Justified "Starvation" Review: All In With Someone Else's Cash

By Tim Surette

Apr 02, 2014

Justified S05E12: "Starvation"

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. 


– 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.


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: "Wait."

Dewey: "I was kidding, man."

Raylan: "That's a good defense, go with that."


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  • bothcats Apr 08, 2014

    This was precisely what I wanted from a penultimate episode.

    And Chris Provenzano never disappoints with dialogue!

  • kareenpierre1 Apr 06, 2014

    I like your review Tim but after seeing True Detective I can't vote for this episode being any flavor of great, amazing or what not.

    Actually, I'm bored with Justified. I'll have to rewatch the first seasons to remember exactly what attracted me to this show aside from Raylan and Boyd interactions (great actors being wasted btw---how about being the next pair of True Detective ?). On the other hand, I do remember that I never considered Justified an intellectual or highly artistic piece of entertainment. It's fun and entertainment.

    BTW, British TV show LUTHER is my suggestion for a cure for people craving about useless things like storylines and the like. It has this same type of unlikely association between a cop and a criminal. Sadly the show just ended in 2013 and is yet another proof that great TV is usually not on TV (or not on TV for long).

    On the bright side, I'm happy to learn they plan to finish at a specific number of seasons and soon (2 seasons left!). I am not being mean here : it's easier to follow someone who knows where the finish line is and when we'll get to it than one who just wants to make money until the well dries up and/or turns bad.

    But I digress.

    Suffice to say, I think that tidbit about "final season 6" is good news for people like me complaining about the storyline.

  • chs1979 Apr 05, 2014

    @ Spoiler junkie, 6 keys= 6 KILOS

  • c07111 Apr 05, 2014

    My take away was Raylan really does love Art; that he's willing to sacrifice Kendall and Ava, which I didn't mind. As far as Raylan ruining Kendall's life, well I think his insufferable mother and uncle might have more to do with it. Plus I'm surprised Kendall wasn't going to be tried as an adult anyway for allegedly shooting a Federal Officer. Why would they charge him as a juvenile?

  • sergioleandro1 Apr 06, 2014

    Sixth season will be about the torrid and forbidden relationship between Art and Raylan.

  • kareenpierre1 Apr 06, 2014

    LOL! Now THAT'S something I would look forward too!

  • Guitarman59 Apr 04, 2014

    Dewey Crowe had me in tears laughing, and the bartenders line was so unexpected it floored me.
    Another home run for Justified, the writing is so dam spot on its always a great ride!

  • JustifiedCEO Apr 03, 2014

    When I write my comments, I make sure I don't read any other review. Then I check out all the reviews and Yost's recap on EW.

    As to the latter, I have noticed how much - as opposed to KS on SOA - is done by committee. And how much the "committee" is now dominated by TO.

    Here's the thing. What hooked me on Justified was storyline, drama, dialog and black humor. In that order. TO believes the show is a comedy. I believe that's where the creative tension is. Storyline and drama, are being sacrificed by dialog and black humor.

    TO also wants the show to be like Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I love Curb and can see TO someday moving in that direction very well. But in Curb - actors make cameos - and its clicks because it gives LD a new person to riff with.

    We are all making great points at a 500 foot level. But there has to be a 50,000 foot level explanation. And I think the answer is as simple as Justified is grappling with whether it is a serialized drama or it is a un-serialized dark comedy.

    With the answer and the fulfillment being something that ebbs and flows. The great shows are consistent. And Justified is simply not.

  • BB2013 Apr 03, 2014

    I don't understand why the Crowe Clan keeps insisting that Raylan ended Danny's life. Even Tim made reference to it. Danny stabbed himself to death during his demonstration of the obscure 21 foot rule. Did the writing staff forget what previously took place? They wrote the scene!

  • bhammer100 Apr 03, 2014

    The way I see it, the Crowes blame Raylan for Danny's death because if Raylan didn't interfere when Danny was mourning Chealsy, Danny wouldn't have fallen in the grave trying to kill Raylan. Raylan may not have pulled the trigger himself but, again this is the way I see it, without Raylan interfering Danny would be still alive.

  • antmorris3511 Apr 03, 2014

    This season has not been Rachel-Centric enough for my liking. Tim has been 'a bar stool' all season for the sake of these other one line wonders the show didnt even need to employ. When they try to employ too many actors it decentralizes things a little too much, like Boardwalk Empire. Useless actors poppin' in for 40 seconds a week. I mean, I like Eric Roberts and Wood Harris, but they aint really doing anything. Its like Justified added no less than 15 cast members who are little more than props. I still like the show but what the hell are they doin? It's like Elmore Leonard died and the show ran of the rails.

  • Sal_Doomhammer Apr 04, 2014

    Rachel is very under utilized.

  • cat89 Apr 03, 2014

    oh and I'm also very concerned for the safety of Jimmy's skin...

  • cat89 Apr 03, 2014

    SO many great lines in this episode! "The anus is on you" and "THIS IS THE WORST JOB IN THE WORLD" made me laugh almost as much as Danny falling in the hole a couple of weeks ago.
    My heart sinks every time we move to a prison scene, knowing it's going to be 5 or 10 minutes that could be better spent just listening to other characters speaking.

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