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Justified S05E09: "Wrong Roads"

I feel like hanging one of those "Home Sweet Home" placards on this here episode review, because it sure does feel good to have Justified back in Harlan. Or mostly back in Harlan. At least in the neighboring states. After spending a few episodes down in Mexico, which may have been a few too many, Boyd Crowder returned to the States with his band of merry idiots and all of a sudden Justified felt like Justified again. "Wrong Roads" was the best episode of the season since "Shot All to Hell," and I'm pretty sure it's precisely because most of the action took place in the same zip code instead of requiring an international area code to dial in. 

One of the reasons that Harlan is one of television's most compelling places to visit is that it has a sense of proximity. And I don't just mean the idea that Raylan can scoot on over to Boyd's bar at the first hint of trouble; I'm talking about the very real chance that these two might bump into each other in the produce section of the local market because Harlan feels that small. But that potential was removed in "Raw Deal" and last week's "Whistle Past the Graveyard" while Boyd was in Mexico, and because Boyd took most of the Crowes with him, Raylan was left with little to do. 

"Wrong Roads" brought Boyd back to Harlan, and the move instantly paid off with that incredible scene where Raylan and his temporary partner Miller (guest-star Eric Roberts) walked into Audrey's to see Boyd, Wynn Duffy, Darryl Crowe, Picker, Mike, Jimmy, Jay, and Roscoe all pointing guns or at least nasty verbal threats at each other. Aside from an occasional heated Skype chat, it was the kind of collision between Raylan the lawman and Boyd the crook that can't happen when they're too far apart, and my unofficial poll of Justified fans says that most of us love it when the show manages to compress both characters' awesomeness into the same scene.


And the way they arrived at that point was equally interesting. Having learned that Hot Rod Dunham's men were shot up dead in Mexico, Raylan headed over to Memphis to search for the man or get info on where he was. There, he was partnered up with DEA Agent Miller, who was basically the Ghost of Raylan Future, a man probably 15 years Raylan's senior who exhibited many of the same traits: a rebellious streak, a quick wit, a child he doesn't visit somewhere else in the country, and a cockiness that comes from being such a badass for so many years. The episode didn't play it up, but I suspect Raylan was looking at this guy and thinking to himself, "That could be me." And Miller's life wasn't a bad one: He was good at his job. He was also good at drinking on the job. Basically, Miller's life was the same as Raylan's but with less of a chance to get out, and Raylan has always shown a desire to get out eventually. I don't know if it will happen, but I'd like to see Raylan's experience with Miller steer Raylan away from Miller's future. Go see your kid, Raylan. Start working on your exit strategy. Don't be the guy whose best friends are his C.I.s. 

Raylan eventually found Hot Rod with a bullet in his tummy after Jay and Roscoe began their quest to grab what was available after the mess in Mexico (namely, Johnny Crowder's death) left some very valuable things (namely a lot of heroin and cash) unclaimed. As Jay and Roscoe closed in on Boyd, Raylan and Miller closed in on Jay and Roscoe, bringing us to the aforementioned scene of awesome. And the magnetic charisma of Wood and Steve Harris as Jay and Roscoe moved things right along. They got busted, but if they can get out of jail, those two should be Justified fixtures going forward.

Ava's prison storyline continued to keep us all imprisoned. Girl, get out of jail! Dig a tunnel or something! Even though the writers made some effort to bring Ava's predicament into Justified's main fold, it still felt like part of a different show, and frankly, one that I'd flip the channel on. Ava's stuck in a cycle of needing help and then having to pay for that help, and this time one of the nurses who handled the heroin smuggling made Boyd exact revenge on a man who killed her partner. He did, and even after that, the nurse still requested another favor: She told Ava to kill Judith, the loony inmate preacher lady, or else. It's another task for Ava to complete just to stay alive in jail, and while the stakes are high, the entertainment is not because this arc has transformed Ava—a lady who once shot her husband and her future husband during the same meal—into a passive character. She's currently being bounced around like a pinball by others' demands, and it can't end soon enough. #FreeAva.



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– R.I.P. Hot Rod! At least you turned someone into a pencilneck before you croaked. 

– Roscoe's King Lear speech was fantastic.

– The episode ended with Dewey driving through Danny and Miller, with Miller taking the brunt of the damage. But maybe Dewey should've aimed more for Danny, because I would not want to be Dewey with that rabid dog Danny after him. 

– The old man who Boyd had to kill had a gun behind his pillow in an old folks' home. Everyone has a gun in this show. I love it.



HEARD 'ROUND HARLAN

Boyd: "What is it you want, Daryl Crowe Jr.?"
Daryl: "I just want to be part of the goddamn family, Boyd."

 

Miller: "Not like those glocks and Smith & Wesson nines, they jam so bad you can spread them on your breakfast toast."

 

Raylan: "I'm on vacation, actually."
Miller: "And you thought you'd come to Memphis and kick the hornet's nest?"
Raylan: "And have some ribs."

 

Wendy: "Well, how'd it go?"
Daryl: "Smooth as a strippers ass."

 

Wynn: "Hi this is Wynn Duffy in 236. Can you send up a fresh pot of coffee? *pause* Because this tastes like my ass on Sunday."

 

Boyd: "I will tell you this, killing an old man in a nursing home ain't on my bucket list."

 

Bartender at Boyd's: "Goddamn, what the hell kind of place is this?"

 

Jay: "Meet Roscoe, say hi Roscoe."
Roscoe: "Hi."

 

Boyd: "Taking into consideration everything that's happened in the last 48 hours, I take it you're here for drugs, or money, or maybe revenge?"
Jay: "Man this dude! Yes! Goddamb I love it. But you can keep the revenge, we'll just take the drugs and the money."

 

Raylan: "Miller, would you call this a herd, a gaggle, or a flock of assholes?"
Miller: "I'd call this the United Nations of assholes."
Boyd: "Well that's funny, because we were just discussing ratifying some shit."


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/8/2014

Season 5 : Episode 13

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