Justified "Foot Chase" Review: Stumped

Justified S04E06: "Foot Chase"

After watching Justified's "Foot Chase," the mystery of Drew Thompson, the bag, and Arlo's part in this cold case that Raylan's chasing is still a mystery. And it's going to be that way for some time, I'd guess. Let's say maybe three or four more episodes without much new info, and real details coming out in Episode 10 or so. That'll give Justified the time it needs for three episodes' worth of learning what this thing is all about.

But until then, we'll have to settle for TV mystery storytelling and its slow steps from Point A (the introduction of the mystery) to Point B (the resolution of the mystery) by way of Points C, D, E, 23, 7x, and 2πR. Those middle points are what make up most of TV mystery storytelling, and how they're used reflects greatly on the show's quality. Remember The Killing? Great case, great acting, great cinematography, but the show had more red herrings than a Scandinavian deli hosting a tomato fight. No one wants to feel like they're wasting time while watching serialized television, but false leads and misinformation written into the story to prolong the real deal is damn annoying. Thankfully, Justified's central case for Season 4 isn't too fishy, making this waiting game much more tolerable.

Tonight we inched closer to solving things as Raylan and Boyd both put their feelers out for Drew Thompson, but they may as well be the nutjobs looking for Sasquatch in Finding Bigfoot because Drew is the great ghost of Harlan County, an apparition and thing of legend among Kentucky's underbelly. Everyone knows someone who might know where to find him, but that only leads to more people who think they know where he might be. For about 30 minutes we figured Josiah, he of the missing foot, might be Drew, but alas, he's just a guy that's a foot lighter in another case of mistaken identity. About half of Harlan has been accused of being Drew in this wild turkey chase, and I wouldn't be surprised if the guy never existed at all the way everyone purports to know a guy who had a cousin who once saw him 20 years ago. The way things were left, Raylan has another lead in the form of the imprisoned Hunter (from Season 1) and Boyd is gonna invite himself into a swingers party for older people because old pervs fit the profile for Drew. Sounds like we won't be finding Drew next week either. It's a little less exciting than the urgency we expected from having both Boyd and Raylan on the hunt for Drew that was created in the last episode, but a case like this in a tight community like Harlan will have both their paths intersecting again sooner than later.

What "Foot Chase" really had the responsibility of doing was putting other stories in motion, perhaps to tighten up the sagging middle while Raylan and Boyd continue to chase Drew's legend. But it meant an episode that was put together like shattered glass rather than a clear picture. We all asked for more arcs for Tim and Rachel, and now we got one, rather jarringly, of Tim helping out an old Army friend kick Oxy and pay off some debts. I love Tim (and can say his name all day long), but adding this arc so suddenly feels like a conversation interrupted. It wasn't exactly a smooth introduction and might take a while to find our bearings, but dammit, it's going to be worth it to see Jacob Pitts do his thing even if he's not trading one-liners with Raylan.

Meanwhile, Colton is already unraveling like a mummy on a Tilt-a-Whirl. His drug habit is well beyond being a hobby, and his inability to put away Ellen May has him beating hookers in the search for her. Specifically, a hooker named Teri who also happens to be sweet on Johnny Crowder. Under order from Colton, Teri told Johnny that the Colton-shaped backhand bruise on her face came from one of her regular Johns, and Johnny and Colton paid that guy a visit and rearranged his face. It wasn't easy to watch given that Colton has entirely lost control of his situation, and credit to Ron Eldard for making me feel honestly afraid for everyone in Colton's path. The man is hollowed out and unpredictable, and much more dangerous than a calculated threat like Boyd.

And how about that Shelby? Just as I thought, he and Raylan are pairing up to find Drew and he's going to need Raylan's help to fend off Boyd because Boyd ain't too pleased that Shelby is sticking up for himself. Shelby still has Ellen May in his back pocket, though neither Boyd or Raylan know that, so he's going to end up being a very strong ally for Raylan and a real pain in the ass for Boyd.

