Justified "Good Intentions" Review: Questions of Trust
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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