surface. We saw it as his talk with Ava escalated into a spat. We saw it when Dewey suddenly became another problem for Boyd to handle and Boyd snapped at him. And we can see it in his "situation" with Mara and Paxton, which he's struggling to keep under control. And now he's got his cousin to deal with? I'm scared to see where this will take Boyd. He already let his emotions get the best of him when he pounded Paxton into the ground; how long will it be before he flips out again?


Of course, Boyd isn't the only one with cousin problems. Dewey had Darryl cramping his style as Darryl slowly infected Harlan with his Floridian sleaze, and after a good pep talk from an incredulous Boyd, Dewey mustered the courage to tell Darryl to go back to Gator Country. But Darryl found a way into Dewey's good graces by exposing Wade as the man who was taking Dewey's whorehouse profits. That's more trust out the window. Probably not the best idea to put a drug dealing ex-con in charge of your accounting, Dewey! And Darryl must have known that Dewey would screw up somehow and that he could use it to his advantage, because he'd already brought in his whole crew to help Dewey improve his business. What a nice guy. Just wait 'til Boyd finds out that Darryl is slowly taking over Dewey's enterprise and wants to cut Boyd out. 

"Good Intentions" was another good episode of Justified simply because it was Justified being witty old Justified. But it was just a whisker behind the first two hours of the season because it was a leisurely set-up episode for several different threads. The show doesn't appear to be in any rush. Heck, Raylan doesn't even know the new Big Bad is in town yet. We could raise an eyebrow at that, but I don't think we need to. Things can only get more dense and focused from here. 



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– What happened with Art's phone call from last week? Did he learn anything more about Raylan and his connection to Nicky Augustine's murder? Art apparently plays a big part in this season, so I'm guessing that'll come back sooner or later.

– That scene with Monroe choking and smothering Gloria was scary! Get out of there, girl! He don't love you! 

– Raylan's pathetic "What?" when Allison decided to leave the house was a rare display of weakness for him. But if he does have a weakness, it's when he's getting cockblocked.

– The escalating violence eased up. Only one person got shot this week!



HEARD 'ROUND HARLAN


Because Justified is stuffed with great dialogue, each week, I'll post my favorite lines right here.

Art: "What, did I catch you working out?" Raylan: "No, bowling."

Raylan: "I was about to outgrow it anyway, the kind of thing you drop as soon as you discover girls. Yet here you are, all growed up, still dinging and donging and don't have the sense to ditch."

Rachel: "Call me if you're going to be late for supper."

Darryl: "And it's got curb appeal!"

Raylan: "Please tell me that was a lucky guess."

Boyd: "You take those things off again I'm going to staple them to your goddamn head."

Raylan: "That was my fault. I shoulda been clearer. Standing up isn't the only way to get me to take this bat to you. Calling her a bitch will get us there too."

Boyd: "Does this restaurant have blowjobs on the menu? Apples and oranges."

Wynn: "Isn't there an 'allegedly' that goes along with that?"


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  • MiraTellia Jan 26, 2014

    I love this season so far, my only complaint is the lack of Tim - we've hardly seen him! On any other show, he'd be my favorite character, but he's got too much competition on Justified. He's still in my top five though.

  • efonsecajr Jan 24, 2014

    Slow set up is what this show does best. Witty lines and snarky banter. My favorite episode so far.

  • 2muchbadTV Jan 24, 2014

    Doods.....don't worry. Every season of Justified has an ep or two like this. A very slow set up, and they usually follow it up with a doozy that either sees insane plot advancements or multiple killings. Sometimes both.

    It was well done, and it's telling a story. I don't demand that every episode be action packed. Today's TV world sucks primarily due to studios/networks/writers/directors/actors being unable to convey an interesting story. Justified does this extremely well, and the slow parts can learn to be enjoyed just like the fast-paced parts. It's like a book. Not every chapter is BAM POW BOOM! There's got to be backstory or else we'd never care about the big moments nearly so much. The best you can hope for is that the slow parts are still very well done. Fortunately for us, Justified never fails us there.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jan 23, 2014

    It was a good enough episode for me. I am not a big fan of Boyd but his story this season is most fun to watch. Don't like like Amy Smart and I wish we see more of Gutterson.

  • Gonzai Jan 23, 2014

    Roughly every other scene caused me to say out loud, "This can't possibly end well." So I expect at least one storyline to end badly every week from now on.

    Looks like we may have some quality Tim time next week!

  • c07111 Jan 23, 2014

    This eppy was good IMO; I don't expect every eppy to be exciting or action packed. It was great seeing Rachel; always loved her and Raylan's dynamic. She's like that missing part of Raylan's brain that whispers "think with the right body part dude." I will say I've lost interest in Allison and could care less where her moral compass is pointed. It's kind of funny that Raylan's finally having an easy go of things currently and Boyd's the one in the middle of a "ish" storm. I don't mind Darryl Crowe at all, but I'm not certain he's the big bad of the season. I'm kind of thinking that honor maybe once again going to Boyd. Because when Boyd's in the middle of chaos, he comes out fighting....and he ain't fair about how he fights. So, even though Boyd seems to be on the losing end of the stick right now, I got a feeling he's going to claw he's way back up body by body until the only thing standing in his way is once again Raylan.

  • JustifiedCEO Jan 22, 2014

    Either this is the longest setup in the history of a 13-week or my beloved Justified has run out of gas. The following is my bones of contention -

    • Raylan - the heart of the show continues to get less screen time. That's never good.
    • Boyd - we understood the plot line - in a verbal exchange between himself and Raylan in S4.E13 - he changes what/who he loves. Hence we all knew that his relationship with Ava was going to end. But for such a disciplined character, after four seasons, to suddenly let his emotions get in the way of business seems off.
    • Where's the big bad? Is it Daryl Crowe? Is it Paxton? Is it his mail order bride? Is it his drug imports? Is it his crew? Too many moving pieces to keep track of
    • Less Raylan gets you less Art, Gutterson and Brooks. The latter two have always been marginalized. But with less Raylan, they even get less exposure.
    • Ava's hair doesn't even attempt to look prison-authentic. See Orange is the New Black.
    • Finally, and I hate to verbalize this out loud, but last night's episode was boring TV. The dialog is there as always. But the plot line was all over the place. Less is more in Justified.
    I will of course continue to watch the show faithfully and hope the first three episodes - all set up pieces - reveal themselves to be so important that S5 couldn't have been successful with out them.

  • smithinjapan Jan 22, 2014

    Yeah, this episode was pretty slow, I'd say, although I can appreciate the need for development in story-lines. I do agree the part with Monroe choking the woman was pretty freaky, for sure.

  • Mate Jan 22, 2014

    Ummmm What in the hell was that? I am all for set up episodes as well. But there hasn't been a attention grabbing episode yet and this is episode 3. I am not going to go as far to say that I am concerned, but I am certainly heading that way. Allison isn't that strong of a character, in fact she might be the weakest female enticement that Raylan has had. The chemistry is off. There was chemistry with Ava, and with the wife and even with the bartender, hell there was more chemistry with Carla Gugino's character and she was only in an episode. The whole is she a schemer or not thing is kind of trite, because I am not sure I care. The thing with the father and the car even though it was to move the plot along and was necessary it just didn't feel like Justified.

    The whole thing with the Crows is setting up to be horrible. It isn't just that Rappaport is horrible, and he is. It is that his character is completely and utterly one dimensional, the bass in Justified have always been bads, but they were enjoyable. Mags was evil, but she had some good in her. Same with Parlow last season and even with Quarles in season 3, had some fun with the character. Rappaport and his character have no charisma, zero, zilch, nada. Has no redeeming values and simply isn't entertaining. The whole thing with Dewey thus far in the series is that we could count on him for the comic relief and just the crazy of the show. This isn't funny, and it isn't out there and crazy.

    The only redeeming storyline thus far is Boyd. Because Boyd is just fun. Goggins can take anything and make it good. And the storyline with Mara is actually interesting. In fact Mara is the only interesting character that isn't in the central cast. Is that what they are going for? Is this going to be Boyd's season over Raylan and the rest of them, because if so then I am for that.

    I am really not looking forward to the Boyd vs Daryl meet up. That is going to show just how weak Rappaport isn't because he isn't going to be able to keep up.

    Bring back my 2nd favorite show because this ain't it.

  • peterspoor33 Jan 23, 2014

    Yep, sucks to be Rappaport, I like other stuff he's done, but this character .... [silent stare into distance], my only hope is he shows some more cutthroat alligator blood ruthlessness or maybe some rivalry/teamwork with his sister.

    I do like it when a Big Bad unravels like the increasing desperation and visciousness of Quarles as his world collapsed around him but who can say? Just keep populating the show with Kentucky characters and stories (loved the guy who got a pregnant woman out of Raylans custody and his coal train story), James LeGros is sorely underused but I'm glad he's back in the show. Need Boyd to be in a pulpit, voting hall or church tent making a speech and pissing off a bunch of characters, that was always gold.

  • Sam20 Jan 23, 2014

    I agree, and I had this fear when I was binge-watching the whole series of Justified a few weeks ago. So far this season hasn't really grabbed me at all, and I don't care about Amy Smart or Michael Rapaport at all, though unlike you, I'm trying to give Michael a chance. lol

    I honestly wasn't a big fan of most of season 1, but season 2 was fantastic. The story with Mags and her family was great, and looking back it kind of shows how weak the Crowe family story seems. Season 3 lost me a bit, because although Quarles was a fun villain, that whole convoluted plot couldn't keep my interest. Last season it was fantastic again, and I think it was actually the most effective season binge-watch. Parlow was awesome, and I thought Colton was a great character too, This season could use some Drew Marshall mystery and Constable Bob.

    It's just the third episode, but this show should've already grabbed me at this point. Let's hope it picks up. By the way, do you have a season ranking for this show? Mine would be 2, 4, 3, 1.

  • Mate Jan 23, 2014

    His chance ends when he has to go toe to toe with Walton Goggins. He is too weak of an actor to be on this show. I sincerely hope that they kill him off and then go with the Haitian. That guy can act and would be a great character.

    I liked season 1 only because I thought it was a great introduction to Raylan.

    My seasons would be 2,4,1,3. I liked Quarles but it wasn't enough to follow Mags and how great season 2 was.

  • peterspoor33 Jan 24, 2014

    Yeah the Bennetts, whew, when I saw the second season was gonna have actor Jeremy Davies on it I thought... cool this is gonna be something... and then along came Mags with her moonshine and then the whole Bennett ensemble and it just hit some amazing TV sweet spot!

    Not only was the action and characters fantastic it also felt fully immersed in the sticky romantic view I had of Kentucky with Boyd's and Mag's speeches about way of life and coal mine gun thugs and mistreatment and then little Loretta showing how kids have to grow up hard and wise early in Kentucky, it added weight to how tough and cunning we imagine Raylan and Boyd had to be to survive.

    Long hard times to come

  • DavidSinger Jan 22, 2014

    I don't mind a setup episode. But we've now had three setup episodes in a row. I'd want it to move along, but Allison and Darryl feel so forced that I'm almost hoping for another two setup episodes so we can setup a storyline (or five) I'm looking forward to.

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