"Foot Chase" fanned things out like a deck of cards for the better of the season, giving us teases of several stories rather than focusing on one. Personally, I like the show better when it throws in some completion through some standalone story, even if it's a tangential storyline like that of Randall and Lindsey in "This Bird Has Flown." But the hard work done in "Foot Chase" will pay off down the line.



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– Awwwwwww! Boyd proposed to Ava! And you know what? It was a pretty good, no-big-deal-but-super-appropriate) proposal. Will it have a major affect on the story or was it just a bone for the Boyd-Ava shippers? I don't know. Let's just be happy for the couple.

– Oh my gosh Josiah's leg stump looked disgusting, and I'm usually okay with that sort of thing. Loved it.

– The scene in Shelby's office between Raylan, Boyd, and Shelby was fantastic. Jim Beaver is really holding his own against Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins.

– How great is Boyd's pronunciation of "Assholes"? "Ass-hoes!!!"

– Boyd's lawyer is the worst! It's not surprising that she went off on her own and went after Drew so that she could cash out and drink fruity drinks on the beach. But did Arlo tell her Josiah was Drew because he thought Josiah was Drew, or because he wanted Josiah out of the picture?

– Lots of great dialogue tonight, let's run through Raylan's best:
Raylan: "Yay high, braces, went through puberty six months ago."
Raylan: "I'm sure you and Rapes With a Smile were just talking."
Raylan: "I think Lynard Skynard is overrated, I know you're in Boyd's pocket."



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Although this episode hasn't really gotten us anywhere in particular, I think it was really good and solid - they're laying the foundations for this season, and it's become clear that the Drew Thompson mystery is the big thing about it (that's probably why there hasn't been any big vilain so far). I'm glad Tim (Raylan's co-worker) is getting his own storyline and Shelby is playing an important role too - still, I don't know how this Ellen May plot is going to develop, 'cos if she survives and talks about the murder, does that mean Ava is going to prison? She can't and neither can Boyd! They're both big parts of the series! I loved to find out that other people in this thread are also contemplating the Arlo-Drew theory. The thought has just crossed my mind! I'm really enjoying this season, I can't wait to see Ava and Boyd going to the swingers party! I bet it's gonna be fun to watch!!
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Loving this show at the moment. Coles spiral out of control is interesting to watch and I can see there being a clash with him and Johnny at some point. Can't wait to see Boyd and Ava at a swingers party though!
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crs44 beat me to it, but i'll definitely throw my lot in with the arlo=drew crowd. Its just the kind of plot that would shake the foundation of the series and give new life to the relationship between Arlo and Raylan. It would certainly explain a few things if Arlo (Drew) turned out not to be Raylan's father, such as his siding with Boyd's enterprise in direct opposition to his own son, and his almost desperate measures to cover up the identity of the real Drew despite having consistantly shown he has no real loyalties to anyone........ other than himself?
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Wow! While I was reading the review I was thinking: "What if Arlo is in fact, Drew?" That would be a hell of a twist, and Arlo's not being Raylan's father would explain why he's not really into his son... But wait a sec: Shouldn't there be a picture of Drew somewhere? I don't remember anything about this detail.
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More screen time for Raylan & Shelby !!!
They are awesome - and not only them, I love this whole season!
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I think this whole episode can be summed up by that Raylan line: "I'm sure you and Rapes With a Smile were just talking." Loved that line and loved this episode! There were so many great dialogue scenes, and holy crap that leg stump! Justified just seems to do amazing without really doing much at all.
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I'm beginning to believe that Arlo is Drew. Why did he kill the other prisoner? Why was "Drew's" identity stuffed in to the wall? To me, it points to Arlo.

