Justified: Hicks Say the Darndest Things

The Season 2 premiere of Justified spent little time reflecting on last season—we didn't even get a "Previously On" segment to refresh our memories after eight-ish months away. Instead, the show picked up right where it left off and spent a few eyeblinks wrapping up all the loose threads from the Season 1 finale. The producers' objective was clear: It's time to move on to new things.

And where we moved on to is fascinating territory. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), followed up on a not-so-anonymous tip about a potential sex offender and ran into the Bennetts, this season's clan of country crazy. There's Mags (Margo Martindale), the Bennett matriarch in charge of a big pot-farming business, her three sons Dickie, Coover, and Doyle (the latter of whom apparently works for the law), and newly orphaned and honorary Bennett Loretta, a fourteen-year-old who spouts wisdom and profanity like a weathered dock worker.

The Bennetts were introduced flawlessly and reminded me of what makes Justified such an enjoyable ride. Each scene is a shootout, except the players are using words (when they aren't using bullets, of course). There was an entrancing poetry and cadence about "The Moonshine Wars" that made each and every beat riveting television. More so than other shows, Justified feels more like a stage play or a book on tape that's accompanied by images than a bang-bang shoot-em-up, because there is so much emphasis on what is being said and how it's being said. It would be easy to make the Bennett family simple folk, but thanks to spiffy dialogue and well-defined characterization (they're ruthless! they're business-like! they're actually smart?), they're are showing themselves to be more than just hicks chewin' straw in their rockin' chairs. These are drug dealers who were mindin' their own business before Raylan came around and started pokin' them with a stick.

The new cast has grasped the depth of their characters in well. Martindale is quietly menacing as Mags, Brad William Henke sets a new standard for oafish idiocy as dim-witted Coover, and as Dickie Bennett, former Lost standout and personal favorite Jeremy Davies has replaced Daniel Faraday's eccentric paranoia with country-confident psychosis. I'd bet two bushels of wacky tobacky that Raylan is responsible for Dickie's limp, too. I'm already much more interested in these bad guys than I ever was in Bo Crowder.

Some may critique the premiere's speedy handling of Season 1's dangling storylines (are we done with the Miami drug lord?), but since the new story is populated with these fascinating Bennett critters, I'm feeling good about where we're going.

I'll be keeping up with the show this season, so let's try and get some interesting discussion going on here. I have a hard time selling Justified to people, so what do you say to your friends to try and get them to watch the show? What do you like about Justified?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (16)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
There is a strange connection between Justified and Sons of Anarchy, maybe its the good dialogue in rude characters, and the same smooth talking, Raylan in Justified and Jackson in Sons of Anarchy, that are also likely to shoot and kick their way. But the humor in Justified is the best. I just ask a better deputy for Raylan, because deputy marshal Rachel Brooks, is too blend, she should bring something to the table. I hope this season surprises me in a good way ;)
Reply
Flag
Could you edit or delete the comments with atrociously bad spelling? There is no excuse for it in these days of spell check. It drives me crazy! (It's actually more egregious in the Reviews and Forums)
Reply
Flag
What I like about Justified is that it is just such natural storytelling. Like you said, theres a pace and cadence to the dialogue and even how the scenes are set that on the surface seems laid back but has a fire underneath.
Reply
Flag
I tell my friends that Raylen Givens is a modern day Seth Bullock same character just a different time period that works for them =)
Reply
Flag
Great start to season 2.The show has exceptional, witty dialogue. I liked the new baddies, but I still hope we get a good helping of Boyd Crowder on the side.
Reply
Flag
Well, if your friends are female, you just have to sell them on Timothy - and that shouldn't be too hard... ;)
Reply
Flag
Timothy Olyphant is exceptional, love the show, i believe it is one of the best there
Reply
Flag
I'm in Canada, but I'm from Tennessee. Justified is about the best portrayal of home I've seen since I've been up here. We get the second season at the end of February and I am ready for it! I've watched every episode of the first season at least twice each. It's a damned good show and Timothy Olyphant is superb.
Glad you all are enjoying it! I can't wait to do the same.
Reply
Flag
Great show. Great episode.
Reply
Flag
The show is a mix of the old time westerns with a modern day slant. The cast and writers have a winner here. I
Reply
Flag
I was so excited for this show to come back, and it didn't disappoint! I rolled over laughing when Raylan doused "the perv" with gas, then told him to wait before shooting him so he could ask if he knew how a gun worked. I tell people that it's a show that takes place in contemporary times about a US marshal with an old west attitude. I love the sarcastic, snappy dialogue, and that the characters actually have depth, especially the bad guys. The best bad guys are smart bad guys, and Justified makes country hicks like Boyd Crowder and Mags believably smart and devious. I also love the Kentucky accents and Raylan's hat :)
Reply
Flag
Such an awesome show, and the premiere of the second season was brilliant. It didn't miss a beat. I like the direction it seems they are taking for the second season. I agree the new clan is great, with great actors and equally great writing for them. I just hope Boyd (Walter Goggings) plays another big role this season. Timothy Olyphant makes any scene 10x better, and Walter Goggings makes any scene 10x better and each time they are in the same scene its at least 20x better. So the new baddies are great, but I hope Boyd is also in the thick of things.
Reply
Flag
I'd say it's like House with a gun. Not because he's a genius, but because he's kind of a dick.
Reply
Flag
I don't say anything - either you love Timothy Olyphant and his characterizations (Raylan is similar to the Sheriff he played in Deadwood) or you don't. Because the show is all Raylan - imagine an episode, that for some reason didn't have him in it. This show is a hit - when it goes off air it will be because Olyphant got another offer. For those who don't watch, it's their loss.
Reply
Flag
excellent episode yesterday, show picked up where it left off
Reply
Flag
Justified is one of those shows that is hard to discribe to other people. In essence it is about a Marshal who gets into trouble for shooting people and gets sent home where he will theoretically do less damage. But that would not make a good series. He just ends up sooting people. The thing that I love about the show is the main character, Raylan. He is very no nonesense and becasue of all his problems with shooting people he has the reputation of shooting first adn asking questions later. He also understands the people in KY better than people from out of the state and because of that he tends to get things done a lot faster than most. The show tends to be fairly fast paced, which I also like. I do like the new bad guys but I hope that they still do some Bo stuff. I would like to know if he really is into the whole saving people things or if he is just trying to build his own empire. I did not think that the rapping up of last seasons events went too quickly, because honestly I was very suprised that Raylan did not just kill the Mobster, it is his character to do so, and I think they left it open for him to have other problems with him in the future.

My biggest problem with the show in the first season is that although they had a big bad guy, that person was not all that bad in his actions and he was a little too unknown about what he was really doing. I thinkt hat with this year it is a little more obvious to tell that the new bad guys are just that, new bad guys. You should definately try this show out if you have never seen it and you will see why the people who watch it like it so much. This show also does not like stereotypes just so that you know.
More+
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook