Justified "Starvation" Review: All In With Someone Else's Cash
Alright, I know I spent a lot of last week's review talking about how a happy ending to Justified, for me, is Raylan becoming the good father I know he can be, and that all the signs were pointing toward that possible outcome, but the ending of "Starvation" certainly showed that Raylan doesn't have much regard for kids. Part of being a good father—you might even say a substantial part—is having a way with kids, and we've seen Raylan interact comfortably with Loretta and also chastise Darryl for getting his nephew Kendal involved in his mess (by blaming the boy for Art's shooting).
But Raylan just can't seem to ignore a good old-fashioned standoff, and at the end of this very excellent episode, he called Darryl Crowe Jr. on his bluff and made sure that all the paperwork was in order to try Kendal as an adult in the shooting of a federal officer. Raylan's idea is that even Darryl isn't lowly enough to let his own kin—especially his own pre-pubescent kin—take the fall for Darryl's own crime and miss the next 40 Thanksgivings' worth of Darryl's gator pie because he's doing time.
Yikes. This was a HUGE gamble for Raylan, and honestly, kind of a dick move on his part (not that he's a stranger to dick moves). But to bet everything—and by "everything," I mean "Kendal's life"—on the conscience of a guiltless man like Darryl Crowe was gutsy, brash, and all those other adjectives we often use to describe Raylan. Maybe it was an easy decision for Raylan because he's playing with someone else's money, or maybe Raylan wants Darryl so badly that he feels it's worth the risk. (It's not, and I'm surprised Judge Reardon signed off, especially since Raylan called it a 50-50 shot.)
Even though "Starvation" essentially depicted Raylan as a terror to children everywhere, his push to try Kendal as an adult could end up being what kicks Raylan toward that happy ending of mine with a lesson learned the hard way. As Reardon said, once this bullet is fired, it can't be put back, so if Raylan's risk doesn't pay off—whether it's because Darryl doesn't step up and admit that he's the one who shot Art, or because of the more unlikely-but-still-present possibility that Kendal actually was the one who shot Art—Kendal's life will be ruined because Raylan had him tried as an adult in a game of Chicken with Darryl. There's no reason that Season 5 has to have a happy ending, especially knowing that Justified has a sixth and final season on deck that could provide the perfect opportunity to redeem Raylan and give him a real happy ending. Maybe Raylan will see firsthand that he has the power to destroy a child's life, and decide that he doesn't want to do the same thing to his daughter. It's a method that could work for Justified, and one that I hope comes to fruition. Man, I am totally fixated on this situation with Raylan and his daughter, aren't I? (He says with his own infant daughter sleeping like a beautiful angel puppy just feet away. Awww, she's so darling!) No guns were drawn, but this is one of the most dangerous shots Raylan has ever fired as a Marshal. Just the look on Wendy's face illustrated the seriousness of the situation.
Anyway, before that sledgehammer of an ending, there was plenty else to like about "Starvation." The dialogue was crack-a-lackin', even for the silver-tongued Justified. The scene inside Wynn Duffy's Winnebago was a piece of art disguised as a free-for-all conversation. I'm not sure we've seen many—if any—scenes with Boyd, Wynn, Raylan, Rachel, and Tim sharing the screen, but it was awesome to watch Raylan play cocky teacher and Boyd play class clown as we learned that Tim thought American Hustle could have used a lot more Jason Statham (I agree).
"Starvation" also continued compressing this season's storylines as Boyd, Darryl, and Raylan finally found themselves intertwined. Raylan-versus-Boyd stories are always a highlight, but you know what's even better? Boyd and Raylan working together to take down some scummier scumbag. At this point I'm just as annoyed at Darryl coming into Harlan as Boyd and Raylan are, so seeing Boyd drop by the Marshal's Office to help get rid of a nuisance (while helping his own cause) was a thing of beauty.
Now we head into next week's finale with a risky play by Raylan hanging in the balance, a Mexican Cartel threatning Boyd's hide (literally), and the possibility of everything going very, very wrong. It's as good a position as Justified's been in all season, and it comes at the perfect time.
POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY
– Ava's storyline picked up a tiny bit, but it had nothing to do with her being in jail. The look on her face when Raylan told her he cooperated with the Marshals in exchange for a clean slate was pretty devastating, but sorry girl, you broke up with him! He was a single guy.
– But the rest of Ava's storyline in jail was still uninteresting. Penny got shanked, but am I really supposed to care about Penny? 'Cause I don't; I guess I'm a bad person. Also, I'm having problems telling the women apart since they're all wearing the same thing, they don't shampoo, and they all have tattoos.
– Geez, with Boyd telling everyone about Raylan's involvement in Nicky Augustine's death, just about everyone knows about it. Is anything ever going to happen on that front? Or will it just hang over Raylan for the rest of the series?
– Is Dewey Crowe's reign of terror over? Poor guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it was for the wrong reasons, too, so it fits his run of bad luck. Also, he almost got shot by a granny with a shotgun in the episode's funniest scene.
HEARD 'ROUND HARLAN
Wynn: "I assume my success would obviate the need for any skinning or any skin-related procedures?"
Darryl: "Dang, what you guys doing, smells like a pig roast."
Darryl: "Your kung-fu shit don't work on me."
Boyd: "Well you mention the name Alberto I take it you ain't talking about the waiter from your favorite Mexican restaurant."
Boyd: "They want my skin."Wynn: "Must be a new cartel fad to jazz up the tedium of beheadings."
Raylan: "Last I heard, you had a swanky hotel room."Wynn: "Swanky? Paris is swanky. Lexington is pig shit."
Raylan: "That attitude may be why they kicked you out."
Boyd: [clapping] "Has the presentation ended?"
Boyd: "Your savior has arrived."
Bartender guy: "This is the worst job in the world!"
Dewey: "If you just gonna be a minute, you mind if I take a shit?"
Granny: "You better run you son of a bitch!"
Dewey: "The anus is on you."
Dewey: "I was kidding, man."
Raylan: "That's a good defense, go with that."
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