I'm really enjoying the season so far, even though Dewey or Dickie aren't around.
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Wow. You just blew my mind!
Seems obvious still it didn't cross my mind
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How did the judge in the bear suit recover so quickly after being shot 3-4 times by Ellen May?
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This show sure has a lot of corrupt lawyers, cops, FBI agents, prison guards,...
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Would love to see Eva and Boyd actually going to a swingers party :-)
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Well, I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a lot of fun to watch that in the next episode!
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I don`t care what the storyline is in the future. Just watching 43 minutes of Boyd, Raylan, etc- dialogue is enough for me. I could watch them taalk for ten hours when they were locked in a room. Justified is quality tv at it`s best!
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Jim Beaver is one of my favorite tv character actors. Casting him on a show is a pretty solid way to get me to watch it. And as much as I love anytime Raylan and Boyd are in the same room together, it was so much better with Shelby there too. Fantastic episode for that reason alone. Maybe next time Art can be there too?
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I haven't really seen Jacob Pitts in anything other than Eurotrip and 21 (the latter I don't really remember that much about), so I always look at him as the goofy dude. But got damn is he good in Justified! I love that he got his own storyline so that we can see a bit more of him.
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Staff
I felt like it was a sort of a breather of an episode, which is by no means a criticism, but plays into the idea of the chase and the red herrings that Tim discussed. Not a lot of forward narrative momentum for an audience, but the characters have a forward momentum as they continue to track leads and suspects.

But, man, those last two scenes are just sort of twistedly special, aren't they? It's hard to imagine this relationship hitting this point way back in season 1, and yet now I don't want it to go off the rails. Which makes that annoying inkling in the back of my mind horrible: Boyd as the master planner is marrying Ava because he loves her, but also for the sake of spousal privilege for them both. Probably reading too much into things, but Boyd's crafty.

Small things
--> Jim Beaver does makes everything better, as PK_Tech_Girl noted below
--> I loved Ava furiously cleaning the bar at the start of the episode. Out damn spots, indeed.
--> While I love Tim on his own, it was weird to see him on his own.
--> I really enjoy how this season has opened up Harlan's class dynamics a bit more with both the hill community and next week's promos showing a visit to the upper crusts of Harlan.
More+
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If Shelby wants to take down Boyd and Ava, why doesn't he start with Ava. She's still on probation for shooting Bowman. I would assume running a whorehouse is a violation.
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Haha. Raylan's reaction after one of the bad dudes uses the blowtorch on him: "What the hell was that?" I wish I was so carefree about my life that I could say something like that after someone tries to set my face on fire.

Anyway, this was a cool episode but nothing great. If I HAD to say, this may have been my least favorite episode of the season. That said, it was still very enjoyable. I always like seeing Tim and I wouldn't oppose Jim Beaver having a bigger role, so the episode had that. I'm also a fan of Brent Sexton so I'm happy that he may likely be returning next week.
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Last week, I thought of Shelby as "dead man walking." This week, I was thinking this season may mark the end of Boyd, what with the forces aligned against him. This was probably my favorite episode of the season so far, while the one with Randall and his wife two weeks ago has been my least favorite.
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Jim Beaver is criminally underused on TV.

I'm also a big fan of Brent Sexton and my guess is that he's also a favorite of Graham Yost's (going back at least as far as the great "Boomtown" series), so here's hoping we'll see more of him soon.

Also, hurray for the quick removal (presumably) of Arlo's crooked lawyer from the plot. Even the bad folks on this show are delicious but I didn't have much interest in watching her manipulate things to her advantage for an extended period of time.
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dont get the bitchin about justified this season, its been great so far
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The Boyd and Eva proposal scene was freakin sweet! I'm slightly fearful though that its going to go in the direction of Carlito's Way.... Writers, don't screw with me....
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Another great episode in a season that's different from the last two.But not in a bad way
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I am really starting to like the style of the lack of a big bad. I don't think it has lessened the show a bit. In fact I think it has strengthened it a bit. I just like how all of this and everyone is slowly coming together.
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Jim Beaver makes everything better.
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"Which one is your client?" "The dumb one" "Youll have to be more specific" LOL
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Arrgg, the games afoot!!!!! Though I may be stumped at this point!!! But I bet I will get my footing soon!!! God I love this show.
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